My Memo Moan

Well, we are not even out of the woods of that chaotic Christmas time yet and I’m already looking for bold Barrybados 2020 adventures.

Just spied the latest Nick and Shirley Hodges tasty tour on my trusty facebook feed so that’s a diary date for sure.

I absolutely love what the married duo have done with these free treats – giving us a taste of the time before, and helping the town’s tourism too.

Been on the Barry Dock Victorian outing which as an afternoon of fun and frolics that ended up with a dirty deed and a pint at the Castle Pub.

The dirty deed was a gruesome back in the day murder, the pint was very much here and now and slid down a treat.

I’m also desperate to try out the High Street Trade Quarter Tour too but just could never quite catch up the calendar with the dates designated.

And I also totally support the historic Hodges fight for a much-needed museum in our town to highlight our history and showcase the stories of old.

Now I hear that the couple are looking to take us on a reel around our town’s fountain of stage and screen at the Barry Memorial Hall so will definitely be up for that.

I have mixed feelings about ‘The Memo’ vibe actually – and its nothing to do with Barry Town Council who are based there.

Totally take on board, the their initial bid to become a bit more upmarket and I strongly supported the raising of their game during my B&D Editor days.

What I don’t get is why, all these years later, we still don’t make the most of Barry’s biggest live music, drama and film space.

Stage shows, bands, gigs, ‘am dram’ and other stage staples seem to be working like clockwork but the cinema side, in my view, is sadly lacking.

Yeah, yeah I know that films are shown at the Memo with increasing regularity, National Theatre Live is due to be beamed in, and those eclectic ‘Exhibitions on Screen’ are already advertised.

But every time I’ve popped along to a showing, it’s been almost empty, the chairs have given me a bad back, and its bloody freezing.

The Bar was open which is always a bonus, and we were chucked a blankie to wrap warmly up in, so total thanks for that thought.

For me though, the biggest killer is the complete lack of atmosphere.

I think back to those packed Saturday Theatre Royale film showings of old as we all trooped in to take in the latest big screen blockbusters armed with goodies from the store.

I absolutely loved the vibe, the darkness, the torch-bearing Usherette and even the occasional peanut being lobbed over the balcony – remember that!

No sure why we can’t catch those moments again, sans flinged foodstuffs, at The Memo.

I can so hear you shouting for me to take my rose-tinted Sunnies off – whilst also taking my tongue firmly from my cheek.

But I really do believe there’s some prime potential for a packed Picture House for all ages.

In my view, we could learn a lot from our near neighbour Arts Centre in Canton.

Chapter Arts have a welcoming walk in, a bustling bar, crammed café, gorgeous gallery, top theatre and two cute cinemas – without losing the bread and butter income of the various clubs and groups that meet there.

Call me controversial but I’d even go as far as dumping the Memo main stage for film showings and turning the upstairs rooms into a at least one cosy and cwtchy cinema.

And I’d soon sort out some fabulous, but not too fancy, food in the bar area – not advocating oysters but a burger in a bun would be a start.

No, I’m not just being nostalgic either, I just think that with no cinema left in the town, this is an idea well worth exploring, especially with a captive market waiting in the wings.

Totally get that the Memo is also a prime party venue – I had my own Wedding Evening Party, and Handsome Harry’s Christening there – not on the same day I hasten to add.

But surely, in the words of my work world, there is a ‘workaround’ that could keep the party bookings, carry on with the stage and music stuff, with some rather radical cinema renovations added on top.

For someone who has seen four films, two theatre screenings, a play and enjoyed at least one cheeky tea at Chapter, within a month, it would certainly grab my attention.

So silver screen dream or a real life resolution, you decide.

Well worth a thought though isn’t it?

Speak soon.

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Sully Dove Saga

Flippin’ eck, whoever said doves were symbols of peace sure didn’t see it all kicking off at the Captain’s Wife this week.

My much scrolled Facebook feed has been full of outraged ornithologists flapping over the fate of a bunch of birds and their babies.

The ill-fated decision by the Sully pub to just block up the dovecote has even been described as ‘barbaric’ and ‘cruel beyond belief.’

And whilst I’m no fan of our feathered friends, I think our bird-loving locals have kind of got a point.

