Sunday, August 05, 2007

Big Weekend of chaos

Edward VII and Museum Avenue started filling up with huge pieces of fairground equipment from Wednesday onwards, some so big that they seemed to dwarf the elegant civic buildings lining the roads. Then came the Heras fencing, linked to make a complete enclosure of the area, obliging pedestrians and cyclists alike to make detours, and forcing hundreds of cars to find somewhere else to park.Thne during the Friday morning rush hour the road line painting crews were out, blocking traffic lanes and adding to the chaos, as they installed new signs adjusted traffic lights and painted sections of the inside lane along the Kngsway in British Racing Green to designate it as a bus and taxi lane. Nowhere set aside for cyclists, as usual. When later I crossed into Church Street going to St John's, I noticed a 'no cycling' sign had gone up. Is this another piece of inspired thinking to avoid having to pay for the installation of the cycle racks we've been asking for over the past three years, I wonder?

Preparation for the Big Weekend festivities managed to co-incide with the weekend on which St Mary Street was to be come 'experimentally' a private exclusion zone - buses and taxis excepted. Hence the fervent activity by the line painting brigade at the least agreeable time of the week. Nobody really seems sure how the plans, showcased in a recent brief 'consultation' on the part of the city transport planning section in the Old Library. It's unclear what diverted traffic will do to reach its destination, especially if it's bound for Cardiff Central Station, access to which has also been drastically limited. All week church members have been ringing each other up and worry about how they are going to get into the church for services, and to deliver goods for the Tea Room and Church Mission Fayre next Saturday. Despite the reassurances received that it will be possible, it's hard to work out exactly how. Not exactly easy for people to plan around.

In the midst of all this on Saturday lunchtime, the annual Carnival procession danced its way up Bute Street, along St Mary Street and the Kingsway up to the Big Weekend site. Scores of costumed dancers, several sound systems on pullable cards made of scaffolding, and bands of drummers beating out salsa rhythms for the dancers, as well as three Banghra drummers. People of all ages took place, and it was just warm enough for the scantily clad to be able to enjoy (as opposed to endure) the stately procession over the two mile course. A couple masked and in costume consisted of one in a wheelchair, pushed by another. I was taken by the huge diversity of people involved, having a good time, smiling, waving, pausing for the hordes of photographers. One tall grey haired lady dressed in yellow and orange had also partly coloured her hair in those colours, not thereby disguising her age, but, well celebrating it, I guess. It gave much food for thought for my Transfiguration sermon. For once I had something different to reflect about on this theme, which now appears twice yearly in the church's lectionary. The sixth of August is also our wedding anniversary as well the anniversary of the Hiroshima atomic bombing. Not to be forgotten in our family's world.

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