The werewolf is a mythical creature. At first glance, he looks like a pretty ordinary person, but he can change his shape from human form to a wolf or a beast that looks like a wolf. He can choose to do this by striking a deal with the Devil, or the change of form can occur after a person has been bitten by another werewolf. This usually happens at full moon!
There are many stories about werewolves in Wales. One of the best-known stories is the werewolf of Wenvoe.
Once upon a time, a young boy lived in the Coed y Cymdda area near Wenvoe. Although he was head over heels in love with a girl from the nearby village of Cadoxton, he decided to marry another girl, breaking the heart of his first love.
Unbeknown to the boy, his first love was the niece of a witch. Seeing her niece so depressed, the witch decided to retaliate on the boy. So, on his wedding night, the witch put her belt on the doorstep of the groom’s home. Anyone going in and out of the house would have to step over that belt. As the bride and groom stepped into the house on the night of the wedding, the boy was turned into a werewolf and ran away to hide in nearby Coed y Cymdda.
Every night after that, the werewolf would come from the woods to the home of the witch and howl noisily. He would frighten everyone in the area, and his new wife was so sad about the whole thing that she died young.
The witch was determined to get the boy to marry her niece, so she transformed the werewolf back into a man by throwing a charmed lambskin over him.
But that is not the end of the story. When the witch realised how badly the boy was treating her niece, she decided to turn him into a werewolf again. The witch died and no one in the world was able to undo her work. The werewolf spent nine years in the woods before he was accidentally shot, bringing to an end the terror of Wenvoe.
If you want to deter werewolves, some people believe you can use rye, mistletoe, mountain ash and wolfsbane (Aconitum napellus).
Thousands of people flock to Stonehenge in Wiltshire every year to celebrate the summer solstice.
Summer solstice is the day that marks 'mid-summer' day, or the 'longest' day of the year. Of course, the length of that day is 24 hours, like every other day of the year, but this is the day when the greatest number of hours of daylight occur between dawn and sunset, as the sun is at its closest to the North Pole. It all depends on the way the Earth leans towards the sun. In the Northern Hemisphere, summer solstice occurs when the North Pole is at an angle of 23ᵒ 26' towards the sun, which is between the 20th and 22nd of June each year. That's why June 21st is the date of the Summer Solstice – the first day of summer, according to astronomers. After this date, the days shorten, with slightly less daylight each day, until the shortest day of the year arrives in December.
The solstice is usually celebrated by pagans and druids. They have been holding ceremonies to celebrate new life on this day for centuries. People gather at Stonehenge every year, facing north-east to watch the sun rise at dawn.
However the solstice is celebrated by people all over the world. They usually celebrate religion and fertility. In Poland, the pagan celebrations of Waianki are very similar to what happens in Britain. In Estonia, the day is a celebration of new agricultural patterns, and in Russia and Ukraine, the custom is that people jump over fire to show their courage and religious faith.
Love the Sun
The truth is, the sun is GOOD for you! Fact!
Of course, the sun is good for us because it gives light and heat. But there is one other very important thing the sun gives us too – VITAMIN D.
Vitamin D: One of the most amazing things the sun gives us.
Rays: The sun’s ultraviolet B rays (UVB), important for the production of Vitamin D.
How does it reach the body: It is absorbed through bare skin and changed into a form the body can use to help when the sun is high in the sky, especially in summer.
Hoa much sun is needed: The body usually only requires around half an hour of sunlight to get enough Vitamin D. There is no need for a tan or sunburn. The amount of Vitamin D produced from the sun’s rays can depend on the time of day, where you live and the colour of your skin.
Time of day: The skin can create more Vitamin D under midday sunshine.
Where you live: The closer you live to the Equator, the more Vitamin D your skin can create all year round.
Colour of your skin: Light skin can create Vitamin D faster than darker skin.
Skin surface area: The more bare skin is exposed to the sun the more Vitamin D the body is able to create.
