Wednesday, 23 January 2013

23rd January 2013 - Snow business v Show Business

Llanelli is not usually bothered by snow to any large extent. The palm trees at the bottom of the road, at the junction of West End and New Road lay witness to the warming influence of the gulf stream which hits the south west coasts of England and Wales. It is normal therefore for the snow to pass over "Tinopolis" and start further inland, on the banks of Swiss Valley - perhaps so aptly named.

However, while my daughter residing in Crete gloatingly tells me that temperatures are resting at 20 degrees Celsius  we are huddling in our house, with blankets and a fan heater, looking out the window upon a mainly white vista.

The central heating boiler churns and groans as it attempts to push water around the house. A few years ago I called an engineer to check the boiler, and as he looked aghast at the contraption. We discovered that it was an old industrial grade boiler probably best suited to small businesses, but capable of circulating around our quirky four storey house. Of course that was before someone added a few radiators back in the dawn of time and I must confess to adding to the problems by adding the basement heaters when we arrived in the eighties. I am no plumber. Sadly the artisans who complied with my request to add radiators followed my enthusiasm rather than examine the actual capabilities of the system and the flow from the pump. This all results in half of the radiators providing an artistic backdrop to a room rather than any actual heat.

My latest engineer took a look at it and stated that he really did not want to touch it, and if he did he felt he would probably have to condemn it!  I was satisfied when he agreed to simply test the fumes - and pass it as safe.  I know that it is not that economical, however the cost of a new boiler and probable replacement of the whole system means that we currently shiver a little in the winter... summer we can manage fine!!!

And so, recovering from coughs and colds, and sucking on the occasional amoxicillan to kick the whoop in cough, I look out upon the gentle fall of white stuff on the road, mentally pull up the draw bridge, and get on with composing some music and practising the lyre. That's Show Business... Mulled wine sees to be the answer.

I could go for a walk...  I could add another section to "Walks in Llanelli" with a nice "Snow Section". The dogs certainly consider this a good option - they are restless and going stir crazy, throwing a plastic up into the air and chasing it when not sitting next to the chair and pawing at my leg.
But it looks cold out there...
Maybe tomorrow - I may be feeling a little better then.
or the next day....

Monday, 21 January 2013

21st January 2013 - Under the weather

As it says on the lid - sadly - nothing to do with the amount of or lack of snow, climate or weather, just a few days not really feeling very well at all. Started with a cough and a sort of cold which passed quite quickly, now hacking cough that keeps me awake - and the rest of the house - the dogs are complaining !!
Managed to put my back out at the same time - so all in all not really in the best of health...
General consensus may be that it is whooping cough - even thought I had it as a child. Apparently I have all the symptoms.

Better than the alternative however.
That is me done for a day...

Saturday, 19 January 2013

18th January 2013 - Yes it snowed

Yup - It snowed
Didn't go out and take any photos ..
Does that make me a bad man ???

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

16th January 2013 - Snow Update

There was a flurry of snow in Llanelli today - but it did not stick
That's all...

Monday, 14 January 2013

14th January 2013 - Hunting Haggis

Burns Night is looming.
The grammar gurus can have fun with that statement, and decide whether it needs an apostrophe or not!  Is it a night belonging to Burn, was his name actually in the plural, in either case an apostrophe is required either before or after the "s" unless of course the evening is not belonging to him at all - he being dead and everything and as far as we are aware not resuscitated in the zombie mode.
But with or without an apostrophe, it is coming.
Burns night for me means getting into my kilt and revising the Address to the Haggis in my best (false) Scottish accent. I say false accent as it is my best rendition and though I originate from Glasgow my Scottish accent really departed in the playground of Stanburn School, Stanmore in North west London. You quickly learn to speak the same as everyone else when you can't be understood in the playground.
But more important is the fortnight before, when it becomes necessary to become an expert upon the supply and quality of the Haggis itself.
Burns night comes once a year and therefore it also becomes the one time in the year when stores know that there will be demand - so the prices start to vary between stores.
Luckily, there appears to be little price fixing in the Haggis Standard - and each year the offers change, but for a Burns night with 80 people sitting down - a 454gm haggis will feed between 4 and five people. Dependent upon the "tattis and neeps" - the mashed potato and suede, you are still looking to buy about 20 haggis - or haggii I am not sure of the etymology!
And prices range from £2.99 as a standard. Tesco fail to have their normal haggis and have a new version at smaller size for £2, as though you won't notice!!.  Morrisons are running at normal price, though ASDA are offering the same at two for £3 bringing the price down to £1.50 a piece. Though I may be using an excess of diesel travelling and sorting through the various stores in the area, I am also looking at the prices of Malt Whisky (yes .. without the "e" we are looking at Scotch not Irish) which also seems to have doubled in price following the Christmas Period.

