Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Polite Anglesey

Since coming to live in Anglesey six years ago we have noticed a big difference between living in a large conurbation and living on an island where local residents have a separate identity. Because it is a quiet place the teenagers we encounter are very polite as opposed to those in the large towns where they are quick to offer abuse to older people. This was very apparent as soon as we arrived.
To say that the local Welsh speakers are unfriendly and keep one at arm's length could not be further from the truth. On one occasion 2 or 3 weeks before moving house we went into a food shop to buy something for lunch. The shopkeeper asked us if we were here on holiday. We replied that we were due to come and live here very soon. "Welcome to Anglesey" was the friendly response. The new neighbours were also very welcoming and we knew we should be happy here. We had moved house on seven occasions previously and we felt welcome on only two occasions.
I was told that a warm welcome was to be had at the local Methodist Church in Amlwch and this proved to be the case. The people from the other local churches have also been found to be friendly and warm in their welcome. The only exception was the then Chief Constable, Richard Brunstrom, with his aggressive attitude to speeding motorist. Under him the police were encourage to rack up large numbers of reports at the expense of the public they served. The new Chief has now been in post a year and he has called on his officers to take a much different view!
One area where politeness or the absence of it tends to be most noticeable is driving along the roads. Other drivers tend to be far more friendly and accommodating then in the well populated areas of England. In Anglesey, with its high number of farm workers, we find ourselves following many tractors and other farm machines along the road. Inevitably these are slow moving vehicles, but the surprise is that they pull over wherever possible to lessen the queues of faster vehicles in their wake. I call this very considerate and commend our local farm staff for their considerateness.
Perhapss this is another good reason to put your house on the market and settle where the pressure is decidedly off!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Royal Place

With yesterday's announcement of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton our lovely island has come to the fore in the minds of the British people. I think that many more will now be aware of this island off the coast of North Wales. For the past year we have had Prince William in the skies above our homes as he has trained in the Griffin helicopters which are based at RAF Valley, just a few miles away.

Now that he has passed the course and been accepted as a co pilot on the Sea King helicopters of 22 Squadron there is a good chance that he will be in an aircraft over us. I say this because the Sea Kings of 22 Squadron are very old now and constantly being maintained to keep them airworthy. I know this from what the previous Station Chaplain at Valley told me. The squadron is kept very busy each winter as the foolhardy climb the mountains of Snowdonia with little or no safety equipment or warm clothing.

At the beginning of 2010 I was admitted to hospital at Ysbyty Gwynedd, Bangor where all casualties from the mountains end up. At one point a Sea King helicopter was held at the hospital because the conditions were so bad that the rotors had iced up and a team of maintenance engineers had to come over from Valley to de-ice it so it was ready for service.

The work of 22 Squadron goes on and many crews work very hard to save lives. This is the work that Prince William has been trained to do. No doubt, at the end of his 3 years in Anglesey, he will move on to become a commanding pilot in a rescue squadron elsewhere. In the meantime he becomes an Anglesey resident with his beloved Kate. The people know where he is living and the name of the local pub he uses. However, we shall be keeping that information to ourselves during his stay among us.

I am certainly no royalist, favouring a republic, but he happens to have had a wonderful person for a mother. She paved the way for others to follow as she visited and supported the people at the bottom of life's heap. I hope and pray that Prince William will be a worthy son and show others that he is not too proud to sit with the lonely and the friendless.