Friday, 30 December 2011

It's never too late....

you've still got time.....

to get your hands on some tickets for the Oakeley Arms New Year's extravaganza!

There are still a few tickets available, so don't miss out! Contact us to reserve some for you, and come and join us for a fabulous party to welcome in the New Year. It's set to be a stonker!

image by vhujer on

We've even got a mini-bus running between Blaenau and Port, so you don't even have to worry about wobbling home!!

£20 advance or £25 on the door.

Contact us if you need more information about times, fancy dress or any other details.

See you there!!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Happy Christmas!

To quote one of our favourite festive tunes........

"it's Chriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiistmas!"

Yes, it's finally arrived! Happy Christmas everyone!!

image: johnnyberg on sxc

We hope that the turkey's stuffed, the sherry bottle's on its way to empty and the stockings are ready and waiting; all that remains to be seen is just who's been good and who's been naughty this year - or is it that Santa has just misplaced your wish-list???

To all our lovely customers, friends and family, we wish you a very merry Christmas indeed, and we look forward to welcoming you at the Oakeley in 2012.

See you soon, from all of us at the Oakeley Arms.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Community Spirit

The John Williams Cambrian Lodge

Here at the Oakeley Arms, we're lucky to be the meeting point for several community groups and organisations, and this week we'd like to pay a big blog tribute to one of our favourite local community groups, the John Williams Cambrian Lodge RAOB.

The John Williams Cambrian Lodge are the local arm of the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) or Buffs, as they are sometimes fondly known.

The charitable organisation was founded at the turn of the nineteenth century. Its intruigning name comes from the fact that tradtionally at every meeting, the popular song of the time "Hunt the Buffalo" was sang, and so the Buffs were born!

The organisation's origins are believed to have been on the stages and in the theatres of London, when a group of theatre hands and technicians formed their own brotherhood after being denied membership to an order for actors and artists. The earliest known meeting of the RAOB took place in 1822 in London, but as the theatre workers travelled all over the country, and indeed the commonwealth, for their work, RAOB groups, or lodges as they are known, popped up all over the world. They now have branches as far afield as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India.

The Buffs are a non political, non religious and benevolant organisation, which is open to men over 18.  Groups meet every week to discuss issues, converse and raise money for many different charitable causes, both within and outside the organisation. The RAOB very much believe that all men are equal; and in the power of charity, caring for others and helping those that are less fortunate or less able.

At a recent meeting, the John Williams Cambrian Lodge made donations to several local good causes, such as Portmadoc Scouts, St Twrog's Church, Macmillan Nurses and the Glaslyn Mountain Rescue Team.

Photo of the WP John Wall R.O.H of the John Williams Cambrian Lodge 10505 presenting a cheque of £100.00 to the Porthmadoc scout treasurer Mr M. Vellacott
Picture by Geraint Jones

The lodge is active every Thursday evening at 8.00pm at the Oakeley Arms, and anyone interested in enrolling with the RAOB please call in, you'd be most welcome.

For more details about the work of the RAOB, see

Monday, 19 December 2011

Strictly Final

Goodbye Strictly!
Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! It's strictly the end of Strictly! What on earth will we do with our Saturday nights now?
In his final blog, our favourite Strictly dancer Russell waves goodbye to his friends, co-stars and his spectacular Strictly journey.
We'd like to say a big, big thank you to Russell for sharing his blog with us; we've absolutely loved reading it!

And so we come to the Grand Final in bonny, breezy Blackpool the capital of showbiz where I lived for many years!

Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom, the palace of showbiz is probably the only place in the country for such a fabulous entertainment extravaganza to be held. The huge ballroom has always been the people’s ballroom and it holds so many happy memories for millions of people who have danced to the melodies of famous bands and orchestras over the years, not to mention Reginald Dixon at the legendary Wurlitzer.

But, I’m getting ahead of myself.

What about the countdown to the final?

First of all we had to gather in London for group rehearsals early in the week and what fun it was to meet up with Nancy, Lulu, Audley, Edwina, Dan, Robbie, Holly, Alex, Anita and of course the remaining stars of the show Harry, Jason and Chelsee. We have all been on a wonderful 99 day long “Strictly” journey together and we have loved every nerve jangling, muscle straining, footsore minute.

Thursday brought a few more last minute practice sessions.