LIDL, the German store becomes my saviour. "No" the nice lady in Lidl tells me - " We don't sell Haggis"
As I turn to go she adds "Of course we are getting a shipment in next Thursday for Burns Night!!" It does not appear to occurr to her that there may have been a connection with my request. "The leaflets are by the door"  she advises me - and there on the leaflet of fresh fruit and vegetables is a picture of Haggis - Special Offer - 30p off at 99p each..

Well, I do not need to be that accurate with my mathematics to work out that it is worth my while waiting until Thursday to finalise my purchases for the evening ...

So, I will probably have a penny or two extra to buy the Malt.
" A Haggis is a Haggis for a that

Sunday, 13 January 2013

13th January 2013 -Who the ... is Alice???

I managed to wade my way through the first section of my basement on Friday. Only cleared a space of about 3ft by 3ft from floor to ceiling, but that took most of the day and didn't include checking the papers in the file boxes, which contained records of the Inner Wheel and NSPCC for the last 30 years - that was a job I could leave to Susie. But that block of 3ft by 3ft was an important start!!

Two bags of rubbish, one full of paper for recycling of course, another full of electrical bits and pieces, again to make their was to the amenity centre. We don't have dumps any more... Would be a sad day for Arlo Guthrie to write his Massacree today "When we go to the Amenity Centre we found a chain across the drive and a sign that said "Amenity Centre closed on Thanksgiving!!"
Remember Alice?? It's a Blog about Alice..
But not that one!!

No the Alice that was brought to mind was small shop near to the end of Upper Park Street in Llanelli, on the right hand side as you left Stepney Street. Bars across the window and some form of grill. Thick glass and panes that did not appear to ever have been washed - how could you - you could not get near the inside. Alice's!!  Many a time I would stop and gaze into the window at the cornucopia that was Alice's Window. I did go in on occasion, and thank my stars that I was thin in those days as there was very little room to make your way through the small front room of the shop. Often the door was locked, and I am sure that it was shut more often than it was open. But the interior was an Aladdin's cave of  items, stacked apparently without order, but somehow you always felt that Alice knew where everything was.

I never saw anyone come out of the shop with anything. But I never saw anything taken in their either - but there always seemed to be just a little more space for another piece of furniture, some more trinkets for the glass cabinet, another lampshade, portrait or those green glass balls that hung from fishermen's nets. I remember those Green Balls, I am sure that we have some somewhere. Probably in the next 3ft by 3ft of the basement..

It is my basement that now reminds me of Alice's.
Maybe she did not sell anything. Maybe she also just accumulated "things" that were too valuable to throw away. "Things" that might come in useful one day. "Things" that nowadays you could probably sell on Ebay. I know people who do so - but getting the first item onto the selling list is the worst. "Things" that may have once been alive. Standing at the bottom of my basement steps it is possible to conjecture that there may be "things" with their own alien life form evolving in the morass.

I never knew Alice by any other name - spoke to her seldom, but she was that strange figure, like a curator of some seventies version of Warehouse 13 museum. Reading Harry Davies' recollections in his book "Looking around Llanelli", I find that her full name was Alice Davies, and she had been in the business  40 years when he interviewed her. I read that she nearly went out of business in 1970, some six years before I would get to meet her, when she sold about half her stock including most of her African Items to a dealer in South Carolina. He, while visiting Llanelli, had made a conditional bid for all the contents at the shop. Apparently the deal was a modest down payment and a 50 percent share of profits on the sale in America. Eight days it took to load everything into crates and ship it to the States. Sadly the dealer died suddenly, the stateside business had no-one to run it and the goods disappeared into limbo. Harry tells us that Mrs Davies put it down to bad luck. "It was a heavy blow" she said, " but not so much the result of bad faith but of bad luck". A restrained way to consider your entire business ruined at the age of 57.

