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Badger and the farewell to arms

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guybadgerHELLO readers! Last week Badger chilled your spines and tickled your funny bones (he hopes) with the tale of the legendary lost testicles of Pembrokeshire County Council. Today is, however, a solemn day. Today, October 31, is the day that the County Council bids a fond ‘adieu” to the much-loved and respected foul-mouthed bully, Bryn Parry-Jones. Badger will miss Bryn, too, readers. As the punchline to the longest running joke in Pembrokeshire, Bryn (or as Badger likes to think of him, ‘The Brynster’) was a major contributor to Badger’s oeuvre over the last sixteen months.

And after this All Hallow’s Eve, Bryn will be no more the gag of last resort. Fear not, however, Badger is not overly concerned: He is sure the activities of the IPPG’s own Secret Squirrel, Rob Summons, will provide him with plenty of material as he scurries around attempting to plug the leaks in the IPPG ship of state. Poor PC Summons, readers! As he desperately prowls the ether, spying on the IPPG’s ‘enemies’, his adventures into Facebook and the blogosphere will reveal that the regard in which he and his fellow IPPG toadies are held is even lower than even he might have suspected. An online poll on Facebook discovered that not a single IPPG member attracted a single public vote to be leader of the Council. East Williamston’s fearless blogonaut, Jacob Williams, came second in the poll. While that evil so and so Mike Stoddart also featured strongly.

One can only hope that the Burton representative’s bearing of bad news to Jamie Adams is met with more understanding than his counterpart’s in V for Vendetta. But how, Badger wonders, how will we commemorate Bryn? In the past, readers, rulers erected massive monuments to themselves to celebrate their lives and triumphs. One only has to look at the city of Rome – choc-a-bloc with monuments to emperors famous, notorious and obscure – for evidence of even the least distinguished leader’s desperate quest for monumentality. Nero built his golden palace, Trajan his column and Augustus (probably the greatest butcher of them all) built a monument to peace.

Now, readers, it is certain that the former Chief Executive of Pembrokeshire County Council exercised more untrammelled power than even the mighty Constantine the Great, but one would hesitate to put the scale of his achievements as on a par with even Otho of the Roman emperors. The giant golden statue astride a marble horse opposite County Hall is surely a non-starter. Still less likely is the eternal flame to be situated atop the homage to the Brandenburg Gate planned for the entrance to Fishguard Harbour. Perhaps even a memorial hot dog stand might be pitching it a little high, readers. Of course, the relevance of even the most splendid work of art fades from the memory.

The Mona Lisa’s position as the wife of a long-forgotten Florentine cloth merchant is not what makes her portrait famous. In a recent visit to mid-Wales, Badger visited the Welsh Museum of Modern Art. There, he realised that content without context can denude even the most striking painting or sculpture of meaning and significance. Just sticking a label on a daub and expecting it to resonate with its viewer is not enough. And so readers, Badger rejects the idea of a monument celebrating the sparse achievements and many flaws and failures of Bryn Parry- Jones.

There is a sense, after all readers that our reluctance to vote in local elections; our reluctance to stand as candidates; our reluctance to hold to account the ‘good old boys’ and ‘good old girls’ who treat their wards as fiefdoms, led to a situation in which Bryn could hold sway over our biddable, obedient and wilfully ignorant representatives. And through them over us. That must not happen again, readers. Badger hopes that there will never again be a situation where almost a quarter of councillors are elected because nobody else wants to get ten signatures and put themselves forward. Badger has an idea, readers. Badger has mentioned the way in which art and monuments change their meanings as time passes. The same applies to festivals. When Badger was younger, it was ‘Guy Fawkes Night’.

Every year, thousands – if not tens of thousands – of effigies are burned on a pyre. Among the general population, who remembers that it is an anti-Catholic festival? We annually incinerate representations of Guy Fawkes – the would be slaughterer of a king, the Lords and Commons assembled and a large number of Londoners – to ensure we never forget the threat to Britain posed by those of a Roman Catholic persuasion. Nobody thinks of anti-Catholic sentiment as they eat their burger and watch several hundred pounds worth of pyrotechnics streak into the night sky, a –fizzing and a-banging. Or if they do, they are a member of one of those little tin tabernacle churches which are the last redoubt of religious bigots.

So, readers: Combining the horror of Halloween and the explosive bangs and whizzes of Bonfire Night, we could have Bryn Night! Across Pembrokeshire, communities would banish the ghastly shades of Parry- Jones and his sinister little h e l p e r s H a l l a n d Lewis, to remind each other never to let such as he happen again. To add a little extra spice to the occasion a model of a Porsche Panamera could be ceremonially burnt atop a pyre made up of the electoral literature of IPPG councillors. Have a happy Bryn Night and remember, r e m e m b e r , readers!

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Reminder from Pembrokeshire Coast National Park to pre-book for attractions

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MEMBERS of the public are being reminded to pre-book their entry tickets before visiting two popular National Park Authority-run attractions.

To allow for social distancing on site, both Carew Castle and Tidal Mill and Castell Henllys Iron Age Village have been operating a pre-booking system since last summer.

Those wishing to visit should book their tickets online before arriving at the site. This applies to Annual Pass holders and others who qualify for free entry, such as wheelchair users and accompanying carers.

Carew Castle is open to pre-booked visitors between 10am and 4pm (Tidal Mill 11.30am – 5pm), while those wishing to visit Castell Henllys will be asked to book either a morning slot (10am-1pm) or an afternoon slot (2pm-5pm) before visiting the site.

