Montgomery has a lot to offer in terms of arts and crafts, with the Charter Market each Thursday, a pop-up arts and collectables shop every Thursday and Saturday in Broad Street, and local artists and crafters being able to display and sell their pieces at the Ivy House Cafe. Denice Jaunzens, proprietor of the cafe and Montgomery’s post mistress, decided to host more arts and crafts in her cafe space to support other local businesses, provide interesting pieces for customers to see, and diversify her own business following the challenges of covid. Denice explained, “Covid changed the character and atmosphere of hospitality businesses, as well as meaning that I can only have two tables of cafe customers at a time. Hosting more arts and crafts has been a great use of my space and has given customers something to think and talk about.” Denice has always wanted the cafe to have a community feel. She said, “The Ivy House serves the community through the post office, and providing walk leaflets and information, and now I am displaying and selling affordable items made locally in the community too. The window displays, which are lit in the evenings as well, help to make Broad Street feel more vibrant for my Montgomery neighbours and visitors to the town.” Val Oram, who has her jewellery items on display at the cafe, said, “The cafe is a gem overlooking Broad Street which also supports local crafters by displaying a selection of hand-made items to browse and buy alongside its great food. I encourage everyone to shop local. You can support small businesses in your own community, and leave with a smile and a sparkle in your step.” Sharon Smith, who displays her Wild Welsh Wool pieces at the cafe as well as, like Val, bringing them to the Charter Market on a Thursday, said, “I was thrilled to be offered a window to display my Wild Welsh Wool items and very grateful to Denice for being given this wonderful opportunity. The cafe is a lovely, relaxing, friendly place with a great selection of crafts to buy. Montgomery is a delightful town which I like to support for all my shopping etc. Ivy House is my perfect place to sit and look out onto the town whilst enjoying a delicious cake and coffee.” Denice added, “Locals and visitors can consider Montgomery as a shopping destination throughout the year and when thinking of gifts. As well as lots of arts and crafts, there is also Bunners and the Book Shop.” Other local makers would be welcome to display at the Ivy House and can contact Denice on 07971 435157. Photo: Items from Sharon Smith’s Wild Welsh Wool on display in the front window at the Ivy House
Farmhouse Breakfast Week is an annual highlight for the Farmers Union of Wales, showcasing all that is the best in Welsh and local farming. During the week, farmers sit around kitchen tables with friends, family and neighbours for a convivial breakfast, chat and a chance to compare notes. Despite the usual way of running the campaign not being possible this year, and not to be deterred by another national lock-down, local organic dairy farmer Glenn Lloyd and family sat down to a delicious breakfast sourced entirely locally. Glenn has himself recently established the thriving Daisy Bank organic milk business, supplying milk in returnable glass bottles, setting up local refill points and vending machines for milk, and producing a new line of naturally flavoured milks. Glenn commented “It’s not always easy to find the time to sit down for breakfast together on a busy dairy farm but as it’s Farmhouse Breakfast Week we made a special effort and determined to use only local produce.” The breakfast was made remarkably easy with Corfield’s eggs, Morwen’s bacon, Crowwood wild boar and apricot sausages, Daisy Bank milk (of course), a Montgomery Real Bread baguette and Amanda’s Bakery plum preserve, all sourced only a few miles from the Lloyds’ Llandyssil farm. These products are available at a range of shops in Montgomery. Shop manager at Taste, Katrina Collins, said: “Last year was so difficult for everyone including producers, with restaurants and other traditional outlets only open intermittently. Our producers have been creative and resourceful and went the extra mile to look after customers and build new markets. Several new high quality producers joined the Taste Montgomery group of local farmers and producers during the year, working together to help promote and sell their produce. I also opened the Taste shop in the town last year, which stocks produce from these and other local producers.” She added, “You can treat your closest family to a real, locally sourced breakfast without going further than Montgomery at any time of year.” The Farmers Union of Wales and local Montgomery producers are encouraging the public to get involved with Farmhouse Breakfast Week this week, by choosing locally sourced breakfast ingredients, and sharing photos and videos of themselves with their breakfast through social media, using the hashtag #breakfastweek2021.