So does the Sully pub now apparently. They have done a u turn unblock of the 80 year old structure quicker that you can sing the famous Prince song.

Bit harsh wasn’t it to just fill the whole thing in, leave the doves, and their young, allegedly trapped in the tower.

And then call the cops on the powerful protestors – even those who managed to cleverly cut some of the captive birds out.

Even harsher is the lesson learnt by the Captain’s Wife who certainly felt the pain and pressure of a successful social media stir up.

It went so viral it filled local feeds, made national news, led to the sharp shut down of the Pub’s Trip Advisor Page.

And saw investigations started by both the RSPCA and RSBP – not the SWP though who confirm no law was broken.

A local bird rescue group has now been called in by Mitchells and Butler, who own the cosy and cwtchy pub on the coast, to tackle the dovecote dilemma.

Defending their decision to block the building, they say that the mass of birds flying in and out caused a serious issue.

And they cite both Health and Safety, and Hygiene reasons, for the rapid removal.

I get that too. I’m certainly no expert but am vaguely aware that birds can carry a whole host of disease including ecoli.

Who wants to sit slurping in a bright beer garden on a sultry Summer’s day next to a dovecote of potential danger – not me.

Although to be honest, I’ve been going to the Captains Wife since I was a naughty little nipper and I’ve never even noticed the bloody thing.

I was always more caught up in the legendary ghost tales of haunted happenings there.

So I must have thought all that cooing was a spooky spectre or something.

Surprisingly, I also read this week that people flock from all over just to see the darling doves.

That’s news to me too. I just go for a sizzling steak, a pint of Peroni and the cracking company.

Whatever. I just hope that this week’s mayhem means the birds stay safe, the public protected, and a sensible, not sealed up, solution is sorted.

Talk about storm in a dovecote.

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved

Two Sides Town

Well, what do you reckon to all this fancy talk of us having our very own little Marina then – how posh is that!

Admittedly I’m waiting with bated breath to see if this is just nautical nonsense that will never get afloat.

Or if it’s a sea worthy solution to do up our Docks and take our Town’s tourism to another level.

The Vale Council, who can’t even run a Contact Centre never mind an ambitious idea, are keen though.

Hand in hand with Associated British Ports (ABP) they have forked out the funds for a feasibility study.

And are already talking of the cliched ‘challenges and opportunities’ the potential wet Waterfront wonder would bring.

Never thought I’d see the day when I’d spy a yuppie’s yacht floating past as I pootled to Morrisons with my trusty More card.

But stranger things do happen at sea so I have thrown a life belt on my sinking feeling.

To be honest, I will also grudgingly admit that it does make sound sense to always suss out some more surefire success – especially in an area that has seen a rapid renaissance recently.

Hangfire, the hugely popular hog roasty type happening, was the first to slip onto the scene, closely followed by the aspirational Academy.

Add an Asda, a purple Premier Inn and a massive million pound Good Shed foodie and work place project.

And the once barren land is unrecognisable from not just my childhood but my kids too.

The once desolate Dockland has also been beautifully boosted by the hordes of aspiring young professionals settling in our seaside town.

Discouraged by Diff’s pricey property market, the socially mobile Millennials have cannily moved into the site’s happy little homes.

Many of which have been built quicker than the wait for a booking at the aforementioned Hangfire.

Finally, if we throw in the lovely Island link then the much maligned Barry of old is a distant memory – only revisited on Nick and Shirley’s valiant Victorian Barry Dock Tours.

What a reputational rise in seeing our town become a magnificent magnet for regeneration and rejuvenation.

Barry, once the largest coal exporting port in Britain, before a slow decline and a fast downward dip in the car crime ridden 80’s, is back with a bang.

But, and here’s the real rub for me…only in certain areas.

In my view, our much loved birthplace is in definite danger of becoming a town of two halves.

The wonderful Waterfront side with its shiny new homes, trendy foodie feasts, potential upmarket marina.

All lovingly linked up to the Gavin and Stacey boosted Barry Island, complete with Danter’s daring plans and the toilet block building bonus.

And the stark East End side with its half-hearted Holton Road shopping centre, the controversial incinerator-hosting Cadoxton.

With the poorly perceived Gibbonsdown – still recognised as one of the most deprived areas in the country.

