I spent the morning, in my civic capacity at the joint “Meet Your Community Council’s” Event. It was good to get out in public and meet the people (if that doesn’t sound too pretentious) but it was a privilege to help highlight the great work that Cwmbran Council does, and also good to link up with our neighbouring councils (Pontypool & Croesyceiliog & Llanyrafon Community Council’s)
I got what amounts to a promotion Today. After Two years of being Jessica’s consort when she was deputy and then Mayor, I’ve decided to give it a go myself as Vice Chair (Deputy Mayor) of Cwmbran Council. After the Councils Annual General Meeting I was unanimously vote into office. I also found out that I’m the youngest person to ever hold the role, and the first person under the age of 30 to be in the position.
The position comes with a snazzy new chain of office courtesy of Thomas Fattorini (Manufacturer of insignia, honours and awards, By Appointment of Her Majesty The Queen), which is actually the second honour I’ve received from Fattorini’s in less than a fortnight.
I look forward to undertaking my civic duty for the year and as a personal aside I must take this opportunity to say how proud I am to serve my community, and how grateful I am for this chance.
Its been almost three years since I moved from Newport to Cwmbran and in many ways I still feel like a new comer, I’m still discovering the best shops, which pubs serve the cheapest pint, which clothes shops carry things in my size etc. And while there is a lot that I’ll miss about living in Newport, like the more active nightlife, I do feel that I’m settling into Cwmbran, especially since I’ve taken a more active role in my new community.
Some impressions I’ve made since making the move are:
The Best Pub – Has to be the Queen Inn on Upper Cwmbran Road its a nice neighbourhood pub with a reasonably priced pint, a quiz that’s only a pound a team, and although I haven’t had the opportunity to try it out yet, I hear they do excellent meals.
The Best Shop- Until recently I would have said that it was Sin City Comics, but then they moved to Newport, so I’m at a loss for what to pick now, especially as Cwmbran Centre offers such a wide choice of shops, both established national firms as well as smaller independent traders. It was a bit of a shock moving from Newport to Cwmbran, because although Newport’s town centre has undergone something of a renaissance over the last few years, when I left it was on life support, with something like 40 odd empty shops on the high street so it was nice to come to a place where there were no empty units in the town centre.
The Best Restaurant- In terms of an actual sit down restaurant has to be Page’s fish bar, its a chip shop with a restaurant as well and the I find the restaurant to be far superior to the take away. In terms of take away I have to give the award to the Croesy Chinese and Fish Bar for their Chinese cuisine.
Nicest Park- Its gotta be the boating lake, no question.
Today I attended (as yet another civic duty) the Raising of the Red Ensign flag to commemorate Merchant Navy Day, at the offices of Cwmbran Community Council.
Since 2000, Merchant Navy Day on 3rd September has honoured the brave men and women who kept our ‘Island Nation’ afloat during both World Wars, and celebrated our dependence on modern day merchant seafarers who are responsible for 95% of the UK’s imports, including much of the food we eat, most of the fuel we burn and virtually all the products and goods we take for granted!
It was a nice little service that with a short speech from the chair of the council (Cllr Bob Jones) and then followed by refreshments.
Today was Jessica’s civic service, which is essentially a church service designed for the new Mayor to have her or his work blessed by the church. It harks back to a time when religion played more of a role in civic life than it does today (although it is still more of an active part than you might think). Its also an occasion to dress up and celebrate a great achievement with friends and family.
We were chauffeured to the church (Holy Trinity, Pontnewydd) and were escorted to our seats by the church wardens, where we engaged in many hymns and the usual prayers of exultation to god. I then gave the following reading from the book of kings:
“The king went to Gibeon to sacrifice there, for it was the greatest and highest place in the kingdom, and there he offered a thousand burnt offerings on that altar to god.
While he was in Gibeon, the Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream, and said unto the king, “Ask what you want from me.”
King Solomon answered god by saying, My Lord you have shown great mercy to your servant, David my father, for he walked before you in faithfulness, righteousness, and with uprightness of heart toward You. And You have shown him great kindness in giving him a son to sit on his throne now this day.
Now, O Lord, my God, You have made, me, your servant a king in place of my father David, yet I am still a child, and do not yet know how to go out or come in. And I your servant am in the midst of your people, whom you have chosen. A great people. A people so numerous that they cannot be numbered or counted.
So My Lord God give unto me your servant an understanding heart to judge your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who else is able to judge among so great a people?”
And It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked for such a thing. God said unto him, “Because you have asked this and have not asked for such things as long life or riches or for me to take the lives of your enemies, but you have asked for yourself wisdom so that you may have discernment in your judgement,
I now do according to your words. I have given you a wise and an understanding heart, so that there has never been any like you in the past, and that there shall never come another like you.
And I have also given you that which you have not asked, both riches and honour, so that no kings will compare to you all of your days. And If you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments as your father did, then I will lengthen your days.”
Solomon awoke and found it was a dream. But when he came to Jerusalem and stood before the ark of the covenant of our Lord. And there he offered up burnt offerings and offerings of peace and fellowship. he made a great banquet for all of his court, friends and followers and did so in the name of the lord.”
After I gave my reading it was followed by another reading from our local Member of Parliament and then a reading by Her Worship The Mayor, then we were treated to a performance by the Pontnewydd Ladies Choir before The Reverend Harald Thomas gave the sermon, there were a few more hymns, the collection plate went around and the national anthems were sung, Thus ending the service.
We were then bundled back into the car and driven to the reception and break neck speeds, so that Jessica, myself and the Mini Mayoress could greet everybody as they arrived at Mount Pleasant Hall, where the staff and the caterers had done a fantastic job decorating the place to make it, in Marianna’s words, Mum’s special day.
We were subjected to a lot of photo’s and a lot of small talk, but it really was a wonderful day, marred only by the fact that I didn’t get to take home our tables centrepiece bouquet.