So looking at the timing of the article, it seems that Alice and I started our collections of various useful and possibly variable valued items at about the same time. Mine in the natural course of raising a family, and hers in the acquisition of more stock for her shop. For by the time I met her, there was no indication that she had once more started from scratch. I thought that the portal I entered in her shop had been there from time immemorial. No indication was there that it had started not only in my lifetime but in my recent history.

And so it is with my basement, I know that within living history of my children, we used to sit and watch television here. That once I traverse the next corridor, there is a bar and a three piece suite hiding under crates and marquee canvass. But, as you step carefully watching for trip hazards and peer into the rows of costumes hanging like a demented Narnian Wardrobe, it would be possible to see Alice's Tiger skin, a real one not the imitation that is in the living room upstairs. There would be swords and daggers and rifles and bayonets, relics of previous wars unlike the replicas and latex covered axes by the front door. And Assegais. African throwing spears which form the centrepiece of Harry's story - I never had one of those... Maybe they would be valuable if I collected one...

At 72 Alice was still collecting stock for her business, and presumably making a living in her small shop in Upper Park Street. Falcon Music Closed. Circles the bar closed, but Alice's seemed to just continue.  Harry  reported that she seemed happy as ever and showed no signs of retiring. Alice had her favourites though. She loved to collect elephants. She accumulated over 300 in her herd, china, porcelain, ivory, ebony. But were they a white elephant to her I  wonder?

I will try to tackle the next 3ft of flooring in the basement tomorrow. I took a day off today because I found too many old photographs, and in the spirit of 2013, found that I had to scan them for future generations and store them in perpetuity.. by uploading them to Facebook and tagging family members. It is the modern way.
Tomorrow I will take another step towards sorting my accumulated wealth of nick-nacks. No elephants for me !! I don't have these sort of foibles - well unless you count the flying pigs that festoon the house. They don't count really..... but there are a lot ...

I didn't see when Alice's shop closed. That area of Llanelli grew shabbier and shabbier over the years. Tesco moved out and Tinopolis the TV studio took over. Stepney Hotel got demolished. Island House Public house fought to live and failed, and a new theatre complex opens with hotel and entertainment establishments. The Subway is replaced and access to Upper Park Street is difficult to find in the new road complex but maybe I shall take my camera and see if I can find where Alice once stood.

But there is hope. All the contents of her shop must have been transported, and though I do not know what happened to them, at this stage of basement clearance, the knowledge that it can be done is more important than details of what happened...

As long as it is not the City Dump....  Remember Alice ? It is a blog about Alice...

Saturday, 12 January 2013

12th January 2013 - O true apothecary! Thy drugs are quick.

Seems that January 12th is National Pharmacist day. This has certain interests as after starting to clear the basement - we came upon a number of old documents that have been held in a box over a couple of house moves -one of which was the birth certificate of my paternal grandfather. Following some searches using google and some history we discover that my Great Grandfather was a Chemist - in Fulham - London, not so far from where Susie's ancestors plied their wares.

Of course, in my family I have discovered more about my paternal side of the family through research rather than direct information. I remember my Grandmother, a Grandma rather than a Nanny, from Scotland, and she baked Grandma's special biscuits - coconut and chocolate.  I remember Grandpa, he sat in the corner and smoked his pipe, but he wasn't my Grandfather I found out later .. he was my grandmother's brother - a Grand uncle I think.  My father did not speak of his father, some complication about running off with another woman and marrying her without divorcing his current wife, but rumour tells me that he was in the Merchant Navy, and was an electrician - and was responsible for bringing the "talkies" into Scottish Cinema - but that may be a story for another day. I never claimed that my ancestors had a simple life....

