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A Year in the Life of an Online Magazine.

Blue Lagoon

When we decided to launch Pembrokeshire Online Community Interest Company, Suzanne and I were clear about our intentions for the magazine. Both of us love this county of Pembrokeshire and wanted to share in words and pictures many of its delights. While she focussed largely on the beauty and wonder of Pembrokeshire’s nature and environment, I brought my attention to it’s people.

I have found genuine pleasure in meeting and writing about so many interesting people and projects this year. I have moved about a great deal in my life, but I really don’t think I have ever lived anywhere where so much is going on!
Artists, and writers, storytellers and craftspeople….people who volunteer their time to make life brighter or easier for others…people who have the vision of a cleaner, friendlier, future for us all…people who are called to heal or enlighten….innovative people, driven people, people with big stories to tell and people who don’t realise that they are making a difference just by ‘having a go’ or acting on a dream….I have had the pleasure of meeting so many of you in this first year of our magazine and I look forward to 2019 hoping to keep track of you all and find many many more of you to write about.

I have enjoyed every interview, every encounter. We have been fortunate enough to obtain press passes for some events and activities and that has meant we have been able to attend some events we might otherwise have missed.

Pembrokeshire Online CIC doesn’t have any financial backing from anyone at time of writing. All the volunteers who contribute give their time and skills for free. While we have plans to obtain funding in the coming year particularly for travel expenses and our Time Banking ( to be launched in January) will mean people can earn credit the magazine ,not a bean has changed hands so far.

We know that this might seem a bit peculiar. Running a magazine, even an online one, involves costs. There are fees for our site, insurances, and travel. It’s nothing for me to do over a hundred miles a week interviewing people and writing up an article takes hours of time. We discussed taking on advertising, but we don’t enjoy wading through pages of ads when reading something and we really like the idea that as this is a truly community venture and as our readership grows not just in Pembrokeshire but around the world, we want it to be an easy accessible read.

So what have been the highlights for me?

This is so difficult…there have been so many and I am loathe to leave anyone out but… if I can’t help having my favourite, so I will plump for the things that have delighted me or entertained me the most and hope those who have not been mentioned here are not offended.

The story telling workshop I enjoyed with Deb Winter was a feast for the imagination with full rein given to some delightful out and out porkies. Debs is a magician of the first order, bringing our inner children out to play. Look out, not just for her workshops but for her wonderful story telling sessions , often with guests.

I love a good bit of poetry and spent a happy hour with Poet Richard Wheeler readily shared his views on poetry, his own and those poets he most admires. Have a look at his contributions. They are well worth a read. I have yet to make it to a poetry session, but its on my list. We always love to hear from Marc Mordey, a very fine fellow and a lovely poet who makes time in his busy life to share what is going on and to support and encourage local events.

I have delighted in the amazing artists we have here in the county . From Anna Waters and her gorgeous sea scapes to Raul Speek practically exuding Cuban sunshine and exuberance from every pore, straight onto vivid canvas.  Glenn Ibbitson was a delight , giving up some of his valuable time to talk with me about the meaning behind his work and sharing his delight in the amazing moths he finds each day in the light box his wife bought for him as a gift. In contrast, I love the work of Jon Foreman, a Land Artist. In contrast I say because unlike the others mentioned above Jons art is impermanent. He creates from nature and allows nature to reclaim his work. You must take a look at his website and see the miraculous way he balances stones and rocks.

There are of course so many artists here in Pembrokeshire and I would like to mention you all. Instead, I urge readers to go the magazine and seek them out for yourselves. I promise you there is something for everyone.

Photographers next. We have had so many lovely contributions to illustrate our magazine this year. Thank you to you all.. especially Ieuan Morris. David Wilson is one of our favourites, as was Llangwm Book festival where we went to hear him and Jamie Owen talk about the latest book, A Year in Pembrokeshire. Thanks to the festival for our press pass which allowed us to attend that and other talks. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing the Bishop of St Davids take about her life and her faith.

I have to say something about Remakery, with their commitment to repairing and preventing useable stuff from ending up in landfill. Their workshop and shop at the Big Green Shed are definitely worth a visit and check out their website to find out about repair sessions that they run on a regular basis around the county.

There are community fridges where you can help yourself to free food, ( we wrote recently about Fishguard Community Fridge), youth projects like POINT that are providing young people with work and social opportunities in rural areas, and Men sheds, all of which are bringing the generations together and sharing skills and wisdom.

I am hoping for a return of Ben Suttons, St Davids Escape Room in the summer of 2019, and much more of the Fair Play Board Games with Owen , Arthur and Ashley. I loved the stone painting of St Dogmaels and Pembroke, the play providers like Jay of Pyjama Drama, the amateur performers, like Clarbeston Road Players and the volunteers of so many charities from hearing to cancer support. Wonderful stuff !

I have met potters and writers and charity workers , healers and teachers and I am inspired and humbled by the skill and dedication shown by so many.

Hearing Julie Marsden talk about her Peace walk was an inspiration. I can’t wait for the video and dare we hope…the book?

Learning about Green Burial with Soo Hutchinson really made me think about becoming a source of pollution, or a source of life enhancing compost after I die. Fascinating stuff.

I know it’s probably rather naughty of me considering this astonishing wealth of contributions that I have just skimmed over in just over a thousand words, with heartfelt apologies to the other contributions I just can’t fit in….but if I am indulging myself in so many delights , I just have to tell you my favourite ……

Well, it has to be Singing for Fun with Anne Hughes and not just because that woman is a force of astonishing energy and goodwill, but also because of what happens when she brings people together . If you haven’t got any interest in singing yourself, I urge you to at least attend one of the many events Anne organises for a range of charities where the choir just light up the room with their energy , enthusiasm and sheer joyous enthusiasm, not to mention their very fine voices.

Phew!

So thank you all for your contributions in 2018. I am so looking forward to more and more of the same and a whole gorgeous plush pile of ‘different.’ In 2019.

Have a story to tell? Want to update us on what you are doing? Want to write for us, or offer other skills? Please get in touch. We are just waiting to hear from you.

Please take a look at the magazine for articles and contact details for any of the items mentioned above.

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Kitty Parsons

Kitty Parsons

In love with the sea, gifted with an almost superhuman ability to bring chaos into order. Mostly tired and often to be found hibernating through the winter on the sofa, and bobbing about in the ocean in summer.

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