Sunday, 24 June 2012

Ends and beginnings

Where better to start my last morning of duties in Cowbridge Benefice than Llansannor, with its 750 year old church, on a site which probably hosted Christian worship for the 750 years before that. Then on to Penllyn for the second service, and home for lunch. I have so much enjoyed my year of doing locums in these Vale Churches, with their deep sense of history and lively if small present day communities. It's so good to hear that Rector, Fr Derek Belcher has now started back to work, and will be joined by a new colleague in just a couple of weeks.

By way of contrast, next Sunday I will be in a region of Spain with many equally ancient churches and lively worshipping communities, but serving three English speaking congregations which hardly existed fifteen years ago, but have grown into a life of their own, just as Gingins grew into the chaplaincy of La Cote over the same period. I'm still at the stage of feeling nervous as well as excited, because it's hard to know exactly how to prepare to meet and engage with so many unknowns, all in one go.

This afternoon we went over to Bristol to see Amanda and James, then when we returned, we went out for a meal in the highly rated Cardamom restaurant opposite St Luke's in Canton. We were impressed and promised ourselves that we will return, to enjoy more of their interesting a wide variety of Indian food. Then, it was back to work preparing for departure.

I've decided that while I'm away, this blog will take a break.

Instead, I shall be posting from a new site to match my new location.

will find me.

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Blues in the rain at Tafwyl

Another wet day in Cardiff.

Clare went off to inspect the Tafwyl free Welsh language Festival in the Castle grounds, and returned to insist that I accompany her for a tea time visit to hear the legendary nationalist folk singer Meic Stevens (a contemporary of Bob Dylan, and very much in the same ethos) play a live acoustic gig, which I did albeit complaining a little.

Of course it continued to rain, and a devoted following of a hundred or so listeners huddled under big umbrellas, or stood around in free plastic ponchos emblazoned with the S4C TV channel logo. It was a good humoured attempt to make the best of a bad job. Meic's little grand daughter took refuge with him under the stage canopy, very cute in a red and white polka dot mac. I even managed to get my phone under control sufficiently to shoot a brief clip of him playing the blues, and it's posted here.

Friday, 22 June 2012


Yesterday was my last day working for Cardiff Business Safe for the time being, and a very satisfying one too. I spent most of the time introducing Julie, the new CBS office administrator to the office system I have spent the last 27 months creating, and just before I left was presented with draft audited accounts for 2010 and 2011, bringing the company right up to date.

This afternoon I officiated at the last funeral I'll do in Cardiff for the time being, co-incidentally of a man who had worked in a bookshop in Royal Arcade, but lived in our Parish. It's time now to concentrate on preparing the pack all that I'll need for my time in Spain. Usually I do it in a rush at the last minute, but on this occasion there's lots to think about before I even think of getting the bags down from on top of the wardrobe.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Finding Tremorfa

How good it is to have sunshine again, and be able to dress appropriately for a summer month!  This morning I had a funeral service to prepare for Friday, then a home visit to make in Tremorfa district of Splott. It's the first time I've ever had to navigate my way around this inter-war industrial suburban housing area. I needed to use a map several times I discovered St Philip's Parish Church in passing, looked after as a 'church plant' by the team at St Mark's Gabalfa, because church life has been difficult to sustain in this area for decades. It has been re-branded as 'St Philip's Community Church'. The external surface of the 'east' wall of the brick building is remarkable in having a crucifixion scene carved in bas-relief on to it.
Many of the streets there have names which end in 'Muir' (Clare's mother's maiden name), which is the Scots Gaelic word for Moor. This area of Cardiff was an ancient Severn Estuary flood plain known as East Moors, and once contained a large steel works and other heavy engineering industries. Most of the twentieth century employment legacy has gone. The steel works closed in 1978 and has been replaced by retail parks, distribution depots and light industry, employing far fewer people and fewer manual labourers. Unemployment is high. Tremorfa is a quiet backwater, away from main roads, slowly being gentrified as older generations of tenants and home owners are supplanted by first time buyers. It's a more pleasant environment now than half a century ago, when the air would often have been heavy with industrial pollution from the steel works.

After lunch I went into the office for a few hours. More enquiries are needed before an employment decision can be made. There's not a lot for me to do right now, until I have the new recruit to brief personally, hopefully before I leave for Spain. After supper I attended my last Chi Gung session for the time being. Christie, our teacher is experimenting with making a sound recording of her classes. Once available as a podcast via the Rising Phoenix Tai Chi website, this could be a useful accompaniment to a regular work out in future.

This evening, following a recommendation from Kath, I listened to two podcast  episodes of the 'Coffee Break Spanish' language course. It's very enjoyable and allows for lots of practice repetition of pronunciation. I think this is going to be among my favourite sites for the weeks ahead.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Office preparations

This afternoon, Ashley and I interviewed two candidates for the part time secretarial job we've created, to take over running Cardiff Business Safe adminstration from me long term. My departure for Spain next Tuesday seems to have concentrated minds, and now a decision has to be made. I've set up a new computer with a much tidied office file system, and written a simple guide to its functions, which hopefully anyone experienced in using ordinary office programs will be able to follow. If there are any problems, I'll be contactable via Skype, and if they're really desperate I can troubleshoot using Team Viewer, though that's definitely a last resort.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Father's Day festivity

I had Sunday duties at Penllyn and St Hilary this morning, and fortunately the weather was a lot kinder than it was yesterday. I discovered that I'd made a mistake and prepared a sermon making much use of the wrong Old Testament lesson. This meant that I had to improvise the first third of my offering and tie it in with the rest, which seemed to work and probably did me good, shaking me out of my routine performance.
We had another family meal at lunchtime, this time designed by Rhiannon to be a Father's Day party for her Dad and Grandpa, with balloons for decoration, a special choccy cake as a second pudding, and the performance of a magic trick (complete with admission tickets), to follow over coffee afterwards. Such a fertile creative imagination she has! Being a Grandpa has its special moments. I was feted with a box of chocolates and a very nice bottle of French Pinot Noir - still my joint favourite grape, with Tempranillo.

By tea-time Clare and I were on our own again as the children had left for their homes. I had to return to the Vale to officiated and preach at Evensong in the village church at Flemingston. It's six months since I was last there. I well recall driving home across country on narrow roads in the pitch dark and rain with the car engine sputtering because of the damp. This time it was mercifully dry, light and bright, as the weather had cleared up. 

In the village, several guinea fowl from the flock at Flemingstone Court roamed the roads and the churchyard, and the road into the village I was using was blocked by a big brown bullock browsing the hedges, having escaped from an adjacent field. I found myself preaching about abundance and bio-diversity for the third time in a day.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Family weekend

At the CBS office yesterday we received information about applicants for the part time secretarial job, part of our long term development plans for the past year. With my imminent departure for Spain, the process has mysteriously accelerated into life after waiting a month to hear if our overtures to the Council's internal staffing agency 'Cardiff Works' were being taken seriously. It seems we can proceed with interviews as early as Monday next - good news indeed.

This morning, we awoke to another rainy Saturday, dampening prospects for the Steiner kindergarten summer fair. After breakfast I drove Clare over to the school in Roath. Then I shopped for organic veg at the Roath Farmers Market, before returning home to await the arrival of Kath and Rhiannon, after they'd dropped Anto off for a band rehearsal. 

We returned to the school for lunch with Clare, and Rhiannon took part in a workshop on circus skills, before they went home, and I went to John Lewis' to pick up the office laptop purchased yesterday. Owain came around to join us for a family supper and an evening of wine, conversation and a little music making. I even got to read Rhiannon a chapter from her latest book, which struck me as being a bit old for an eight year old, but that probably says more about my idea of an eight year old's awareness than it reflects what children today are growing up with. I'd like to have found out more, but you don't do Q&A at bedtime.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

White Lion reprieve & BT blues

Sunday duties today took me out to Llansannor again, the most remote of the places in Cowbridge Benefice which I have to visit. Now that the narrow lanes are rich with growing vegetation, missing a vital sign post was easy and I realised I'd gone wrong somewhere. Relying on my memory of the whereabout of the village and the church which stands outside it in the overall landscape, I kept going until I found another turning that led me down into the hidden valley, right to where I needed to be. 

