Friday, 15 February 2008

Friday 15 Feb 2008 - Visiting South Wales; The Past is Another Country

We visited South Wales, the place of my birth and first twenty years, and we had a great time. The weather was amazing for the time of year and the changes since I lived there were astonishing. The seems, perhaps as a result of devolution, to be a greater self confidence, in  Wales; Cardiff Bay is a revelation; below is a picture of the the incredible Millennium Centre which is next to the Welsh Assemble (so is TORCHWOOD only it's underneath it). Talking of TORCHWOOD everyone seems every proud both of it and Doctor Who - as they should. Well done BBC Wales - I hear you laughing all the way to the bank!

We travelled to Abertysswg (the village I grew up in) but we didn’t stop for long; we just drove around to see what had changed and what remained the same. Greenesway, the council estate at the top of the village, where I lived now has allotments but otherwise seems to have became a sink estate for unmarried mums and their feckless boyfriends. We got out there for a few minutes to take a few photos. Aber, as everyone calls it (which can become very confusing in Wales), has changed greatly yet still remains the same - This is how it looked when I was a child

and this is how it looks now

 many of the building I remember have gone including, but not limited to, The Mac ( The Maclaran Arms) 
has been demolished as has the Ainon Baptist Chapel
and the Workman’s Institute
which has been replaced by the brand new Abertysswg Rugby Club which,apparently, formed part of the village’s Millennium redevelopment. All my immediate relatives, my Dad’s Brothers and Sisters have, with the one exception, all passed away and I have no idea where in the village the exception, my Aunty Barbara, now lives. I nearly called into the Rugby Club but soon realised that no one under the age of 45 would have the slightest clue who I was (I left in 1976) and decided against this idea. We stopped, briefly, at the sheltered accommodation where my dad had lived and Nat showed Han the Pit Wheels he climbed on as a Two Year Old! After this we headed down the Rhymney Valley heading for Cardiff stopping off at Caerphilly to see the castle and take numerous pictures. Eventually we drove to Miskin Manor (a timeshare property) where we would be spending the week. As you will see from the link it’s a beautiful place and every evening we used the pool and sauna and most evenings I popped into the manor for a couple of pints in the beautiful old lounge. We travelled extensively during the week, the weather was gorgeous more like April/May than February. When we visited Porthcawl ( where I spent all my School Summer Holidays from age 5 to 13 - Six Weeks a year on Millionaires Mile and the other Forty-six  on a council estate - it's no wonder I'm mixed up) we were able to walk on the beach at Coney Island and some of the stall holders came and opened their stalls for the day (these are usually closed in October and don’t, normally, reopen until April/May time. We visited the The Rhondda Heritage Park, Big Pit , St Fagans: Natural History Museum, Cardiff Museum, The Cardiff Bay Development and many other places. The pictures of our week can be seem below: