2 September 2003
Made to measure
Congratulations to my former colleagues at the Mercury on their latest invention: the "Bill-o-meter", an instrument designed to measure the time lapse, in days, between the £23,000-a-year Cabinet Minister for Housing Bill Roberts' promised meeting with the residents of the troubled Mount Estate in Milford Haven, and his actual appearance.
For those who live outside the Mercury's circulation area, I should explain that Cllr Roberts' visit was scheduled for July 25 but, unfortunately, he failed to show; citing preparations for his son's wedding the following Saturday as the reason.
It must have been a great party, because the "Bill-o-meter" is now reading 35 and counting.
If only I had thought of this idea myself I might have set up a "Momometer" to record how long it takes His Leadership, Cllr Maurice Hughes, to reply to the questions I emailed to him on 11 November last year regarding the business relationship between his Cabinet colleague Cllr Brian Hall and Dr Michael Ryan (see Snail mail).
On logging on to Companies House website I find that Euro-Ryall Ltd, the company set up by Cabinet member Brian Hall and the county council's economic development consultant, Dr Michael Ryan in December 2000, is still listed as active more than three months after the council told Plaid Cymru leader Michael Williams that it had been dissolved (see Elusive truth).
And, according to a Companies House document dated 2 September 2003, Cllr Hall and Dr Ryan are still the sole directors of the company.
It is now more than eight weeks since I received a letter from Dr Ryan's solicitors threatening me with dire consequences unless I provided an apology and retraction with regard to an article posted to this website on 20 May (see Strange goings-on).
I haven't apologised and he hasn't yet issued a writ.
What I find difficult to understand is why Dr Ryan should get so upset over my allegations that he puffed up his CV but remain silent when I subsequently published information from my mole in Pembroke Dock that, in October 2000, he and Hall were trying to muscle in on the project management and masterplanning in respect of an international investment project aligned to the Pembroke Dock redevelopment - giving rise to a clear conflict of interest, as well as being in breach of the undertaking not to trade in Pembrokeshire given by Dr Ryan in a letter to the council dated 3 September 2000.
Indeed, my mole tells me, it was even mooted that Dr Ryan should come and live in Pembroke Dock in order to oversee their burgeoning business empire.
It seems that the county council has decided not to avail itself of Old Grumpy's free proofreading service.
Last week, I drew attention to the authority's tourism website (www.visitpembrokeshire.co.uk) with its liberal sprinkling of spelling and grammatical errors, but, when I logged on this morning, I was surprised to find that nothing has changed.
A more extensive examination reveals the following gems: Caldey Island with its pleasent walks; Clerkenhall Farm Adventure where one can walk passed ponds; and Oakwood where theres lots of smaller rides and a BIG water ride thats 5 degree off vertical.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and, if the site remains uncorrected, I will give more examples next week.
Meanwhile, I hope the Mercury won't mind me indulging in a spot of plagiarism by introducing a "Spell-o-meter" to this column: current reading seven.
I spent most of yesterday afternoon stringing some of the three barrow loads of onions from this this year's bumper crop.
Old Grumpette suggests that, if I get myself a stripy T-shirt, a beret and a bike, a whole new career might open up for me.
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