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Monday, November 29, 2021

Three Eagles lands best eatery award at tourism Oscars

* The Three Eagles Bar and Grill's Dyfan Hughes and Lydia Davies.

A Llangollen restaurant and bar has been named North Wales’s best eatery at the region’s tourism Oscars.

The Three Eagles Bar and Grill’s successful transformation to provide an outdoor dining offer won them the Go Taste of North Wales, sponsored by Bwydlyn Butchery.

A delighted restaurant manager Lydia Davies said: “We’ve got a really good team here doing lots of hours and their hard work has paid off.

“We made a really big change because we wanted the Bar and Grill to be more accessible and we’ve opened up our outdoor space which has really helped us because as well as our regulars we’ve got lots of visitors coming in.

“We get lots of walkers and cyclists and people walking their dogs and Llangollen itself is a great attraction and an outdoorsy place.”

The Three Eagles received its accolade at the Go North Wales Tourism Awards, a glittering event at Venue Cymru in Llandudno sponsored by leading food distribution company, Harlech Foodservice, and hosted by acclaimed journalist Sian Lloyd who hails from Wrexham.

The occasion was also a 30th anniversary celebration for organiser North Wales Tourism which was founded in 1990 and now represents more than 1,500 members across the region.

Other Denbighshire winners: Thornley Leisure Parks Go Holiday Park of the Year, Marine Holiday Park, Rhyl; Pero Foods Ltd Go Pet Friendly Award, Y Shed, Meliden; Bwydlyn Butchery Go Taste of North Wales Award, Three Eagles Bar and Grill, Llangollen; Design To Print Go Activity of the Year, Mynydd Sleddog Adventures, Llyn Brenig and Alwen Reservoir.

According to Chair of the judges Jim Jones, the chief executive of North Wales Tourism, the amount of investment going into improving the infrastructure of the tourism and hospitality sector was a vote of confidence in the future of the industry in North Wales.

Before the pandemic, the tourism industry was flying with the overall income generated increasing to an all-time high of £3.6 billion in 2019 when the number of visitors rocketed to nearly 37 million.

After a massive slump, the staycation boom this summer showed that North Wales was still a hugely popular destination for holidaymakers.

Jim Jones said: “Like everybody else, the tourism industry has endured an absolute nightmare over the past 20 months and, because of the nature of the business, our sector was disproportionately affected during the lockdown periods.

“I would like to congratulate the winners and the other finalists tonight because was they have achieved is utterly remarkable, particularly under the most difficult of circumstances.

“I would also like to stress that all the nominees are playing an absolutely vital role in leading the economic recovery here in North Wales and I would like to thank them for their incredible ongoing contribution.”

David Cattrall, the managing director of Harlech Foodservice, said: “We were delighted to have the opportunity to be the headline backer of the awards and to sponsor two individual categories because the tourism and hospitality industry represents our core customer base.

“Although we’ve all had an extremely tough time, there are reasons to be optimistic for the future and the scale of investment going into North Wales shows there is a strong belief that this is a first-class, must-visit destination.”

North Wales Tourism used the occasion to raise money for their nominated charity, St David’s Hospice in Llandudno.

Llan business backs county's 'shop local' campaign


* Peter Carol is backing the #LoveLiveLocal campaign.

Llangollen’s ProAdventure is one of a number of independent businesses supporting the #LoveLiveLocal campaign being run by Denbighshire County Council to encourage more people to shop local this winter.

ProAdventure opened in 1991 and is a specialist outdoor adventure retailer selling everything from tipi tents, bush-craft equipment, outdoor clothing and equipment for cooking and living comfortably in the great outdoors.

Peter Carol runs the business with his wife Lesley who is a trained mountain leader, a qualified canoe river leader and a Nordic walking coach.

Peter, who has more than 30 years of experience of working in outdoor adventure training and holidays, said: “Adventure sports are very popular in Denbighshire and we are seeing it grow. There is also a wealth of beautiful countryside for people to explore.

