It was a bitterly cold and frosty morning, and visitors to County Hall were greeted by the sight of Bob Crachit and about ten other members of Unison staging a small protest outside the main entrance in support of a living wage. How they must have enjoyed seeing Brother Kevin roll up sun-tanned from his latest cruise in his council Jaguar or Mercedes, heading into County Hall to explain why all that turkey and Christmas pudding would not be good for them. Or perhaps Kev used the special VIP entrance.
Members of the public, meanwhile, found that new entry procedures were in place.
After nearly 18 months of protests and complaints about the county council's treatment of members of the public wishing to observe council meetings, it seems that all it took was a short visit by the county fire officer a couple of weeks ago for new arrangements to be put in place. What that says about the council's repeated claims that the procedures were legal and in accordance with fire regulations, readers can decide for themselves.
Visitors are still required to sign in, but are no longer asked for their home addresses. A council security officer now sits at the rear of the gallery for the duration of the meeting, presumably watching out for threats to security. Good to see that the council has got staff with time to carry out such important duties.
Before the meeting got underway, Cllr Pam Palmer could be glimpsed marching up and down the corridor behind the chamber giving what appeared to be orders to the troops.
There was an almost total lack of Christmas cheer this year, although the Chair had brought along a table decoration featuring a small squirrel. Cllr Siân Thomas was clearly very pleased with her white gwiwer, and Cneifiwr had a short day-dream in which she stroked it while saying "Bore da, Mr Bond". The gwiwer had been purchased at a charity craft stand which is normally allowed into County Hall at this time of year to sell squirrels and other tasteful decorations to councillors.
Perhaps because of the security threat, there was unfortunately no stall this year.
But the Chair was determined to try to cheer everyone up. She would be taking part in this year's Boxing Day Walrus Dip wearing her itsy-bitsy, we were told. Cneifiwr managed to control his passion by closing his eyes and thinking of the council leader and his two deputies frolicking in the icy waves.
This month's clutch of awards included two prizes for the Dyfed Powys Pension Fund, which had been voted the best pension fund in Britain. Pam Palmer immediately rose to ask if she could send them a Christmas card.
The Chair reminded councillors that they too could join the fund, even though most of them are already drawing other pensions. For a small contribution (and a much larger contribution from council tax payers), they could all be part of the best possible pension fund.
But it was time to get down to business, and the little squirrel would soon find out that there were other, much larger rodents lurking in the chamber.