Friday, 18 November 2016

Redevelopment progress in Central Square

Yesterday was a cold and rainy day, enough to sap motivation to go for my usual walk, so I just stayed in and pottered about. An email notification of pending water rates bill from Dwr Cymru prompted me to go on-line and register to get access to our account on-line. It wasn't quite as straightforward as it might have been, and I had to ring the help line to check about the entering the name of our account into a database field which seemed reluctant to accept what I entered from the account holder's name line of the bill address. Once sorted, I was able to download a pdf of the bill to examine.

When I mentioned to Clare that I'd done this, she complained, saying that she'd rather receive a paper copy, and then pay on line, something she's used to doing, perhaps even more than me. I returned to the Dwr Cymru website and discovered that in signing up for web access to the account (aka eBilling), I had lost the possibility of paper billing. Oh dear! So then I proceeded to de-register from using the online account, and when asked to explain why as part of this routine, stated I needed both and, not an either/or option..

This morning, by co-incidence, the water rates bill arrived in the post. It was already on its way when I was registering and de-registering yesterday. Hopefully this won't have disrupted the paper billing sequence in future. When you only get two water rate bills a year, it's easy to forget when they are due. I may get an email reminder, but Clare doesn't. If I was away when it was due, it might not get paid if she wasn't aware it was due.

Later in the morning I walked into town, with the aim of returning some surplus equipment to the office, and to take some photos of the Central Square Redevelopment construction site. It's seven weeks since I last did so. Work had just been started on demolishing the four storey row of shops and offices flanking Central Square on the east side. Now, all but a fraction the southern corner of the row has been cleared, exposing the car park behind, itself due for demolition, some time soon.

Amazingly, two tall concrete lift towers have sprung out of the ground, the excavated car park has been enclosed at ground level, and in separate areas of the site, two large skeletal steel structures have been erected. Very impressive indeed. I circumnavigated the site and took twice as many photos as usual, but can't make up for seven weeks of absence. Just as well that I don't have any travel plans for next year, and won't make any until Clare and I can plan to travel again together.

I had a wander around the shops for a while, looking for possible Black Friday sale bargains, but saw nothing that really tempted me at all. I'd quite like a smaller Windows laptop with a hi-res screen, as the work one I have is really too heavy and bulky to take in a rucksack. Most of those on offer are not the right size, and the screens are just not what I need for photo editing, and the ones worth considering are twice the price I am prepared to pay. If Toshiba can so a hi-res Chromebook for under £300, why can so few Windows PC manufacturers do the same for under £400. My other complaint about the new generation of portables is that so many of them have the battery hard wired and sealed in the case, and thus the device dies when the battery does. It's the same with phones too. Built in redundancy - it's the curse of consumerism and on the environment.

Having completed a tour of most of the shops I wanted to visit, I began to feel bored with shopping and headed for home, whereupon it started to rain and get colder, so instead of walking for another half an hour to get home, I waited for a 61 bus. During the journey, the heavens opened, sending forth a torrent of hail as well as water. It had just about stopped by the time I got off the bus, but everywhere was briefly covered with a white slushy blanket. By the time it got dark, the temperature had dropped just enough to cover the cars with frost. Winter is certainly on its way.

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