Sunday, 23 August 2009

Thoughts from Newport

In the last couple of months I have been working in the Wild West – Newport in Wales. I always knew Wendover is a good place to live in. However, working and sleeping in a gray town where to get good food one need a car to go to Cardiff, makes me appreciate the quality of life we have here. I miss the green gardens, the picturesque houses, the ability to cycle to the center and to the Gym. When we came here, we thought the choice of food was limited compared to what we got used to in Vienna and Copenhagen (I still think that). The new owner of Budgens went some way to improve this buy offereing better brad and better products such as cheese & fish. Even though Budgens have cut back on the bread offerings (just the bread types we liked), they put to shame what I can get in NewPort. I find it hard to even but Scottish Salmon. The only food they seem to eat there is low quality Fish and Chips (I found a good one but it is hard to get there on a regular basis).

Three things we can learn from the Welsh:
(1) Their bus service is better than the one available in Wendover. There is a bus every 10 minutes going from the town centre to a village similar in size to ours. And it does not stop running just when people are returning from work or theatre although it is less frequent.
(2) Local and National trains have a special bicycle section. I saw people taking their bicycles to Reading & London.
(3) It is a cycle friendly town – lots of dedicated bicycle lanes and many areas where the speed limit is 20MPH.

And to balance this here are some things that I saw lately that pleased me very much and the good people of Newport may learn from:
(1) The new recycling centre at Aston Clinton – Wow, well done AVDC, modern, well planned & inviting.

(2) VAHT has provided a prize/grant for some on street public area landscaping. The residents of Holland Close took them up and the result is a significant improvement on the bland paving that was there originally. I hope it is kept in the preteen shape it is in now and that it would encourage others to do something along these lines.

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