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Mike Davies & Camera

Mike's latest series of videos appear on our NEWS & FEATURES page.  This allows them to have greater viewing coverage.  

Previous productions can be seen via the adjacent slide-out menu.


We proudly present our camera-man, Mike Davies (right) who lives in Cadoxton.   Mike's photographs can often be seen on the BBC and ITV weather forecasts.   Derek Brockway the BBC weatherman  has written a forward for him for the Vale of Neath website that we have produced with Mike.

Here, on this page, Mike will travel around the area and bring us pictures of special interest with a little chat about what ever he has captured on his camera.

Occasionally Mike will reveal an interesting story to make his page refreshingly different - based on the old saying that variety is the spice of life.

Mike's latest report will always appear at the top of the page - while previous reports can be seen by selecting from the slide out menu when you click on 'Mike Davies & Camera'.


Briton Ferry Silver Band concert Victoria Gardens Neath Dec 7th 2013

Despite the cold weather and the occasional showers of rain, the busy Christmas shoppers came into the gardens to sit and relax a while, listening to a selection of carols played by the band.

It is always nice to hear a brass band, especially at this time of the year, when you can sing-along with the Christmas carols.  It brings the meaning of Christmas closer to us all, Christmas is a time to reflect on the past year, and to think of families and loved ones both home & abroad, and also the families who are in the services who are facing conflict, on active duty on Christmas day.

It was a wonderful concert and the band played a good selection of well-known carols.  It is always a pleasure to see the Briton Ferry Silver Band and hear them in the bandstand at Victoria Gardens throughout the year.

Report by Mike Davies
Here is a selection of Carols that you can sing along to  (play full screen )


The Sky at Night

Comet Ison-- "Comet of the century" by Mike Davies
No human has ever seen this comet before as she was out of the earth's orbit.
Why all the excitement? Amateur and professional astronomers worldwide were eagerly anticipating comet ISON. Its orbit is nearly parabolic, which suggests that it may be a dynamically new comet coming freshly from the Oort Cloud, the little-known shell of literally trillions of comet nuclei lying tens of thousands of AU from the Sun
. ISON has been on its way sunwards for a million years.

Photo Mike Davies
This capture of Comet Ison was taken on Nov 22nd at 6.20am in a direction East-South East over the clear skies of Neath  using a 30 sec exposures over a 2 hour period - taken 2013-11-22 06:20:36 one hour before dawn, and waiting for mercury to rise over the horizon. The plume 16 Million Kilometres Long  can be clearly seen here as the comet is approaching a star trail and the setting moon.
This was the last sighting, as she was approaching the suns orbit. Did she survive? The comet did fragment, however, if she is still visible the next sighting over the UK is 5am on Dec 20th & 25th.

Comet ISON headed towards the centre of our Solar System in Novembers passing within 1.2 million miles of the Sun’s surface.
At the time of discovery in September 2012, ISON was over 584 million miles from the Sun.
Its average speed in July was 55,405mph. It continued to accelerate steadily until November when it whipped around the Sun at an astonishing 425,000mph.
Early data analysis suggested Comet ISON’s size to be around three miles in diameter.
Most astronomers now believe that the comet was destroyed by solar heat with Nasa stating a 90 per cent probability of this having happened.
What they believe remains now is a small pieces of rubble, around 10 metres in radius.
There is, however a 10 per cent chance of it having left behind some important fragments 100m radius or larger which will be big enough to study.
"The tail of the comet stretches more than 7 degrees across the sky--It's almost as wide as the bowl of the Big Dipper."
The comet of the century's tail is 16 Million Kilometres Long
Motion of the Stars
Even today, when we’re distracted by indoor living and artificial lights, most of us find the stars beautiful and fascinating
but imagine how they must have captivated our ancestors, who spent far more time under the starry night sky!

Photo Mike Davies
For thousands of years, people have wondered about the stars. What are they? How far away are they?
What is the meaning of their arrangement in the sky? How do their locations in the sky change over time, and why?
The stars also "rise" and "set" just like the Sun and the moon.

