Sunday, December 30, 2007

Not quite a Tourist Honeypot

Tne town of Bargoed in Wales can hardly be described as a tourist attraction. It was once the heart of a thriving coal-mining industry. It has a folorn look about it now. Every time I visit here there are more shops boarded up or are having "closing down" sales and that includes the charity shops. This image of urban decrepitude was heightened during Christmas by a solitary Salvation Army tuba player playing Christmas carols. No band, just a solitary player. It reminded me of the final song in Schubert's Winterreise where the traveller meets the lonely hurdy-gurdy player playing his lonely cold song of death....

And yet...

The streets are crowded despite all this and the people are ever so friendly. I put this paradox to my daughter after returning from a foray into town. I suggested the run-down shops were due to the presence of a huge TESCO's in nearby Ystrad Mynach some three miles away.
Her reply suggested something far different. The whole township of Bargoed is on the threshold of a huge regeneration programme, the Gamma development. Already work on the new bypass is well under way and much of the town centre is to be rebuilt with a new shopping centre.
She went on to say that ASDA have already put in a bid for a mega-market in Bargoed but she and several others would rather have MORRISON's move in.

Now that is an interesting concept. Instead of the current set-up involving competitive tender where the biggest and richest get the contracts, how about a vote among the local population to vote for their preferred option of which supermarket comes in? That would be real democracy.
About 100 yards from Bargoed Railway station I saw this group of ivy leaves growing out of a wall.

1 comment:

Swearing Mother said...

Norman, I absolutely love that ivy drawing and think it should be a Christmas card next year.

Came over to say that I hope you and your family have a lovely New Year and a very happy 2008.

Best wishes.