Saturday, 29 December 2007

This is what it is all about!

Today was what this trip is all about! I visited the house where Dad (Grandsire) grew up, and the street where Mum (Grandma) grew up, but we weren't sure of the exact house. Hopefully Alun & Sandra can fill the gaps. I picked up all sorts of information about the family, including the fact that there was a great-uncle who lived with Dad and Don, Richard. He was my grandmother's youngest brother, and since she was married with her own house, she took him in to bring him up.
Education was very important, as miners tried to find ways to prevent their children ending up working the mines like them. My grandmother had inherited two houses and one was sold to pay for Dad's university education.

They ran a shop next to their house, and were considered a bit 'posh' as they had some money. The miners used to come in and buy one cigarette and one match on their way to the mines. They couldn't buy more as they weren't allowed, obviously, to take them into the mine.

We saw the chapel where Mum & Dad were married (now turned into a retirement home but the facade has been kept on the building), travelled around Porth (where Dad grew up) and Clydach Vale (Mum).

Anne has arranged a tour of the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff next week, and we are going to go to the Rhondda Heritage museum when it re-opens after the Christmas / New Year break. It is a museum for the coal mining in the district and includes a simulated mine!

The weather was fine but with a cold wind this morning, but the rain started up again this afternoon and we had to cut the sightseeing short. However, we will pick it up again at the first opportunity.

One interesting fact, for me, is the fact that I have distances completely wrong. Going from Penycraig to Tonypandy is not a case of traveling between villages, but a case of walking down the street - and you go from one to the other in the space of a few steps. The Rhondda is one big area, kind of like a big town with suburbs, but each 'village' contains it's own identity here, has it's own shopping centre, own rugby club etc...

I had always wondered how Dad could walk or cycle to see Mum when they were 'courting', but now I know. It wasn't that much distance after all. Of course cars are used today, but even I could walk from one to the other... I must find out how they met...

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