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Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Searching for Guinevere

The prospect of today's official opening obviously went to a few people's head during Tuesday's Plenary meeting. Not only was there some smugness in the questioning but also some interesting information .

Mark Isherwood started it off with a general allusion to the Arthurian legends. Was he suggesting that we were building a new Camelot? We needed to be told:

Mark Isherwood: To expand the issue, a series of academic books, based on research
in Mold library, on archaeological evidence and on the oral and written traditions of
Wales, has highlighted the link between the old kingdom of Gwynedd and the Arthurian
legend. This has been highlighted many times in the House of Commons, but not, to the
best of my knowledge, so far in this Senedd. What action can you take to maximise the
opportunities presented by that unique cultural inheritance?

Alun Pugh: As well as the real and tangible built environment, which we are determined
to protect, there is certainly a place in Wales for a bit of legend. However, I think that that
is more a matter for the tourist department.

Deputy Presiding Officer John Marek added to our sense of importance shortly afterwards in answering a question about the new building:

The Deputy Presiding Officer (John Marek): Visitors to the Senedd are welcome.
[Laughter.] I have genuinely good news. Between opening the doors to the public at
10 a.m. on Tuesday 7 February and the close of business on Monday 20 February, there
were 16,773 visitors to the Senedd.

Owen John Thomas: I find that remarkable, given that some people present today have
found it difficult to say ‘senedd’, let alone find it. Will you join me in congratulating the
committee on the choice of the name ‘Senedd’, which gives this institution great
esteem and dignity, which the word ‘chamber’ did not provide?

John Marek: ‘Senedd’ is the official name. For those Members who do not wish to use
that word, I do not think that it would be a great feat of translation to say ‘senate’.
However, if people can say ‘senedd’, we would like them to do so.

By my estimate that is over 1,000 visitors a day, a very impressive feat proving that the building has certainly stirred people's iumagination.
Did you know that it is an ancient celtic legend - as if you could have a modern one - that there would be a castle made out of glass.

prehaps the assembly is a fruition of this.

(can you have a fruition of legend? prehaps it would be better to say that celtic literature refers to a castle made of glass)

see data-wales.co.uk/glass.htm
or 'Dictionary of Celtic Mythology' (OUP 2000, ISBN 0-19-280120-1) for further details.
Like the Pierhead building though, how many people came in purely to avail themselves of the public conveniences? I think we should be told ...
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