Just a quick reminder that the 10th anniversary of the Beer Festival starts on Thursday 2nd of June at 6:00pm, and you can see the dates and times on the What’s On page.
We’re still waiting for news on our long overdue fibre broadband update, made all the more frustrating by the many problems people in the area are suffering currently with their connections. Although there is no real news for the update, a meeting with British Telecom Programme Manager has been arranged in June in the Village Hall. For details, check the What’s On page, and please, if you care about a better service here in Llanfair Clydogau, come along to the meeting.
We are pleased to report that the bridge in Llanfair Clydogau has now reopened to vehicular traffic and so the two recently separated halves of the village are now once again properly joined together again.
The response from Ceredigion County Council has been excellent throughout the closure period – from the implementation of the closure for safety reasons initially to the assessment and provision of the necessary repair to the bridge.
Here is a picture of the bridge now being used again for vehicular traffic:
This is the tenth week our village has been divided by the closure of our bridge, so continuing the numeric theme of late here are a few thoughts on the number 10. Ten is the base of the decimal numeral system, by far the most common system of denoting numbers in both spoken and written language. The reason for the choice of ten is assumed to be that humans have ten fingers.
Ten is the sum of the first four numerals:
1+2+3+4 = 10
If you ask many British people what they understand about ‘Number 10’ they immediately think of the house in Downing Street, London.
Number 10 Downing Street was originally three properties: a mansion overlooking St. James’s Park called “the House at the Back”, a townhouse behind it and a cottage. The townhouse, from which the modern building gets its name, was one of several built by Sir George Downing between 1682 and 1684.
Downing, a notorious spy for Oliver Cromwell and later Charles II, invested in property and acquired considerable wealth. In 1654, he purchased the lease on land south of St James’s Park, adjacent to the House at the Back within walking distance of parliament. Downing planned to build a row of townhouses
“for persons of good quality to inhabit in …”
The street on which he built them now bears his name, and the largest became part of Number 10 Downing Street. Given the various personalities who have inhabited these houses over the years, many would I’m sure argue that his original plan regarding the suitability of those who should occupy has fallen somewhat short of the mark!
When Lord Salisbury retired in 1902, his nephew, Arthur James Balfour, became Prime Minister. It was an easy transition: he was already First Lord of the Treasury and Leader of the House of Commons, and he was already living in Number 10. Balfour revived the custom that Number 10 is the First Lord and Prime Minister’s official residence. It has remained the custom since. However, there have been numerous times when prime ministers have unofficially lived elsewhere out of necessity or preference. Winston Churchill for example had a great affection for Number 10, but he grudgingly slept in the bunkered Annex of Number 10 for his safety during World War II. He rarely slept in his underground bedroom in the Cabinet War Rooms. To reassure the people that his government was functioning normally, he insisted on being seen entering and leaving Number 10 occasionally. Harold Wilson, during his second ministry from 1974 to 1976, lived in his home in Lord North Street because Mrs. Wilson wanted “a proper home”. However, recognising the symbolic importance of Number 10, he worked and held meetings there and entertained guests in the State Dining Room.
For most of his Premiership, Tony Blair lived in the more spacious residence above Number 11 to accommodate his large family. In May 2010, it was reported that David Cameron would also take up actual residence above Number 11, and his Chancellor, George Osborne, above Number 10. For a massive amount of information about Number 10, Downing Street check out the Wikipedia page here
The tenth week of our bridge closure has seen the repair work to the collapsed section near completion, and I have heard that there is a good chance the bridge might reopen next week, possibly as soon as Wednesday. It will be a great relief to all in the village if this in fact prove to be the case, and should that happen of course I will tell you here as soon as I know.
As many of you have no doubt will no doubt be aware the latest news on our update to fibre broadband is not good.
The goal posts have appeared to once again have been moved, this time with an estimated roll out of Summer 2017. While this was extremely disappointing to those of us who naïvely believed that once the cabling was in place it was only a matter of weeks before we were joined up for ‘Superfast’ broadband, it seems that the situation is worse than any of us have imagined.
An article in the May 5th edition of the Daily Telegraph discussing the plight of those of us living in rural situations and wanting the internet speeds of our urban cousins opens thus:
High speed internet will not be automatically delivered to countryside homes after ministers claimed some people living in rural areas do not “want to be connected”.
It would appear that the pledge by the government to provide high speed broadband has been abandoned in an attempt to save money.
The article goes on to say:
Instead fast broadband will only be provided in rural areas on request because, according to a Whitehall document, “it is unlikely that everyone will want to be connected”.
Given the fact that the article then continues:
It also emerged that people living in the countryside will have to pay for any additional cost of connecting them to a good broadband speed.
then in an area such as this where wages are substantially below the national average, and there is also a high proportion of retired people on fixed incomes then I would imagine there would indeed be a reluctance among many to pay extra for an improved service.
This then leaves those of us who are able and willing to pay for any improvement to our service in an extremely isolated position. The situation is further exasperated by our lack of any alternative connection method, most notably the 4G cellular connection. 3G is still patchy in this area, and even that cannot equal the 3G speeds available in our cities – in true Orwellian style ‘some 3G speeds are more equal than others’.1
So where do we go from here? Alan Leech is setting up a meeting with the recently re-elected Elin Jones with a view to elevating our plight a little bit further up the political ladder, and once we hear how she intends to respond I will report back here with any news.
- Animal Farm, in case you couldn’t remember! ↩
Here we are at week 9, so this time we have a few (hopefully) interesting facts about the number 9. Any of you mathematically inclined types will probably remember this from school, but here is a little reminder:
If you multiply nine by any whole number (except zero), and repeatedly add the digits of the answer until it’s just one digit, you will end up with nine. Here are some simple examples for the non-believers.
- 2 × 9 = 18 (1 + 8 = 9)
- 3 × 9 = 27 (2 + 7 = 9)
- 9 × 9 = 81 (8 + 1 = 9)
- 12 x 9 = 108 (1 + 0 + 8 = 9)
In French the word neuf means both nine and new. In German, the words for nine and new are neun and neu, and in Spanish, nueve and nuevo. In the decimal system, as you count and reach nine you know you are about to make a new start1.
Moving on to our bridge and the news is good. The inside2 face of the collapsed area has now been rebuilt to its original height, and the outside face is coming on well with some 35%3 having been rebuilt to the required height.
Pointing has also started on the other inside areas of the wall as well, so the amount left to do on the actual bridge where we walk (and drive?) is progressing well. Perhaps it won’t be too long before both sides of the village are once again reunited? We can but hope.