“Now is a great time to get kitted out for the new year, or for those who are experienced in the outdoors you can repair, wash or reproof kit with the supplies we carry in the shop. The products we sell reflect our love of walking and camping, Scandinavian culture and back garden living.

“We also make careful buying choices while taking account of the environmental impact products make and this includes choices on what we sell and who we buy it from, sourcing renewable electricity and using LED lighting throughout the store.

“We have a very sportive business community here in Llangollen and we would encourage shoppers to look at their local high streets this Christmas and to think outside the box when looking for presents.”

Shoppers can help by sharing great experiences and products on social media to let people know you have shopped local this winter and encourage others to #LoveLiveLocal too.

* You can get involved by visiting www.denbighshire.gov.uk/en/business/business-support/love-live-local.aspx

Sunday, November 28, 2021

EE gives update on loss of signal in Llan

At 6.35pm today (Sunday) EE has given an update on the loss of its signal in the central area of Llangollen which began yesterday as a result of Storm Arwen.

This says: "Network update: We are working on the problem in LL20 8HN. It's taking longer than expected to resolve. We will continue to keep you updated."


Skates urges sports groups to go for free defibrillator

Member of the Senedd for Clwyd South, Ken Skates, is urging local sports clubs and organisations to apply for a free defibrillator through the Welsh Labour Government’s Save a life Cymru scheme before the upcoming deadline for applications on November 30.

In September, Welsh Labour’s Health Minister Eluned Morgan announced an additional £500,000 to improve community access to defibrillators and boost out of hospital cardiac arrest survival rates. 

The money is going towards enabling places like community buildings and sports grounds to access a defibrillator. 

A patient’s chance of surviving an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest decreases by an estimated 10% with every passing minute. By increasing the availability of them in community settings it is hoped to improve the survival rates of those suffering a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. 

Ken Skates MS said: “Every second counts when someone goes into cardiac arrest. By improving community access to defibrillators, it will hopefully improve the survival rates of those suffering cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. 

“I fully supported the calls for more defibrillators, so I was really pleased when the Welsh Labour Government announced additional funding of £500,000 to improve community access to them."

Organisations can apply for a community public access defibrillator here: https://gov.wales/apply-for-a-community-public-access-defibrillator

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Help network springs back into action to help those hit by power cut

The woman who helped get Llangollen through the pandemic has swung into action to give assistance with the power cut caused by Storm Arwen.

With mobile phone lines down to make things even more difficult, Cat Mead has this afternoon been on Facebook to put out a plea to help elderly people in the area left without electricity.

The Daily Post said earlier in a story about the after-effects of the storm that a number of properties and locations have been left without power and in some instances, electricity isn't expected to be restored until 8pm tomorrow evening, according to reports.

A notice on Scottish Power's website said that the firm were struggling with a high volume of outage reports - with parts in the east of the region particularly hard hit.

A spokesman told the Daily Post said that around 28,000 customers across England and Wales were without power with outages mainly affecting the Dee Valley, mid and North Wales as well as Oswestry.  

Cat Mead posted earlier: "HELP NEEDED URGENTLY. We have lots of elderly residents without Electric, no heat, no lights or hot water...

"Please check on your elderly neighbours, as phone lines are down too! Could anyone that can help support with the following - battery operated lights/torches with working batteries, Flasks/tea Urn etc..
"I have power at the min so can fill and take to residents, If you can help please msg me asap."

A little later, she posted: "Hot drinks sorted! Really need torches and battery operated lights if anyone can help."

Another local person commented: "Latest message from electric company is they are hoping to have everyone back on by 12pm 28th November. They will stagger the reconnection. The power cut is affecting large areas of North Wales, Shropshire and across to parts of the Wirral."

