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A genuinely engaging story

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genuinely engagingIN 1778 John Theophilus Potter (Theo to his friends) came to Haverfordwest from Dublin with a group of actors to put on two performances of Romeo and Juliet.

A careless accident left him unable to return with the other players – and then he met Elizabeth Edwardes, from a family of local gentry. Friendship turned to love and whilst some in the town wondered (in a rather loud voice) that the Edwardes should allow Elizabeth’s friendship with an actor, Theo was no strolling player without a penny to his name.

He was a ‘gentleman player’ with a considerable fortune and a very respectable income. He was also a restless man, constantly driven to achieve.

Ideally he would have wanted to return to Dublin and continue acting with the Smock Alley Players, but Elizabeth was disinclined to leave Haverfordwest. She wanted nothing more than to build a home and fill it with children. Theo relished his part in bringing the children into being but lacked much in the way of patience when it came to their upbringing. The Wayward Gentleman is the story of the years that followed.

Now there is some intriguing background to this story. Theo Potter is the great-great-great-grandfather of author Patricia Watkins and The Wayward Gentleman is her lightly fictionalised retelling of the years Potter spent in Haverfordwest, close to where she has lived since returning after decades spent in the USA.

My heart inevitably sinks at the thought of reading about an author’s forebears – families are usually only interesting to family – but I lived in Swansea for a time and I’ve a soft spot for south Wales. Then, when I began reading, I realised that this book is very, very well written and the story of Theo Potter is one which deserves to be told.

Theo Potter flies off the page fully costumed. He’s used to being in the limelight and he’s personable in a way that many actors are not.

Skillful writing meant that we watched him mature over the course of the book, whilst we saw Elizabeth become more and more of a homebody. Even the ‘bit players’ have real, individual personalities. There’s an obvious affection for the characters, but it’s an honest telling of the story: I howled with laughter at the events of the masked ball and I cried over Theo’s horse, Hercules – twice. There’s a real sense of Haverfordwest too and best of all it comes from an author who knows her subject rather than someone who has done a lot of research to flesh it out.

I read the book in two sittings and the time simply flew by. It’s a genuinely engaging story with characters who stay in your mind when you’ve turned the final page.

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Climate change protesters pack the streets of Haverfordwest

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Hundreds of protestors flooded the streets of Haverfordwest today to join in one of the biggest global climate strikes to date.

The event took place at County Hall from 11am on Friday, September 20, where hundreds flocked in unison to show their support for the many global activists around the world in protest of the way we live on our planet.

Leading the charge for the world-wide events were multiple organisations including Extinction Rebellion and UK Student Climate Network, as well as 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a Swedish activist for the planet’s well-being. Children all across the globe have been puled out of their schools to join the protests for change on how we consume our planet’s resources and these acts have been met with mixed responses.

Some are happy that others are taking a stand for the greater good of our planet, whilst others seem to be disgruntled by all the commotion the protests have caused in their areas.

At County Hall in Haverfordwest, singing and chanting could be heard as the school children, toddlers, pensioners, families and college students all joined the call for imminent action to tackle the climate emergency.

The climate protest was also attended by Cllr David Simpson and director of development Dr Steven Jones, who assured the public that the authority was working towards its zero carbon goal.

In a statement on Facebook, Extinction Rebellion said: “Hundreds turned out to support today’s Global Climate Strike in Haverfordwest alongside hundreds of thousands around the world! A clear message was delivered and responded to by the leader of Pembrokeshire County Council who has invited you to be represented in their work in months to come to meaningfully address the climate emergency in our beautiful county and beyond. The tide is rising, and so are we!”

The protests ended as the groups made their way to Castle Square, where final chants and songs echoed around Haverfordwest.

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Refinery protest over: Two activists arrested at scene, others reported for summons

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THE PROTEST organised by Extinction Rebellion at Valero Refinery came to an end last night (Sept 19).

Specialist officers were deployed to the scene and as a result of that, two protestors were arrested for unlawful obstruction of the highway and transferred to Haverfordwest custody.

Others who took part, police said, decided to end their protest and have been reported for summons and the items used by them have been seized by the police.

Police said: “All protestors have now left the area and police are maintaining high visibility patrols.”

Superintendent Robyn Mason said: “Officers spoke to the protesters and partner agencies throughout the day to ensure a balance was maintained between allowing people the right to peaceful protest and the requirement to ensure the safety of, and minimise the disruption to, business and the community. We will continue to monitor the situation.”

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Pembroke Dock: Man hospitalised after ‘jumping through pizza shop window’

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A PEMBROKE DOCK man has been taken to hospital after becoming injured by glass in Pembroke Dock.

According to a passing motorist a male was seen shouting and screaming in the street – he was being restrained by others.

He then jumped into the glass window of the PizzaTime take away in Meyrick Street, cutting his stomach on the glass.

Multiple police vehicles and an ambulance attended the incident which took place at around 15.30 HRS.

The road was temporarily blocked.

Once police car remains on scene (16:49 HRS)

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