Of course, there’s many, myself included, who love a bit of mix and match and get to wherever the party’s at.

But even that sometimes feels like living in a parallel universe as the divide starts to widen.

Let’s be absolutely crystal clear here too that I’m not making any judgement on any of our resplendent residents – old or new.

The size of your heart and the strength of your character sets your vibe for me, not what home you lay your proverbial hat in.

I just sense a possible town split, the like of which we see so starkly up the road with the widely different Cardiff Bay and Butetown.

One is tarted up to the nines but has no soul or warmth, the other is a vibrant community full of life and laughter.

I would so hate that to happen here.

In my view, what we need is community cohesion driven by tourism solutions and property plans that benefit the whole of beautiful Barry.

Fingers crossed for a miracle Marina then!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Wales Rugby Racism

Flippin’ eck, nearly a month on from one of our nations greatest Rubgy weekends ever, and some are still relentlessly ranting on my timelines.

Just what is it with this ‘Anybody but the English’ crap? For me, this smacks of a pettiness and petulance that borders on racism.

I don’t get it. Wales, please give yourself a clap for making the Rugby World Cup Semi’s. England do the same, and take a little bow too, for being there at the Final.

This is not me being especially generous, just fair. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am so not a Rugby fan. I would rather nail my tongue to the floor with a rusty horseshoe than watch a whole match.

As we always say “It’s football in our house.” And I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

Yeah, yeah, before, you all kick off, I am well aware that soccer has its tribalism too but it’s the egg-shaped ball I am focusing on here.

Telling though that when we Footie fans go turbo it’s hooliganism but when the Rugger sorts do, it’s ‘high spirits’…just saying.

I also very rarely see a Football fan wearing a daffodil hat, clutching a blow up leek, and shouting “Agy, Agy, Agy, Oi, Oi, Oi.”

How the Hell do you even spell that, and what the Hell is that all about anyway.

I cringe when there’s a massive International match and the global eyes of the world are on Wales…and there we are swinging a miner’s lamp, eating Bara Brith, and clutching a pint of Brains!

Ok, that’s a bit of a exaggeration I know but you get my drift. It’s so bloody stereotypical, and whilst we must never forget our history, this is miles away from the small, clever, modern country that I know and love passionately and patriotically.

The English don’t seem to turn up to cheer their team on dressed in a bowler hat, clutching a blow up Big Ben, and drinking a lovely cup of tea do they.

Maybe it’s because Rugby is a working class game here, and a middle class pursuit there – who knows.

Whatever the back story, we can still be proud of all our players of course. And we can be equally proud of any team in our nation, meaning the United Kingdom in this context, who reach a World Cup Final.

Spare a thought too for our many English friends, who now live in Wales and just wanted to cheer their team on without all this hassle.

Surely we judge our marvellous mates by the size of their heart and the strength of their character, not what country’s rugby shirt they wear.

So maybe you will think twice next time before you post ‘funny’ anti English stuff because of a rugby match, or indeed any sporting, or other occasion.

Healthy competition is cool. But it’s so not ok to make people feel bad about where they were born.

And you never know the effect your words, your rants, or your sharing a ‘funny video’ might have.

In my view, this kind of abuse, often described as that awful term banter, is symptomatic of the divisive times we find ourselves in today.

Why not try engaging and debating with those who hold a different point of view or support a different side, instead of dissing and demonising.

We are stronger together than we ever are, or ever will be, divided.

Please be kind!

Speak soon.

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good

You can exclusively read her singular adventures, when she is out of the town she is so passionately proud of, here.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Barry Island Beauty

Snapped up my rather fabulous Barry Island Calendar this week – a snip at just thirteen quid, from our talented local photographer Dave Clemett.

I loved getting my little hands on the collection of perfect pics of the jewel in Barry’s crown.

Called the ‘People’s Choice,’ it features 12 of Dave’s finest photographic moments as chosen by us, the residents, through a facebook poll.

For me, the Calendar is not only a superb snap shot of the Island, but also a chance for our cracking community to support their own.

I think every home should have one – and if you agree, just click this link to buy yours ready for the New Year.

Flicking idly through the Calendar also set me off speculating about the future of Fair – and romantically reminiscing about the Island of old.

