When I go for a walk my mind goes off on a tangent as you will soon find out when you read my blog.
I left the house at 7 20am and I took the word community with me. I walked through the council estate where I live. All the houses were closed with sleep. Just me and a lone dog walker. We say morning to each other. Sun is high in the summer sky but I walk in shade.
I am walking to the basin of the Rhymney Valley, the River Rhymney. The beginning of the walk is all down hill and my knees are singing a savage opera. I am making my way to Parc Coetir Bargoed. This beautiful country park was once Bargoed and Britannia Colliery. This is the only country park with a train station in the middle Gilfach Fargoed station.
Bridge at Gilfach end of the park
9 years ago when I was a keen cyclist. I was cycling through the park on a frosty winter morning. I was cycling over the then new curved bridge at Pengam end. I skidded on the frosted wood by bike went one way and I the other. I was more embarrassed than in pain. I noticed the new bridge needed more than wood to make it safe. I phoned Countryside Caerphilly and spoke to the lovely gentleman Norman Liversuch. Norman asked was I going to sue the Council. I replied “Good grief no just fix the problem so others do not have an accident” Norman and Countryside Caerphilly covered all the bridges with something that looked like strips of sand paper. I was being community minded I did not want to sue anyone and Norman Liversuch is a true gentleman.
I turned left at the Gilfach and Britannia bridge following my third favourite river. My favourite river is Ely River, my childhood river it plays a bluesy note. My second is the River Taff, the river Taff sings a lament. My third is the River Rhymney, the Afon Rhymni sings loud and proud.I have seen the salmon leap and the trout in Afon Rhymni.
The park was full of Buddleia, cow parsley and toad flax
Back in 1999 I ran a youth club on the Gilfach Council estate I was also a Councillor. In 1999 Labour did not have the majority in Caerphilly Borough Plaid Cymru did. There were only four Labour Councillors on Bargoed Town Council and I was one. We worked with Plaid for the benefit of the community of Gilfach, Bargoed and Aberbargoed we worked together for the people we represented. I remember we planted saplings in the then very new country park along side Plaid. These saplings have grown and so has the grass. I resigned in 2003 because I felt the invasion of Iraq was wrong.
Carry on with my walk and I think on an incident that happened to me on Tuesday. Tuesday 26th July. I had just finished work and was waiting for my train at Hengoed station where an agitated young man was shouting to friends of how he will be late for his f..k… meeting. I winced because I do not like hearing swearing. He saw me and looked the other way. I asked him why he was so angry he explained the train was 25 minutes late and he had an appointment at the job centre and was frighted that is money might be stopped. Train arrived 30 minutes late. We sat by each other I asked him his name. Darran was unemployed brickie who was aged nineteen. I told him I will go to the job centre with him to back him up on the train being late. I walked with Darran to Bargoed job centre the woman who was dealing with Darran was not at all inviting. I explained twice the reason why Darran was late I even showed her my train ticket. The woman took Darran to one side and Darran and I said our goodbyes. I was being community minded. Darran did not need me to shame him for his use of bad language he was angry like many young men who cannot find work and are terrified their money might be stopped. The reason why the train was late because a train had broken down sometimes these things happen in life.
I have now reached the end of Bargoed Country Park I am at the bottom of Aberbargoed famous steep hill and where the river Darran meets the river Rhymney. I turn left go under the viaduct on to the old Breacon railway line which is now called Parc Cwm Darran Trail. This walk inspired me in 2006 to write my poem Pits to Parks. This poem is in the book “How Black were our Valleys”
Path is more leafy green and where wild strawberries wait to be picked.
This walk can be walked by families and is pushchair and wheelchair friendly. This reminds me of my train journey to Cardiff last week. I was meeting a friend for a picnic and to see Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette. At Caerphilly station a woman was struggling with her pushchair I got off and helped the young mam while the train guard looked on. I was being community minded I do not know what the guard was doing.
I could hear the river Darran sing a hymn to me. Past the train station and Carrdog bridge I walk to my secret meadow I sit a while, listening to bees and look at butterflies and the sea of green grass that sways to the tune of the wind.
In my secret meadow I spy lots of cobwebs
I walk up the steep path, I see the pink orchids have gone now but I notice a lot of oak saplings I like that. Climb over the style. Onto Bargoed Mountain views are entirely different up here and a selfie of me red-faced and looking like a Bavarian farmers wife.
On to my open space beauty. Gelligaer Common and in 6 miles and two hours of walking I have only seen three people.
Make my way to the community garden of TARAGGAN pick black currants, gooseberries and strawberries to make jam.
TARAGGAN is a wonderful community base project run by two retired gentlemen Ron and John they also have a good committee too. I run a children’s writing group at TARAGGAN also RVLAF use TARAGGAN as a venue. This year RM Parry the man behind Coleridge Wales walked with me and others to TARAGGAN. The people i mentioned above including me, are all community minded people. There are many like us too. Who receive no payment for what we do. However our MP Wayne David is paid to represent the community of Caerphilly Borough yet he does not. After the European election Labour had the best opportunity to batter the Tories. Wayne David along with Gerald Jones decided to stab our community minded Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the back. These two also voted for WMD knowing the Rhymney Valley has 30% child poverty. They both abstained from the Welfare bill. Gerald Jones was one of the best community minded councillor’s I have ever met. I never thought that when Gerald became MP that he would turn out like Wayne David.
Grass roots and the basic things in life that matter the most. You will lose the faith of the people if you do not remain true to your community and remember random acts of kindness is the golden chain that keeps society sane. Not Games of Thrones which thank goodness I have never watched and computer games and who the hell is Pokemon????
Sorry Darran now I feel like swearing.