LLANELLI Online decided to mix business with pleasure today, Friday (Dec 1) and visit the oldest town in Wales, Carmarthen. An early frosty morning start saw us arrive at County Hall where we managed to find a parking space. After standing out in the cold for a few minutes a very kind gentleman and security guard told us that we could go inside and warm up. We entered this bastion of democracy with trepidation caps in hand feeling like a character straight out of a Lowri painting. What splendour was this? Glass cabinets bedecked with awards. Huge TV screen heralding the ‘exciting’ new ventures coming to Carmarthen. Bright lights and marble halls. We have only heard of such delights and dreamt of such wonders but this was the real thing.
After meeting with some Llanelli based councillors one of whom made us a cup of welcome coffee we began our morning’s work of documenting World AIDS Day.
Refreshed and still bedazzled by the surroundings we exited to an equally bedazzling low morning sun, which by now had melted any signs of frost from our moustaches of cappuccino foam.
We ventured along the streets of Carmarthen where shop after shop exhibited wonderful Christmas gifts and decorations. Pretty Victorian frontages in colours worthy of a chocolate box were preparing to open for the purveyors of fine clothing, hand made artisan breads, foreign sounding cheeses and meats. The smells were wonderful as we passed by the local butchers shops. Hand made, home made and Welsh made enticed us to buy but alas we had spent our last farthings by donating to the County Council coffers at the St Peter’s car park for the lost and abandoned.
We met familiar faces along the way. Jim Jones (more from Jim later), Clive Scourfield, Deryk Cundy and a host of politicos getting ready for the decision making processes, which shape our lives. Not one shop did we pass, which looked in need of care. The streets were bustling as Dai Farmer and his extended family from the farms surrounding Carmarthen appeared to be out and about spending or banking their loot.
We headed to Cafe Bach for our breakfast but alas no wifi. Time is of the essence when you are trying to meet a deadline. We wolfed down the sausages and went in search of wifi. A brief stop at the Lyric Theatre to have a nose followed by a ‘get on line’ session standing outside Wetherspoons and we had our first article online. Our keen eyed young reporter spotted a menu which said ‘cheap tea and free refills’. What’s not to like? We went in and commandeered a large table, large enough to place our laptops, phones, chargers, cameras, Fishermen’s Friends and Christmas bobble hats.
It would be rude of us not to have gone up for a few refills while working and keeping you the good public of this fair county entertained. It felt as though we were flush. ‘More tea boy and don’t spare the milk and sugar’. Apart from the odd disapproving look from diners desperate for a table we had a lovely time, so much so we noticed the time was up on the meter. Apologies for those who had to jump out of our way as we did a Bannister and Chattaway along King’s Street hauling a trolley behind.
We were always taught to end with a positive but us being rebels we will end with a negative. Despite Carmarthen being a wonderful place to visit for many, many reasons, the people who allow so many vehicles to drive at speed through the pedestrian areas need to be positioned on top of the Christmas tree in Notts Square.