How fab is the area now. We have the ever popular Gavin and Stacey effect, the posh plans for the toilet block, wonderful pit stop places like Whitmore and Jackson, the Rumba Bar and Teddy’s Diner.

And just recently I also caught up on Henry Danter’s latest ambitious plans to make our fairground even fabber too.

This includes much-needed holiday flats to bring back what we sadly lost when Butlins was bizarrely sold to builders.

If I remember rightly from my B&D days, it was, and maybe still is, the only headland site ever to be developed as a residential estate.

This, in my view, was a short sighted mistake. For me, the lack of overnight accommodation in a top tourist town is an epic fail that needs to be tackled pronto.

I’m not suggesting we turn the clock back to Hi De Hi holiday camps and those train loads of visitors coming for a fortnight, just something suited for our town today.

Mind you, who doesn’t remember the halcyon days of ‘working over the Island’ in the School Hols.

The racy red Pleasure Park Bib and Brace and the sunshine yellow polo shirt. The illicit swimming in the Log Flume, the testing of the Pirate Ship before shift.

And the sheer terror of that very vertical Funhouse Slide. I still went crashing down head first with aplomb though – always the show off.

I’ll also never forget the excitement of Challenge Anneka filming in the Fair with her infamous Chopper landing loudly on the Prom.

Be honest too, how many people can say they saw the diminutive Pop Princess Kylie at the Radio 1 Roadshow before sloping off to spend hours working the kids’ Caterpillar ride.

Remember then how the 10pm close of play klaxon called and we all clocked out and hopped on that rickety free blue staff bus home.

Happy days with many memories made, and what was most definitely the start of my love affair with the Island.

Thank you Dave, for triggering my trip down Memory Lane with your cute calendar.

And for stylishly capturing how beautiful our Barry Island is today.

How lucky we are to have this seaside speciality on our doorstep.

Find me at the beach!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, queer and quirky, local girl done good.

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Bin Store Burglars

A heartfelt ‘Heads Up’ to all you robust recyclers who nip out at the fag end of a dark and dank evening to chuck the empties out.

This week I have a cautionary tale of a very fabulous friend of mine who did just that – and found a would-be robber reclining in her refuse!

Jeesus, no one expects to go get rid of the mandatory Saturday Night Take Away tubs – and find a burly bloke loitering in the communal bin store.

Of course, the moody male when challenged, offered some mumbled words about the rain, a mouthful of the usual misogynist abuse, then predictably legged it.

I was ready to get changed in a phone box, don my cape and give chase but the hoodie wearing character was well on his toes by then.

This is shocking. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure whether I was more surprised that he was there…or that he could actually get into the bloody bin store.

The amount of recycling receptacles still waiting to be collected, you couldn’t swing the proverbial cat in mine…and that’s without any communal capers going on.

But that is a different story, so no more of my rubbish rants, just my public service announcement.

I am shouting this loudly to all, especially those down the Waterfront way.

Who knew, that apparently, ‘Bin Store Burglars’ are a thing with a fair, few incidents happening recently.

At worst, these shady out-of-towners are hiding in shared areas ready to slip inside to rob unsuspecting residents taking their rubbish out.

And at the best they are keeping out of the rain. No, I don’t quite believe that either – it was the Fireworks Fiesta over Barry Island for Gods Sake, surely you’d be better off finding shelter there.

By the way, respect to those who battled the elements to support our annual Barry Bonfire Night. I wouldn’t have taken myself out in that, never mind a toddler.

Well-supported community events are the backbone of our Barrybados life – so thank you to all those more hearty than me.

But sadly whilst so many of our good citizens were out there looking after our own, a shady stranger was sat ready and waiting to take an opportunistic pop at our people.

So please proceed with caution when sorting the weekly waste, keep your wits about you when nipping out with the night time rubbish.

And of course, if you see anything suspicious dial the boys, and girls, in blue.

In my view, this applies to us all – as who locks their front door when they nip out with a bit of cardboard, but maybe more so to those sharing their store with the neighbours.

So, a well-intentioned warning from me with my fingers firmly crossed that ‘Bin Gate’ blows over soon.

No woman, or indeed man, should have to be accosted on wet and windy night by an unexpected and abusive stranger.

