Recent news reports have calculated that spending on Halloween in the UK will be more than £120m this year, compared with £12m five years ago. Bryan Davis of Connah's Quay has spent £1000 turning his home into a haunted house, according to a BBC News story. He's quoted as being "disappointed with the work youngsters were putting into Halloween" and wants to encourage them to make more of an effort to wear imaginative costumes. I'm inclined to agree with him having opened the door to two trick or treaters last weekend, neither of whom had bothered dressing up at all - and it wasn't even Halloween night! Do you think Halloween is getting expensive, and will you be welcoming trick or treaters tonight or ignoring them?
Archives for October 2006
Wrexham Council has become the latest authority in the UK to enable its services to be accessed via digital TV - such as renewing library books or complaining about bin collections.
The facility is available to Sky TV customers via the interactive services and also includes latest transport and travel information. For more information visit the council website, www.wrexham.gov.uk or view via your Sky remote control by clicking Interactive > Sky Active > Interactive Services > Local Services > Looking Local > Wales > Wrexham.
Heard about the gang who filmed a thug stealing a pair of glasses from a charity worker in the street in Wrexham and then posted the footage on a website? Well, the culprit was found by police and so, as the Times Online points out, the people concerned might concede that putting the word “robbery” in the title of their YouTube video was not the brightest of ideas!
Our very own says-it-like-it-is Chief Constable is to be told to choose his words carefully after his weblog caused offence with people in Old Colwyn whom he labelled as NIMBYS [not in my back yard].
BBC Local News is carrying the full story over Richard Brunstrom's latest headline-grabbing antics but, to be honest, I think he's a plain talker who says it like he sees it - he's no politician, if you see what I mean, and you always know what he means.
It looks like Ffrith Beach could be about to be re-developed, according to Denbighshire County Council's website. Two companies have put in bids and one of these has been chosen to develop the site, working with Denbighshire officers. The site has been vacant for 10 years, as reported on BBC Wales online, but was a major tourist attraction in the 1970s. Do you remember it then and what would you like to see on the site in the future?
Work is progressing on Wrexham's Eagles Meadow development, reports BBC Wales, with the first steel supports for the complex having been unveiled today. Eventually the site should see "more than 30 shops, a cinema, restaurants and bowling alley". Also, the National Trust is apparently proposing to extend the village of Rhostyllen by creating a "sustainable urban village" which will include 222 new houses on an area of 20 acres. Funds raised will be put towards maintaining Erddig. I've been living in Wrexham for nearly nine years and seen big changes in the town during that time. It looks like there are many more to come...
As the Hafod Quarry issue is still to be resolved, what advice you would offer to our community leaders who are seeking the views of industry experts to help them decide the best way to deal with Wales's rubbish and recycling needs over the next 20 years?
To find out more about the meeting in Flintshire [Oct 25-26] involving overseas specialists, the Welsh Assembly Government and local authority officials, visit the industry's news and info website Materials Recycling Week.
There was a repeat to the brilliant Popeth yn Gymraeg on S4C last night. For those who didn't watch it, it was a fascinating TV series in which poet Ifor ap Glyn toured Wales and, as the Welsh title of the programme says, he did 'everything in Welsh'.
It wasn't snooty, it wasn't negative towards the non-Welsh speaking members of the public - it was showing how people could communicate and explain themselves in Welsh and how they COULD be understood by those who, on the face of it, thought 'they' could not speak or understand Welsh.
Last night, he recruited Welsh-speaking volunteers to go out on the streets of Aberystwyth with one simple task in mind - to approach strangers and speak to them or communicate with them in Welsh only.
All the volunteers were surprised how well they got on and all said they would now start their conversations with strangers in Welsh rather than English.
For me as a Welsh learner who has made Wales his home, the most striking aspect in the programme was that some of the Welsh speaking volunteers felt uncomfortable speaking Welsh first with strangers in their own country. Why should they feel like that?
Ifor reckons the Welsh language can be reclaimed and used more in Wales - even if it is one word at a time. Here's three - wnai trio mwy [I will try more]!