But now, through the certificates, we can trace his father back to the apothecary business in Fulham. And Google allows us to find the actual house that he was born in - and that business strangely is still a Chemist.
So, after all these years, the Pharmacist Day, brings me a small insight into the past and the present.

Personally, I do not like to take pills. 
But history is never bitter sweet .....unless writ by Shakespear

Friday, 11 January 2013

11th January 2013 - An Icy stroll.

A clear sky and the promise of a good sunrise. Crisp air and a touch of "huff" breathing through teeth. For many years I have spurned the use of gloves, always warm handed, but this morning the old black woollen offerings found in an old raincoat are welcome as I reach the galvanised gates at the bottom of the garden. Delft, the Blue Merle is bouncing like Scrat the Squirrel from Ice Age despite her 15 years and Rusty is yelping like a demented soul. The problem is that the lock to the gate has frozen!

Unwilling to retrace my steps back up the garden, I persevere by blowing into the lock. Finally the key slides in but fails to turn in either direction. By now, Delft is bouncing on my feet and Rusty is chasing his shadow around the van. A few more gentle exhalations, and the lock releases and two canine tumbleweeds bowl in to the back lane. There is ice in the broken tarmac, and the ground is slippy. We pass cars glistening with icing sugar frosting, and agitated drivers scraping windscreens as they check their watch or phone to see how late they are....

No work this morning for us...   But the light looks as though it may catch the morning scenery, so I head off past the old Stradey Grounds, up Denham Avenue and into the woodlands below Stradey Castle. The ground is crisp, but after all the rain in the last weeks, the woodland paths are saturated and muddy, the cover of the trees preventing the ice reaching the ground.
Path into the Woods - Council Houses to the left & Castle to the right
The grounds of Stradey Castle are private but unfenced at this point, and there is clear sign that the paths are well used, though the woodland needs clearing and the stream beds are blocked. Looking straight ahead, you travel a woodland path, but ever concious of the contrast of the Council houses to the left and the Castle to the right.

At the end of the woodland, the land opens up into fields, bordering the Castle and forming a boundary between the Stradey Welsh School and the Sixth Form College formerly known as the "Boy's Gram"
The light is just right to catch the russet glow of the trees in winter in contrast to the white frosted grass...

Crossing the fields, there are remnants of the summer growth, glistening in the sunlight.

It is at times like these that I realise why my friends - the "professional" photographers, always carry their best camera with them - but I have only brought my handheld Samsung. But, note to self, this is a good time to be up and about to get a different light. I find the fields are well fenced and stock proof and wander around looking for a way across and come across a stately old tree - lying on the ground.

Further on we skirt Stradey Castle itself, the ground too boggy to cross, so we follow the playing fields of the two schools and out towards the front entrances. The Castle can be seen through the trees, but the sun has gone by now, and it will have to be another day to try to catch the stone and setting.

The day turns cloudy, still cold, and the ice starts to soak into the feet and ankles. Time for a cup of tea and some home made bread and cheese. I think I will have to put the central heating on when I get home ...

Thursday, 10 January 2013

10th January 2013 - Old Castle Llanelli

It is with a certain degree of irony that I note that over the last week, my blogs have been concerned with walks around the Llanelli area. This may not seem strange to many, but those who have known me over the years will be aware that exercise and walking are not favourite pastimes!  I have friends who walk, I have supported friends while they tramped over Hadrian's Wall. I have dogs and acknowledge that they sometimes need more than the large Dog Flap in the back door and access to the paved yard. I do not "do" the gymn, and rarely feel the need to put on waterproofs and boots and head off in to the moist... "I may be gone a while !"

Yes , my walking friends know that I delight in the views from remote points, love the smell of the countryside and the open expanses. Yes I love these things - and normally from behind the wheel of my trusty 4 x 4. I relish in the ability to be able to take a maverick or terrano into locations that no mechanical vehicle has gone before.. in the warmth and comfort of the interior cab, and with the elements properly tamed behind the windshield...

Yet, over the last week or so, I have found myself expounding upon the history and landscape of Llanelli, with camera in hand and dogs at my side. Please accept that this is because we are within close proximity, and reasonable walking distance of the house - and not as a result of some new perambulatory perversion...