Or to have to run the risk of having their much-loved home robbed by a retrobate whilst simply taking out the trash.

Be careful out there!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Fireworks Fury

Drat, was my first reaction to the surprising news that South Wales Police we’re investigating an illegal rave at Sully last weekend.

How the Hell, did I not know about that I first thought until I checked myself and realised I’m not 21 anymore.

I also thought that raves went out of fashion at the same time as Smiley T Shirts, 90’s electronic dance music, and ecstasy tablets at £50 a pop.

And the only those diehard thirty somethings who go to Ibiza for their yearly foam party fix kept the genre alive.

Anyway, I won’t be getting the chance to find out anytime soon as the boys in blue have vowed to crack down on the illegal gatherings – for both public safety and residents’ quiet.

I wish they were able to do that with all those flippin’ fireworks shattering my nightly peace.

In my view, the public sale of these deafening and downright dangerous little rockets of gunpowder should be made totally illegal.

Isn’t it ironic too that firework buyers have to go through almost airport security, an ID check, and then wait for their purchase to be released from that triple locked cabinet. Before just wandering off with their hard won goods in their hands ready to set off willy nilly all over the town.

What’s possesses some people to light the touch paper at all times of day and night. And all bloody year too, not just as we approach November 5th.

For me, there is absolutely no real reason to buy fireworks for personal and domestic use. They are unpredictable when used in back gardens, downright dangerous in the wrong hands, scare animals senseless, and keep us all awake.

And if you feel the same, please sign the Public Fireworks Sale Ban Petition here.

Let’s make it absolutely clear though, I’m not suggesting we ban all fireworks. I love seeing them light up the sky at planned displays, on special organised occasions, and at the end of cracking concerts.

I just don’t get why you would want to mess around with them outside of this, especially late at night. All it does is cheese off the neighbours, upset the animals, and show you up as a selfish sod.

So, I hope all those who want to see the sky set alight just pop along to the big Barry Island Firework Fiesta , and other places, this weekend.

And I hope all you pet owners are forewarned and forearmed enough about these events to have the time to keep your pooches and pussies safe.

I have other fish to fry on Saturday so unfortunately won’t be there for probably the first time since the kids were really small.

But if I pootle home into the Cul De Sac to a deafening crescendo of fireworks from the prat over the Back, how to keep his Catherine Wheel spinning will be the least of his worries.

For me, the only way to fix these relentless booms and bangs is to ban them from general sale altogether.

I’ve just about had my fill of those fast and furious fireworks – especially this week.

In fact, it was probably more peaceful at that Rave!

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good

Click here to like her Mrs SVJ facebook page so you never miss out on any of the news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town – and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

The Small Space

Oh my God, how fab and funky is The Small Space.

Opened in February 2018, not only is it the UK’s Smallest Theatre, and Cinema, plus the World’s Smallest Magic Theatre, it is a tiny treasure right on our doorstep too.

Based in Barry’s Island Road, the converted one up one down Victorian shop is a twenty five seater venue that offers live magic, comedy, music, tuition, private hire and classic movie events to an ever growing family of ‘Small Spacers’.

Many of my followers will also be pleased to know that it also boasts a fully licensed bar on the second floor.

Despite a desperate desire to visit, I actually only went there for the first time during Barry Pride week.

A Thursday night fringe event was laid on in all its gay glory when we watched Rachel Dax’s groundbreaking film Time and Again in the titchy theatre.

The movie is much more than a lesbian love story though, it is also a sapphic Short that looks at the taboo subject of romantic love and sexual attraction in later life.

It tells the tale, in just thirty minutes, of two lovers who meet years later and reunite with passion. The older women are beautifully portrayed by Dame Sian Phillips and Brigit Forsyth.

Director Rachel Dax has made a bold move to brazenly portray that sexual desire doesn’t stop aged 50 – who knew!

Make no mistake though, this is not a niche screening for those living in LGBT land. Straight and queer audiences, critics, and film makers have applauded the cinematic sensation.

Rachel’s risk-taking step to show women loving in their twilight years has resonated across the global movie world.

This is reflected in the clutch of Awards she has picked up. She collected the latest gong at Cardiff International Film Festival on Sunday night.

So, armed with the knowledge of this powerful movie, plus a promised post-screening Q&A with Rachel herself, I rang the bell and stepped into The Small Space.

