Friday, May 08, 2009

Order, order

Yesterday afternoon I met Mike Parfitt in Church Street. He works as part of the city centre management team to ensure the night time economy functions legally and safely, by reminding everyone doing business of their obligation to ensure an ordered, stable environment. If they get it right, violence and social chaos at night reduces. In fact, that's what is happening. Several years ago Cardiff drew national and international media attention due to problems arising from nocturnal binge drinking in clubland. Cardiff has got right both policing and regulation of legal commercial night-time activity. Crime and disorder in the city have dropped, though it's far less well reported than earlier problems.

Mike talked to me about introducing bollards as barriers in Church Street during pedestrian hours to deter people from slipping in with their cars and making life unpleasant in a zone which, by nature of the vast majority of its businesses is going to be serving food and drink inside and on the pavements (most have permits) during pedestrian hours. Bollards are flavour of the month around the city centre, used everywhere to delineate spaces and keep vehicles of all kinds from intruding upon pedestian space. If only we had been able to invest in underground parking, the equation would have been so different.

By the time I arrived in church this morning, Robin Samuel had arrived, set up the Christian Aid Week publicity display in the north aisle, and left. I'd like to have been able to sit with him and have a cuppa, but anxiety about removing his car before parking restrictions start, drove him out early. One of the side effects of inevitable regulation at the heart of the city.

After the Eucharist, I spent some time in the tea room, as I often do on a Friday. This week as journalist with a photographer was in, taking pictures of home made cakes on sale, and interviewing Margaret for her recipes for a food page in a forthcoming weekend newspaper supplement. A very nice piece of indirect marketing for our little social enterprise, that provides a convivial space for all sorts of people, centred on simple good food and a warm welcome.

Welcome of a different kind early evening, when St John's served as host for the annual investiture ceremony of the Order of St Lazarus. One of the Orders of Chivalry with a charitable interest in those suffering from leprosy, its members are drawn from all churches. Members came from all over Britain to take part. It's good that they wanted to come to us, and that we were able to welcome them, even though it mean that Philip and I were late arriving home for supper.

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