On Friday we all had to clamber on the coach for a marathon eight hour journey from London through rain, hail, snow and mist to Blackpool to meet up for a laugh and a giggle with Zoe on “Strictly It Takes Two” and a short burst of “We do love to be beside the seaside”. The rigours of the journey were soon forgotten when we all settled down in the magnificent ballroom to drink in the atmosphere of the place and for one or two sneak previews of what Saturday night holds for us all.

And what a spectacular it was - Harry and Aliona get the full forty points for their Quickstep and 37 for their show dance. Jason and Kristina with a terrific Tango earning them 38 points and a full forty for their scintillating show dance. While Chelsee and Pasha won 39 pints for a jumping Jive and 36 for their superb show dance.

Then we all had to bite our nails while the phones rang and the votes were cast ready for the final of the final!

The “Strictly” results show saw Jason and Kristina bow out with cheers ringing in their ears. They have both done so well and pulled off some remarkable and memorable performances, but as I’ve said before – it’s the nature of the show, someone has to win and it can only be one couple. Jason’s grace, generosity and emotion are always and have always been apparent to us all since September. Well done Jason – you are a Star!

It was great to dance with Flavia again when all the competitors got together on the floor for one last dance together. Robbie and Rory swinging me to and fro and then getting hoisted high by the dancers was a very special experience for me. But then the music, the lights, the crowd and all of us friends together made it a memorable moment for me.

Chelsee and Pasha, Harry and Aliona both treated us to marvellous, magical magnificent performance. They were stunning, spectacular, stupendous and it was hard to choose between them, but once again there can only be one winner and it was Harry who had captured all our hearts that finally held the triumphant trophy aloft.

I know I will miss everyone involved, of course my fellow competitors, but also Alisha, Bruno, Len and even Craig.

Tess, Zoe and our very own national institution, icon and treasure, one of nature’s true gentlemen and a wonderful entertainer our very own Sir Bruce.

Well that’s it from me – the end of the “2011 Strictly Come Dancing” Blog I hope you’ve enjoyed reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it for you.

Thanks for being there on our journey.



Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Pantomimes come to Gwynedd

He's behiiiiiiiiiiind you!

Here at the Oakeley, we think that one of the BEST things about this time of year is the promise of a brilliant panto performance! Pantomimes are to Christmas what hearts are to Valentine's day or a gin and tonic is to a holiday. The two just go together.

No-one's really sure exactly when the pantomime in the form we now know  and love first burst onto the stage, but around the mid 17th century theatres in London began to bill high energy performances, packed with dancing, music, colourful characters, acrobatics, comedy and tomfoolery to delight and amuse the audience.

But, pantos fell out of favour in the mid twentieth century and were often seen as amateur performances by local am-dram groups. These days however, the tradition is enjoying a huge revival. It is thought that a staggering 11 million people will rush to see a panto in Britain this year; and of course, no night at the panto is complete without booing, hissing and screeching so much that your throat is sore the next day.

What's your favourite pantomime tale? The story of poor Cinderella, her terrifying sisters and a giant pumpkin? Or the comedy caper of Aladdin and his adventures with the lamp? Or what about the old classic Dick Whittington or the sad tale of the Babes in the Wood?

There are brilliant pantomimes playing at theatres across North Wales this festive season, so don't miss out.

Catch Aladdin at the North Wales Theatre in Llandudno, Sleeping Beauty at Theatre Clwyd in Mold and Snow White at the Pavilion Theatre in Rhyl. 

And don't forget to practice your "booooooooooooooooooooooooo" before you go!
Have fun!

Image: Scott Liddell

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Strictly Semi- Final

Strictly Fantastic!
The competition on Strictly is reaching fever pitch! Here's Russell with an update on Saturday's show.
Remember, don't miss Russell's special guest appearance for the final next week. It'll be one to remember!!

It was Semi Final Night on “Strictly” and didn’t we know it?!

Saturday night’s show was a sheer tour de force from all five couples and that was reflected in the fact that we saw ten fabulous performances and TEN standing ovations. It truly was a night to remember.

Harry and Aliona gave us the Charleston and the Viennese Waltz and they continue to stun and surprise us all with their wonderful performances. “Exquisite”, “Perfect”, “Beautifully executed”, “Dancing Royalty” and “Take him to the Tower – Blackpool Tower” are just a few of the well deserved accolades that so deservedly came their way and to get 78 points out of a possible 80 is just fantastic.