A friendly greeting by owner and resident magician Jasper Blakeley, a walk through the micro main area, a trip up some winding stairs and there I was in the bijou bar.

Drinkie in hand, cwtched up with just twenty five like-minded souls, I was loving it.

My eyes lit up even more when Jasper told me of his plans to bring a monthly film night to the venue. I’m was quite excited about the themed screening seasons coming up too.

But, and this is the one that really got me going, he’s also offering an evening at The Small Space with your mates, your Merlot, and a movie of your choice.

I’m thinking Rocky Horror Picture Show Girls – so that’s my Birthday sorted for next year then.

To be honest, I was hoping to become a ‘Small Spacer’ this week too. I wanted to catch Psycho at the Bloody Barry Horror Film Festival. I quite fancied a Halloween Hitchcock Happening on a dark night in Shocktober.

Working the graveyard shift though meant I couldn’t commit so I missed the bloody lot – pun totally intended.

Definitely going to trot along to The Small Space very soon though and take in some of the dinky delights.

Magic, movies, Merlot, and did I mention their trademark Marmalade Gin – what’s not to love.

See you there!

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer girl, done good.

You can exclusively read MRS SVJ’s singular adventures, when she is out of the town she is so passionately proud of, here.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.

Sam’s Last Stand

I’m absolutely amazed that I managed to actually get into my safe, little ‘SVJ’s Sanctuary’ to wax lyrical this week.

Yeah, that’s right, despite all the palaver of last week’s ‘Bin Night Blues,’ I am still waiting for the Vale Council to get their act together and pick the smelly stuff up.

We can hardly move in the the cul de sac for refuse, my car sensors beep like a bad 80’s electronic disco every time I swerve down the street, the black bags have suffered serious seagull scavage.

And we are all rapidly running out of the myriad of multi-coloured bags and boxes that usually fill up our homes. It’s literally total rubbish.

But whilst I could rant on about my recycling woes – don’t even get me started on those rumoured little stickers being left on the bags if you inadvertently chuck a plastic bag in the wrong receptacle, I have a more pressing concern.

We have just over a week to let the Cardiff and Vale Health Board know how strongly we oppose the closure of the Sam Davies Ward at Barry Hospital.

The plans to close the much loved local facility, which is named after a well-known Barry doctor, and to move patients to Llandough and Cardiff, is seen by many, myself included, as the slippery slope to the closure of the whole site itself.

The Ward is a 23 bedded older persons’ acute rehabilitation ward. Services include stroke, orthopaedic, and medical rehabilitation amongst other key health services. It also has two respite beds.

It is seen by most of the community as a vital, local and accessible service that means patients stay close to home, and loved ones are able to visit easily. Traipsing out of town would prove difficult, costly, and maybe even impossible for some.

But the Health Board says the move is beneficial. It wants to get patients home sooner as even short stays in hospital with reduced mobility can lead to muscle wastage, especially among elderly and frail people.

In my view, it’s crucial that we keep our local community services for our resident’s wellbeing. And that’s without the absolute triple whammy nightmare of travel, traffic and parking at places like ‘The Heath – been there, done that, and still getting over it six months later to be honest.

So I’ve swiftly signed the Petition, marched madly at the Unison led protest, rightfully responded to the Engagement Document, and shouted loudly about the worthy cause, both quite literally and through a barnstorming blog.

Support has been strong, with many residents, local politicians, and trade unions getting involved. But campaigners still hope to see even more of us Barrians visibly stand up and be counted.

A facebook page has been set up to help facilitate this with joining just a click away.

You can also respond to the questions contained in the Engagement Document which is found here.

By emailing ValeCare.FrailOPengagement@wales.nhs.uk.

By Post to the General Manager, Ward C6 Corridor – Directorate Management Office, Integrated Medicine Directorate, Cardiff and Vale University Hospital, University Hospital of Wales, Heath Park, Cardiff CF14 4XW.

Or simply hand to Information and Support Centres at Barry Hospital, or University Hospital Llandough

To make your views known to the Community Health Council, you can email southglam.chiefofficer@waleschc.org.uk, or write to South Glamorgan Community Health Council, Pro-Copy Business Centre, Rear Parc Ty Glas, Llanishen, Cardiff CF14 5DU.

