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Ceredigion Museum’s Café Manager – Special Feature

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SAM JOB is the Café Manager at the Coliseum Coffee House, Ceredigion Museum. Here she give an insight into her role: “The first thing that needs doing in the morning is to switch on all the appliances. Making sure that we have enough cakes in stock for the day is the next on my list, all our cakes are made in house so we’re always well-stocked. We get lots of compliments on our cakes, pop in if you haven’t tried one yet.

Next, it’s time to check the grind of the coffee – daily temperature fluctuations and other factors can affect a coffee grind throughout the day, so it’s really important to do regular checks – we’re very meticulous in ensuring we serve that perfect cuppa every time.

At 10am, it’s time to open up. We serve breakfast from 10 until 12. Some of the popular choices on the menu is our avocado and poached egg on toast, oh and of course – our giant tea cakes.

From 11:30am until 3pm, our main lunch menu is available. Afternoon teas and high teas need to be booked 24 hours in advance and are available between 12 and 4pm Monday to Saturday. Coffee, tea and cakes are available at all times.

I’ve always had an interested in hospitality, I’m a bubbly, sociable person and tend to get on with everyone.

Originally from Shrewsbury, I started waitressing when I was 15 years old. Since then, I’ve had experience in bartending and silver service for weddings. I relocated to Aberystwyth a few years back and started my own printing business (more about that later on!). At the same time, I also secured the role as supervisor here. I was told regularly that I was good in my role – this really boosted my confidence in my capabilities which ultimately gave me the push that I needed to go for the Manager’s role.

When the Council took over ownership of the café towards the end of 2018, I succeeded in getting the Manager’s role. I’ve loved being part of this exciting new venture from the very beginning.

I’ve had really good support and mentorship, enabling me to settle in to the role. It can be challenging, of course but it’s given me the opportunity to gain new skills, such as managing staff, bookkeeping and project planning.

I take pride in ensuring that the café is a success; knowing that the customers are happy and are receiving the best service is what drives me. It’s lovely to see so many of our customers return daily for their favourites.

I’m a Welsh learner, as is a couple of my staff here. If a customer starts talking to me in Welsh, I make every attempt to keep the conversation going in their mother tongue; our customers really appreciate that effort and always show encouragement. We have a lot of Welsh learners come in on a regular basis – the café’s an ideal opportunity to practise real everyday Welsh – a nice change from the classroom environment.

It’s not just Welsh we hear being spoken in the café, our customers come from all corners of the world. As the Tourist Information Centre is situated here, we meet lots of people who may be visiting Ceredigion for the first time. Lately, I’ve talked to tourists from New Zealand, Germany and Japan – it’s great to hear about their adventures and what brings them here – they always say how different Ceredigion is from anywhere else in the world – they love our uniqueness.

We also get lots of groups from the local community meet up at the café – our play vintage café corner is a big hit with both children and the occasional adult!

We can accommodate coach trips, birthday parties and cater for larger catering events too – did you know that the museum is now a licenced wedding venue. It’s been lots of fun being part of the tasting sessions in the run up to some weddings that are to be held this year.

As Manager, I’m also am in charge of the marketing side of the cafe – managing our Facebook page, designing leaflets, tokens and vouchers. It’s handy that I already have experience with designing products; in my own time, I run a small design and print business, ‘Self-addiction designs’ where I print onto t-shirts, cups and placemats. I also do commission work and have created logos for local businesses. I love that I can be creative both in and outside of work.

With summer approaching, I’m excited to announce that during July we’ll be making our menu more accessible by introducing ‘Beach boxes’ – biodegradable takeaway packaging that will allow customers to buy anything from our menu, including smoothies, milkshakes to enjoy outside at the beach or at the park, so customers can make the most of any summer sun coming our way.”

Follow the café on Facebook – Coliseum Coffee House, Ceredigion Museum, Aberystwyth for the latest news and offers.

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Ceredigion Museum to Display Rare Roman Cut Glass

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A PARTNERSHIP between Ceredigion Museum and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales has attracted £1,000 funding from the Association for Roman Archaeology to display fragments of a unique Roman glass vessel, found at Abermagwr Romano-British villa.

The villa at Abermagwr was discovered during aerial photography in 2006 and excavated by Dr Jeffrey L. Davies and Dr Toby Driver between 2010 and 2015, in a volunteer-led community project. It remains the only known Roman villa in the county and the most remote Roman villa in Wales. The finds have been researched over time and the best have been put on public display at Ceredigion Museum. The finds include parts of Ceredigion’s earliest known slate roof, just one of the innovations discovered at the villa.

