To take the possible out of the impossible. A strong stream of pressure from the
South. I got on the
number twenty-four bus and waited patiently for the old couple in front
was a nip in the air outside now that a cold wind had picked up off the Coity,
crafting great swirls of
leaves, litter and careless drift. I smiled and walked on by, managing to get a place
by the window
towards the back. It reminded me of the last time I had been on this form of public
transport. A little
different, the team coach on the way to an away game somewhere along the
valley. The cloudy,
white hair of older generations now surrounded me apart from a two girls who sat
tapping away on their mobile phones. Before it had been talk of the opposition
"they're mad" or
"crack open the beer" as was the way with rugby teams.
The black, sooty clouds were now closing in on the bus as the afternoon promise
began to
away and teatime whistled on. There had been great cries of passion, hurt and
fatigue. The huge,
clunking mechanism of industry, ceased to bang on, the oil of human endeavor no
longer able to lift
and wrench mining resources out of the good of the
shafts of the earth got cries of laughter as the bright man in a miner's suit led us
down foot by foot
in a cage, the canaries were now free as we became the fodder in his yarn.
My window view passed a creek th
brown, despite the clocks shortly to go forward an hour. Tin, grey rushes amongst
golden tans. My
head turned towards a large graveyard as we continued along the Varteg. We
drove through the
wildness of the landscape - tall, swinging grasses, hardened and prickly bushes
and isolated trees
were deep and aged in coarse greens and dry, muddy browns. The scrub of
stubborn goarse and
worn, dead bracken had odd, unfamiliar buds of yellow
The bus bounced along the road, inconsistent in its rhythm. The comfort in its lack
of luxury was a
barrier against the inclement weather on the other side of the glass. I hesitated a
moment as the
warm chatter of the passengers began to subside then increase then subside and I
found myself
remembering about the howling wind in a game against Talywain. We were
approaching this
village, I had remembered on the way up, passing the free and reckless abandon
air with which the
small, Welsh Mountain Ponies and larger, shiny horses seemed to guard the
entrance to the beauty
at the top of the mountain.
"Back up on the top of the Blorenge is the grave to Foxhunter, a champion
racehorse" said a gruff,
hearty voice. It belonged to a man
of me to find a seat. There
inded land. The familiar tale of the canary in the
that caught my eye, focused on strangely rich and autumnal
- dabs of paintbrushes on the untamed
ers ll, with a thick mop of white hair sat to the left of me on the other
staring and
at hes
side of the aisle. The power and importance of what he had just said to me finally
sunk in and I
escaped the rejection of a loss at Emlyn Park and replied
"It seems a fitting place - everything good seems to be underground".
The man asked if I had been to Big Pit and again I replied positively.
We passed The Globe Inn, Balance Road, Cooperative street, Bel Air Studios, the
Lotus House and
the darkness of the valley gave way to a lightness as the sides opened up to lusher
climbs and green,
green patches of fields. There were scattered woods and occassional settlements,
farmhouses no
doubt. Further on some bland, coffee cream houses even had solar panels.
A good a team as you would ever see were the Pooler side of the seventies was
what he had said
and we passed the 'Up and Under' and 'The Scrum Half'. The man sat on my left
exhailed heavily
and shifted in his seat.
"I used to drink in those pubs" he continued, the strong Welsh accent of man hung
on the important
bits. The grandeur of the large park in the middle of the town seemed so out of
sorts with the run
down shops and closed, failed business - tanning parlours and television repairs.
Despite this, the
odd bit of class - a church, the market and the Snow White laundrette, hinted at
"I almost played for Pontypool once" I told the man
"What happened?"
"I missed the bus"
Even his wife chuckled.
As the bus weaved through the Eastern Valley the man's wife said
"On a good day you can see over to Llandegfedd reservoir, on a bad day the
smoke and fumes of
the Kurty factory".
It was the wife of the man close to me.
"When valiant Welshman had a try to blow the aqueduct sky-high" barked the
man to anyone that
could hear. I chuckled. We curled past the Afon Lwyd river, its colour as fresh as
the grey of the
slate on the workhouse of them that sweated on those that swept the slag.
On approaching Caerphilly I remembered playing for a club in Newport and it was
said that I would
pull on the red of Wales one day I was so fast. The bus station was not far, the
Chartist Tower in its
You can see the Bristol Channel on a clear day from the top of Blaenavon. It's clear
to every visitor
to the town, some might say houses up there have a sea view. The waters of
mouth after mouth
sipping, either go to the city of its namesake or round to the capitol of Cardiff. Ebb
and flow,
moonlight of changing hoizons and valleys roll with the compass. The one I had
been up and down
was the most easterly of the South Wales coalfield. John Frost Square in Newport
did not seem to
be the end point of all of the coal transported by horse, canal and then train.
There was no finish
line, after all I was a winger born to run and that was all I could dream of. Like
those fathers who
had dreamed of the dragon and got only his fire. The white sky was endless and
the talk on the bus
had turned to mutters about joy riders from big cities in England, scathing and


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