But I promised Ceri from Americymru, a fine website for ex-pat and resident Welsh people   that after my walk around the Old Castle exercise track .. I would research more into the Old Castle itself.. And so, with the weather dry, and the temperature dropping - the dogs took me once more onto the Pont Agen Bridge - the best place to overlook the remnants of the Motte and Bailey that was once a mighty castle - possibly even built on Roman settlement ... but I run ahead of myself .....

From previous blogs, I have the pictures and history of Pont Agen, and as I stand upon the start of the bridge, I look behind me over the Old Castle Pond - or Pond Twym - which I learn means "Warm Pond" which I will come back to later .

For the Motte and Bailey, the castle site itself,  is in the middle of the Pond. Even with the winter sun and lack of leaves on the trees it is almost impossible to get a clear view of the island in the middle of the water. But the island is the site of the old castle itself.

The Central Island - site of the Castle

January Morning - Old Castle 
The records of Carmarthenshire state that " an early mound castle unquestionably stood at Llanelly, the name of which has fortunately survived and lead to the identification of the site". The island in Old Castle Pond ( pond Twym) was once the Motte of the castle Carnwyllion. It is believed that the Motte was established by the Normans in the late 11th Century.

The Motte would have originally had a wooden tower known as a keep with a palisade on top of the mound with , below it, a defensive "bailey" containing the main living quarters, stables and administration buildings.

The castle was attacked by Rhys ap Gruffydd in 1190 and burnt in 1215 by Rhy Ieuanc during his onslaught on the Norman strongholds of Kidwellu and Gower. In the Red Book of Hergest, a version of the Brut reads for 1215 " Rhys Ieuanc gathered a host of immense size, and gained possession of Kidwelly and Carnwyllion, and he burned the Castle"

Of course back in those days, the river Lliedi wended its way around in a different direction and the Motte and Bailey was on solid ground.

Here the Lliedi river can be seen to wind around from where Old Castle road will be in the south towards where Raby street will be in the North.  From here - the coast would have been visible - but access inland would also have been easy. A later map shows both streets and the new Tramway ( now the Cycle track ) before the pond was created as a reservoir for the new Tin Plate Works.

Here we can see Old castle Road at the bottom and Parkview Terrace at the North, with the old course of the Lliedi River.

It is then I discover that the Old Castle Pond was created as a quenching reservoir for the tin works, and is not natural. It is called Pond Twym - or the Warm Pond as the water would raise its temperature as a result of the works in the tin plates. Other sources suggest that Goldfish were resident in the pond for many years due to the warmth of the water, and there are youtube links of giant terrapin still in the pond - though  have never seen them as I pass by.

For me, in my early days working in Llanelli, my recollections are travelling up Old Castle Road, up to the level crossing which i now know was over the Tramway - not the railway as I thought in those days.
The Old Castle Pub was the last building in the street - still there now - but a bed and breakfast now - not a pub.

I have had many a pint here and more than one Christmas party. When I first knew the building the rear section was not there. I remember as  they built into the back room, and then further out again. The last extension lasted about 9 years, and now is the tea room in the back..  but it is now a bed and breakfast and tea room ..
as seen in the early morning 
And so - to retrace my steps of years before, I look once more down Old Castle Road from the level crossing that is no longer there ....

Cars on pavements and for sale signs...  but as I turn around - I can still see the Tin works building - now listed and protected - though finance for the development that was expected has drifted away and it now stands as a monument to the past .. stark .. but that can be the subject of another walk...

I mentioned that there were Roman links to the old castle - rather than just repeat, here is the link to another friend Lyn John who knows so much more than me about Llanelli History...  LINK HERE

But the rain is beginning to fall - and so I make my way back home for a fine cup of tea, an opportunity to sit in front of the computer, and reminisce and post a couple of thoughts fro the past .. and look forward to some day in the future when Ceri will pop across the pond ( the big one) and I shall show  him what I have learned today ...

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

9th January 2013 - Exercise into the New Year ??

