Town empty as wedding fans turn to telly

THERE were not many flags flying in Alnwick for the Royal Wedding. I did spot one hanging from a building and some shops did have them in their window displays.

On the big day, some shops were open as normal, the monthly Friday Farmer’s Market went ahead as usual but surprise, surprise there were hardly any customers to be seen.

In fact, I am told there was not only no customers but also hardly a soul to be seen on the streets, apart from some people taking pictures of empty streets.

The populace instead, at least the majority of the female sex, were glued to the TV from the time stations started their wedding day coverage until sometime late in the afternoon when the repeats began.

If Mrs C were writing this instead of me the next 400 words or so would be filled extolling the wonder of that dress and what a handsome couple they made.

It was a wonderful occasion and as one Alnwick worthy remarked to me: “No one in the world does this sort of ceremony better than the British.”

I could not put it better myself.

NOW to a more mundane subject. I see that the headteachers at a bank holiday conference have voted 99.6 per cent in favour of having a ballot for strike action.

I know that headteachers are not badly paid and they enjoy a certain standing in the community. They enjoy long holidays – despite what some teachers would have you believe, they get longer than all of us – so why are they contemplating strike action?

One of the perks of being council-employed or in government service is that your final pension is usually what is known in the trade as ‘gold plated’. It appears to a lot of us that these pensions are at a level that the country can no longer afford in the straightened economic circumstances.

Many of us have already lost our final salary pensions and have seen the value of private pensions cut.

I would say to the heads and others contemplating action over the same subject, welcome to the real world.

I AM sure you have often heard the phase, he or she was born on the wrong side of the track.

Well, to change the line slightly, it seems I live in the wrong ward of Alnwick Town Council.

I had always assumed that I lived in Castle Ward, but as the editor put it to me: “You do know that an assumption is different to a fact?” Ouch.

What ward I live in now is a mystery that I will have to solve.

The result was that I unfairly criticised candidates standing for the Castle Ward of Alnwick Town Council in today’s (May 5) by-election.

I wrote last week that none had delivered any information through my letterbox, of why they were standing and what they were going to do for the town

It would have helped if I actually lived in Castle Ward!

As one fellow hack put it to me: “Just think yourself lucky.”

Not so. I believe in democracy and having the right to vote and that candidates should put their views to the electorate from whom they are seeking the vote.

So to those who have been pounding the streets and delivering their manifestos to the electorate, or to those who have been doing it on their behalf, my apology.

But as I write this, one thought sprang to mind. Alnwick has a population of somewhere between 7,500 and 8,000, but how many of these are actually eligible to cast their vote in this particular council election?

Surely for such a small cog in the local government wheel, one would have thought that those standing would want to be elected by the whole town, not just in Castle Ward.

It is a thought.