Importance: Vitamin D is important for forming and maintaining bones. It helps the body to use calcium as well as helping with other important work.
Vitamin D Deficiency: The body can get more Vitamin D by taking tablets or food supplements. Vitamin D3 is the best type of supplement to take. However, food alone can't give the body enough Vitamin D.
Foods containing a little Vitamin D:
Too much sun = Sunburn!
Sunburn: Skin damage caused by too much ultraviolet radiation.
Symptoms: Skin is red, hot, painful and, in the worst cases, blisters.
Danger: Can lead to skin cancer.
How to avoid it: Keep out of the sun when it is at its strongest. Use sunscreen to protect the skin from the impact of harmful ultraviolet rays.
Treatment: Apply a cold cloth to the affected parts of the skin. Have a cold shower frequently. Use creams to cool the skin – especially those containing aloe vera etc. If the damage is very bad, it is important to go to the doctor for help.
Remember - never look directly at the sun - it could damage your eyes.
No Sun, No Nothing!
The importance of the sun and the moon to our existence
Nothing is more important to our existence on Earth than the sun. Think about it: without heat and sunlight, what would the Earth be?
Yes, that’s right, a ball of rock under a layer of ice! No one and nothing could live on Earth! Without the sun, the Earth would not have been able to form at all!
So, what does the sun do then?
The sun is life on Earth.
And what about the moon?
At night, it is the moon, not the sun that is visible in the sky. The moon is a satellite – a type of asteroid – that orbits the Earth. The moon is 384,403km away from earth and orbits the Earth once every 27.5 days.
If it weren’t for the moon, we would not have …
How are you? I've been thinking a lot about you recently.
Wales has been hit by severe flooding in recent days causing extensive damage to homes and businesses. The weather is so different where you are. I see that the temperature varies during the dry season in Botswana between 24°C and 35°C and so you are enjoying many sunny days but slightly cooler nights at the moment. I see that things are very different for you between December and March with thunder and lightning likely in the afternoons.
This is the kind of weather we've had here recently. Over 76cm of rain fell in a day in Snowdonia. Storm Christoph affected large parts of Wales. It's strange to think how the weather can be a friend and an enemy to people across the world!
See you, Gareth.
Thrilling eclipse excites the millions
21st March 2015
Yesterday morning millions of people across Britain and northern Europe were able to see the best solar Eclipse for many years.
The deep shadow began to form over the north Atlantic and worked its way up towards the North Pole, with the total eclipse taking place over Britain at 9.41am.
It all looked as if someone had bitten off a piece of the sun, and that piece became bigger and bigger as daylight disappeared. As the sun shrank into a crescent shape, it felt as if a storm was about to occur. Then there was nothing to see but the sun like a large black disc in the sky. Birds stopped singing, flowers closed their petals and animals began to think that night had come as the street lights came on.
Those keen to have a glimpse of the rare phenomenon were advised not to look up directly at the eclipse. According to the experts, this could lead to serious damage to the eyes, so the advice was to view it through a pinhole projector, which can follow the path of the sun on a piece of paper.
All parts of Britain experienced an eclipse of 83%, with the sun at its darkest at around 9.35 a.m. The timing of the eclipse varied by location. On the Shetland Islands, the eclipse was at its maximum at 9.43am, and was almost total, with 97% of the sun obscured.
Although the solar eclipse will happen again in other parts of the world, the next solar eclipse in Britain is expected on the 12th of August 2026. 90% of Great Britain will be in darkness! You’ll have to wait until 23rd September 2090 to see the next total eclipse!
DROUGHT - A desert landscape - The sun can be a friend and enemy of humans and animals across the world
FIRE - Australian Bushfire 2019 - The sun can be the enemy of humans and animals around the world.
THAW - An iceberg thawing and global warming - The sun can be an enemy of animals across the world.
BURN- Skin peeling after burning in the sun - The sun can be the enemy of the skin.
DROUGHT – Travelling distances to collect water - The sun can be an enemy of humans and animals in hot countries.