Saturday, 30th October, 2010.

Keeping Contact

It pays to get to know who is representing you and where.   We in Wales have more opportunity than in some parts of the United Kingdom to meet our Assembly Member and our Wasteminster MP.

We should do that so that we can keep ‘em on their toes.

A friend of mine was concerned about what Mr. Osborne’s budget was going to do for Wales.   So he wrote to both his AM and his MP saying:-

The recent Tory budget will hit Wales very hard.   I hear that 27% of jobs in Wales will disappear – if that’s true, it’s appalling.

Winter is coming and shop-prices (among other things) are set to rise.   The well-worn phrase about OAPs “having to choose between heating and eating” rings true, certainly in this village.

The Tories and Lib-Dems must have come to some agreement on the contents of this budget.   It does not appear to affect the indecent bonuses handed out to the rich (who caused this Slump – please to call it “a recession”) in the first place.

So what do we, the people of Wales – the people of Britain – need to do to stop more such measures being made in future? (Or do you agree with what Wasteminster has foisted on our people?)   (Oo – and can anyone find me a job in which I can vote my own salary . . . ?)”

His MP wrote back in formalised language.   His AM wrote a simple message:-

Thanks for this.

You may also be interested to know that Wales got a worse deal in the budget than Scotland and Northern Ireland –     Thanks to the ConDems!”

Perhaps simplicity should remain part of our country’s politics.   Now get out there and irritate your representatives!

Blots On Our Landscape

As many of you know, I travel about Wales a fair amount.   During those trips, I pass through some lovely places.   Often, they are smaller towns and villages.   And, as I can be classed as a visitor to them, I find the majority of them to offer a visual welcome as I drive in.

Some, though, really do present a scruffy picture.   As tourism is a major industry in Wales – and a major source of revenue – such scruffy-looking places do not invite the tourist to stop for a look round.

If our holiday-making visitors stop for, say, a “comfort break”, we need to ensure that the public toilet facilities are at least clean and tidy.   (As a wanderer through Wales, I can name the really foul ones, believe me!)

So it is important to show a tidy image to our guests.   Which is why I congratulate Carmarthenshire Council on its decision to instruct the owner of that scruffy and crumbling row of cottages in Garnant to tidy them up.   They are, indeed, an eyesore.

Further, if the houses are not put in good order within six months, the Council will have them demolished.

The land of ours is precious:  let us guard it against all ugliness.


It Takes All Sorts

Druids up in Sir Fon (some call it Anglesey) are welcoming non-druids to their ceremonies this All Hallows Eve.   The druids would like those who attend to wear posh frocks, etcetera, because they’re all going to be linking up with the dead.

Yes – linking up with the dead.

As a born-again cynic, I fell over laughing when I heard that there would be a “mourning tea”.    Surely, here in Wales, that should be “morning tea” – after all, we probably swill more of the stuff to wake us up for the daily round than anywhere else in these Isles!

The whole thing is because the druids seem to believe that, at Hallowe’en, the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.

Perhaps the veil between being fairly normal and being a loony is pretty thin at this time, too.

A Life Remembered

I first heard that great character George Melly singing on an ancient 78 gramophone record.   He had told Mick Mulligan, another great character, that he was a singer and would like to join Mick’s band.   The two became good mates, and their musical partnership endured many years.

Good-Time George was a driving force behind the Brecon Jazz Festival where many of us have twirled our parasols over the years.   So now, the town is honouring him by creating a memorial in his honour.

The memorial will be in the form of a sculpture.   Goodness knows what a hard task that will be for the artist:  George Melly was a prodigiously talented bloke – singer, artist, flamboyant dresser, writer and man-of-the-world.   Hope all that can be included in the memorial!

Archie Lowe


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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