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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

Hiking in the Wye Valley

Filed under: Activities, blog posts, Videos

In a dark dark hole… a visit to the Welsh showcaves

I am standing in a dark, echoing cave, carved by millions of years of rain water trickling through. The air grows cooler as you pass through the entrance. The underground labyrinth has begun.

I weave my way through the stalagmites and stalactites in the Dan-yr-Ogof cave brushing my fingers against the stone, wondering how many droplets of water it took to make it this smooth.

Water is dripping from the ceiling and I can hear what sounds like a waterfall in the background.

The rasher of bacon, by Rachel Slater- Flikr

The rasher of bacon, by Rachel Slater- Flikr

Round the dimly lit corner is a pillar of stone in a pool of water- a stalagmite and stalactite which have met each other on their quest upward and downward.

Cascading from the ceiling is a frozen waterfall of fingers hanging down.

And then… a rasher of bacon? A bizarre looking stone which unbelievably does look like a rasher of bacon.

This is followed by a group of stalagmites called the nuns and the angel.

At the far end is a real treat. The waterfall  I heard in the background from before. You have never seen a waterfall until you have seen an underground waterfall, truly spectacular. There is something about the sound of water falling onto rock that seems so peaceful.

As I reemerge from the cave, the humidity of the warm air outside (yes it is still Wales) comes as a bit of a pleasant surprise.

The sun is shining as I make my way up a very steep hill to the Cathedral cave.

Cathedral cave is huge. Water is flowing from the rock face above and there is a small river floating through to collect it. At the far end is a pulpit of flowers and a sign saying couples are able to get married in the cave- hence the name. Sounds like a pretty cool idea for an alternative wedding. But I leave pretty quickly as the area is already getting crowded.

Below is a video of the daytrip to the caves. Shot at the end is the water leaving the caves and forming the River Lynfell. You can take a virtual tour of the caves, which are in the Brecon Beacons in Wales with this link. More photos to come, so watch this space.

Filed under: Activities, blog posts, Cardiff sport, Videos, , , ,

An expenses choice

Revelations over MPs misusing the expenses system have severely undermined the political system.

Lavish claims for moats, helipads, and even as revealed today, a duck-hotel, has cast doubt as to the sincerity of even the most senior political figures.

Even the speaker of the house of commons is not immune. Only a few months after he had cause controversy by allowing Police to search Damien McBride’s office without a search warrant, an expense claim for his wife’s £4,000 worth of taxi rides was revealed.

To top it all off, in the expense debate he missed the point entirely. To him, finding the source of the leak was of greater importance than the revelation that MPs were ripping the public off.

His refusal to take a neutral stance on repaying expense claims was the final straw. He was forced to resign.

The resignation was a welcome move because his presence in the chamber was like an anchor holding the ship down as it was sinking.

Change is on the horizon. But there is still a problem and the ship in its present form won’t make it.

Despite the anchor being cut free, the old ship is so battered in its current state it will never reach the horizon.

The Government - a sinking ship?

The Government - a sinking ship?

The old problems still remain. And because of this the public will never have faith in this Government if it remains as it is without any kind of shake-up. It is time for change. Public faith in politicians is at an all-time low.

This Government have shown themselves to be happily dipping deep into taxpayers’ pockets without any guilt whatsoever. And it is difficult to forgive, let alone respect, theft.

The only way faith in the system can be restored is if Gordon Brown swallows his pride and orders a General Election. It is time to get rid of the rotten wood.

It is time to let the public have their say in the debate. And by refusing to do this and ignoring his nation he is not only tearing apart his own reputation but he is shattering the heart of democracy.

By voting out those who have abused the system, the nation can start rebuilding the battered ship with new wood rather than trying to patch it up with rotten bits that keep falling off.

This is the only way the Government can change. It is time to start rebuilding a Government everyone can trust.

Filed under: blog posts, Politics, , ,

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