A Child Was Born In Bargoed - a Memory of Bargoed.
Born on the 15th April 1950 in my grandparents front room in Bristol Terrace I didn't realize until now what we had in those " good old days". I am a self made millionaire but I would trade all what I have now for those wonderful days of living in the Rhymney valley . Memories you ask for and here are just some of them.
My mother was divorced when I was 5 years of age so we moved in with my grandparents in Bristol Terrace. My grandfather was a miner and worked in the pit for next to nothing. Luxury to us was having a piece of fatty lamb on a Sunday which I hated with passion swallowing the fat in mouthfuls just to be allowed to have a portion of pudding. No toilet in the house just carry a bucket to the top of the garden and sit on the drop " toilet ". Cold and wet with a tin bath which we used once a week. A big coal fire which we all sort some form of comfort from in those Wintery days. My big red 3 wheeler bike which I use to ride after school on the pavement up and down the street. No one complained. Cosy Corner café where my Mum use to work listening to the juke box and the 50's music. The Palace and Hanbury cinemas where you would be fortunate to go to if there were spare pennies in the electricity jar. The fish and chip shop where the rissoles you would die for and were piping hot after watching a good flic. Each Sunday at the top of the street I would wait for the Salvation Army to play and I would join in with the singing. Maybe that is why I am a Salvationist and participate as an executive advisor in the Salvation Army here in Swaziland today. I use to run to the shops with my sister and buy a packet of fags for my mum. Those runs made me become the Welsh schools 440 yards champion speed I developed in Bargoed. Summer days in the ferns and up the Park for a day out with sandwiches and orange juice. Exploring the mountains with your mates without any fear for your safety. Christmas day opening the one or two presents that we could afford but the selection boxes were the best with a few oranges and nuts. Television with a hanging magnifying glass to make the screen look bigger which was a luxury in itself.
Going to Penybanc and Fochriw to visit my father. Working in the levels when I was 8 years of age, taking the big horses in to pull out the drams of anthracite which kept our homes warm. Shooting rabbits on the farm, taking the greyhounds racing each Friday to Tredegar and getting treated to huge steak and kidney pies with cokes when they won. Collecting and stacking the hay in the Summer and stealing the cider when the old man was not looking.
Sadly , I left all that behind when I moved to Cwmbran in 1961 and came to South Africa in 1969 but on my frequent return visits I always and I mean always go back to my roots and visit Bargoed where I once again remind myself of those glorious days I had as a child. Nobody will ever take them away from me and although the town is no longer the hive of activity as it use to be it will always be home to me. Thank you Bargoed for giving me the start in life that has made me the man I am today. Spoken by a true valley boy and tremendously proud of it.
A memory shared byon Aug 5th, 2014.
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