Call me controversial but I think the luscious lights under the once dark, dank, and quite frankly depressing, Hood Road tunnel are absolutely fabulous.
They are bold, bright, brazen, and, truth be told, with the current Rainbow vibe, a lot gorgeous and just a little bit Gay – well, they are to me.
For once, a very big clap of hands from me to the Vale Council. I’m surprised that they had the cool confidence coupled with a rare ambition to do something a bit daring and different in the town.
We all knew mind that as soon as the lights were switched on, there would be the predictable moans about pesky potholes and council tax comparisons plus the usual mind-numbing negativity of some of the sad souls who live in our town.
So respect to the Council for cracking on with it any way, and for making it crystal that the cash came from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. For the record, this was part of the Barry making Waves initiative, which aims to celebrate Barry’s sense of place.
So epic fail for those armchair critics crouched over the keyboard, and time for them to take back some of those harsh and not really honest comments.
I don’t quite get where you are coming from anyway. For me, talking the town up, whilst always making myself mindful of how turbulent and tough our birthplace can be, is a no brainer. So not sure why we find it so hard to celebrate success.
Truth be told, I’m at the front of the queue ready to kick off if there’s something the Council has cocked up, but I’m also wise and worldly enough to have the grace to give credit where credit is due.
In my view, the tunnel treat lights the way in four frankly fabulous areas. It keeps our communities more cohesive, it connects our shops as they come back from the Corona Virus crisis, it makes a once scary walk home safer, and is an added attraction well-worth a look.
I’ve often talked about our Two Sides Town so any attempt to keep our shopping sites connected is ‘a winner, winner chicken dinner’ with me.
We are now becoming completely connected by the bridge from hard-hit Holton Road to the wildly developing Waterfront and now under the new tunnel of love to happy High Street. And of course we have the shiny road right over to beautiful Barry Island perfectly in place too.
Coming back from our Corona Virus challenge with its strict shutting up of shop will also prove a keen challenge to our Barry businesses. Surely making this short walk more vibrant and viable will help light the way for the Shop Local Love so many of us feel for our town’s traders.
There’s the no small matter of safety too. Personally, I’m devastated that I won’t be staggering ‘tired and emotional’ from the Barry Pride After Party this year due to these lingering Lockdown times.
But, Girlfriend, I’ll be back – and when I am, I like many others will feel much more secure and sorted with a well-lit walkway.
Finally, for me, the tunnel could prove to be a tourist treat too. It’s a bright, welcoming, and engaging space, so is wonderfully well-placed to be both a Barry, and beyond, talking point, and visitor attraction.
Don’t forget that, the lights can also be programmed to shine up with colours of the cause we are celebrating. So, whilst I’m a lover of the Rainbow of course, I’m also looking forward to the patriotic Red, White and Green show for St David’s Day.
But for now, as we start to emerge bleary eyed, slightly dazed, and maybe a bit confused from the queer quarantine, let’s look to our town to lift our spirits – and maybe, just maybe, these lights will lead the way.
Why don’t you die-hard Barrians, keen like a coiled spring to get out an about again, use this as an added incentive to take a trot past to the tunnel.
And Waterfront residents, this is your chance to use that daily walk to explore the whole of the town you have made your happy home. You won’t regret it.
I absolutely love Barry’s latest attraction – it’s audacious, ambitious, twinkly and little bit tasty.
Talk about Tunnel Vision.
Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist. She blogs about Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good.
One of Wales Arts Review 100 Women Writers of Wales, the dedicated community supporter, passionate arts lover, and award-winning queer activist, will keep you “informed, entertained and inspired.”
Mrs SVJ, Barry’s Boldest Blogger, can be contacted here.