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Death of the book shop in Pembrokeshire?

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open_book_on_tabl_450It is no secret that independent bookshops have long been under threat. In 2012 Amazon announced that e books had overtaken the sales of print books on their website.

 Take a walk down your local high street and it is difficult not to find an empty building that used to be a book shop. Or a bookshop you never realised was there because you choose to buy your literature elsewhere because it’s cheaper or more convenience. In the last few years several independent Bookshops in Pembrokeshire have closed, those left belonging to chains such as WHsmith and Waterstones. Bethan Davies is book buyer for Victoria Bookshop in Haverfordwest and claims although sales have decreased, people recognise ‘if they don’t use us they will lose us.’ Marley Davies purchased the bookshop in 1981 at 5 Victoria Place, the birthplace of Pembrokeshire artist Augustus John. Augustus’s father was a stationer and bookseller but it is unknown if there’s a link between the family and early history of the shop which dates back to around 1891. In 1996 it moved to its current location in Bridge Street. Today the shop stocks ‘any local interest/author and any book that customers would like to see on our shelves. Our main aim is customer interaction that you don’t get online. We all recommend books that we have read and we also offer a loyalty scheme.’ They have a website through hive which supports local businesses by ensuring money from online sales goes back to the bookshops. Here customers can find information and order books online. There is also a signed copies section with books available at no extra cost to the cover price. Victoria bookshop regularly holds events and book signings by local authors. When asked her thoughts on the many bookshops closing their doors, Bethan said ‘It’s very sad. There will only be a future if local people continue to support us.’ Until recently, Victoria Bookshop was the only independent bookshop left in Haverfordwest. In April 2014, The Book Cellar opened, behind the town castle offering new and second hand books for sale as well as the sourcing of books for customers. Anna Cartwright, the shop owner and local to Haverfordwest says she saw a niche in the market for a bookshop offering both new and old books. ‘I’ve received positive feedback from locals and tourists who have thoroughly enjoyed rummaging through my shelves.’ The Book Cellar advertise through their website and are proud of their 5 star rating on Facebook. They regularly hold events for children and book signings. When asked about the risks of opening a bookshop in the current climate, Anna added ‘It will never make me a millionaire but I do it for the love of books…A real book won’t run out of battery or be stolen on holiday. E books have no character, no smell and no history!’ Talking about the future of independent bookshops, Anna said she would like to see ‘larger publishers offer better deals to independents, for independent businesses everywhere to have better prices for renting premises and for more support from local authorities.’

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Community

Cemeteries re-open to public

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Following the issuing of revised guidance by Welsh Government
yesterday evening (Friday, 3 rd April), all 11 of Pembrokeshire County
Council-owned cemeteries will be re-opened to members of the public
from 8 am tomorrow, Sunday, 5 th April.

The grounds of Parc Gwyn Crematorium in Narberth will now also be
accessible at their normal hours (10 am to 5 pm) although the Chapel
of Remembrance will remain closed until further notice.  

Welsh Government is in the process of making amendments to the
Health Protection (Coronavirus Restrictions Wales) Regulations 2020
which clarify the arrangements for funerals and crematoriums.
This includes the revision that cemeteries can remain open but social
distancing must be taken into account.

The list of persons who may attend a funeral – namely members of
the deceased’s household, close family, and a friend (only if no
household or family members were attending) plus carers of persons
attending – is also being changed.

The revised legislation states: ‘This will now include the person
arranging the funeral and anyone invited by that person (or any carer
of any of those persons) who may attend a funeral (and will be
considered to have a reasonable excuse for leaving their homes).’
The numbers of mourners attending funerals at Parc Gwyn
Crematorium or burials in any Pembrokeshire County Council-owned
cemeteries remains unchanged at 12.

The Council’s 11 cemeteries are:
 Rosemarket
 Llangwm
 Freystrop
 St Ishmaels
 City Road, Haverfordwest
 Nolton Haven
 Llanfair Nanty Gof (Trecwn)
 Llanwnda
 Llanion, Pembroke Dock
 Monkton
 St Michael’s, Pembroke.

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Community

Schools to remain open for now as Wales moves to ‘delay’ phase

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SCHOOLS will remain open as Wales moves into the “delay” phase in containing the coronavirus, the Welsh Government has announced.

The advice will change from Friday (Mar 13), with people who become unwell being asked to self-isolate for seven days.

Chief medical officer Dr Frank Atherton said the trajectory of the virus was now “quite clear” and the challenge remained preparing for a significant number of cases in Wales.

Dr Atherton said: “Wales was now really in the delay phase of the virus and it would lead to some inconvenience for people not going to work or school.

“We need to reduce the demand on the health and social care system so it can prepare for peak which may be May or June.”

SCHOOLS OPEN FOR NOW

Health Minister Vaughan Gething said closing schools was not an appropriate option for now.