Later, Cat updated by posting: 
"BIG THANK YOU to everyone that quickly jumped into help, Scout Hut have given lots of battery lights, residents rally to donate torches, Paula Lingard is again being main contact and touching base with the residents in apartments on Abbey Rd, others filling hot water bottles and George's Cafe Llangollen straight to the rescue (he really is a great human) 
Cath Cambrian House Llangollen 

AS ALWAYS LLAN HELPS ITS OWN "

Talented Young 'Uns look forward to next spectacular show

Llangollen Operatic Young 'Uns say they are sad not to be taking part in this afternoon's entertainment programme planned for the town's Christmas lights switch-on after the event was cancelled due to the severe weather warning. 

A group spokesperson said: "The talented cast of  the Young 'Uns had planned to present a taster for their forthcoming production of Little Shop of Horrors.

"They have been rehearsing for the show since early September and had hoped to perform of a lively selection of songs from this. They sounded amazing at their last rehearsal and are filled with enthusiasm and talent.

"The amazing Little Shop of Horrors will be staged at Llangollen Town Hall from February 16-19 February 2022. 

"It promises to be truly spectacular, with all the talented performances this older group of the Young 'Uns will bring. 

"There will be five performances including a matinee. Tickets are available from Ticket Source. https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/llangollenoperaticsociety.

"The Young 'Uns hope very much to see you there."

Gale's host food and craft fair

Gale's Wine Bar are today hosting a food and craft fair featuring a variety of different artisan producers ...





Tanker overturns outside Tesco Cefn Mawr, says report


* The picture from North Wales Live of the overturned tanker. 

North Wales Live is reporting this morning that the Tesco store at Cefn Mawr has been closed after a tanker overturned outside the branch.

The report says it is understood the tanker overturned in high winds brought on by Storm Arwen.

This is an ongoing incident.

* For the full story, see: https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/live-tesco-superstore-shut-after-22294672

In Llangollen, a picture has appeared on Facebook of damage to a shed and greenhouse on the Fron Bache allotments.


There is also a picture on Facebook of a tree down across the canal near Trefor, Bridge 37.

Cat Meade posted on Facebook: "Aldi and HB (Home Bargains) closed as power off." 

Tidy Town Team celebrates 500+ hours of unpaid work for the community

Members of the Llangollen Tidy Town Team held their annual Christmas dinner at The Hand last night.

The team, who are all volunteers, were celebrating carrying out more than 500 hours of unpaid community work over the past year ranging from assisting with the remaking of the corner garden of Centenary Square to handling traffic management for Covid vaccination sessions at the health centre.

Storm Arwen devastates town's barrier system

 





Last night's high winds caused by Storm Arwel had a devastating affect on the barriers in the town centre erected around the 2020 project workings.

Almost every piece of the orange plastic fencing was blown down, along the length of Castle Street, the top of Centenary Square and the corner of Bridge Street.

Just after 8am a lone workman from the contractors undertaking the work could be seen starting the job of putting the barriers back into position. 

Copies of charity Christmas quiz to go on sale

For the 15th year a Christmas Quiz is being held on behalf of Cancer Research UK. 

It aims to be fun for all the family and you could even consider including it in Christmas cards to friends, say organisers.

From December 1 copies (£1) will be obtainable from the Tourist Information Centre in Castle Street. 

MP welcomes Free after Three Christmas parking in town

Clwyd South MP Simon Baynes (pictured) has welcomed the return of Denbighshire Council’s Free After Three parking scheme for car parks across the county. 

From November 21 to December 31, certain Denbighshire Council-run town centre car parks will be free for members of the public to use from 3pm every day, in a bid to attract and encourage people to use their local high street during the festive period. 

In Mr Baynes’ Clwyd South constituency, the initiative will be available for the following Council-run car parks:

* Llangollen - Market Street, East Street, Hall Street and Mill Street

•  Corwen - Green Lane

Mr Baynes said: “I very much welcome the return of the Free After Three scheme to car parks in Llangollen and Corwen, which will hopefully not only benefit our local town centres across the festive season but also will make parking more accessible across the county.

"After the serious disruption caused to businesses in Clwyd South due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever that we support our local businesses, independent traders and town centres – and this is a great scheme to assist in doing just that.”