The most recent Roman finds handed to the museum are the cut glass fragments. The ARA grant will fund a bespoke mount, made by a museum specialist, to enable the delicate glass fragments to take pride of place in the Museum’s archaeology gallery. Roman cut glass is rare; only one cut glass beaker is on permanent display in the British Museum and the design on the Abermagwr vessel is unparalleled in Roman Britain. Professor Jennifer Price was struck by the rarity and quality of the glass vessel describing it as ‘of outstandingly high quality….[which] must have been an extraordinary item of luxury. Its quality is vastly superior to the rest of the glass vessels found at the villa’

Abermagwr Roman cut glass vessel

Prof. Barry Burnham of University Trinity Saint David, Lampeter, said “Its discovery so far west in Wales is all the more significant because it is vastly superior to the general range of glass material found anywhere in Wales. This raises interesting questions about how it came to be here, who owned it, and what it signifies in terms of social status and economic links.”

Carrie Canham, Curator, said “When I was at school we were taught that the Roman’s didn’t have a significant presence in West Wales, but local excavation results have overturned that assumption. This extraordinary object shows that the villa at Abermagwr was the home of comparatively wealthy Romans enjoying the good things in life. I’m extremely grateful to the ARA for the funding that will enable visitors to the museum to see it displayed to its best advantage.”

Councillor Catherine Hughes, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Porth Ceredigion, Early Intervention, Well-being Hubs and Culture said: “It is a delight to hear the history of the rare Roman cut glass here in Ceredigion. Thanks to Carrie and the team at Ceredigion Museum and the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales for their work, and the Roman Archaeology Society. We look forward to the day when we can see the pieces in all their glory.”

The Covid-19 pandemic is delaying the work to make the mount until later in 2021. The glass fragments are too delicate to courier to the craftsperson making the mount, so he will have to come to Aberystwyth and set up a temporary workshop at the museum. Then the fragments will go straight on display.

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Conservatives in disarray over alleged Christmas party lockdown breach

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THE CONSERVATIVE Party is investigating the attendance of senior Senedd members and staff at a Christmas party held during December’s lockdown.

Lockdown restrictions prohibit mixing with people outside your own household.

The Welsh restrictions barring such gatherings follow the basic outline of those imposed by the Conservative UK Government in December.

Those attending the drinks party included Paul Smith, the Conservative Chief of Staff at the Senedd, Darren Millar, the Party’s Chief Whip and campaign coordinator, and Preseli Pembrokeshire MS and Conservative Senedd Group Leader Paul Davies.

The Herald understands that a Labour Senedd Member who attended the Party has been suspended by the Labour Senedd Group pending its own investigation.

The Conservatives’ embarrassment at talking the talk but not walking the walk is intensified by Darren Millar’s presence at the shindig.

In May, Mr Millar led calls for Wales’ Health Minister Vaughan Gething to be sacked for eating a bag of chips in a park with one of his own children.

If the Conservative Party follows the logic of their previously stated positions, Mr Millar’s and Mr Davies’ futures look bleak indeed.

With a Senedd election only months away, the revelations have thrown the Conservatives into disarray.

If they do nothing, the Conservatives will – at the very least – face claims they are hypocrites.

If the Conservative Party acts decisively, it faces massive internal problems.

The Conservatives responded to our request for a response to our story.

Those involved stressed they did not host a Christmas Party.

The incident happened on December 8, when the above met in the members’ tea room to discuss legislation for possible inclusion in the Welsh Conservative manifesto with a Labour backbencher.

During the evening they did drink a glass or two of wine.

They stress that at no point were there more than four people in the room at any one time and that they maintained social distancing.

A joint statement from Paul Davies, Darren Millar, and Paul Smith said: “We are profoundly sorry for our actions.

“While we did not break the rules, we recognise that what was part of a day’s work would not be seen to be following the spirit of them, especially given the tough time the country has been going through.”

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Warning to drug users in Ceredigion over ‘Street Valium’

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POLICE are once again warning drug users in Ceredigion to take extra care when taking illegal prescription drugs especially when taken in conjunction with other drugs and/or alcohol. Mixing drugs, knowingly or unknowingly, can be extremely dangerous for anyone taking them.

A Dyfed-Powys Police spokesperson said: “We have reasons to believe that drug users are making use of “Street Valium” at the moment and this is very concerning as individuals just do not know what these tablets may have been combined with. Valium, also known as diazepam – is a benzodiazepine. Combining opioids and benzodiazepines is particularly dangerous because both types of drug sedate users and suppress breathing”.

“We would also appeal to drug users to seek medical attention immediately should they become unwell.

“Please share this information with anyone that you believe could come into contact with these drugs.”

To seek advice and support, visit https://barod.cymru/where-to-get-help/west-wales-services/ddas-dyfed-drug-and-alcohol-service/

Please be aware that some services may operate an automated service outside office hours.

In an emergency, or if you think someone’s life is at risk, always dial 999.

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