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Badger and the nature of evil



badgerdevilTHIS week, readers Badger offers you something different. Over the past year or so, you have had poetry, you have had satire, you have had parody – sometimes all three in one column. But this week, readers you have a short story. But first, readers, a few prefatory remarks: Cllr Mike Stoddart has confirmed that the opinion of Mr Bryn Parry Jones is that The Pembrokeshire Herald is ‘evil’. Strong word ‘evil’, readers. Badger cannot ever recall using that word about Mr Bryn Parry Jones: ‘Arrogant’, ‘dictatorial, ‘a bully’ – yes; several times over. But not ‘evil’. Badger checked his dictionary to check if ‘evil’ had a connotation or meaning of which he was unaware. Badger’s OED suggested ‘Profoundly immoral and wicked’ as a working defi nition. Well, readers, Badger is uncomfortable with absolutes: Immorality is a question of perspective; as is wickedness. One supposes that – from the perspective of the Spanish Inquisition – the countless innocents they tortured and burned counted as wicked and immoral.

From the point of view of the dictator, any voice of radical dissent is an evil threat. Having existed for far too long in an atmosphere where he was kowtowed to, perhaps Bryn’s skin grew thin to the barbs of criticism and the jabs of truth. Having been used – metaphorically only, readers – to having himself bathed by the eager boot-licking tongues of those willing to abase themselves for even trivial and menial powers, a short sharp shower of forensic scrutiny must have come as a nasty surprise. So, readers, in the spirit of Halloween and by a circuitous route, Badger invites you to join him in considering evil. Many years ago, when Badger was younger and sleeker, he found himself in a part of the woods he did not know.

The moonlight dipped down through the barren branches of the trees, its pale glow casting baleful shadows onto the damp leaf fall. Every one of Badger’s senses tingled; the soft acid scent of all pervading leaf mould; the soft scudding through the waste of autumn under paw; the sharp taste of creeping fear; the distant screech of an owl; and the monochrome world of hideous, reaching shadows. Under the wreck of a tree struck down by an early storm, Badger took a moment to gather his wits and look about himself. As a cloud cleared across the moon, Badger’s eyes saw a glint of something shiny tangled in the underparts of the tree he sheltered under.

Intrigued he shuffled closer, being careful not to make too much noise. While beetles, worms and small crunchy mammals like trees, Badger was even then aware that mankind was fond of traps and snares to catch the unwary and would place them in locations Badger might forage. Badger screwed his courage to the sticking place and moved towards the glimmer of metal in the gnarled and upended tree roots. Embedded there, Badger saw a short object on the end of a longer silver chain. He reached in and his claws touched something soft and shrivelled. He tugged and felt resistance, as though something were holding on to the object.

Narrowing his eyes, Badger looked deeper into the gloom, he thought he saw a pair of pinpoint eyes staring back at him. Badger staggered back in shock and with a strange sucking sensation the object came free. Badger found himself holding a small and soft leather-like sack connected to a silver chain with a clasp around the back. On the bag was a small faded inscription: Tenent me! Mentes, corda, sequar! Badger wondered at what the inscription could mean. He picked up the shimmering silver-link chain and scurried quickly back to his sett. At the edge of his hearing he thought he could hear a deep moan that slowly grew louder.

Sweating and increasingly unnerved, Badger sped on nearly falling over dead branches and slipping through murky puddles in which the moon and branches dissolved into strange shapes. Every time he hesitated to fi nd his bearings, Badger fancied he could hear a nasty, spiteful chuckle. Coleridge’s words came unbidden to Badger’s mind: Like one, that on a lonesome road Doth walk in fear and dread And, having once turned round, walks on And turns no more his head Because he knows a frightful fi end Doth close behind him tread Badger heard a footfall behind him and rushed onwards, ever onwards through the darkened wood; praying to the gods above and below in a sudden outpouring of faith that he would soon see the lamp outside his door.