Friday, November 26, 2021

Next week's work on town's 2020 project

Work planned for week starting November 29 on the town's 2020 project is: 

  • Digging for the new kerb line up from Castle Street east to Oak Street
  • Paving from the cenotaph up to Castle Street east
  • Paving on Castle Street west heading north toward the junction with Parade Street
  • Laying new kerbs up Castle Street east towards Oak Street
  • Digging and installing tree pit on Castle Street west

Diversions through Llan as A483 closed later due to Storm Arwen

The Denbighshire Free Press is reporting that motorists are facing a lengthy diversion through Llangollen as part of the A483 is closed later today due to Storm Arwen. 

* For the full story, see: A483 closure to cause lengthy diversion through Llangollen | Denbighshire Free Press

Town's Christmas Celebration cancelled due to weather


* Centenary Square where the entertainment 
was due to be held.

Organisers have reluctantly decided to cancel tomorrow's Celebration of Christmas due to predicted high winds.

A scaled-down version of the town’s annual Christmas Festival, taking account of ongoing pandemic safety measures, was due to be staged on Saturday afternoon featuring a programme of entertainment in Centenary Square.

But town mayor Councillor Austin Cheminais, who also chairs the Christmas Festival Committee, said this morning: "In view of the really bad weather forecast we have very reluctantly decided to cancel the event.

"I've been checking with a number of weather forecasts and they all predict very high winds. In fact, the Met Office is forecasting gusts up to 54mph and the gazebo in which the entertainment programme was to be staged just couldn't have coped with that.

"There was also a major question mark over whether the firework display which was to round off the afternoon could have gone ahead in these conditions."

He added: "We're really sorry to cancel but we've done it just to keep everybody safe.

"We will perhaps organise a post-Christmas event but of course we will let everyone know about that."

Latest information from the festival committee is that the Christmas lights will be turned on around 5pm tomorrow but without the usual ceremony.

* Once again this year the festival committee is hosting its popular Christmas Scarecrow Trail.

Throughout December they are encouraging people to come up with some creative and colourful entries.  

It was held last year and even during the pandemic it managed to attract over 50 inventive entries from all parts of the town.

Cllr Cheminais said: "I knew of 40 locations on the list and there were a lot more out there that I didn't know about.

"I’m hoping to get even more this year as I know how incredibly creative Llangollen people are.

"Santa and his elves will judge the competition in the week leading up to Christmas, and there are two main prizes of £25 plus five runners-up prizes of £10.

"People can help choose the winner by sending a picture of their favourite to: santa@btinternet.com." 

Snowman shows it's beginning to look like Christmas


* A picture sent in to llanblogger by Eileen Dart shows how it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in our town. She took this photo of a very sophisticated snowman scene on Abbey Road and wanted to share 
it with our readers. We'd welcome others like this.

Improvements to public computer facilities in Denbighshire libraries

A programme of upgrading and improving the public access technology facilities in all libraries in Denbighshire has started.

The work began on November 20, and is anticipated to take 6-8 weeks to complete.

The project will see new public access computers installed, a new PC management system, self-service printing, an online booking system and printing via Wi-Fi.

Each week one or two libraries will be upgraded and during that week, customers will not be able to access computers or printing at that particular library.

Customers will be informed by staff and notices at each library and via social media, and advised to consider visiting another library to use the computers there.

Cllr Tony Thomas, Denbighshire County Council’s Lead Member for Housing and Communities, said: “This upgrade will really benefit our library customers and provide a better service for those who use our public access technology facilities.

“Our libraries provide a wide range of services for our residents including free access to books, free downloadable books and newspapers, free computer internet and Wi-Fi access, and a shared space for community activity.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers during these improvements and thank them for their patience during this time.”

The programme started at Rhyl Library and will roll out across the county in the coming weeks.

Customers are advised to check with their local library before making a special journey to use the library computers or printing.

The free public Wi-Fi will remain available during this time.

£7m government support pledged for unpaid carers

Deputy Minister for Social Services Julie Morgan has outlined how £7m Welsh Government funding will support unpaid carers in recognition of the vital support they provide to the people they care for.

