WHAT?!


What are they pumping into the Vale?

It runs on through not absorb in shale!

They take the good then dump the spoil

above your school, your girls, your boys.

The heavens had opened on this land of ‘song’

for days the deluge had carried-on!

Yet they kept on pumping into the Vale,

expecting water to be absorbed by shale

.

On a foggy day a mountain moans

as streams beneath a sonami forms

now well lubed, the shale gave way and 

down it crashed onto a new school day.

A road runs through it 50 years on

The pit and spoil all long since gone

The greening of the Valley’s hides their violent past

but of this lost generation the memory lasts.

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RIP

JSB

TRIUMPH AND DISASTER


How far back can you remember?

My earliest memory is of 1966, I was 3 years old.

Most people in the UK are aware of the importance of 1966 but not necessarily for the reasons you may think!

For England, 1966 was a sporting triumph, winning the FIFA World Cup, but, to the people of Wales, in particular the people of a small mining village in the heart of the south Wales valleys, 1966 brought disaster of monumental proportions.

On the 21st October 1966 at 9:15am, just when first lessons were about to start in primary schools through-out the Country, a slag-heap above the village of Aberfan, south of Merthyr Tydfil, came crashing down, engulfing the local primary school, a farmhouse and some terraced houses, claiming the lives of 144 people, mainly children, not much older than me.

I recall in, vivid detail, standing outside the front-door with my mother, watching the lorries trundling up the road with their cargo of spoil from the disaster area. There was no talking, no idol chit-chat, just silence, as they made their way to the steelworks where the spoil was to be burnt in the mighty furnaces, no talking, no idol chit-chat just a deep sadness for the loss of 144 souls, 116 of whom were children, all of whom had been engulfed by this very same spoil.

Some 15 years on, I was working for a furniture manufacture and helped deliver a three piece to a home in a village near Aberfan. The home-owner had her elder sister with her, she was suffering from mental illness. The home-owner explained how her sister was a survivor of the Aberfan disaster. She had been buried up to the chest, her cousin, who was with her at the time, lost her life.

A mind damaged and a generation lost.

 

jsb

CALIFORNVACATION


The holiday period comes around far too quickly for my liking. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike holiday periods, how could I, there’s nothing better than having the ankle-biters off school, being bored for weeks on end. No! I don’t dislike holiday periods, I just can’t afford them!

For many years, we would spend our holidays alternating between Wales and Norfolk, my two favourite places in the whole World. One year, we decided to have a change.

We thought long and hard about where we should go, we wanted somewhere different. Having thrown-out the idea of Spain and the Mediterranean, we decided to take the kids to… CALIFORNIA!!!

Having forked-out a small fortune for this holiday, all too quickly departure day was upon us. Four kids, two adults and three wardrobes full of clothes, or at least, that’s what it felt like.

I didn’t think they would let us on with all this baggage… but they did!

We sat in awe, as the jets flew over-head, at the end of our journey, as we awaited our transport to the holiday centre.

‘Dad!’ ‘This place looks like Great Yarmouth’, my daughter pipes-up, ‘Don’t be daft Amy!’ ‘This is ‘California!!!’…

‘Great Yarmouth is 3 miles away!’

For the record, we all had a great time! 😉

JSB

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I’VE NEVER SEEN THE BEACH AT ABERAVON


De a big droplet, cold… very cold, eye closing, blustery wetness. In these conditions the inside of the bus and a view of the car park through the windows, was ALL we would see. This wasn’t a one-off either, this was every time I have EVER been to Aberavon, I have NEVER seen the beach at Aberavon.

Aberavon beach is three miles long situated in Swansea Bay, popular with surfers due to the large breakers along the shore… or so I’m told!

jsb