There it was. A pale, yellow light calling Badger homeward. Gasping. Desperate. Terrifi ed. Badger sped forward fumbled with the lock and fell inside. Scrambling to his feet, he slammed the door behind him and slammed the bolts into place. Undoing the chain from around his neck, Badger looked again at the bag. It was soft to the touch and there was something inside – some things inside – moving around inside the fabric. Badger looked again at the inscription and stumbled over the Latin. He thought of checking his Latin dictionary when his heart leapt into his mouth at a sharp knock on the door. His chest pounding. Badger turned to face the accusatory portal.

The knock came again. Harder now. More demanding. Then the voice came. Low and wheedling it whispered through the oak and seemed to fi ll Badger’s head. “Give it to me.” Badger’s eyes widened as he saw the handle of the door turn, glad as the bolts held fi rm as the lock strained. Then the voice again. “Give it to me. Now!” The voice was greedier. More insistent. A pallid skeletal hand with long, yellow fingernails reached through Badger’s letter box, its fingers flexing, reaching. And then the voice again. Angrier and insistent. Badger looked at the wizened pouch in his paws. The chain, the motto, the strangely mobile objects in the small skin cache.

Was it worth it? The terror, the fear. Whatever was outside Badger’s door really wanted it. Thrusting his paw out, Badger jammed the thing into the entity’s outstretched hand. Badger gave an involuntary shriek as he felt the creature’s sharp nails and leaf-like skin scrabbling and then getting hold of the object of its desire. There was an unearthly howl and it seemed as though the very earth shivered in terror, as the hand withdrew clutching its trophy and the nails scraped over Badger’s fur. The voice burst into maniacal cackling. “I have it. I have it.” Slowly Badger heard dragging footsteps move away from his door and everywhere heard the sound of triumphant cackling. He woke the following morning, praying it was a dream. But, no, there on Badger’s paw was the scratch of the fi ngernail. Shaking, Badger reached for his Latin grammar. ‘Hold me! And their hearts and minds will follow!’ The motto translated as: Badger was puzzled. Years later, Badger discovered that it was Bryn Parry- Jones who had a tight hold on the legendary testicles of Pembrokeshire County Council. And by then, readers, it was too late.

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Sensational music event thrills the crowds at Scolton Manor



AN UNFORGETTABLE evening of live jazz, classical, rock, and film score music captivated hundreds of attendees at the enchanting ‘Music at the Manor’ event. Presented by the esteemed Pembrokeshire Music Service, this musical extravaganza took place amidst the picturesque grounds of Scolton Manor, offering young talents from across the county a chance to showcase their skills in a relaxed setting. For many of these budding musicians, it marked their debut performance in front of a live audience.

The event witnessed outstanding displays of talent from a myriad of ensembles, including the County Brass Band, Training Orchestra (featuring the Second Steps group), Concert Band, Rock and Pop bands, Rock Strings, Symphonic Wind Band, Pembrokeshire’s Community Choir, and the esteemed Cleddau Chamber Orchestra.

Among the delighted attendees was Patricia Mawuli Porter OBE, who attended the event alongside her family. She described the evening as “a wonderful demonstration of community, music, family, caring, and just what an amazing part of the world we live in.” Mawuli Porter OBE was particularly impressed with the diversity of performances, ranging from youth bands belting out energetic renditions of songs like ‘Teenage dirtbag’ to the majestic classical and movie-themed scores, which added depth and variety to the musical tapestry.

“We can only applaud the team at Pembrokeshire Music Service for putting on the most incredible community event and look forward to next year’s event with great anticipation!” Mawuli Porter OBE exclaimed with enthusiasm.

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, expressed his gratitude to the Pembrokeshire Music Service team for organizing such an excellent evening of entertainment. “It was a lovely concert, and so good to see it full of local people enjoying themselves,” he commended. “Credit must go to the brilliant participants, be they playing an instrument or singing songs, they were excellent.”

Vivienne Ward from the Newport Music Society also offered her congratulations to all the performers, acknowledging the impressive talent pool in Pembrokeshire. “What impressive young musicians there are in Pembrokeshire, and what a wonderful variety of different bands/orchestras are available for the young to choose from; they are indeed lucky,” she praised.