The support package will allocate £5.5 million to local authorities to provide targeted support to unpaid carers; £1.25m for the Carers Support Fund - last year, this fund successfully helped almost 6500 unpaid carers to cope with the financial impact of Covid 19; £20,000 to fund online mental wellbeing support sessions; and £230,000 for the Family Fund to support over 600 further low-income families with seriously ill or disabled children.

Welsh Government previously committed £3 million in 2021-22 to allow more carers to take a break from their caring role, bringing the total additional funding support for unpaid carers this year to £10 million.

The Deputy Minister for Social Services said: “The physical and emotional impact of caring can be overwhelming. We share concerns that many are at breaking point due to the additional pressures put upon them from the pandemic. Thousands of unpaid carers have been supported since the start of the pandemic but it its vital we continue to help unpaid carers cope with the emotional and financial impact of COVID-19.

“The funding announced today shows how much we appreciate the army of unpaid carers in Wales who have gone above and beyond to care for family or friends and our commitment to support carers to have a life beyond their caring role.

“Unpaid carers play a vital role in our society, helping reduce pressures on the health service by ensuring people can return from and stay out of hospital. Their extraordinary work and contribution to social care is part of a £42m package to support the NHS winter plan.”

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Change in alert levels for Denbighshire secondary schools


* Ysgol Dinas Bran in Llangollen.

Following a recent decrease in Covid-19 cases in Secondary schools across Denbighshire it has been agreed to revert back to the Low level of interventions status. 

An increase in cases at the start of the school year saw Secondary schools change their status which enabled schools to implement additional measures to help control the spread of the virus. 

Recent weeks have seen a reduction in case numbers for secondary age pupils and based on this, the overall alert level for Secondary schools has been changed to Low.

Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Denbighshire County Council’s Lead Member for Education, Children's Services and Public Engagement, said: “It is pleasing to see the work of school staff and parents has helped to reduce Covid case rates in Secondary schools and that we can make this decision now. 

“In making this decision it’s important we all remain aware that Covid remains in our communities and we remember the importance of seeking tests when symptoms develop and following advice from TTP regarding self-isolation.

“I would like to reassure parents and carers, learners and staff at our schools that we will continue to monitor the situation and take action to help keep schools safe when required should the situation change and I would like to thank all pupils, parents and staff for their support during this difficult time.”

All those contacted by Test, Trace, Protect (TTP) are asked to work with the teams and to follow the guidance given.

* PCR tests can be ordered at https://gov.wales/get-tested-coronavirus-covid-19 or by calling 119

New Dot's next screening is Home Alone

New Dot Cinema's next screening will feature the 1990s feel-good film Home Alone. 

Kevin's classic solo Christmas adventure will be show on the big screen in Llangollen Town Hall on Friday December 10, from 6.30-9.30pm with last entry at 7pm.

Home Alone is a 1990 American comedy film directed by Chris Columbus and written by John Hughes.

It is the first film in the Home Alone franchise and stars Macauley Culkin, Joe Pesci, Daniel Stern, John Heard and Catherine O'Hara. 

Culkin plays Kevin McCallister, a boy who defends his Chicago home from burglars after his family accidentally leaves him behind on their vacation to Paris.

* Tickets are available online now at: https://www.skiddle.com/.../Home-Alone---New.../35953137/

Pilot scheme to tackle second homes impact on communities

 


Climate Change Minister Julie James has just revealed details of a pilot scheme to tackle the impact second home ownership is having on some Welsh communities.

Speaking in the Senedd, the Minister confirmed the pilot will bring together a range of actions to address the impacts large numbers of second homes and short-term holiday lets can have.

The Minister told MSs that Dwyfor had been chosen for a pilot which will launch in January with support from Gwynedd Council.

The first phase of the pilot will build on the practical support Welsh Government is already providing to address affordability and availability of housing and will be tailored to suit the needs of people in the area. More details will be confirmed following the Budget, with the Minister keen to look at shared equity schemes, rental solutions and what we do with empty homes.

