Monday, 6 March 2017

End of a retail era

For the second time in a few days, I slept awkwardly and woke up with a stiff neck and shoulder which also gave my a painful ache in the scalp. An 8.30am  phone call from Clare got me out of bed suddenly, telling me that our cleaners were standing on the doorstep waiting to be let in. I hadn't heard the bell. It took me all morning to recover from this rude awakening and coax the spasm out of my muscles.

Clare arrived home just after lunch, and soon went out to do the week's grocery shopping without me noticing. I think I must have dozed off on the sofa before she left. Then the doorbell tang, and it was a neighbour who was seeking signatures for a petition which Iona our local City Councillor encouraged her to circulate. This expresses concern about the likely disappearance of our local Post Office, which is embedded in a mini-market in Pontcanna Street owned and run by the Patel family for decades. 

The elders are retiring and selling to the Co-op, which only a year ago opened a new local store on the Old Dairy site at the top of King's Road. It's very well used, and convenient. Is there to be yet another Co-op, some three hundred yards away? Or a relocation? Nobody seems to know. The embedded Post Office franchise is registered to the Patels, and it's an open question as to whether or not the Co-op's development plans for the site include a Post Office. Iona is meeting the Co-op regional managers to discuss the matter, and a public expression of concern about the need for a local sub-Post Office will be worth by good support.

Late afternoon, I walked my usual route around Pontcanna Fields again, collecting an assortment of 40 plastic water bottles, cans, paper cups and plastic wrappers used to package dozens of water bottles. When there are matches, it's not unusual for team coaches or supporters to bring small water bottles to supply the players. There's no excuse for not taking the packaging way, or for discarding half empty, or even sometimes full bottles of water.

On the edge of the Fields is a suite of sports changing rooms. Here on the ground within five metres of a waste bin which wasn't full I picked up seven discarded cans and bottles. Walking the perimeter of the SWALEC stadium, I picked up another dozen pieces discarded in the narrow garden, un-noticed or deposited in the four days since my last visit. Mention anti-social behaviour and sport, and what comes to mind is tribal clashes between rival fans. Sports littering strikes me as being an almost daily issue, from recent observation, quite apart from the appalling mess of rubbish left in the city centre after every Big Match. Isn't it time this became an issue of public concern in relation to sport in the same way as racism and homophobia has become?

On a more cheering note, the heron often to be seen near Blackweir Bridge or downstream from it, put in an appearance again this afternoon, after an absence of several weeks. It stood for ages no more than ten metres from the riverbank footpath in the shallows just staring at the water around its feet. It seemed not to notice me and I was able to stand in front of it for a while before it moved its head, and then flew off to haunt the fish ladder zone instead. An amazing bird.

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