Getting from there to Ystradowen for the second Eucharist of the morning was comparatively easy. I was delighted to see that the White Lion pub next to the church no longer had a 'for sale' sign attached to its inn sign, and there were curtains up in the windows, and a light on. The churchwarden told me that it had been sold to a builder who already owned a pub somewhere else. He was going to carry out the needed renovations which the previous owners had not been able to afford, and re-open as a pub in due course. She was pleased the new owner has decided to re-paint the exterior in its traditional white. I wondered if the present pink colour had received planning permission, given the prominence of the building on a main road. It's good to think that this vital rural social hub will have a new lease of life.

I arrived home earlier than usual, ahead of Clare returning from the farmers' market. After lunch, the rest of the day was devoted to blog updating, looking through the week's photographs and uploading them. (They can be viewed here. Sorry about the excess of train photos - irresistible.).

Up in Ffestiniog, we had a decent Orange signal, which meant I could check emails on my phone, but no BT signal whatsoever. There was no interconnectivity between BT and other mobile service providors. Getting on line in an area where there was a BT signal also proved impossible for reasons I could not fathom. I know the laptop software is up to date and working. With this same wireless dongle I surfed and used Skype from Sta Pola del Este in Spain last October, thanks to an agreement between BT and Spanish Orange services. So why doesn't this arrangement work here?  Don't tell me. Excuses are unacceptable. The service BT claims to provide is a national disgrace. Oh sure I could have used the local wireless BT Openzone service, but not without paying. Why should I have to pay when I have a registered BT internet device failing to deliver a service it is meant to provide?

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Home for the opera

The journey home started in mist and rain. The road past Trawsfynydd was closed, and we were obliged to take the road to Bala, past Llyn Celyn, the reservoir whose waters inundated Treweryn, disposessing its inhabitants back in the seventies. This outrage became a cause celebre of the Welsh language revival movement, and nationalist politics. Although this diversion added half an hour to the trip, we didn't much mind. The countryside is very beautiful. Further south, we saw even less of the scenery high up on Bwlch Oerdrws, going inland this time, but within thirty miles, the cloud broke up, the rain stopped and the sun poked through. It was quite warm and pleasant by the time we arrived in Cardiff. We weren't at all surprised to hear news stories of flooding in West and North Wales. A month's rain had fallen in the past 24 hours.

We were home early enough to relax, sort ourselves out, and eat a meal, and even prepare a sermon for tomorrow before going out for the evening to the Millennium Centre to hear the new WNO version of Puccini's 'La boème', one of our favourite operas. It was a remarkable production, with a minimal set hugely enhanced by the use of evocative video graphics projected on to the set backdrop. The singers were all superb, credible character actors as well. As the opera isn't too long, we came out and drove home in the light and colour of the setting sun. A lovely way to end the half term holiday week.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Rain stops play

After yesterday's visit to Portmeirion, we returned to Llan Ffestiniog and as the weather remained much better than predicted, we took a walk out of the village to find a nearby waterfall mentioned in the cottage welcome file. We trekked through fields to a neighbouring wooded valley set in the mountainside through which the Afon Cynfal runs down a steep narrow gorge in a series of cascades, descending 300 feet in a couple of miles from moorland lakes above. It's one of the most impressive sights in Snowdonia, even if it is somewhat off the beaten track. However, there is a newly built safe viewing point with an information panel at the point of access to the falls, in acknowledgement of the importance of this local treasure.

Today we drove to Beddgelert in the rain, and lunched there. It's such a lovely place at this time of year with large swathes of surrounding hillside adorned with the purple flowers of rhododendron bushes. Such a pity that the amount of rain was sufficient to deter full exploration or a walk up and out of the village. It made up for what we didn't get, forecasted for yesterday. I braved the rain for half an hour to catch sight of the Wales Highland Railway train on its way to Blaenau Ffestiniog from Porthmadog. Here's the video clip I captured on my camera.
We drove from there to Criccieth to look at the sea once more, whipped up into foaming breakers by wind and tide, although the beach was deserted. We drove on to Pwllheli, got stuck in a traffic jam, and made a detour back to Porthmadog on the Lleyn peninsula's back roads. Such quiet countryside deserves a longer and more thorough exploration than just a drive-through. But we'll keep that for another time. Tomorrow, the long journey home.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

The glory of Portmeirion

In the summer of 1962, I went on a sixth form conference at Coleg Harlech, laid on by the United Nations Association's Council for Education in World Citizenship. It was one of those eye-opening occasions when we were introduced to global thinking about environmental pollution, nuclear disarmament, and the energy crisis, which weren't on the school curriculum at that time. Part of the weekend was a trip to Portmeirion, the purpose built holiday village designed in the italiante style by North Walian architect Clough Williams-Ellis. It was the man himself, in his late eighties who showed us around his creation. I still remember him in his tweed suit, wearing long yellow socks and brogues, the image of an aristocratic countryman, striding uphill, leaving us mining valleys teenagers drawing breath as we attempted to keep up with him.