Sunshine and mild this morning. A good excuse to get up and out with the dogs. Bed is still warm and inviting but the opportunity is there to brave the elements and explore a little more of the countryside under my nose.

And as many people put their thoughts to a new regime of Health and Fitness in January, I took the opportunity of visiting another relic of Llanelli's history, the Old Castle Exercise and Fitness track. I have walked around the Old Castle fields many times and recall times from the past when I had taken the opportunity of running around the track and using the equipment that was built, open and free, for any passer by to use. Try as I might, I cannot find any records on Google of the building, financing, or the later dereliction of the track - but parts are still there to be seen.

Early sunshine rising over Old Castle ponds. Another Llanelli Blogger Robert Lloyd informs me that the Pond is over 40 feet deep in places, a place full of danger in the icy weather.

Indeed, I recall from my early days as a constable in Llanelli, assisting in the recovery of a body from the water. Details are blurred now, but the general consensus was that the deceased had fallen in, possibly drunk, while trying to climb around the metal railings that used to separate the grounds. It was a regular short cut from one end of town to the other. But the fencing required a little athletics to swing around over the water.

Yes, I was much younger then, still thinking that I would improve my general health by exercise, a concept I still endeavour to grow out of ...  But the start of the Fitness Track - part of an all-Wales drive for better health as I recall -there is still a block of rock and it is clear where the plaque used to sit... Now it is but a lump of stone. 

once there was a sign here 
 Looking out over the fields -a lonely post shows the start of the trail. I always used to run it anti-clockwise, I think that was the way it was laid out. And so today I follow the path - though the track itself is lost in the grass and the trees.

The balance bars as still in place. Covered in lichen and a little slippery underfoot in the damp of the morning but still serviceable.

This one has lost one of its struts, but it is almost at ground level. I recall them as being in a zig-zag, having to walk from one to the next - but there is little sign of this any more.

Here I think was a joint between two sets of balance bars - but only an empty pop bottle adorns the place now.

Turning the first corner and a quarter of the route completed - three lonely poles still stand proud against the treeline. Once they held bars to swing on and somersault over. The highest used to be for Chin ups.  Now there are no connectors - just the three poles. 

Nothing else appears down this stretch. the trees are higher than I remember and there is no sign of the track which may well be hidden between those trunks. Turning the next corner, the treeline now parallels the old railway track, now the cycle path...

 and along this stretch are the parallel bars - still in place and still usable.

Two posts however also stand along the line - and I have no idea what they were for ... no marks to show what was connected to them.

And so we reach the Old Castle Ponds again and a circuit of the track has been completed. 

So - with one last look from the cycle track back onto the exercise fields -

I return under Sandy bridge the way I came. Certainly no fitter than when I arrived this morning, but having captured one more little part of Llanelli before it disappears entirely.

Now I think I will go back to my researches and see if I can find any photographs from the past to fill in the gaps that are my memory...

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

8th January 2013 - Another Walk - Sandy Water Park

Another day - another walk around Llanelli area - this time - Sandy Water Park
The Llanelli Coastal Park Walk provides some wonderful scenery on the grounds of the old Steelworks, and before that - the old Mott and Bailey of Old Castle Works which may very well go back to pre Roman times.. and in my case some memories of the are over the last thirty five years.
We start today by Old Castle Ponds, at the base of the Agen Bridge. Where the cast iron sign post tells us that we are on route 47 - the chain links at the base holding up the details "Swansea 17 miles"  Tumble 17 miles"

Climbing the unofficial pathway by the signpost up onto the Agen Bridge crossing the busy relief road from Weslec Roundabout to Union Bridge.  Known officially as the Pont Agen Bridge.
I note the details from the Council deliberations:

