A trip down memory lane …

25/06/2011 § Leave a comment

Today, I took Dad to the Welsh valley where he was born 85 years ago …

Valley View

The mountains roll, with some drama, around the heads of the valleys above South Wales.  My father was born in Aberaman, close to the town of Aberdare.

He hasn’t been back for many, many years, and sold his parents’ house over 40 years ago.  Today, he tentatively knocked on the door and was welcomed by the same lady who has lived there ever since. Then, he met the gentleman from next door, who still lives in the house where he was born.

Old friends

There was much talk of neighbours, family and friends, what’s changed and the many things that haven’t.  Threads of tradition wove through the conversation with warmth and respect. These people had known my grandparents and remembered my father as a little boy. I felt honoured to witness some tender and very special moments.  We left with Welsh cakes and the hope that nothing will change before we can visit again.

My own sons towered over their elders and we took so many photographs!

Across the valley

Dad stood on the back doorstep of his old home and watched the mist wisp over the mountain above Cwmdare, just as he had as a little boy.  Then he navigated us through the roads and up to Fforchaman where his father had worked at the colliery. On the site which once employed over a thousand men, we discovered a wildflower meadow with wooden sculptures to commemorate its industrial heritage and those who had lost their lives …

Fforchaman Colliery


spanner bench

Angel with wings

A whispered secret

And my favourite sculpture …

Coal in hand

A symbolic masterpiece in a wildflower meadow.

As we drove home, leaving the bustle of the valleys behind us and headed back to rural Ceredigion, Dad said very simply …

“They’ve greened up the valleys.”

I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.


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