Alex and James offered us the Waltz and the Salsa and were rightfully proclaimed “Totally brilliant”, “Full of gusto and personality”, “Top notch”, “The Belle of the Ball”, they should be proud of their achievement. They have given everything to “Strictly” and we loved them for it.

Chelsee and Pasha entranced the audience at home and in the studio with the Paso Doble and the American Smooth. Chelsee “Glowed like a pearl”, they were “Gobsmackingly good”, “Fantastic”, “Superb”, their performance left Alisha “Speechless”. Len likened her blossoming performances over recent weeks to the Chelsea Flower Show full of colour and truly beautiful. And from now on the Paso Doble will forever be the Pasha Doble!

Holly and Artem gave us a scintillating Argentine Tang and a totally new take on an old favourite – the Charleston which won them deserved praise from the judges. ”Beautiful”, “Stunning”, “Bad, dangerous and coiled to strike”, “Gorgeous” and “Seductive”. I was enchanted by their Argentine Tango and have watched it time and time and again on Saturday Night. 70 points out of a possible 80 is a score I would have loved to have, but it doesn’t seem to have been good enough.

Jason and Kristina gave us a tantalising Tango and a stunning Samba and the accolades flew thick and fast. The Samba was fabulous but the Argentine Tango was truly memorable and must go down in the annals of "Strictly" as something that may be matched but never beaten. It was as the judges say “Wonderful”, “Brilliant”, “Seductive”, “Incredible”, “Superb” and the “Best dance of the series”.

But….. and here comes the BIG BUT….. We have to wave goodbye to not one couple but two this weekend. Sadly it was Holly and Artem along with Alex and James that we have to bid a fond farewell to this week. Let’s not forget this is the nature of the show. Each week couples have been eliminated and to get to the semi final in a competition that has reached such extraordinary standards of performance is no mean feat and is a testimony to the dedicated devotion they have all shown to this competition. I can only stand back in admiration and respect. I know what long hours of exhausting and often painful training and practising lie behind each week’s show and as the tension mounts for the remaining three couples in the countdown to Blackpool I can only imagine how nervous and excited they will be.

We are all meeting up this week to practice for the big final show next Saturday. All the couples will be together again for what is sure to be truly a night to remember.

Finally, if you saw me denying all knowledge of the missing glitterball on Saturday’s show I can tell you that they’ll have to keep a close eye on me and a tight guard on the glitterball after Saturday night’s final.

And so the dance goes on….

Thanks for being there

Monday, 12 December 2011

2012 is on the way


image by Billy F Alexander on

Don't miss out on the Oakeley's best New Year's Eve party yet! Tickets are selling like the proverbial little hot-cakes, so come and get yours now before they all sell out!

It's a fancy dress theme (back to the 80s!) and there'll be music, dancing, fun, games and a delicious buffet, as well as a late bar and plenty of fizz.

Tickets available from the hotel.
£20 (advance) or £25 (on the door)

See you there!!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Welcome to 2012!!

New Year's Eve at the Oakeley Arms

All together now!
"Shouuuuuuld aaaauld aquaintance be forgot aaaaaaand, dah, dih, dum dum dum, dum dum dum dum, dah, dih, dum, dum aaaaaaaand auld laaaang syne......"

Hope you've got your vocal chords stretched, exercised and raring to go for the Oakeley's New Year's Eve party!

We will forgive you for not knowing all the words to Auld Lang Syne (let's face it, who does?) but we won't forgive you for not coming along to the best Oakeley Arms New Year's Eve bash yet!

We've got entertainment!
We've got fireworks!
We've got a delicious hot & cold buffet!
We've got a rockin' disco!

And there'll be plenty of fun, games and dancing along with a late bar and bubbles to see in the New Year with.

We know a party isn't a party if it isn't FANCY DRESS. So what's the theme, I hear you cry?! It's the good ole' 80s!

It is a ticket only event. You can purchase tickets in advance from the hotel or on the door (subject to availability).

Prices: £20 (advance) and £25 on the door.

Be there or be very square indeed....

See you there!

Monday, 5 December 2011

Strictly Update - Week 10

Quick Step to Christmas
We're all thrilled to hear that Russell and Flavia will be back for a fabulous Strictly Christmas Special!! We can't wait for that!
Here's Russell with another busy week........
Although I am no longer part of the Saturday night fun and games this has still been a very busy week for me and all the competitors, past and Present in the “Strictly” line up.

