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South Wales Evening Post column, March 29, 2024

Robert Lloyd PR, Media and Marketing Consultancy News, Newspaper columns South Wales Evening Post column, March 29, 2024

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South Wales Evening Post column, March 29, 2024

Posted By RobertLloyd58

IT was a wise old chap who once said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.”

But most of us who live in this lovely corner of Wales will also know that you can add two other certainties to Benjamin Franklin’s quote – rain and potholes!

Cast your mind back, dear reader, over the last four months, and name me one day which has been rain-free.

It’s tempting to think that St Swithin’s Day was moved to December 15, rather than its current position on July 15, when (I am happily willing to predict) it will deliver a further 40 days and nights of rain.

The old saying has been trotted out day after day – “If you can’t see Mumbles Head from Swansea, then it’s raining. If you can see Mumbles, then it is about to rain!”

I’ve heard the same saying tailored to fit Llanelli and Burry Port Lighthouse – and other locations in our patch. But, if a joke is worth telling, it is also worth adapting.

My columnist colleague Phil Evans (he’s here on Wednesdays) is often fond of remarking on postmen (and postwomen) wearing shorts in all weathers. It may be my imagination, but ‘over by ‘ere’ I am sure I saw one postie preparing for another day of Biblical rain by wearing an inflatable rubber ring and a snorkelling kit.

Local sporting fixtures have been badly hit by the rain. For example, Ffos Las racecourse in the Gwendraeth Valley has seen four race meetings abandoned since the start of the year. They will be hoping for more luck when they stage a Family Fun Day this Sunday.

Meanwhile, if the rain has managed to drive us indoors, then at least it is keeping us off our potholed roads.

Perhaps it is just me, but are potholes breeding – and getting bigger?

The community joke in our road is that you can get a decent echo peering down some potholes, while others are big enough to merit a small bridge.

We haven’t had the hard frosts of winter, which usually break our roads up like Crunchie bars. So why are we getting so many potholes? Is tarmac less adhesive? Are cars heavier? Are people driving with snowchains attached to their wheels?

Our local councils are obviously well aware of the problems (in fact, it is worth doing your civic duty and using the ‘report a pothole’ facility on local council websites).

And the roadbuilding industry is worried . . .

The Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA), says a critical situation demands urgent attention.

The latest findings from the AIA Alarm Survey reveal that more than half of the local road network in England and Wales faces potential failure within the next 15 years.

The AIA reckons funding to rectify the backlog of repairs is soaring to a staggering £16.3 billion.

Apparently, local authorities expect to grapple with more than two million potholes in the current financial year alone.

This marks a substantial 43 per cent increase compared to the preceding 12 months and represents the highest repair volume since the period of 2015-2016, when approximately 2.2 million potholes were addressed across England and Wales.

Rick Green, Chair of the Asphalt Industry Alliance, has said: “Local authorities find themselves with slightly more financial resources this year, but inflationary pressures have eroded their capacity to address the crisis effectively. When compounded by the increasingly frequent extreme weather events, the deterioration of local roads accelerates towards an inevitable breaking point.”

Simon Williams, head of policy for the motoring group RAC, added: “The findings from this report send the clearest signal yet to the Government of the critical state of so many of the roads used by millions every day. An estimated 107,000 miles of roads are fast reaching the end of their lives, the scale of the problem now facing councils is truly gargantuan.”

My editor tells me there is a General Election coming up this year (he is not willing to speculate on the date!).

In which case, step forward the candidates who are willing to campaign on two ‘certain’ issues – rain and potholes!


WE’RE a tight-knit group, us South Wales Evening Post columnists.

There’s Phil Evans, Lawrence Bailey (Thursdays), Maldwyn Pope and Kev Johns (Saturdays).

Most of the time, we plough our own furrows. But, every now and again, there are themes and ideas which are worth ‘stealing’.

It is fortunate that my colleagues retain a glass half-full and optimistic view on life as we all share a desire to be positive as we can be, as often as we can be.

For example, Kev’s column last week left me needing to find out more about the Morriston Business Hub and the art exhibition by Jeff Phillips.

Jeff is one of Swansea’s leading artists and has donated 30 paintings from his Swansea Past, Present and Future collection to Swansea MAD, a charity that is committed to the prevention of poverty and advancing social justice and equality in our city!

The paintings which make up Jeff’s Swansea Past, Present and Future collection tell the story of Swansea’s wonderful industrial and cultural past.

A visit to Woodfield Street is recommended. But, if you cannot make it, you can also enjoy the exhibition gallery from your armchair in the front room, thanks to the wonders of modern technology.

Go to https://swanseapastpresentfuture.com/virtual_gallery/ and you can listen to Jeff explain more about his work – and see his fabulous paintings.

Photos: Two oil on canvas works by Jeff Phillips. The Mary Dugdale, River Tawe, circa 1840. Hafod Copper works, Cold Rolling.

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Written by RobertLloyd58

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