Sir Simon Jenkins

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Sir Simon JenkinsI cannot confirm that Sir Simon is a Welshman – he was born in Birmingham where his father was a clergyman. However, he has to my knowledge made two important contributions to the life of Wales.

First, he wrote a very readable architectural history guide to Wales’ castles, houses and churches. A fascinating personal selection: Jenkins S (2008) – Wales: Churches, Houses, Castles. Allen Lane

He gives star ratings to all his subjects among which is one of the best-kept secrets of Wales: Holy Trinity, Pontargothi. He gives St David’s Cathedral 4 stars and Holy Trinity 3 stars.

Secondly, when the Carmarthen Male Voice Choir recorded their first CD, Holy Trinity became a temporary recording studio. Sir Simon allowed the Choir to quote extensively from his entry on Holy Trinity in the sleeve notes. For this act of generosity, he received a copy of the CD*.
Why do we buy books? One reason is that we want to read them more than once. I regularly refer to his book on Wales. He has also written two books which are among the most well-thumbed on my shelves but, alas, they are about England. One is about churches and the other about houses. He has made a personal selection of 1000 best again with his own set of star ratings. They are quite simply brilliant. Before I cross the bridge, I check them both and plan my route from these two highly readable books. The good news is that they are currently on Amazon for one penny plus postage:

  • Jenkins S (2003) – England’s Thousand Best Houses. Allen Lane
  • Jenkins S (2000) – England’s Thousand Best Churches. Allen Lane

*To purchase the CD please email me – – with your address. Price £10 (COD). OR to join the choir drop into Christ Church vestry any Tuesday evening at 7 pm. Every man can sing.

Melanie Reid – Journalist

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Melanie Reid - Journalist

By accident I came across Melanie Reid in a friend’s copy of the Times on a Saturday and now I buy it. Caitlin Moran, Giles Coren and some excellent puzzles make it good value at £1.70. Melanie Reid writes about her life as a quadriplegic after a devastating fall from a horse. She lives in a wheelchair, drives a specially converted car and writes a weekly column in the colour magazine.

What makes Melanie worth reading? She has not given up – she still struggles to walk a few steps. She reflects on her feelings without self-pity. There is humour in her description of things going wrong and a determined cheerfulness in the face of her body’s inability to cope. She is still warm towards family and friends, an absence of bitterness. She still waits for – but hardly ever mentions it – the medics to find a cure so she can be self-propelled agai

Under-stated courage against heavy odds, hers is an uplifting story which helps the reader to count our blessings, which shrinks our big problems to their real, almost insignificant, size and provides moral support for others in her situation.

Jeanie Cheah, Friend

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Writing about a colleague who became and is still a friend is fraught with pitfalls. What if they do not have similar recollections or their reactions are different? What if you misjudge their sense of humour or your memories are an embarrassment? Take a deep breath, Andrew, and tell the world about one of the best.

Professor Bob, pictured above with Jeanie, and I had designed the University of Warwick Graduate Diploma in Service Leadership which the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) wanted to run in Singapore and the Singapore Government wanted to subsidise. It was Jeanie’s task as programme manager at SIM to liaise with the two of us and launch our shiny new Diploma.

Jeanie had to deal with two old blokes both twice her age, both with a set of assumptions about how you manage this sort of programme and we had been doing it for ages in the Uk. Singapore? What’s so different about that? Ten years on I still recall Jeanie’s  huge smile, a smile of amusement, a smile of tolerance as she gently but firmly guided us to day one and beyond.

Nothing fazed her. Familiarisation sessions, liaising with students and their managers, graduation ceremonies, visiting lecturers, room bookings and layouts.  Bob’s dietary requirements were a challenge “I don’t eat seafood”. Quietly without complaint Jeanie ordered chicken at the best seafood eateries until one day at my favourite*, where you can scatter my ashes, the party fell quiet and focussed on Bob intently working his way through a dish of deep fried prawns. Game, set and match to Jeanie.

I cannot recall how we discovered a mutual interest in classical music. I know I was excited about the Esplanade concert hall in Singapore designed by the same acoustician as Birmingham’s Symphony Hall, Russell Johnson.  Now many happy evenings with Jeanie under the baton of Lan Shui are stored in the memory.

Sadly, Bob is no longer with us, taken prematurely by cancer, but the bond he helped me to cement with Jeanie is a joyful part of his legacy. A great friend 7,000 miles away in regular contact and a happy dimension of my life.

*Jumbo Seafood Restaurant, East Coast overlooking the glorious harbour, don’t miss it.

Calling all volunteers

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If you are interested in a rewarding opportunity and require further information, please contact us on 01267 231122 or

WCVA awards – Eiriol Wins Award for Governance

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Eiriol got invited to the WCVA awards in Cardiff Bay. Eiriol came runner up in the catagory of Governance. A shiny award to remember the black tie evening. The award being presented nicely by one of our advocates Miss Celyn Bowen.

Carers Rights Day

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Eiriol staff attended Carmarthenshire’s Carers Rights Day at Ffos Las, where our carers advocates Leigh Martin and Celyn Bowen delivered three workshops of self-advocacy. There was also a stand promoting Eiriol’s services in the main seating area.

Eiriol AGM and workshops

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Eiriol is holding free workshops on the 16th November 2016 at the Quins Rugby Club Carmarthen starting at 9:30am and in the afternoon being our AGM. The workshops available are keeping safe, self-advocacy and mood,health and well-being. Places are limited therefore booking is essential, please contact Eiriol office on 01267 231122.

Aviva Community Fund Voting

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Aviva community fund is giving the possibility for local projects to make a difference within the community. Eiriol has applied for funding regarding Health (aware, care and prepare project). Following the link of leads to a page where people can vote. We are asking if anybody would like to vote for us. The deadline is 18th November 2016 thank you in advance

High Sheriff of Dyfed

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Here at Eiriol we have received a letter from the High Sheriff of Dyfed, inviting Eiriol to an event to receive an award in recognition of our work within the community. We are incredibly honored to have been recognized for our work and looking forward to the event.

Carers Rights Day

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Carers Rights Day is on Friday the 25th November 2016. There is an event being held in Trimsaran on that day in support of carers rights. Eiriol will be attending and holding a workshop.