We hear that work will start soon on the restoration and re-use of the former Holywell Textile Mill Shop on Greenfield Street, Holywell, through the Holywell Townscape Heritage Initative.
No doubt locals will welcome the news to turn it into an arts and craft centre as it has been empty since the early 1990s. The £850,000 project also includes a new car park that will be used for the nearby St Winefride's Holy Well.
Apparently the best place to get a bacon buttie in Britain is somewhat off the beaten track - at One Planet Adventure, Llandegla, Denbighshire, reports http://icwales.co.uk.
School children in Denbighshire are taking part in a scheme to recycle old copies of the Yellow Pages, says a news release on Denbighshire County Council's website. The scheme aims to raise funds to plant trees and increase woodland in Wales. It surprised me to learn that, according to the news release, Wales is "one of the least wooded countries in Europe", so let's hope the scheme is successful!
Nothing personal Mam, but Dylan was using the expression to make a point about the difference with considering himself Welsh and not British.
He writes: "Although I appreciate our shared histories [with England] and understand our peoples have strong cultural links, nonetheless we also have our cultural independence."
Meanwhile, Alusia has been explaining about 'Little Poland', a community in Manor Place on the Wrexham-Shropshire border which sprang up around the Polish hospital & camp in Penley at the end of WWII.
She explains: "I was brought up as a Polish child. However, integration into the English way of life became more prevalent when I started school and started to speak English."
I'd be interested to know what the influx of migrant workers - our newest residents - make of the place and whether they see it as Welsh, British, English or European. What do you reckon?
My 11 year old is one for the sports labels. He actually said he wanted to be a Chav. I thought that was a derogatory term that stood for 'council housed and violent', but he and his peers reckon the Chav look is good!
And then Lorna got in touch which puts my son's comments into perspective: "Chavs and Goths are taking over and normal people can't be accepted unless they're on one of the sides."
Did you identify with a group when you were growing up and what made you sign up? Before my Alternative phase I went for the Don Johnson, Miami Vice look, complete with suit - sleeves rolled up, of course - and shoes with no socks. My father was so embarrassed with my fashion disasters. Now I can see what he meant!
Got any ideas or inventions that could help to save energy? Then Denbighshire Council wants you to draw your ideas and submit them to a special art workshop at Rhyl Museum on Saturday.
We've long had a debate raging on this site concerning wind farms due to the turbines built off the Rhyl & Prestatyn coast.
But Peter recently submitted a new idea: "Drop them below the surface of the sea and they become marine turbines, which are more than double the efficiency, beneficial to wildlife and totally unobtrusive. No contest."
What do you reckon?
Villagers are calling for action to make safe a road which they say is the area's worst accident blackspot, reports www.flintshirestandard.co.uk.
Locals say there's an accident weekly at the Smithy Lane/Oakenholt Lane crossroads, on the B5126 Northop / Mold to Connah’s Quay road and there have been four deaths.
The silhouettes hide an important feature of these members of the country's latest boy band - the fact that quite a few of them are pensioners!
For this is the cover photo of a CD by Froncysyllte Male Voice Choir, their first single since signing a record deal. The choir has been going for 60 years but today they are enjoying the first taste of stardom following the publicity launch for their CD, Voices of the Valley. There's even talk of a movie!
I always like seeing local places featuring in the national press and today the Guardian's travelog features a great picture of the Pontcysyllte aqueduct. The aqueduct has been nominated as Britain's next World Heritage Site along with other places of historical interest such as the Antonine Wall, once the frontier of the Roman Empire in Scotland. Do you think Pontcysyllte deserves this honour? Where would you nominate?
Protesters concerned about the dumping of waste from Merseyside [see previous blog entry] into a new landfill at the former Hafod quarry, Wrexham, are taking their fight to the Welsh Assembly Government tomorrow.
They will be carrying a petition of 1,500 names from a campaign supported by the Evening Leader local newspaper which writes: "They are hoping tomorrow's handover will put enough pressure on the Government to revoke the licence for the landfill, which, locals say, is too close to housing and a health hazard."
Meanwhile, take a look at a growing photo archive compiled by Vertigogen who has been following the protest closely.
