This blog is a one-person effort so if the one person’s otherwise engaged  the rate of production slows down.

For ten days this month I was away from the desk delivering D3 to her new university course in North Wales and then going on for a few days in the South West of England.  A lot of perhaps not very sustainable driving but also some great things seen and done.  For example

  • the varying fortunes of the string of towns along the North and mid-Wales coasts, with some looking very neglected while others had a positive sparkle about them (I didn’t realise Bangor had such a splendidly restored Victorian pier)
  • the strength of the Welsh language, not only in the north but down as far as Carmarthen and the excellent nearby National Botanical Garden.  It was great to hear it in everyday use
  • the seaside home of the old (young actually) reprobate Dylan Thomas at Laugharne.  I was amused by two contrasting items of information in the same room – a local newspaper of the time noting that “Mr Thomas died of an unexplained brain disease in New York recently” while an actor on a tape told us “Dylan’s last known words were ‘Eighteen straight whiskies on the trot.  A record’”
  • a brief visit to use the internet in Cornwall Council’s Wadebridge library – bright, obviously well cared-for, and helpful staff
  • a visit to a friend near Bristol whose almost-village tranquillity is threatened by a giant development that would swallow up a golf course and other open land and dump a football stadium in the middle of it
  • two wonderful days at the Eden project and lost gardens of Heligan, both inspired/developed by the amazing Tim Smit.  I suspect he’s a man who’s not easy for officialdom to deal with but he sure gets stuff done.

As I worked my way through this list I realised that it’s not just self-indulgent reminiscence.  In fitting with the theme of this blog you can see the hand, nearly always positive, of public agencies in almost everything I saw and enjoyed.  Well done government at all levels – EU (significant funder of the Eden project), Welsh assembly, councils and town and parish councils.

Footnote 14 October 2011 – I was saddened to see that the Poetry Archive web site claims Dylan Thomas’ last words were in fact “After 39 years, this is all I’ve done.”  Much more prosaic.