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Welsh furniture store creates parody John Lewis advert

A Welsh furniture store has created a real stir online, with a parody version of John Lewis' famous Christmas advert.

Staff at Pieces for Places in Barmouth put their own twist on Monty the Penguin, in a video filmed around the seaside town.

Their advert didn't cost anywhere near as much as the real thing - and their penguin certainly wasn't as lifelike - but they say it was a lot of fun and has got a great reaction.

Kevin Ashford reports:

'Rare' crab found off coast of Barmouth

Credit: Blue Planet Aquarium

A 'rare' sponge crab has been found three miles off the coast of Barmouth.

The bizarre-looking crustacean was hauled up in the pots of lobster fisherman Richard Workman and has been donated to an aquarium.

The Blue Planet Aquarium says the crabs get their name because they hold living sponges, which they also cut to fit, on top of their shells as a way of camouflaging themselves from would-be predators.

Staff say they're more commonly seen off the West coast of Africa or in the Mediterranean.

But in recent years their numbers have been increasing in British waters and they may now be permanent residents around our coasts.

“We’re very grateful to the fisherman for donating it to us. They really are amazing creatures and this one is a particular fine specimen, measuring around 10cms long.

Sponge crabs have two pairs of modified legs tipped with needle-like pincers which they use to secure sponges which sit on their backs. They are quite adept at moving sponges over the whole of their body to enable them to hide.

However, this means that they only have two pairs of legs to walk on so they tend to also use their front claws to assist them with walking.

Their bodies, claws and legs are completely covered in a thick furry 'felt' except for the tips of their claws which are a vivid 'rose pink'!

– Stacy Adams, Blue Plant Aquarium


Railway reopens between Barmouth and Harlech

A section of the Cambrian Coast railway in Gwynedd is reopening today, after extensive damage caused by storms in January.

Trains are running again between Barmouth and Harlech after £10m of repairs.

Parts of the track were torn up in places, with boulders strewn across it, at sites like Llanaber. Credit: Network Rail

The section from Machynlleth to Barmouth reopened in February - while repair work continues on the line onwards from Harlech to Pwllheli.

Barmouth to Harlech rail service to resume in May

Network Rail says trains are set to run again between Barmouth and Harlech on May 1st; two weeks ahead of schedule.

10 million pounds has been spent on repairs after storms battered the line.

40 tonnes of debris was removed. Credit: Network Rail

One of the worst affected sites was at Llanaber, north of Barmouth, where the winter storms and tidal surges had severely damaged the infrastructure.

Stranded Barmouth trains transported by lorry

Two trains stranded in Gwynedd as a result of the recent severe storms have been causing something of a stir - as they rumbled through the town of Barmouth on the back of a lorry.

The two trains, with two carriages apiece, are being taken by road haulage to a depot in Chester more than 70 miles away.

One of the trains pictured here on the back of a lorry shortly before setting off Credit: Twitter / @johnski71
Not a sight you see every day - a train being transported through a town Credit: Twitter / @johnski71
'A tight squeeze through Barmouth!' wrote Twitter user @johnski71, who sent us these images Credit: Twitter / @johnski71
  1. Rob Shelley

Taxpayers foot bill after Barmouth Bridge toll stops

The walkway at the side of Barmouth Bridge is one of the great pathways of Wales.

It is used by tens of thousands of people each year and, until recently, there was a small charge to use it.

Since that has stopped, Gwynedd's taxpayers are facing a hefty toll of their own - around £40,000 as their part of the bridge's upkeep.


Two Welshmen among Algerian siege survivors

Garry Roberts said he was left 'shaken but not stirred' following his ordeal Credit: RNLI Barmouth

Barmouth residents say they are relieved after a local man escaped the Algerian hostage crisis.

Garry Roberts, who is believed to have hidden in a loft during the siege, posted a message on a social networking site saying he was 'safe' and 'shaken but not stirred'.

Mr Roberts is a well-known figure in the area and ran a fish and chip shop there.

He also volunteered with the RNLI in Barmouth, who say they are happy to hear he is safe and well.

Mr Roberts is understood to have been working in Algeria when he become caught up in the siege, which is believed to have left at least 48 hostages and 32 militants dead.

Huw Edwards, originally from Llandudno, also managed to escape Credit: Huw Edwards / LinkedIn

A second man, Huw Edwards - who is originally from Llandudno but now lives in Macclesfield - also managed to escape after the bus he was travelling to work on was attacked by militants.