Fire

In the wake of the Grenfell Tower Block fire in London earlier this week I’ve been seeing a lot of concern over fire safety regulations that apply to rented accommodation. For those that live in Wales, rest assured that the legislation regarding this area is a lot more stringent than it is in England, for instance all new build properties must have sprinkler systems since 2016 and that all social housing will eventually adopt them.

However that being said I’ve still  seen a lot of concern over fire safety from people in both private, and social housing, and whilst in Wales safety legislation is more strict than in England, if you do still have concerns, my local fire service, South Wales Fire Service, will actually come to your home to offer advice on how to make your house safe and where appropriate fit a smoke alarm for free.

Click here for more Information and to book your home visit.

Quiet Day

Today I had no meetings or pressing things to do, so I thought I would enjoy a quiet day at home doing very little. Marianna had other thoughts, she woke me up far to early, and wouldn’t let me get back to sleep, she wouldn’t eat the breakfast I made for her and also wouldn’t eat the lunch I made either. By 1 o’clock I was already praying for death, so in order to get her to take her nap I bribed her with a promise of a trip to the park if she slept.

She kept up her end of the bargain so I kept up mine we got ready to go to the park.

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Marianna ready for the park

And once we were there Marianna made the most of the slide and the bouncy seat before coming home for tea. She had I sandwich and I had cauliflower cheese.

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Marianna at the top of the climbing frame in Northville’s Play Park

The Formula For Pulp

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I’ve been reading/ watching a lot of pulp sci-fi lately (which isn’t a new thing), but there is one thing that I’m noticing, and that is that the plots for all of the pulp sci-fi classics are all exactly the same.

If I describe the plot to you see if you can guess the film, book, comic or tv show.

  1. A human male is somehow transported to an alien world
  2. said human male will meet a local tribe, and will be captured and or fight, before gaining said tribes trust/respect and then learns that the planet is made up of lots of warring peoples all ruled by one tyrant.
  3. Human male will then meet a princess who is part of the resistance against said tyrant, will fall in love and then join the resistance.
  4. Human male will suffer self doubt before uniting all tribes on the planet against the tyrant.
  5. Final battle
  6. Human Male either marries princess and rules or is sent back to Earth to pine for princess and scheme to get back.

This formula actually applies to pretty much all stalwarts of the genre across all media, It accurately sums up the novel Princess of Mars, which gave us the John Carter film, it sums up Buck Rogers In The 25th Century. It is an accurate summation of the Flash Gordon serials, comics and film and is a true synopsis for DC Comic’s Adam Strange A Man Of Two Worlds.

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So if you ever feel like writing a pulp sci-fi masterpiece, you now know the winning formula, it worked for some pretty big names in cinema.

Policy And Finance Committee

Today was Cwmbran Community Council’s first Policy and Finance Committee of the new council. It is this committee that is responsible for scrutinising the entirety of the councils accounts and and also for setting out policy to be enacted by the council.

It was quite a long meeting, but luckily the books balanced and a few cheaper alternatives for various things were going to be looked at. One of the main point that came out of the meeting is that there is an extra £70,000 for urban regeneration, which basically means that a few extra bins, benches and notice boards can go up around the town (don’t scoff, one public bin costs £400 + the money to have it emptied).

It was also brought to my attention that on the 21st June is Armed Forces Day, The Council will host a short ceremony at 10 AM commemorate the day, all are welcome to attend, and the service will take place at The Council House, Ventnor Road, Cwmbran NP44 3JY.

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I hope to see as many of you as possible there.

What The Hell Is A Cummerbund Actually For?

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Men’s fashion is an ever changing thing. Actually that’s not true. Its very rare that you see something new in menswear, it is a very cyclical thing, for example skinny fit jeans were a thing in the 80’s and unfortunately have been back in style for the last few years. Another example is double breasted jackets, they come and they go and then suddenly a few years later they’re back.

One of the few unchanging things throughout the last hundred years has been black tie. Since it became popular in the 1920’s as a slightly less formal alternative to white tie, very little has changed except fastening (double or single breasted), lapel size, and material the only real change we saw was from waistcoats to cummerbunds, and this is one of those things that goes round and round and round, one year waistcoats are in fashion for black tie, and the next its cummerbunds.

Now as a gentleman with a fairly substantial gut I have been put off wearing a cummerbund as it seems like tying something around my waist would only extenuate this fact, but two weeks ago I gave in, faced my fear and bought my first cummerbund. Admittedly I only got it because I wanted the bow tie that it came with, it was a vintage (that is to say secondhand so therefore cheap) maroon velvet number from the 1970’s that came with a matching bow tie.

