Bailiff blogger recently went on a research trip tp wales to do a bit of "bailiff studying" as well as a training session. I had reserved materials at Gwent Archives, which involved me in a major expedition into the deepest Valleys. The Archives used to be in Cwmbran, which was relatively accessible and quick to reach. Presumably as part of an EU funded regeneration project, the whole office flitted to Ebbw Vale. This is at the end of a single track railway line and hour from Cardiff- and even when you get there it's a half hour walk along a hillside road to find the place. The reason Ebbw Vale needs regenerating is plain to see: there used to be a huge steel works which is now a waste land (or more correctly a building site, as they are now building executive flats and shopping malls in order to 'revive' the place). Further down the valley was the site of a former pit and a quite few derelect factories; once, they used to do something useful here. Now the useful employment seems to be building useless leisure facilities.
After looking at the Archives, which took less time than I expected, I walked into Ebbw Vale. The town centre on a Thursday lunchtime in the drizzle was not an inspiring sight- to be honest, it'll take a lot of regeneration to revive this town. I'm sorry to say it must go near the top of my list of depressing places I have visited for work, up there with Hartlepool, Thetford, Middleton and Workington (apologies if any readers live in any of these!)
The train back to Cardiff was only hourly, so I had a good look around, and must admit I was pretty glad to be back on my way south. The information I found at the Archives was not completely what I was after, but it was still useful, and the staff were very efficient and quick- so many thanks to them.
Back in the big city, one thing that struck me at Cardiff Central/ Caerdydd Canolog was that the announcements never seem to end. Once you've given every train arrival and departure in two languages- plus the "please mind the gap between the train and the platform" message- every few minutes, there seemed to be no peace at all.
Peace was to be found by the river Taff in the park. Two major factors in a great city are open space and a river. Cardiff has both and I would be quite content to live there, I reckon. The possibility every lunch time of getting out of the office and walking by the river under the trees, until you find yourself alone with a distant prospect of hills, is something to envy the local workers.
Still, it wasn't all pleasure- I should stress. The research done and the materials written up whilst I was there will soon emerge as part of two new studies of bailiffs and bailiffs' law. Watch this space for details!