Clare says I've been promising to take her there ever since we met, but over the years, until recently our trips to North Wales have been few and far between. With Owain also curious about Portmeirion, there was no excuse for further delay, and fortunately the weather turned out more favourably than the forecasts of the day proposed. It was hard to believe that it's fifty years since I was last there. My memories of Clough Williams-Ellis are clearer than my memories of the original tour, and are influenced by having watched the cult TV series 'The Prisoner' back in the seventies. Portmeirion was the film set for the series, and for scenes in the movie 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness'. There have been many developments and detail changes to the village over the years. The place looks familiar, yet retains a visual freshness, due to ever changing green landscaped settings and ornate gardens.

It's a very photogenic place, (I took nearly a hundred photos) which looks interesting and beautiful from every angle, very much a tribute to the architect's imagination. He was right in his conviction that his village could be laid out in a way that would minimise environmental impact on an area of outstanding natural beauty. Portmeirion has no permanent residents, but all its buildings, apart from shops and restaurants, are equipped and used as holiday cottages. It was Clough Williams-Ellis' wish that as many people as possible got the chance to spend quality leisure time appreciating the endeavours of his creative imagination. Over his long life time, he acquired art works, buildings, furnishings from places being demolished. Some donors knew what he was looking for, as he modelled his village on Portofino in the Genovese riviera. Sometimes unusual donations challenged him to create a place for them in his grand scheme,  like the Buddha statue rescued from the film set of the 'Inn of the Sixth Happiness'.

We lunched at Caffi Glas, just opposite the main gift shop. It's an Italian cafe restaurant opened only five years ago, and I ate the best pizza I have tasted in decades, with a crisp pastry base, just right for a light lunch. Needless to say, it was very busy with customers. By the time we'd eaten, the tide had turned. The estuary waters fast receded to reveal golden sands where the sea had recently lapped up against the quay with its monumental built in boat outside the Portmeirion Hotel. We stopped there for a luxurious post-prandial pot of coffee, after a soggy stroll along the strand to get a different perspective on the village above. Showers of rain were few and far between. Not even the dull overcast sky could much dim the colour of Portmeirion's townscape.

Portmeirion is unashamedly a stylish original theme park holiday village. Nothing is quite what it appears to be from architectural convention. There's a campanile, clock bells ring out from it, but it's not attached either to a town hall or a church building. Visitors don't need recourse to religion or government while they are here. A place that looks like a civic building is in fact a restaurant. What looks like a grand mansion is but a humble two bedroomed apartment. Some windows are skilfully painted on to buildings - 'trompe d'oeuil' confections. It's not deceit, but a series of devices to please the eye and stimulate the imagination. In every sense what's been created is an environment for recreation, which plays differently with its natural setting than do the slate mining villages of the surrounding hills and valleys. 

It does this far better than any other theme park or holiday village I have yet to discover, perhaps because it is chiefly the offering of one creative mind for any open to receive, rather than a committee of designers who think they can exploit for gain the desires and ambitions of their target clients.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Snowdon half way

We had no trouble finding our holiday let - a slate quarry worker's two bedroom terraced house up the top end of Ffestiniog village. It was nicely renovated and equipped for visitors, with comfy beds, and a starter pack of essentials to welcome us.  After supper we went for a stroll down the village and had a drink in the Pengwern Arms, the village pub by the church entrance.

After a good night's sleep, we made an expedition to Mount Snowdon, driving via Blaenau Ffestiniog up to Capel Curig, then down the pass to Llanberis to park and start our walk along the route which follows the line of the mountain railway up to the summit.
The weather wasn't perfect for such a climb, but the rain didn't arrive until we were eating our picnic lunch at the Half Way House cafe. By that time, we were reaching the limits of fitness levels, and were glad of an excuse to head back down the mountain.

