Sainsbury’s Get Involved in this Mince Pie War to End all Mince Pie Wars (It’ll be over by Christmas)

I hereby present Sainsbury’s with the award for best looking pie. Very dainty details. Good job everyone involved.

As for the taste? Not that memorable. But not as bad as Marks and Sparks. Obviously.


How do M&S fare in the battle of mince pies?

These Marks and Sparks mince pies are a bit of a let down to be honest. They say all-butter on them, but that isn’t very evident from the taste. The recommended time they have to put them in the oven is too long, so the mincemeat was too hot. They look alright, with a simple incision in the top to give that old-school look, but I think that’s what leads them to let all the heat in an burn my tongue. Sibyl said too much mincemeat too. Oh dear Marks and Sparks.

The Search for Culture in a Small Welsh Town

One aspect of moving from London to Mid-Wales is that culturally we have fewer opportunities. In London, on one desired day or night one could choose to attend any number of talks, plays, films, exhibitions, events etc. Here, there is far less going on. Some may see this as a great disadvantage, as I thought I might. However I’ve found that because there are less things to do I want to do all those things! In London it can be overwhelming, and the copious amount of choice often means I end up doing nothing.


Here in this town on the west coast of mid-Wales, there are a number of opportunities to get stuck into large amounts of potentially riveting forms of artistic entertainment. The main hub of all these things comes in the form of The Arts Centre. Here one can find an digital cinema screen, two theatre stages and a number of exhibition areas. There seems to be at least a play on a week, and the big and limited releases are shown here. I have joined the film society which means twice a month I’m able to watch an indie film from somewhere around the world made anytime from 1932 to today.

We also have the The National Library of Wales, which not only is quite a magnificent building, but holds a number of interesting exhibitions. Having looked at the schedule on the website there is also a lecture every week from whatever professor, celebrity or general expert they can find.

The town’s cinema The Commodore also plays a range of recent films, I believe at the moment they are showing Forrest Gump.



Today me and wife made our first visit to The National Library. There was to be a lecture on the use of DNA to trace family history. Despite being discouraged by Sibyl’s reminders that my course had “nothing to with Science or anything clever like that”, I explained that I wanted to go despite that, in order to open my mind to the wonders of knowledge.

Like I mentioned in an earlier blog post, people seem to be obsessed with tracing their family history these days, ever since these Who Do You Think You Are programmes have been showing on the BBC. Sure enough when we arrived, the lecture theatre was overrun by organised people who had pre-booked their seats. We were forced to sit in the overflow with several angry 66 year old Welsh speaking women. This seemed to be fine until the lecture began and there was a problem with the television which was playing something involving Carol Vorderman laughing loudly, over the top of the relay of the Professor. This is very off putting when someone is telling you about blood sampling.

We soon lost interest and made our way to the Pen Dinas restaurant, within the same building. I got a lovely leak, mushroom and Welsh-Cheese pie and Sibyl got what looked like a lasagne but it ended up having chicken in it so wasn’t. Nevertheless both our meals were to a high standard, and very tasty.


After that, we stumbled into an exhibition on two Welsh writers of the past, Dylan Thomas and Kate Roberts. Both of which seemed like interesting people, writing interesting stuff. Thomas is the only one I have read some stuff by. In fact, there isn’t a poet that I have read more by, and a writer who can move and excite me more consistently.

Kate Roberts, who writes in the medium of the Welsh language is someone who I’ll be looking into, although Nain says her work is “very depressing”.


Next week there is a lecture on A Sword in the language battle: ‘The Welsh Film Board, 1971-1986. It promises to be an absolute classick. I hope these events don’t end up being more exciting than the course I’m actually paying for!