Daisy Hughes, Visitor Services Manager at Carew Castle and Tidal Mill, said: “Over the past 12 months, we have made some changes to the site and how we operate to ensure that we keep you, our staff and our local community safe.

“All areas of the Castle and Tidal Mill are open, including the Walled Garden and play area. Nest Tearoom, which has plenty of outdoor undercover seating, will be serving light lunches and homemade cakes along with hot and cold drinks throughout the day, and the Castle and Mill Shops remain open – although face coverings must be worn and only card/contactless payments are currently being accepted.

“With the exception of Nest Tearoom, pre-booking is essential, though, and we’re asking all visitors to make sure they book their entry tickets in advance, in order to avoid any delays or disappointment when they arrive on site.”

Entry tickets for both Carew Castle and Castell Henllys can be purchased by visiting www.pembrokeshirecoast.wales/events

A dynamic programme of events suitable for all the family will be running at both sites throughout the summer months. Visit the above website for more information and to book tickets.

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Salvage Hunters: New series is filming in Pembrokeshire, and they need help

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SALVAGE HUNTERS, the well-loved and most watched Quest TV and Discovery Network show, is on the hunt for locations to film at in the Pembrokeshire and the wider South West Wales area to feature in the upcoming series.

We follow decorative antiques expert Drew Pritchard as he travels around various locations in the UK and abroad on his quest to find and buy unusual objects with an interesting history.

Drew really visits everywhere – beautiful estates, old family businesses, barns and attic’s stuffed full of unwanted things, museums, factories, collectors and iconic religious sites buying all sorts along the way – from gorgeous country house furniture and railwayana to 6ft 1980s disco balls and anything in-between.

Now in its sixteenth series and airing to over half a million people in the UK and millions more worldwide, this is a great opportunity for you to promote your business or home to a broad audience, sell a few items that perhaps you no longer need, make some money and celebrate the history and heritage of the UK.

If you think you fit the bill or know somebody that might then please do not hesitate to reach out and speak with a member of our team.

Call us on 0203 179 0092 or alternatively send us an email to – salvagehunters@curvemedia.com

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Haverfordwest and Cardigan high streets listed as among the ten worst in Britain

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TWO west Wales high streets have been listed in a UK wide report detailing Britain’s worst high streets.

In the highly respected report Cardigan High Street has been listed as the 4th worst in Britain, whilst Haverfordwest has come 8th.

The Harper Dennis Hobbs rankings, which come out every two years, in sadly listed six Welsh High Streets in the worst 10 category.

Some retail centres have performed well since 2019 but most Welsh towns have fallen down the list.

Overall the performance in Wales was poor with a major drop in the average position of Welsh high streets on the UK list.

More shops in Haverfordwest’s town centre have closed since the coronavirus hit (Pic: File image)

The average rank was 797 – the worst of any nation and region in the UK, showing the huge challenge Welsh Government has to revive town centres. Six of the bottom ten UK high streets were in Wales.

Normally Harper Dennis Hobbs releases the full ranking but when the firm published its 2021 report in February, it only made the top 50 best-performing locations publicly available. Now, a copy of the full list shared with i lays bare the shopping centres and high streets that have fared worst over the past year.

Top of the worst list is Girvan in South Ayrshire.

Girvan is home to around 6,500 people and has suffered the same difficulties as many cities and towns across the UK when it comes to its high street’s declining appeal – but it is the area’s “very weak retail offer” and the large number of empty shops that helped seal its place at the bottom of the league table.

Haverfordwest in 2014. can you spot any differences to now?

“Girvan along with Haverfordwest and Cardigan all scored poorly due to a very weak retail offer [and] the towns have a relatively high vacancy rate,” said Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at Harper Dennis Hobbs.

Andy Metherell, head of retail consultancy at HDH, explained: “Our analysis is unique as we use variables that both consumers and retailers consider when assessing shopping locations to rank the top 1,000 retail centres in Great Britain. This Vitality Ranking looks very different from previous years as the ‘retail health’ of high streets across the country has seen contrasting fortunes since the start of the pandemic.

“The most vital retail centres currently provide services that are essential to people’s lives, such as grocers and pharmacies. These essential retailers have been able to trade throughout the strictest lockdowns, and consumers have not been willing or able to travel far to visit these stores. Shopping patterns have therefore changed significantly since the start of the pandemic, and consumers’ local high streets are benefitting at the expense of major destinations.”

Turning empty retail spaces in the town into homes or offices could help rejuvenate the area and bring “demand to the doors” of shops that survive, Mr Metherell said.

Cardigan High Street before Covid-19 (Pic Stay In Wales)

Top 10 best high streets 2021

  1. Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire
  2. Henley-on-Thames, Oxfordshire
  3. Tenterden, Kent
  4. Wimbledon Village, south-west London
  5. Marlborough, Wiltshire
  6. Sevenoaks, Kent
  7. Kingston upon Thames, Greater London
  8. Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire
  9. Harpenden, Hertfordshire
  10. Ilkley, Bradford

Top 10 worst high streets 2021

  1. Girvan, South Ayrshire
  2. Bristol – Baldwin Street
  3. Chepstow, Monmouthshire
  4. Cardigan, Ceredigion
  5. Southsea, Portsmouth
  6. Tonypandy, Rhondda Cynon Taf
  7. Ammanford, Carmarthenshire
  8. Haverfordwest, Permbrokeshire
  9. Canning Town, east London
  10. Newtown, Powys

(Source: Harper Dennis Hobbs)

Cardigan High Street pictured in the early 2000’s before Currys left town (Pic Geograph)
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