We then headed across the valley to the National Museum's superb slate industry museum. Clare took Owain around. I stayed in the car to rest my aching limbs and promptly fell asleep for an hour. Much refreshed, we drove home by way of Caernarfon to show Owain the town, castle and the waterfront. The sandbar in the Arfon estuary provided supper for many seabirds, including this flock of oystercatchers.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

North Wales pilgrimage

While the world around us was enjoying a second Bank Holiday lie-in, we rose early and were out of the house by nine to collect Owain for the long drive up the A470 to North Wales, on empty roads in persistent light rain. We ate a picnic lunch on high, astride Bwlch Oerdrws, surrounded by misty crags, before the long descent to Dolgellau, and the last leg of our journey northwards towards Trawsfynydd and our destination nearby, the old slate mining village of Llan Ffestiniog. We reached Trawsfynydd an hour before we were to take possession of our holiday cottage, and at Clare's suggestion went into the village to enquire about the location of the family home of Ellis Humphrey Evans - 'Hedd Wyn', one of Wales' eminent twentieth century poets, who was killed in the same month, serving in the same regiment (the Royal Welch Fusiliers) as my Great Uncle Will, during the second battle of Paschendaele.

The story of how a young farm hand with just six years of primary schooling behind him could rise to become an Eisteddfod prize winning Welsh language poet six times between the ages of twenty and thirty worth examining. No doubt regular attendance at Sunday School and Chapel in the village had something to do with it. Hedd Wyn is remembered because he sent his last prize winning poem to the adjudicators of the national Eisteddfod from the Western Front, not long before he was killed. The announcement of his victory in the closing ceremony of the Eisteddfod, would have normally been completed with his enthronement on a ceremonial chair specially carved for the winner of the year. On this occasion the chair stood empty, draped in black - 'y Gadair du', the black chair of Hedd Wyn. Outside Trawsfynydd Baptist Chapel stands a commemorative statue of him. 
Just up the street there is a plaque over the house where he was born. The place most associated with him is 'Yr Ysgwrn', the family hill farm where he grew up, a few miles from the village. Clare made enquiries at a shop to obtain directions. We then drove there to find its location with the aim of arranging a visit later during our stay. We found it easily, and as we still had time in hand we couldn't resist the temptation to park outside the farm entrance, and walk up the quarter mile track to the house. As we stood gazing at the view, a tractor crossed the fields to meet us. We were greeted by Hedd Wyn's nephew, farmer Gerallt Williams, now in his eighties, still hale and hearty, still working. 'Yr Ysgwrn' is currently closed for renovation, after purchase by the Snowdonia National Park Authority to preserve for future generations of pilgrims. Gerallt now lives in a new bungalow nearby, and receives about 4000 visitors a year from Wales and the world. Official closure didn't prevent him from welcoming us graciously, however. He ushered us into the farmhouse parlour where all six of the Eisteddfod poetry prize winning chairs are kept.

What followed was a delightful inspirational hour of conversation in a mix of Welsh and English,spiced with humour, insight, stories and philosophy. The radical Welsh non-conformist ethos kept Hedd Wyn creative, harbouring profound misgivings about the englishman's war far off war, as his parents and ten siblings struggled against rural poverty to stay on the land. He remained on the farm, away from active service until he was finally compelled to enlist and dispatched to Flanders. Virtually all of his generation of young men from Trawsfynydd were lost, over forty of them. I learned that the ornate, symbol laden 'gadair du' had been carved by a Belgian refugee. Owing to a wartime shortage of suitable timber, it was fashioned from ancient beams salvaged from the ruined site of Valle Crucis Abbey, a mediaeval site near Llangollen, about forty miles to the east. 'Historic' in Welsh culture has a different meaning and value to that assigned to it by today's loose tongued media men with little new to say.
Our unique spontaneous visit to 'Yr Ysgwrn' while it still looks much the same as it did a century ago made a profound impression on me. Instead of feeling ashamed as I generally do about the poverty of my grasp on the Welsh language, I found that in a small way I was able to reach into what I could recall and make use of it. Currently, learning Spanish for my stay in the Costa Azahar takes my attention, but at the same time, my desire to reconnect with my much neglected roots in Welsh culture is re-awakening in a surprising way.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Jubilee Sunday worship

Up at seven, and out of the door by half past to drive out to Holy Cross Cowbridge to celebrate their eight o'clock said Eucharist with nine people present. There are still small groups of older people who value an early said Sunday service. They are willing to make the effort to come from a wider area, either for logistic or spiritual reasons. Early services have been dying out since I was a curate. Often they are abandoned not by a faithful few, (which given the opportunity continues to reproduce itself), but by clergy pressed by increasing demands to provide Sunday worship in several churches. 