Two dedicated posts will support delivery of the pilot in the areas to link the interventions, engage with communities and maximise the impact.

The Minister also launched a consultation on proposed planning changes.

This will seek views on the use of ‘class order’ in planning which would allow local planning authorities to require planning applications for additional second homes and short-term holiday lets in areas where they are causing significant difficulties for communities.

The consultation will shape the second phase of the pilot which could involve making changes to planning, taxation and tourism systems. 

Speaking in the Senedd, Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said: “We want young people to have a realistic prospect of buying or renting affordable homes in the places they have grown up so they can live and work in their local communities.

“High numbers of second and holiday homes in one area can threaten the Welsh language in its heartlands and affect the sustainability of some rural areas.

“We are a welcoming nation and tourism is a major part in our economy bringing jobs and income to many parts of Wales. But we don’t want ghost villages in seasonal holiday spots – places where no one’s at home in the winter months.

“These are complex issues and there are no quick fixes. What may be right for one community may not work for another. We will need to bring forward a range of actions, there is no one silver bullet here!”

In addition, the Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles announced the launch of a consultation on additional measures tailored specifically for those communities in which the Welsh language is widely spoken.

This will form the basis of the Welsh Government’s Welsh Language Communities Housing Plan, and will play an important part in maintaining Welsh-speaking communities as places that facilitate the use of the language. 

Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles said:

“We want our Welsh-language communities to continue to be economically viable places for local people, especially young people, to live and work and where the Welsh language and culture can thrive.

“While there are no easy answers, I am confident the interventions proposed today will go a long way to addressing our objective of ensuring that people in Welsh-speaking communities can afford to live in the communities in which they grew up.”

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Drakeford says how extra PCSOs will be used


* From left, PCC Andy Dunbobbin, First Minister Mark Drakeford and Inspector Luke Hughes.

First Minister Mark Drakeford joined police officers on the beat in Wrexham today (Wednesday) to listen to their experiences and also to see how the Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) funded by the Welsh Government can help keep communities safe.

The First Minister had been invited to join officers on the beat by Wrexham Police Station.

Earlier this year the Welsh Government announced an extra £3.7m to fund an additional 100 PCSOs across Wales to tackle crime and support communities. 

The additional 100 PCSOs brings the total funded by the Welsh Government to 600, with 121 in North Wales. 

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “I want to thank the officers I’ve met today in Wrexham for sharing their experiences with me, and for the important and valued work they do every single day to keep us all safe.  In particular I want to thank them and all their colleagues for their work during the pandemic, and I pay tribute to their dedication.

“Policing is an important part of our communities, and having officers on the ground who are part of those communities and know them well is vital. 

“This is why the Welsh Government is investing in funding PCSOs.  They provide a vital link between our neighbourhoods and police services and play an important role in keeping our communities safe.”

Police Community Support Officers work with police officers and share some, but not all of their powers. They provide an important link between their communities and the police service to ensure people have the support they need

Some of the things PCSOs support frontline policing with are stopping speeding outside our schools, reporting vandalism or reducing anti-social behaviour.

Inspector Luke Hughes of Wrexham Police station said: “I am grateful to the First Minister for attending Wrexham today and joining PS Evans on patrol in our town centre.

“Wrexham is certainly now starting to leave behind the reputation that it obtained a number of years ago. It is no longer as the media described it, which even then was unfair and distracted from what our historic and proud town had to offer.

“Recently, and with the support of the PCC's office we have secured a great deal of funding which will be reinvested locally. My aim is to increase the visible police presence in the centre of the town and with the addition of five new PCSO to the local neighbourhood team we will certainly be able to do that. Their presence will contribute to the growing sense of security in the town by day and at night.

“I would urge the local community to be proud of what has been achieved locally; international interest and investment in our football club being just a few things. Don’t contribute or listen to the negative comments I see on social media. Come and visit the town over the festive period and realise that we still have a great town centre, one to be proud of and one that will continue to go from strength to strength. If you believe in Wrexham, then it will once again become the town you want it to be."