IT was wonderful to be invited back for The “Strictly Christmas Special” and for Flavia and me to be announced as ‘special guest stars’ was just so amazing. It is going to be an essential “Don’t Miss” in the festive Christmas TV schedule. There is so much skill and dexterity to admire mingled with a few laughs along the way. So don’t miss it – you’ll love it.

Once again I cannot write the blog without mentioning all the drawings that are flooding in from the four corners of the country. I am surprised and touched by all the youngsters who are taking the time to draw pictures of Flavia and me and then send them to the BBC.

I don’t know if this sneezy, chill and coldy-fluey thing is down your way, but I think I might have picked up something nasty while I was down in London. I got home to Wales in the middle of the week, headed for the Lemsip, lit the fire and put the telly on.

One thing is certain the cool, clear, mountain air of Snowdonia will do me a power of good.

Now, what did you think of Saturday’s show? It was full of surprise and, of course, the expected. I think many people could have predicted that Harry and Aliona’s Paso Doble would be top of the leader board after that sizzling, sexy performance, but maybe quite a few folk were surprised that Jason and Kristina came so far down the board after they produced such a special moment to entrance and enchant us.

Chelsee continues to go from strength to strength although I much prefer Pasha without the green tinge.

With so few couples left in the contest the scoreboard gets shorter and shorter each week so even the very best that any couple can produce means it has to find its place on the board.

And so Robbie and Ola’s Quickstep after having reached such a high standard of energetic, entertaining performance and winning so many new friends and fans bow out of Strictly. Of course we shall all be meeting up for the final on December 17th in Blackpool and there’s the “Strictly Christmas Special to look forward too.

I don’t know about you, but I think the standard of dancing and performance is getting stratospheric. I know firsthand just how much time, effort, energy, concentration and stamina goes into each of the week’s training and performance. I take my hat off to everyone who is pulling all the stops out to make our Saturday night’s viewing complete.

And so the dance goes on….Thanks for being there



Thursday, 1 December 2011

St Twrog's Church

Church Life
As you may have noticed by now, we have covered a million and one different things on the Oakeley Arms blog, and we didn't want another week to go by without a mention of the fabulous community spirit here in Maentwrog.

Traditionally, the church would have been at the heart of village life, and we're lucky that this is still very much true in Maentwrog.

File:St Twrogs Church.JPG

There is thought to have been a church here since the 6th century, when St Twrog built a place of worship on the lands that would have been marshy and boggy back then. The legend goes that St Twrog climbed to the top of the Moelwyn mountains, grabbed an enormous boulder and hurled it down on top of the site of a pagan altar, and so physically, and metaphorically, crushing the pagans that were there.

The legendary stone still stands outside the church, complete with the imprint of Twrog's hands, and is indeed what the village is named after. Maen is the welsh word for stone, so Maentwrog literally translates to Twrog's Stone. Legend has it that if you rub the stone, then fate will certainly draw you back to the village sometime in the future!

The church that stands today was built in 1814, with a new chancel and stained windows added in 1896. One of the vestry windows is in memory of William Edward Oakeley, of Plas Tan-y-Bwlch. He was a local businessman, land owner and benefactor to the village and church. Celtic crosses in the graveyard are further memorials to other members of the Oakeley family.

Maentwrog Church certainly has a fascinating history, but it is still used today as a place of worship and for village events, and is open most days for visitors. Pauline Richardson is a village resident who helps to care for and maintain the church grounds and surroundings, and we think she does a fabulous job! As well as editing the church magazine, she can often be found planting flowers nearby and weeding the cenotaph.

Pauline has filled us in on some great events at the church this coming month, so don't miss out! It'd be great for us all to show our support for our brilliant local church.

Thursday 1st December: 6.30pm
Carols & Cheese & Wine Evening at Cors y Gedol Hall, Dyffryn Ardudwy, to raise funds for Shelter Cymru, Hospis yn y Cartref and Christian Aid Famine Appeal.
Tickets are available from Pauline or at the door on the night for £5.00.

Friday 16th December: 8:00pm
Carolau a Cwrw and Christmas raffle.
There is no charge, but donations will go towards church funds.
Sunday the 18th December
Church Carol service, and the Royal Oakeley Band will be playing as well