Llandaff Cathedral has a well attended eight o'clock Eucharist, two Sung Eucharists, and then another said Eucharist at midday, attended by several dozen of all ages. It shows there is a persistent group of worshippers who prefer to listen quietly and think, rather than sing. I didn't understand this when I was a young zealot of a priest. Now I wonder if we are offering enough variety, as there's such emphasis on overt activity as the main involvement in worship. I'll be interested to see insight the yet to be appointed successor to John Lewis, the Cathedral Dean about to retire - one of my contemporaries - will bring to bear on the Cathedral's offering to the diocese.

After Holy Cross, I drove to St Marychurch for their nine fifteen Eucharist. Gazebos had been erected, and bunting hung in the semi circular grove of sycamore trees enclosing the area to the west of the church tower, ready for a Jubilee barbeque.
The Rector, Fr Derek and his wife Pam were in the congregation. Prior to re-starting work, he is getting out and about seeing his ten congregations in situ - and, in my opinion, finding that they are in good heart. Over coffee afterwards a group of us chatted about the immense social value to the village of this precious and ancient piece of land, known locally as 'the Spinney', where many fund-raising social events take place. Back in the nineteenth century, there was a small farm within the enclosure, but all trace of this has gone. The land was bequeathed to the church, and it acquired its present trees during the twentieth century, even though this enhancement looks and feels much more ancient. I conjectured that a bio-diversity survey of this piece of land might reveal all kinds of surprises and hidden treasures, simply because it has retained its unique form as a celtic 'Llan' for perhaps fourteen hundred years.

My final Eucharist of the morning was at St Hilary. In the announcements I learned that the local choir would sing a Festal Evensong for the Queen's Jubilee this evening. Clare and I spent the afternoon watching the Thames water pageant, and then we drove out to St Hilary for the service. The church was full, seventy people, plus a thirty strong choir and brass ensemble from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Parry's 'I was glad', Handel's 'Zadok the Priest', and Vaughan Williams' 'Old Hundredth', all used in the Queen's Coronation, were sung well with great affection.

What a delightful festive day, celebrating not only the Queen's extraordinary life of service, but also the richness, diversity and inclusiveness of British civil society and voluntary enterprise. The way in which she has personally valued the contributions made by so many citizens for so long has certainly set the tone for the life of the nation, an unique moral and spiritual kind of leadership, demonstrating there is so much more to society and public life than power politics and economics.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Jubilee décor

After a nice lazy Saturday breakfast we went out for coffee and croissant at a popular  recently opened place on Cathedral Road. It was warm enough for two large picture windows to be open, allowing some customers to sit on a pavement patio outside. For me, the noise was unusually intrusive as I've lost three quarters of the hearing in my right ear due to an accumulation of wax. These days so many bars and restuarants lack soft furnishings to soak up noise. It makes conversation difficult. Clients tend to shout to make themselves heard. It reminds me of spartan post-war school canteens I grew up with, except that today doesn't smell of boiled cabbage and spuds, but usually the more congenial aroma of coffee.

We went into the city centre after lunch on a brief expedition to get a print cartridge for Clare's machine. We took advantage of a quiet couple of hours while Wales played the Barbarians in a big match at the Millennium Stadium, but there were lots of people about, enjoying the warmth. 
Union Jack bunting fluttered in abundance throughout the public realm, except for the section of the Hayes in front the St David's Shopping Centre where the public realm is managed, not by the Council but by Land Securities. Mean lot. On the other hand, the Brewery Quarter managers went nicely over the top with their bunting.
This was the Morgan Arcade, taken on my way home from work yesterday evening. It's just great to see so many places pulling together.
Recession is hitting every sector of the economy. Cardiff commerce hasn't been hit as hard as many places, largely due to the attractiveness and modernity of its offering to visitors both local and international. Much hard work is being invested by people in business to maintain high standards however. They know how much their livelihoods depend on getting people come and come again.