North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Andy Dunbobbin said: “Strengthening neighbourhood policing was a key priority in my manifesto when I was elected in May this year and forms the bedrock of my Police and Crime Plan which sets the blueprint for policing North Wales.

“Police Community Support Officers have an important role in ensuring that our communities benefit from visible policing, providing reassurance for the public and gathering intelligence on the ground to tackle serious and organised criminality.

“I am grateful to the Welsh Government in general and the First Minister in particular for playing their part by funding an extra 100 PCSOs across Wales.“I am delighted that North Wales is getting 20 additional PCSOs, keeping people and our communities safe, responding to key concerns that people have expressed. It’s massively important to people’s wellbeing."

Can Jazzy cross-over hit the bigtime again



Honda Jazz Crosstar drive by Steve Rogers

As a supermini the Jazz made its mark as a super practical, super versatile small hatchback.

Practical because it beat everyone on space, versatile because of its clever back seats which flip up, just like in the flicks, leaving enough room to walk through or carry something awkward. Strange that no one  has copied that brilliantly simple idea.

But we wanted more, envious of the new breed of high riding, roomy SUVs taking over from the family hatchback and the car companies duly obliged. Well the majority did, but not Honda ... until now.

Better late to the party than not turning up at all so bring on the Jazz Crosstar. Can it cut a dash like it did two decades ago? Time to find out.

The curious thing about Jazz is that was never a conventional baby hatch in the same vein as Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa, in fact the tall boxy body made it more of a trailblazer back in 2001 when the name crossover didn't even exist.

So the Crosstar's only significant difference over Jazz is a 30mm increase in ride height, roof rails and off road style body armour, not that Crosstar is designed to go off the straight and narrow.

Nevertheless it still has a cabin the size of a tardis with bags of room for four tall adults and a substantial boot although it holds six litres less than the 'smaller' Jazz. How weird is that?

That said the black plastic facings around the wheel arches, black side sills, roof rails and black roof add a bit of pizzazz to a shape that is not everyone's cup of tea. The slight downside is that those extra bits push up emissions and put a small dent in fuel efficiency not that that's anything to worry about as you will find out later on.

The first thing to notice with the new shape is the large glass area around the front of the car. Vision from behind the wheel is as good as it gets thanks to a huge windscreen and wafer thin front pillars which house what we used to call a quarter light but this is obviously now fixed glass. Between that and the raised driving position provides for a panoramic view that has no equal.

The modern dashboard looks good with a nine inch touchscreen housing all manner information and superbly clear heating controls with chunky tactile buttons. There is an upmarket feel to the soft touch trim and I particularly like the fabric facings on the dash and doors. And check out the 8-speaker stereo, you could be in a concert hall with this sound.

I have been waiting for Honda to get to grips with the Jazz's suspension and although it has improved down the years there is still work to do to match the best of its rivals. Even though the longer suspension travel makes for a slightly softer ride on Crosstar you still feel a severe thud hitting potholes and the like.

No complaints about performance thanks to the one and only 1.5 litre self charging hybrid engine. It is a new powertrain with two electric motors and is both quick off the mark and a smooth cruiser through the automatic CVT gearbox. There is not an awful lot of electric only driving but the system is clever enough to pick the right times which is generally in low speed urban conditions.

Which brings us to economy. This is a real strong point and while Crosstar is around 4mpg down on Jazz (blame the extra body bits) we easily beat the official figure of 58.9 hovering in the low sixties most of the week.

Jazz has always been an expensive car partly down to generous equipment right across the range along with an enviable safety package that now includes lane assist, automatic emergency braking, blind spot and cross traffic alert.

Crosstar pushes the price up even more but it is packed with goodies like heated seats and steering wheel, navigation, Apple Carplay and Mirrorlink connections, keyless entry and waterproof fabric seats. They could come in useful I suppose.

Whether it is worth the extra for Crosstar's body bling and increased ride height is down to personal choice but you are not gaining a great deal over the standard Jazz.