On a warm but windy September evening, Montgomery performer Nula Irwin and a small socially-distanced audience of her students, fans and followers set out up Town Hill, Montgomery for a unique sunset hula hoop show. The show by Nula Hula, which took place on the summit of the hill next to the County Memorial and toposcope, featured LED hoops which lit up after the sun had set behind the hills, street show style audience interaction (from a distance), and lots of tricks which were made much, much more challenging by the strength of the wind up on the hill that evening! Nula began the show by singing happy birthday to a boy of 7 who couldn't be sung to at school because of covid regulations. She then had the audience participating and laughing throughout. She said, “It was great to see some of the children that I have taught in Montgomery. It’s been such a long hard year with not much live interaction. I think it’s something the children especially will remember for a long time and it will stick out as one of the highlights of the year during this pandemic.” Nula had been inspired to put on the “pay as you like” informal show after having attempted a personal challenge to balance spinning 6 hoops on top of the hill over the summer. An amazed impromptu audience of walkers had enjoyed this surprise spectacle, and there was an enthusiastic response on social media to Nula’s photos of the trick. She was then further inspired by a BBC news report of Charlotte Mellor hooping on the fells of the Lake District. Having had only one performing tour in 2020, whereas previous years have seen up to 5 gigs in a single summer weekend, Nula had realised just how much she loved and missed performing with her hulas and couldn’t let the summer go by without a single show. Nula said, “This was such a special performance and honestly the highlight of my summer. We had a beautiful sunset but it was the windiest weather I’ve ever had for hula hooping! This made the tricks ridiculously hard, but the show must go on, and the atmosphere and setting were amazing!” She added, “Thank you so much to the children and adults who attended making it an evening to remember during these uncertain times!” The appreciative audience thanked Nula for the show they had enjoyed and threw money into her busking hat, which was much appreciated with so much work having been lost this year. Nula is keen to encourage everyone to support the arts wherever they can. Like many in the performing arts, Nula was devastated earlier in the year to find gigs and events being cancelled one by one and the events industry falling apart fast. She explained, “I didn’t cope very well and felt lost. It wasn’t really a job, it was a lifestyle. I was lucky that I got a small pay out from Equity Charitable Trust. I went out and found a job using my transferable skills to help vulnerable people as an activities coordinator. I’m very lucky to have found a great job in the pandemic which keeps me going, positive and focused.” When thinking to the future, Nula doesn’t have much hope that her industry will return to what it was. But she does have gigs on the calendar which have been postponed until 2021 and never wants to stop performing. She concludes, “Performing is part of who I am. I’m happy in my job right now, which gives me security and somewhere I can still be creative. Maybe I’ll do more busking in my free time. It really is uncertain times right now, so I couldn’t really say what the future holds for me or the performing and events industry.” https://www.facebook.com/nulahula/ Text: Claire Weston Photo: Jenny Brignell
Old Monty Cider based at Garthmyl, Montgomery have just become the first Cider and Perry producers in Wales to gain Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status for their Cider and Perry. To achieve this internationally recognised quality assurance award, their Cider and Perry must be made to very strict standards and conditions. The whole process from growing fruit to finished packaging must be carried out in Wales using 100% freshly pressed juice, no added water, concentrates or flavours, and naturally cleared and matured - the whole process being audited and inspected by Trading Standards Officers. This means Old Monty Cider are now the only company allowed to use the titles “Traditional Welsh Cider” and “Traditional Welsh Perry”.
This week’s zero waste exhibition and pop-up shop in Montgomery was an incredible time of new customers and new collaborations for Katrina Collins of SHED38. It was inspiring to see how many folk want to make changes to the waste in their home. On Monday night, Katrina was joined by 16 Montgomery Brownies who are working for their Plastic Free Badge. They talked about waste in their homes and she set them a challenge to make 5 changes: the first was to say no to plastic straws and to help them on their way they were given a bamboo straw each to take home. They were also given a plastic bottle each to fill with soft plastics at home and to bring along to a future project Katrina will be doing with them. Katrina said, "It was fabulous to see the Brownies' enthusiasm! They loved the plastic-free table of reusable items - face scrubbies, toothpaste tablets, wax wrappies etc. - and the lampshade made from 218 plastic spoons retrieved from a station cafe was their favourite item." New Mayor Haydn Andrew visited later in the week along with Mayoress Jane Lloyd. Jane said, “This excellent exhibition really opens your eyes on how much waste we all produce and different ways we can all deal with it. Kat is very knowledgeable in what we can all do to recycle and cut down on waste and exchange ideas.” Katrina concluded, "It was a successful week all round. I hope we can keep the momentum going and make Montgomery and the surrounding areas as waste-free as possible by making small steps to make lasting changes."
Congratulations to Trefaldwyn Vets veterinary nurse Charlie Puttock who was nominated for Petplan ‘Vet Nurse of the Year’. There are various categories of award in the Petplan Veterinary Awards 2019, which are designed to acknowledge outstanding members of the profession, and to provide an opportunity for pet owners to recognise the hard work and dedication of veterinary staff and say 'thank you'. Vet and colleague Holly Spurr said, “Charlie joined Trefaldwyn Vets a year ago and has been a wonderful addition to our team. We are delighted that her efforts have been recognised!” Finalists will attend a prestigious award ceremony on Thursday 4th April where the winners will be announced.