The absolute jewel in the Campaign crown though is the Community Health Council’s (CHC) Public Meeting on Wednesday 30 October at 7pm.

Why not to take five minutes to trot along to the Civic Offices, Holton Road, and have your say.

The CHC will respond to the Health Board before they make a final decision. So the more people there to make sure that the CHC represents our community and opposes the closure, the better – unity is powerful.

Sadly, I will be conspicuous by my absence as I am working late. So this early doors blog is my small way of trying to make a difference this time – and I will certainly be there in fighting spirit.

Good Luck Sam’s Ward Supporters.

Speak soon

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good 

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town – and around.

Bin Night Blues

I’m wrestling with the Recycling this week, and I really do mean that quite literally – the struggle with the Vale Council’s new regime is real.

Two slugs on my blue bags just waiting for my hand to squash on them, two bin bags full of sharp objects ready to stab me.

A bag of once green Garden Waste I have been forgetting to put out since about August, the smelly food waste container. And I’ve just twatted my head trying to get the ‘Old Skool’ box out of my Bin Store.

Absolutely gutted that the Vale Council have changed my ‘bin night’ from a slow time Tuesday to totally terrific Thursday.

Everyone knows Thursday is the new Friday – and I certainly do show my chubby little chops at many a cheeky little function on that fag end day of my working week.

Now, I’ll be wrestling with the aforementioned trash in the witching hour whilst dodging the array of other residents recycling receptacles…and it’s usually raining.

It’s a good job I don’t drink when I’m out in the week or I’d be asking some poor Taxi Driver to give me a hand.

It’s no use asking ‘the kids’ to put it out. Darling Daughter’s too busy having it large in Hackney. And when I asked Handsome Harry to do it once when I was in London – he moved the lot…from the garden to the kitchen…and then just left it there.

Now, let’s be clear eco warriors, I’m not knocking the drive to recycle, and I am chuffed to bits we’ve got some of the best targets in the world.

Also, speaking as someone who once said she didn’t have time for all that rubbish (pun totally intended), when it was voluntary, I could now win an Award for ‘Once Reluctant Recycler of the Year.’

I have even made my own little garbage heaven storage out the Back. My former Bike Store, is now a fully operationally waste and refuse facility to rival the Sully Skip.

The fact that Chels’ bike is snuggled up to my sun loungers in the Shed, Harry’s is stuck in the Hall daring me to trip over it every time I pass. And mine, resplendent with rust and fully flat of tyre, is against the back fence most of the time, is neither here nor there.

God knows how people in flats, smaller gardened houses, or with a large family manage – where the Hell do they put it all?

I’ve got two dustbins, two green boxes, two blue bags, too garden waste sacks and that food waste thingy – with it’s smaller friend sat smirking at me from under my sink.

Well, I have at that moment, where they end up after tomorrow’s collection is anyone‘s guess.

That’s another regular ritual I’ll have to do on Friday not a Wednesday now – sneak around the Cul De Sac until I spot all the stuff with my sticky Home Bargain house numbers slapped on.

And just when I’d finally got the recycling into a fine art – it’s changing again. I’ve seen that from next year there’s even more stuff to sift with more bags and boxes to use!

That’s me over Buyology getting the gear to stick shelves up in my Bin Store then.

I do love a bit of DIY and I am quite handy with a power tool these days , but may have to try my hand at building an extension now too. Not bothered about that really to be honest as we all know there’ll be instructions on YouTube.

So now that, at last, our happy home’s trash is all out there, rammed tightly between my front fence and my Beemer, Bin Night is now officially over for another week.

I think I’m going to have a very large Glass of Red to celebrate.

Just the one mind.

I can’t be arsed to go put the bloody empty bottle out!

Speak soon.

SVJ

(c) mrssvj.co.uk

Sue Vincent-Jones, writing as Mrs SVJ, is a Barry born journalist, editor, and communications specialist.

She blogs about all things Barry – and her life in the wider world, through the eyes of a, quirky and queer, local girl done good 

Click here to see more of her news, views, campaigns, community causes, social action stories, blogs and bright ideas, from our town – and around.

And please feel free to join the conversation – everyone is welcome to get involved.