Wrexham is changing as more and more of the area is being developed with the old Eagles Meadow car park currently being transformed into a new shopping area, including Debenhams. More recently, the former Wrexham Lager Brewery was demolished to make way for a new retail and leisure park.
But do you think progress comes with a price and is it worth it? Contributor Anon writes: "How many landmark buildings does it take for the council to demolish to realise you've become a 'lookalike'? It's become a chain-store replica town. I used to marvel 20 years ago at some of the architecture."
Do you agree or do you like what Wrexham is becoming?
That's the headline I read in an interesting article in the Western Mail over the weekend which was basically saying that school lunch breaks could be increased to give kids longer to eat their meals.
As a parent I agree with this one - but there are arguments against this and you can add your views to the mix - but I support it because I've had the situation where my son has taken things out of his packed lunch at home and put them back in the cupboard, saying he won't have enough time to eat up.
At one time he was restricting himself to a sandwich and a drink - and he can eat a horse at home! - because he was feeling pressured. Thankfully, this is no longer the case but he still checks what goes into his lunch box, ensuring things don't take too much time to chew!
Wales has for a long time been fighting to protect its first language and still some people 'resist' because English is somehow regarded as easier. Is it enough these days just to be able to speak the Queen's English?
I raise the issue because the importance of our languages - as we are, indeed, a multi-linguistic society - struck me today. Just look at the range of issues raised by contributors:
I love Carl's poem, Shakespeare's 21st Century Sonnet, particularly the line, "I hath no mule to mount, but hath a myspace© account."
But don't get Geraint started. As I mentioned in a previous blog, he reckons too much money is spent on preserving the Welsh language.
It's an interesting poser which has been raised by contributor Geraint who writes: "Hospitals closing in Wales at an increasing rate - due to lack of money. Much more money being spent on Welsh language signs, paperwork, education, etc. Given the choice wouldn't most people in Wales prefer the money to go to helping local hospitals to stay open?"
I suppose it's a question of priority but, as there is never enough money to spend on all the things we want, sometimes hard decisions have to be made. Obviously such a decision could never be taken by the decisionmakers, not least because cash is allocated to health and education from different budgets. But, if you were the Welsh First Minister or Prime Minister, where would you spend the public's money?
There will be no plots left at cemeteries in Denbighshire within the next few years, says a report going to the county council tomorrow. Plans had been put forward previously to create two new cemeteries but the costs were too great to pursue the idea. What do you reckon should be done?
http://icnorthwales.co.uk has a full report on the story saying Rhyl cemetery has only 73 plots available with 38 at Llanrhydd cemetery, Ruthin.
Wrexham Council has launched a new web section promoting its WebWalks which allows you to view and print off routes as well see and send in photos from the walks.
PS. You going on one of the Flintshire Cycle Challenge routes this weekend? Myself and friends are doing the 23 mile route [Sir y Fflint Bach] on the hills and tracks around Mold. An advance party scouted the route last weekend and, whilst taking in the scenery, managed to lose their way between Cilcain and Moel Arthur so go careful!
What confidence do you know have in Denbighshire Council's leading councillors after the leader and cabinet narrowly survived a vote of no confidence?
http://icnorthwales.co.uk has been following the story closely but we're curious to know what you think?
Does the use of CCTV cameras make you feel safe or paranoid? I pose the questions because contributor G has been in touch, angered about the number of cameras on Plas Madoc housing estate in Wrexham: "It's like something out of [George Orwell's]1984 for God's sake."
Yes, I guess it can make you feel like Big Brother is watching your every move. But isn't it better to have someone watching your back, especially if you have nothing to hide?
I must admit they do make me feel a little paranoid, like going through airport Customs with nothing to declare but feeling like I'm some kind of drugs baron.
I noticed a camera on the high street in Flint following a group of tracksuit and baseball cap-clad teens - they weren't doing anything but it was following them just in case. Was that right? Were they deemed guilty until proven innocent?
The next time you spot a camera on the high street, see who it follows - and make up your own mind. You never know, it might be watching you!