He told a press conference at 3.30pm Thursday (Mar 12): “Ministers have had clear advice that closing schools now is not an appropriate step to take. For now, the advice and guidance is very clear. Schools should stay open.

“To be effective measure schools would have to be closed for a significant amount of time.

“If we close schools, what impact does that have on parents? Parents could be nurses, doctors or the police. We need to keep key workers in work.

“Another point is, if parents can’t look after them then it’s likely that older members of the family or grandparents will be. Older people are the people we want to protect now and in the future.

“Furthermore, in the Easter break, lots of children will be with each other anyway. The value in closing schools is low.

“Ministers are making choices guided by the best possible evidence and scientific advice.

“Members of governments around the UK need to take a responsible approach and take steps where there is no medical advice to do so within the four nations of the UK.”

LATEST FIGURES

Six new cases of coronavirus have been identified in Wales, bringing the total to 25 at the time of going to press. (7pm, March 12)

785 people in Wales have been tested for Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). 760 results were negative, and 25 results were positive.

CONCERT CANCELLED

Milford Haven School postponed the concert due to take place Thursday (Mar 12). The school stated on social media: “We have regrettably made the decision to cancel the scheduled Milford Haven Cluster Welsh Concert here at Milford Haven School tonight.

“The decision is owing to us taking a proactive approach to prioritising the health and safety of not only our own pupils, but also their families and the wider community. Please note, this is not due to any specific health concern within the school. We will announce rescheduling of this event in due course.”

ROBUST MEASURES IN PLACE

Dr Robin Howe, Incident Director for the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak response at Public Health Wales told The Herald that he was certain that “robust infection control measures in place.”

“The public can be assured that Wales and the whole of the UK is prepared for these types of incidents. Working with our partners in Wales and the UK, we have implemented our planned response, with robust infection control measures in place to protect the health of the public.

“We would encourage people to check the advice for returning travellers, which includes guidance for those returning from Italy, China, Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Macau, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Iran.

“Members of the public can help protect themselves and others by always carrying tissues, and using them to catch coughs or sneezes. They should bin the tissue, and to kill the germs, wash their hands with soap and water, or use a sanitiser gel. This is the best way to slow the spread of most germs, including Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

“Public Health Wales’ trained scientists are now conducting the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) diagnostic test in Wales. Over 90 per cent of the individuals who have been tested in Wales have been offered testing in their own home, making it as convenient as possible for them, as well as protecting our ambulance and hospital resources for those who need it most. We are not able to comment on individual cases for reasons of patient confidentiality.”

Official updates on the virus in Wales will now be given at 11:00 daily.

There are now 596 confirmed cases in the UK, up from 456 on Wednesday, and two more deaths, of people with underlying health conditions in London and Essex, taking the total to 10.

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Community

Ancient Connections – Creative Camino from Ireland to St Davids

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Ancient Connections, a three-year arts, heritage and tourism project linking North
Pembrokeshire and North Wexford is looking for Welsh and Irish artists and community
members to join a weeklong pilgrimage walk to St Davids, Pembrokeshire.

Since the launch of the project in September 2019, the Ancient Connections team have been
busy putting their ambitious plans into action; generating creative opportunities for artists and
communities to engage with their hidden past.

Now, the project is seeking two artists and three community members with close links to
Pembrokeshire to undertake a weeklong journey from Ferns, Co Wexford, to St Davids,
Pembrokeshire, in May 2020.

Artists working in performance-based art forms such as music, song, poetry, performance art
and dance are encouraged to apply, as they will be expected to produce new art works from
their experiences en route and to give short performances as part of the Fishguard Folk Festival
(23 rd May) and the St Davids Cathedral Festival (26 th May).

For hundreds of years St Davids was the most important site of pilgrimage in Wales, with two
visits said to equal one to Rome and three the equivalent of making a pilgrimage to the Holy
Land. 2020 marks the 900 th anniversary of St Davids canonization and pilgrimages are starting to
make a dramatic comeback! Many who undertake a modern pilgrimage do not necessarily
consider themselves religious; they are more often than not, simply looking to switch-off, slow-
down and reconnect to the important things in life.

Beginning with a spectacular send-off in Ferns, Ireland, on the 20 May, the pilgrims from
Wexford and Pembrokeshire, will make their way along the beautiful sandy beaches of the
Wexford coast, to the port of Rosslare. Here they will board the Stena Line ferry and set sail for
Fishguard. They will then wind their way along the rugged contours of the Pembrokeshire Coast
Path until they reach St Davids on 26 May.

For further information, including how to apply email ruth.jones@pembrokeshire.gov.uk
Closing date for applications is Tuesday 17 th March.

Ancient Connections is led by Pembrokeshire County Council together with partners Wexford
County Council, Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority and Visit Wexford. The project is
funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Ireland Wales co-operation
programme.

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