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It did however make me think, what the hell is point of a cummerbund, they don’t offer any practicality like a waistcoat, but then neither do most of the fundamentals of black tie and men’s formal wear in general, in fact they’re designed to mask practicality. For example buttons on jackets and waistcoats will have a satin facing, shirt buttons are replaced by cuff links and shirt studs, and even trouser lining is covered with a satin stripe. So in that vain a cummerbund is designed to conceal the point where your trousers meet your shirt.

This is where cummerbunds differ from a lot of black tie, because it actually serves a purpose, the garment dates back to the British occupation of India, where the officers needed a cooler (temperature wise, not fashion wise) alternative to the waistcoat. Due to the massive temperature difference from the UK you could see why waistcoats wouldn’t work out too well, and the higher ranking Indian officials used to wear sashes at their waists so the British officers adopted them, and so by the end of the British Occupation of India in the 1950’s the trend has spread around the world.

As well as being a cooler alternative to the formal vest the cummerbund serves to hide the bunching that often occurs where you tuck your shirt in at the waist. And thanks to its pleated design acts as a crumb catcher when eating, thus avoiding any crumbs winding up on your trouser leg, and this is why the correct way to wear a cummerbund is with the pleats facing upward.

Possibly the most important feature, at least from my point of view, is that it makes men look a lot thinner, aesthetically it makes men look thinner and taller, but from my own experience I had it cinched so tight it was like some sort of velvet man girdle.

Now I don’t see them making a comeback for at least a few years, as waistcoats are most definitely “in” at the moment, but I have a few formal things coming over the summer months (a couple of weddings and most likely a few civic things as well) so I think I will be going with a cummerbund, at least until the summer is over.

The Big Event

Today was the day of Cwmbran’s Big Event, hosted by Cwmbran Community Council (for which I am a councillor) and Torfaen County Borough Council (for which I am the Mayor’s official consort). The event itself showcases the best of Cwmbran, from entertainment and music, to fun and games, and highlights the works of local businesses, charities, community groups and even the council itself. I was there in both capacities as Mayors consort and as a community councillor. It was very nice to get to see the good work that is going on in Cwmbran.

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Marianna And I outside the Mon and Brec Canal tent

Marianna went down a storm especially as she had her own Mayoral chain, she enjoyed herself, except being somewhat frightened, and by somewhat frightened I mean pants wettingly terrified, of the Torfaen Play mascot TJ Bear. We then moved over to watch the finals of the raft race on the lake where Marianna and her mother got hand out the trophy to the winning team the Parkrun Pirates.

Also, and possibly best of all I picked up enough free pens to last me a year, and I get through a lot of pens, seriously a lot of pens.

Minority Report.

So Theresa May has managed to form a minority government. For those that don’t know what a minority government is, its a government that is still the biggest party in the house of commons, but doesn’t have an overall majority. Buts thats the thing, Theresa May’s government sort of still does have a majority (even though it doesn’t).

So the Conservative Party have 318 seats out of 650 in parliament, just 8 shy of a majority, but here’s the thing, 7 Sinn Fein MP’s are abstentionists, so do not and will not ever set foot in the houses of parliament, so that means that Mrs May is only shy of 2 for a majority. But then there is the speaker and his deputies which means Mrs May actually has working majority of three, so she doesnt actually need the dubious support of the Irish Democratic Unionist Party, that is being touted in the media at the moment.

 

Fighting and Dying For Your Rights

Tomorrow is the day of the general election in the United Kingdom and at every election I generally say something along the lines of people fought and died for you right to vote so go and use that right.

I feel that this is losing something as I may have used that line at least 3 times in the last two years, so here are just a few people who actually died in order for you to be able to vote. So now you can begin to understand the human cost of the rights you take for granted.

Here are just three people who died fighting for the belief that every man and woman should have the right to choose their representatives in parliament.

  • Samuel Holberry- Who died in prison, he was arrested for planning a protest in Sheffield as part of the Chartism movement, that would see every man with a vote and a wage for every MP so it would not just be the rich who could afford to stand.
  • Emily Davison- Who in protest for a woman’s right to vote threw herself in front of the Kings horse at Epsom Derby and died of wounds sustained.
  • Mary Clarke-Who died mere hours after being released from a police station where she was imprisoned for acts of protest

These are just three people who died for your rights, and doesn’t begin to mention the 22 who died in the Newport Rising and the hundred more injured, or the hundreds of men who were imprisoned or transported for fighting, and doesn’t mention the hundreds of women who were beaten, jailed, force fed and molested so that you could go and tick that box in secret.