1.1. The Leader of the Council has received a letter from the Clerk to Llanelli Town Council suggesting that the new bridge over the B4304 at Sandy Waterpark be named "Pont Agen" and that the Mayor of Agen be invited to undertake the official unveiling.
2.1. Members, I believe are already aware, during a recent visit to Llanelli's twin town of Agen in France, the Agen Council magnanimously named a street in the commercial sector of the town "Rue Llanelli", to mark the tenth anniversary of the twinning link between the two towns.
2.2. The Llanelli Town Council's Twinning Committee have now discussed the desirability of reciprocating this gesture and resolved that a request be made to the County Council for the new cycle/pedestrian bridge over the B4304 at Sandy Water Park to be named "Pont Agen".
2.3. Members of the Town Council considered that it is particularly appropriate for a bridge to be named in this fashion in view of the symbolic image which the bridge represents of the link that has been forged between the two towns of Agen and Llanelli.
2.4. A further pertinent point that influenced Members of the Town Council in their decision was the fact that they have extended an invitation to the mayor of Agen and some of his colleagues to visit Llanelli during the Eisteddfod week. As the bridge is scheduled to be completed before the Eisteddfod, the Town Council consider that it would be extremely opportune for the Mayor of Agen to be invited to undertake the official unveiling.
2.5. Members will be aware that the Millennium Coastal Park Board is considering names for the facilities/locations across the park. This bridge is located just outside the park and forms part of the Council's Llanelli and Coastal Corridor Sustainable Access Strategy which is being funded by Transport Grant Package Funding from the National Assembly of Wales. Due to the proximity and linkage of the bridge to the Millennium Coastal Park I have consulted the Project Director, Mr G Phillips, over this issue. He has confirmed that he has no views on the name as long as it says "Pont D'Agen or something Welsh and French".
2.6. If the Town Council's request meets with Members approval, I will then proceed to discuss the practicalities with the Town Clerk.
3.1. That the new cycle/pedestrian bridge is named "Pont Agen" and that Committee agree to the Town Council's suggestion that the Mayor of Agen be invited to undertake the official unveiling.

But from my point of view - it is a safe route across a busy road to the Millennium Park and Sandy Water Park.

Once across the bridge, one of the many sculptures raises its head. The leek and the daffodil. On a dark winter morning it is difficult to distinguish the bright colours of the green and the yellow - but they are stark in the skyline...

As you walk around the water edge,  a large mound appears ahead of you - with a strange structure on top . To the right are some standing stones, not old and ancient, I have walked here for many years without seeing any stones.. but all paths lead up to the pile on the pinnacle.

Looking down from the top - we can see the Pwll end of the lake. 

The Sculpture itself appears to be a pile of ingots - cast in stone rather than steel.
The plaque reads:
"Sandy Water Park..
Steel making commenced on this site in 1897 when the Llanelly Steel Company built their works on land reclaimed from the sea.

The Works underwent considerable expansion over the years and with the introduction of electric arc furnaces in 1978 became on of the most modern plants in Europe prior to closure in 1981

The site was acquired in 1984 and developed into a water park by the Llanelli borough council and the welsh development agency as part of the coastal regeneration scheme."

But there are excellent views over the water park from the top...

looking back towards the railway and the sea - views out towards the Gower are dramatic. But of course as they say in Llanelli "If you can see the Gower from here - it is going to rain .. If you can't see the Gower - then it is raining !!"

Walking down from the sculpture there are benches and tables for the walker - though these days it seems that cyclists are more likely to be whizzing past at break neck speeds and bright in their Hi Vis Jackets. This table and seating is in the shape of a leaf and small leaves as seats.  Sadly, one has been snapped off and not repaired...  

Down to the water levels. In summer there are often signs warning of algaen bloom - poisons in the water from the early days of steel working I think - though how no-one thought that digging a pond on the site of a steelworks could ever provide fresh water!! I used to Wind-surf across this water, before they built the houses to watch my embarrassment !!

Now - we have the home for many swans - and this time of year they give due warning to the passer by that they do want too close a proximity.

Of course - over the later years - the houses have been built and then we had the Sandpiper - a pub with food  on the site .
and then in 2012 - the final straw - a hotel on the site  - Welcome to Travelodge !!

And that takes us around the whole of the park  - back to the Bridge - to Weslec roundabout which I hear is soon to be a skateboard rink - but that is for the future - this is 2013 - January ... So some final views of the walk ..


 Enjoy Llanelli. Enjoy the Scenery. Enjoy ow history is changing.