I ‘heart’ Wales

What happened after coffee and Eddie’s diner then? We walked round the bay, we wouldn’t have seen sights like this in Cardiff a few years ago, Mum would have loved it. Actually, that we something I thought a lot while we were there.

All along the harbour were the usual boat trips, in fact it reminded me a lot of Royan, all restaurants, bars, boats and even a carousel. I could see that BOb wanted to go on a boat trip so we did a trip to The Barrage, the bit that they built on in order to create a proper bay. It was a perfect day for a boat trip, not too windy, not too sunny, just right, in fact. <

The trip took about 15 minutes and instead of staying on the boat for the round trip we decided to get off and have a look round. There are some amazing, not to mention huge locks and we stood for a while as some boats went through. Big deal, I can hear you saying. Well, yes, it was a BIG deal, I’ve never seen such huge locks, I was fascinated by the whole thing, ‘specially when the road bridge was lifted to let a tall yacht into the lock.

So ok, I know it’s really sad to be impressed by a road lifting up but I’ve never seen it before and I live a very simple life. You sophisticates have seen it all before, I’ve no doubt.

I liked the cute but totally incongruous pink lookout thingy.

When the sluice gates were opened to let the water in to the lock I was really pleased I wasn’t on this boat. It was being buffeted all over the place. Look at the high water mark, it only took about 5 minutes for the water to get up to this level.
A short ride back on the boat took us back for a mooch round before leaving. While we strolled along past the Millennium building, we poked our heads inside to see what it was like. To be honest we had, and really still don’t have any idea what it is. What we found when we went in was clearly a performance in progress. A bit of investigation revealed that it was in fact the Welsh National Opera. Even though they were singing in English we couldn’t work out what it was about. There seemed to be a lot of people in pyjamas, a fairground type atmosphere and lots of running about and contemporary dance.
Highly entertaining to watch, stunning to listen to but totally bemusing. More information needed, I think. I took a couple of pics but as I didn’t want to use the flash I knocked the ISO up to 1600. This camera is awful quality even at 400 ISO so the picture quality is dire but at least it will give you an idea of what was going on.

Yup. That is a young man in stilts, painted like a clown and pushing a 7 foot high pram

Visually very interesting, there were people all over the place. There was so much happening in so many places at once that we didn’t know where to look.

We didn’t stay too long in there because time was marching on and we wanted to get on the road to go and look at a coal mine known as Big Pit.
Somehow, we had got the idea that Big Pit was just off the motorway. That was a mistake, It was a good half hour from the motorway but worth it when we got there, even though it was nearing closing time, we made it just in time for the last tour of the day. Shame that as we’d been hoping to get some lunch before doing the tour not having eaten since the larver bread.
Big pit was a coal mine that was one of the first to be shut down by Arthur Scargill (remember him?) Now it’s a museum and staffed by volunteers.
Before we went down the mine we were given hard hats to wear and a miners lamp. Here we go, I thought, patronise the tourists and make them feel like proper miners. Before we were allowed to go in the lift we had to hand over anything that contained a battery. A bag was passed round and we all, in our gullible tourist mind set meekly handed over our compact camera’s, watches, car keys, mobile phones even handbags. Why did we do that? Because the man who told us to looked like he belonged there. He could have been anyone.
There was a lot of jesting about his surname being Turpin but still we all did as we were told. We did as it happened get it all back at the end, you’ll be glad to know but I’m sure you take my point.
The mine was excellent, really interesting. If you ever get a chance to visit then you must go. Interesting but distressing was the fact that pit ponies lived their whole lives underground. I never realised that, not that I’ve ever really given it much thought but I just assumed that at the end of the day they be put into a nice grassy field.

During the guided tour of the cold, wet, dark coal shaft with uneven floors and low ceilings ( is that the correct term for a coal face er.. ceiling) I discovered that the hard hat wasn’t just for show. Going down some very tricky steps, and after being warned umpteen times, I was so busy watching my footing that I forgot about my head and didn’t notice a sudden drop in the height of the ceiling so I ended up braining myself. Without the hard hat on I would have seriously hurt myself because I gave it a real good whallop. After that I kept a closer eye on what was happening around me.
We left the pit without being able to have a good look round the rest of the museum as they were getting ready to close by that time. That was a shame because I think that it would be easily worth a good half day to see it all. Oh well, we’ll add it to the ‘next time’ list.
The journey home was uneventful, other than the bit where we drove right past my Mum’s old flat and after a feeling a bit emotional all day, being on my Mum’s old stamping ground, the tears started. Try as I might I couldn’t stem the flow. Bob didn’t help by understanding. I would have got over it loads quicker if he’d been a thoughtless pig!!! Bless him.
Well, that was Wales. We can’t wait to go back, not necessarily to Cardiff but to go and explore the scenery, culture and food – well, maybe not the larver bread. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we get there.

2 thoughts on “I ‘heart’ Wales”

  1. What was "going on" in the WMC was Rim of the World. It was a WNO Max community project. The people singing were all amateurs and had just gone along without audtion to take part. They had been rehearsing for quite a few months and teh children were teh WNO singing club who meet Saturday mornings. Opera is not just an expensive pursuit for the few, it is for the many. Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Thanks for that, Keith. Lucky that, you stumbling across this blog. Could have done with you for the whole weekend!

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