It's a pleasant car to drive, not as much fun as a Ford Puma or as comfortable as a Citroen C3 Aircross but the majority probably wouldn't notice, or even care.

Fast Facts

Jazz Crosstar EX eCVT

£23,385

1.5 litre petrol hybrid; 108bhp

0-62mph 9.9secs; 107mph

58.9mpg combined

110g/km. Road tax £145

Boot: 298-1199 litres

Insurance group 19

Betty Lowe's funeral date is given

* Betty Lowe pictured on her 90th birthday.

The funeral of well-known Llangollen resident Betty Lowe, who died recently just days short of her 97th birthday, will take place at Llantisilio Church at 12.30pm on Friday, December 3.

Betty Veronica Lowe was born in Acrefair on November 17, 1924, daughter of William and Gwendolen Lowe.

Her Llangollen roots go back a long way. Her great grandfather, Edward Roberts, landlord of the Grapes, was one of the early mill owners of Llangollen who established Upper Dee Mill.

One grandfather, Evan Evans, designed the King’s bridge at Berwyn. 

On leaving school she attended a Housekeepers Course at the FL Calder College of Domestic Science, Myrtle Street, Liverpool. But she was also a gold medallist of the London Academy of Music and Drama During the war, she was heavily involved with caring for her mother at their home, Holmwood, at Berwyn.

As well as looking after her mother, she taught drama at Llantysilio for Miss Grace Lloyd Williams and also taught drama and elocution at several schools, including Howells, Denbigh, during the 1970s.

As well as being a founder member of the Llangollen Twenty Club, she was involved with Llantysilio WI, a member of the Eisteddfod floral committee for many years, Hanes, and was made Life President of Llangollen Civic Society, having been chair some time.

Betty passed away just as the dramatic society she helped to pioneer celebrated its 75th anniversary with a smash-hit production of French-themed TV comedy 'Allo 'Allo.

Her funeral comes a day after that of another well-known Llangollen resident, Wyn "Paraffin" Hughes, which is at St Collen's at 12 noon on Thursday, December 2.

November's Citizens Advice column

Latest column from Denbighshire Citizens Advice is:

Q: It feels like everything is getting more and more expensive and with Christmas coming up, I'm really worried about how I'll manage. My partner and I would love to treat our kids but we’re keen to avoid huge debts. Do you have any advice? 

Christmas can be costly for many of us and we know lots of people are struggling already this year. There can be a lot of pressure to spend more than you can afford, so here are a few key things to remember as we head into 2022. 

A: Be realistic and budget accordinglyWork out how much you can afford to spend – and stick to it. There’s nothing wrong with managing expectations, and suggesting things such as spending limits, secret Santas or maybe even that you don’t need to swap gifts. 

Don’t forget the everyday bills

Remember that the rent or mortgage, utility bills, food bills and other existing debts still have to be paid – the consequences can be severe if they’re not. Even though it’s Christmas, it’s not worth starting the New Year being behind on your bills. 

Tempted by Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL)? While it can be tempting to split payments, make sure you have a plan for how to pay the money back - particularly if your circumstances or income were to change. If you're using BNPL repeatedly or using multiple BNPL options, make sure you know how much you owe in total. Make sure you understand what you’re signing up for, how you’ll make the repayments and what will happen if you can’t pay on time. 

Buy safe to be safe

Whatever the deal, whatever the temptation, don’t buy from unauthorised traders and don’t borrow from unauthorised lenders. These could put you at risk of unscrupulous collection methods  – including threats and harm, unsafe products and unexpectedly high interest rates. You may also not be protected by Financial Conduct Authority rules. 

Shop around

Try as many different places as possible to find the best price. Buy what you want and not what other people say you need. Be wary of extended warranties; the cost of a repair could be less than the cost of the warranty. 

Get help if you’re struggling

If you’re worried about paying the bills, get free, independent advice as soon as possible. There’s lots of information on the Citizens Advice website and you can call Citizens Advice Denbighshire on 0808 278 7933  where an adviser will be able to help you understand your options and come up with a plan.