Saturday, 16th October, 2010.

Progress At Last . . . Er . . .?

     Here we go, here
we go, here we go!   At last, after
decades of being held up by more traffic lights than you can shake a stick at,
we’re all going to get from Welshpool to Llanidloes without being held up in
the bottle-neck which is
Newtown!

     Well, maybe not
quite.   Our Senedd has only just shown
us the route which they’d like to use for
Newtown’s new
by-pass.   It is, indeed, a time of
universal rejoicing.

     The only fly in
the ointment is that the construction of the by-pass will not start until 2014 . . .

Keeping It Welsh

     On the
recommendation of my Assembly Member, I have money invested in The Principality
Building Society.   I was told – and,
knowing politicians, I discovered for myself that it was true – that The
Principality was run by the people of
Wales for
the people of
Wales.   And the money it holds for us is invested in
Wales, too.

     Despite its name,
it serves The Marcher counties, too!  
Indeed, the Society is going to open several more branch-offices
throughout our land to make things more convenient for our people.

     Never thought I’d
end up thanking a politician!

Remembering A Great Welshman

    Ysbyty Aneurin
Bevan – what a splendid name for an NHS hospital!

     Old
Nye was an excellent example of a Socialist.  
It was he who pushed so hard to make a National Health Service
possible.   It is appropriate, somehow,
that the hospital bearing his name is on the site of the old Ebbw Vale
steelworks, as he was the MP for the area for many years.

     Let us remember
and praise that good man.   And let us
fight the good fight to restore our – yours and mine – National Health Service
to its former glory.

More To Remember

     It has been a
long time since
Wales had a
fully-functioning mining industry.  
Places like Big Pit are museums reminding us of the days when our people
worked underground like moles.

     I read Cambrian
Media
– an online magazine about all things
Welsh (www.cambrianmedia.com) – and
an article a month or so ago by Kerry Ridgeway inspired me to go and visit a
place with a sad history.   Kerry has
given me permission to use some of that article, which told the tale of an
event at Landshipping, Pembrokeshire:-

     The
Garden Pit mine (hardly a fit name for such a filthy place) extended beneath
the waters of the Cleddau Estuary.   The
Health & Safety rules did not exist in those days so the miners were used
to water seeping into their cramped and dark workplace.   Then, on
the 14th February, 1844, the waters
suddenly flooded the mine.

     “It
was a great disaster.   There were
fifty-eight men and boys working the coal-seam at the time.   Only eighteen of them survived.   Many – too many – of those who died were
young lads, lads who would be considered far too young to be doing such work in
our more enlightened times.   They were
down there with their fathers, and all those miners had to work in those
hideous conditions . . . or see their families starve
.”

     On the memorial-stone near the old mine’s
entrance, the names of those who died are recorded.   Two of them were kids ten years of age.   And one of them is recorded as “A Child”, so
goodness knows how young he was.

     Wales has had it’s fair share of
tragedies caused by mining disasters.  
We recall Aberfan, for instance.

     And yet things change.   Up in Gresford, there was a terrible
disaster which killed scores of men in a massive explosion.   There’s a folk-song about it.   But now, modern times have come to Gresford,
and old values have eroded.

     Thieves have walked off with a
300-year-old sundial from Gresford churchyard.  
The passing of time makes us forget all things.   Perhaps this stealing of time will remind
all of us of the old values – and give us a kick in the pants to restore them.

     Archie Lowe

archie.lowe@laughingdragons.co.uk

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About Archie Lowe

Though not born in Wales, I have lived and worked here for many years now. I love the place and love that mercurial thing "Welshness". I have been accused of being "a Taffophile" - which is pretty near the truth. The question I ask whenever some idea comes up for the whole of the UK is: "What's in it for Wales". I believe in an independent Wales and am so pleased that our Assembly is a big step on that road.
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