The event drew overwhelming praise from parents in attendance, with one parent raving, “The standard was exceptional, and a wonderful evening was had by one and all. Well done, everyone! A massive thanks to everyone involved, and much appreciation to Pembrokeshire Music Service – we are so lucky to have you!”

Philippa Roberts, the head of the Music Service, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all those involved in making ‘Music at the Manor’ a resounding success. “A huge thank you from the team at Pembrokeshire Music Service to everyone who contributed to making Music at the Manor a wonderful community event,” Roberts said. “Working in partnership with Valero, the Friends of Pembrokeshire Young Musicians, and Scolton Manor, I am grateful to everyone who helped and supported the performers to provide a special evening of live music.”

With its remarkable performances and celebration of musical diversity, ‘Music at the Manor’ proved to be an extraordinary showcase of Pembrokeshire’s vibrant musical talent. As the echoes of this magnificent event fade away, anticipation for next year’s edition continues to build, promising an even more spectacular musical spectacle for all to enjoy.

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Police confirm body found in search for Huw



POLICE said than a frantic search for Haverfordwest man Huw Phillips, 56, has been called off after the body of a man was discovered in the local area.

Police said that Huw’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, after the body was found on Saturday afternoon (Jun 3). 

Huw’s son Kenes Phillips took to Facebook to share the sad news. He bravely said: “Thank you everyone for sharing, showing your love, helping with the search and just doing whatever you could to offer the slightest bit of help.

“But unfortunately, my father was found dead.”

Huw’s good friend Mark Llewhellin paid tribute. He said: “Huw was born of the 4th July. He was kind, sensitive, a good laugh and one of my very best friends.
“I was lucky to have had him as a close friend.
“See you on the other side my friend, but not yet, not yet.”

The police posted on Facebook at 4pm on Saturday saying: “Thank you for sharing our appeal earlier to find Huw, missing from Haverfordwest.

“Sadly, a body has been found during the search, and therefore we are no longer appealing for information.
“Officers are supporting Huw’s family and our thoughts are with them all.”

Earlier on Saturday, the police found Huw’s abandoned car in Clay Lane, Haverfordwest.

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Ironman Wales in Tenby becomes second UK event of 2023 to sell out



THE HIGHLY anticipated Ironman Wales event in Tenby has captured the attention of athletes, becoming the second race in the UK this year to sell out well before the season kicks off.

Scheduled for Sunday, September 3, Ironman Wales has now joined the Ironman 70.3 Swansea event as another sold-out competition in the country.

The popularity of the Tenby event should come as no surprise, as it was the only race to feature in the top 10 globally in eight out of nine categories in the Ironman Athletes’ Choice Awards. This prestigious recognition is based on votes cast by triathletes from around the world.

The captivating swim start at Tenby’s North Beach, the picturesque bike ride passing by stunning beaches and castles, and the exhilarating finish line on streets filled with cheering spectators have made Ironman Wales internationally renowned.

Sam Brawn, the regional director for UK & Ireland at The Ironman Group, expressed his delight, saying, “Ironman Wales continues to attract a tremendous following from our athletes year after year. Whether they are returning participants or newcomers eager to conquer this iconic course, the event remains immensely popular.”

“We take great pride in the fact that the race has been acknowledged as one of the finest events in the global Ironman Series. It secured a spot in the top 10 across multiple categories in the Global Ironman Athletes’ Choice Awards, including a second-place ranking in both the ‘Will Recommend To A Friend’ and ‘Overall Host City’ categories.”

For those who were unable to secure a spot in Tenby, Mr. Brawn highlighted Ironman Cork as an exciting alternative. The inaugural event in Cork, Ireland, took place last year and will return on Sunday, July 2.

“It’s also thrilling to witness the growing popularity of new races, such as the festival weekend in Cork, Ireland, which has gained traction after just one year,” he added.

The official UK and Ireland race season will commence in just over a week with Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire on June 11. The organizers eagerly anticipate an exhilarating few months of racing, regardless of the weather conditions that the British summer may bring.

Athletes looking to complete their race calendar for 2023 can find the full schedule of events at

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