Photo Mike Davies
The North Star or Pole Star – aka Polaris – is famous for holding nearly still in our sky.  In this image the North star is clearly visible.
What will you see in these images? Well, it depends on where you point the camera. The stars appear to move because we in fact are rotating around the Earth's axis. Luckily, there is a star up in the sky very near the point
where the Earth's North Pole points.
The North Star (Polaris). Thus, as the sky rotates above us (meaning, we turn against the background of the stars), the North Star should not move very much.
(It moves just slightly because the axis is not quite pointing at the star - but basically the North Star is always in the same point in the sky for us).
What about the stars near the North Star. They will rotate around the North Star. If you face the North Star, the stars will appear to rotate counter-clockwise around that point.
As you get farther from the North Star, the stars still rotate, but their trails appear to straighten out (and the tracks seem longer).
.These two effects are connected - the star farther away in the sky makes a larger circle with respect to the North Star - so a segment of its path should appear straighter than near the North Star.
Also, since the distant star has to go all the way around its bigger circle in 24 hours - it has to cover more "distance" along that path in a 10 minute period than a star that is making a small circle around the North Star.
See the wonders of the Sky At Night right here and brought exclusively to your screens by  Neath Guardian photographer Mike Davies.


View full screen and listen to the music of Gustav Holst    "Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity".


Cadoxton Christmas tree 2013

For the 2nd year running, members of the “ The  Green Dragon pub” in Cadoxton decided again this year to keep lighting up the village with a Christmas tree.   All this is all done voluntarily and donations are always relied on, and most welcomed.

Children gather around the lit up Christmas tree

It is always good see the villagers getting “stuck in” and getting together on such occasions, having lived in the village for 40+ years the residents are always willing to lend a  helping hand.
On a frosty evening of Dec 4th the villagers came out to celebrate the traditional Christmas tree once again light up the village green.

And even  Father Christmas stopped by on his busy schedule

For further donations contact
Mr. Peter Jones 01639-773404  or “The Green Dragon” 01639 -641874
to view more pictures see the slide show here:




39.   Art in the Park - 2

The Art in the park exhibition which took place on Sat Nov 30th at Victoria Gardens community centre was opened by Canon Stephen Ryan, Rector of Neath.

Sarah Mayberry-Thomas, Audience Development Officer -Victoria Gardens thanked all the artists who participated, and gave a talk on the various artists work.

Local artists of all ages got together during the summer to paint Victoria Gardens, including St David's church which had to include the tower.

All proceeds from the sale of the exhibition will go towards the restoration of the

Some of the artists having a chat.

If any readers would like to purchase these paintings  from local artists they can contact Sarah on
01639 686775

Mobile:- 07891 548655

E Mail  victoriagardens@npt.gov.uk

All proceeds  go to the restoration of the clock tower

View the full slide show here, and watch the artists in progress.
Play full screen for better viewing,




38  Santa in Neath

Neath in festive mood

Santa Claus comes to town

It was a bitterly cold evening, and after waiting which seemed to be hours,

Santa  finally arrived over the roof tops and touched down in Neath much to the delight of the children, and their parents, there was a big all-round cheer as Santa appeared in his sleigh as he made his way through town.

The good fairy with her elf companion

Sarah Mayberry-Thomas, Audience Development Officer -Victoria Gardens had an Edwardian theme, they looked splendid in their costumes and so did the children dressed in their Edwardian clothes.  A super all round team effort
there were  plenty of different balloons in all shapes and sizes for the children to choose from.
Entertainment was provided in Angel square, and along with Scottish pipers, fairies and elves etc. a fireworks extravaganza ended the celebrations in the castle grounds to round off the evening of Christmas delight.

Visit Father Christmas in is grotto at Zoars Ark Garden Centre

Click here for more of "Santa Claus comes to town"




Remembrance Sunday in Neath - 2013

Neath celebrated Remembrance Sunday in glorious autumn sunshine,

It was well attended and good to see so many youngsters taking part this year.


Also paying their respects to those who sacrificed their lives for their country
Neath town Mayor Mark Fisher
Rt. Hon Peter Hain MP
Cllr. Leader Ali Thomas
Gwenda Thomas AM
And other council dignitaries
The service was conducted by
Canon Stephen Ryan, Rector of Neath.

The generation who fought in World War One are no longer with us, but their passing means we must not stop remembering the sacrifice they made, we will continue to honour them on this and every Remembrance Sunday.

While that generation has passed, sadly war and conflict are still with us and so this event still has relevance in the 21st Century.
Service men and women from across Wales and the UK are currently on active duty in Afghanistan.
In recent decades armed forces personnel have lost their lives in places like Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Iraq.
By taking a small amount of time out of our day we can pay our respects and make sure their sacrifice is not forgotten.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them
Lest we forget

To view Remembrance Sunday Neath 
play here and always play full screen




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