Ceri Shaw speaks to AmeriCymru member Baarbaara Sheep about her current and forthcoming books and her involvement in the campaign to save Rhaslas Pond from open cast mining.
AmeriCymru: Hi Baarbaara and diolch for agreeing to talk to AmeriCymru. Care to tell us what your book, ‘A Sheep’s Tail’ is all about?
Baarbaara: You are very welcome, the book started because of a real threat from a Company wanting to build an incinerator on the mountain above where we live, it is a beautiful area, full of history and wildlife and has only just recovered from the coal mining industry.
Years ago the mountains were black and the rivers were black and the whole area was unwholesome to live in but obviously people had no choice, the mines were where they earned a living and they had to live close by to get there every day.
Anyway back to the book, the character Baarbaara the sheep was created to try and get children involved in the campaign, my partner Ian suggested getting animals involved and so evolved Baarbaara. Who is also a puppet now, here is a pic….
Baarbaara almost eats a piece of paper she comes across on the mountain, she normally does this because she doesn’t like litter, luckily her friend Mr. Coal, the old pit-pony stops her and tells her what the paper says “No Monster Incinerators”, the humans are protesting against a huge Incinerator, so they decide they have to help, it would ruin their landscape and pollute everything all over again. Why?….
In real life United Valleys Action Group (UVAG) took on the fight and after appealing to Downing street, the Senydd and IPC in Bristol and collecting 13,000 signatures, having protest days and fundraising campaigns, the Company withdrew.
The story was told in all the local papers over a period of time and local magazines as well, and we had a big party to celebrate.
Baarbaara: This new campaign is regarding an application from the present opencast mining corporation to extend the already huge black scar they are running. It is the biggest eyesore you have ever seen; here is a photograph…..
This is the opencast as it stands
The area concerned is known as Nant Llesg it is around 2000 acres of untouched scrubland and Rhaslas Pond which itself is more like a lake, there are more than 50 species of birds, ducks and waders that next there at various times, my friend is an avid bird watcher and has recorded them since 2005, unfortunately he has lost everything before that however he has a huge amount of information which will help the campaign, including the fact that the area has been untouched for the last thousand years or so.
People who live in Fochriw and the Rhymney Valley are already plagued with dust from the existing opencast, as well as huge trucks taking the coal away, and the trains which are supposed to be covered but have been seen overloaded with the tops open in the late night/early morning transportation. The petition states as follows:
“We the undersigned wish to state our objection and grave concerns regarding the prospective planning application that may be made by Miller Argent to expand the opencast mine to the Nant Llesg site. This will have a devastating impact on our health (both physical and mental), community morale, our quality of life, local jobs (green), our protected historical landscape and out children’s futures.
Not to mention the wildlife the air quality and the fact that Rhaslas is an extremely well preserved example of the Dowlais free drainage system and we wish to preserve this historic feature In its current state for the education and enjoyment of the people of Wales and future generations.“
Here is Rhaslas pond, which would disappear if they extended the opencast along with all the wildlife….
This is the area around the lake known as Nant Llesg, it has never been touched in a thousand years or more…..
The surrounding area untouched….
AmeriCymru: What are the latest developments in the campaign?
Baarbaara: The forms are ready for distribution to collect signatures and the UVAG roadshow will be ready in a couple of weeks to travel to all the villages to give talks and answer questions. There is a petition heading to CADW, Cadw is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service working for an accessible and well-protected historic environment for Wales.
Cadw is a Welsh word meaning ‘to keep’ or ‘to protect’.
AmeriCymru: Where can our readers go to learn more about the campaign and is there any way that they can assist?
Baarbaara: There are campaigns on twitter and facebook, (united valleys action group)https://www.facebook.com/groups/125567940859735/
and (stop the rape of the fair country)
as well as baaarbaarathesheep,
I will also be setting up an online petition shortly, I will post a link as soon as I’ve done it.
If anyone has any relatives who live in Caerphilly County council area who would like to join the campaign or just sign the petition please let them know, even Merthyr is very close by, but it actually falls in the jurisdiction of Caerphilly County.
AmeriCymru: Where can readers go to purchase “Save Our Valleys-A Sheep’s Tail” online?
Baarbaara: Readers can purchase the book on Amazon.com kindle $2.05 or paperback editions $4.49 the links take you directly to the book.
Amazon.co.uk Kindle edition only £1.30, will be available in paperback in the next couple of weeks….
CreateSpace estore…..https://www.createspace.com/3803881 for paperback version $4.49
AmeriCymru: What’s next for Baarbaara Sheep?
Baarbaara: Baarbaara’s next book is almost completed about saving baby hedgehogs, then the third book is an idea to help with the Rhaslas pond protest, two lapwings go to Baarbaara for help. She is very busy trying to design covers as well.
Here is a preview of the cover for “Save Our Baby Hedgehogs – A Sheep’s Tail” the second in the Baarbaara the sheep books.
Also baarbaara’s blog is here…..https://baarbaarathesheep.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/preserve-rhaslas-pond/
And her website here…….http://baarbaaraandpoppybooks.webs.com/
AmeriCymru: Any final message for the members and readers of AmeriCymru?
Baarbaara: Thank you for showing an interest in Baarbaara, We love the Americymru site, and although busy at the present we’ll try to have more of a presence in the near future.
Diolch and Baaaa……