Dodie's Dream World - Complete Chaos! xxx
Fri, 26 Mar 2010
Tonight I am feeling all over sentimental, I have just finished reading "THE FIRE PEOPLE." again and it always makes me sad. Here is the man who wrote it.
peaceful Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal at
Goytre Wharf it's easy to imagine Iestyn Mortymer
and his family gliding down the canal on the outing
THE WONDERFUL ALEXANDER
must not pass over in silence the mountains called
by the Welsh Eryri, but by the British Snowdon, or
the mountains of Snow, which... seem to rear their
lofty summits even to the clouds”
EVEN IN THE COAL MINES,
THERE'S BEAUTY IN MY WALES
Alexander Cordell was one of Wales' most
prolific writers, although he wasn't Welsh.
was born in Sri Lanka, and came to
Wales to convalesce during World War II. After the
moved to Llanelen (a few miles North of Goytre
Wharf) where he did most of the research for Rape
of the Fair
Country, before moving to Holywell Road in
Abergavenny, his home for many years.
This tour will take you
from the rolling countryside of the Vale of Usk,
much loved by Cordell, to the landscape of the
which provided the backdrop for most of the action
in Rape of the Fair Country. You will visit some of
accessible sites which feature in this powerful
story about life during
the early years of the Industrial Revolution
leading up to the Chartist uprising of 1839. It is
suggested you use
OS Explorer Map 152 and OS Outdoor Leisure Map 13
(Brecon Beacons National Park East) for reference.
Route directions are in bold, quotations from Rape
of the Fair Country in italics. Key sites are
numbered and marked on the map.
(Thanks to the Wee reference leaflets I picked up
If you get the
chance to go down the Big Pit, you will never
However be sensible and wear flat shoes and not
your Sunday Best Outfit. The last time myself and
went down, there was an American couple with us.
They unfortunately decided to go down the pit
on a whim and as she said "It was a bit daft to
even attempt it, in three inch heels and a white
summer skirt with
navy blouse." Sadly she had to go back to the top
after a ten minutes or so. Her husband stayed
on the tour, so I guess he was able to tell her all
about it. It truely is very humbling to see just
these Welsh men and children had to go through.
After leaving the pit, we then went to the
cottages, they were
the ones that they later used in "Coal House" the
BBC One series. "Wow it was fascinating watching
and knowing that we had been there. Afterwards we
went to the museum dedicated to the most wonderful
"Alexander Cordell, whom I might have told you
already I had the privileged of meeting once. His
books, and I think I can say all his books, the
Welsh and Chinese ones and the others.
Brilliant, I have them all, though I did find
that the last couple he wrote in the couple
of years before his untimely death, where not as
fulfilling as his early books. He had lost his
second wife and he was very "dwr" after this and I
think coming up to my North Wales, was maybe a
mountain to many. He died up on the Llangollen
moors, not to far from the "Ponderosa Restaurant."
Leaving behind him a few photos and a wee letter.
His life ended like many of the steel and coal
workers he wrote about, lying in the beautiful
Welsh countryside after a hard life's work. May
Dewi Sant watch
over you My Hero. Dodie
Wonderful to be moving on water. The silky movement
is a drug to the senses when you are lying along
of a barge watching the water-lilies and bindweed
waving. Soon Pen-y-fal and the Skirrids were well
and the sun, streaming down through the avenue of
trees, cast golden patterns on the
However this quiet
backwater was once a busy industrial site. Take
time to walk around and view the historic limekilns
as well as the South Wales Tramway Exhibition.
Tramways were crucial in bringing coal, limestone
down from the hills to the wharves located along
the Monmouthshire and Brecon Canal
- at Llangattock, Llanfoist and Llanelen.
also a Tourist Information Point where
you can pick up leaflets and advice before leaving
Bryn Roberts, Monday 28th February
Today has been one
worst days of my life. I will be
glad to leave this God forsaken canal and
No I've had enough, cramped up in a tiny cabin with
three sisters, the oldest not yet nine, the
youngest not yet walking. Maybe that's a blessing
at least one less under my feet. I suppose I should
be grateful that I've got under the table to sleep
by myself now that Iolo has left for the mines. My
heart still grieves for Iolo, still it was his
decision. Poor Mam, she was looking very old this
morning Gone her lovely black hair, now just grey
and going more grey with each rising day.
barge, anything than spend
another day like this!
To begin with it has been snowing for most of the
day, my feet are cold, my hands are skinned to the
bone where the damned tow rope kept slipping
through them. God how I hate this job.
Ha! A job, I don't even get paid for it. "you've
got to be fourteen before you get any money boyo".
Oh yeah, fourteen before I get any money but six
when I started walking the paths, even towing the
ropes with my brothers when the damn horse went
sick or lame.
Old Mostyn Evans died this morning of the Cholera,
they say three of his young ones will be gone in
the next day or two as well. Poor Mrs Evans I
suppose it will be the Workhouse for her and
Myfanwy and Rhian, God help them.
I counted seventeen rats this afternoon down by the
lock gate. It made me wonder if Istyn Morris lost
his leg down at Neath or if the rats ate it whilst
he was asleep. If the Navvies from England kept
their rubbish proper like us Welsh, then maybe
there wouldn't be so many rats.
I heard from Marie Lloyd that two children where
drowned at Resolven Yesterday, two less mouths to
feed. Still t'is sad to think of so many children
dying this way and most of them not reached their
ninth birthday. Still who wants birthday's, nothing
to look forward to there either.
"No money Bryn" Dada would say. "You know what it's
like in winter, and now with these railways taking
all our business we'd probably do better going on a
ship to America along with the Irish."
Well this is me, thirteen in a months time and
nothing to look forward to except more blisters and
chilblains this winter and more sunburnt backs and
arms in summer. Not if I can help it! Not me. I'll
follow Iolo down the pit, not good but nothing
could be worse than this. But how can I go, what
would happen to Mam and Dada.
Still it's nice to
Goodnight Dada, I love you Mam. Time to sleep.
A small excerpt from one of
the books written by the wonderful Alexander Cordell.
start with "The Fire People" get hooked and then
the first Trilogy,
"The Rape of a Fair Country" "The Hosts of
Rebecca," and "Songs of the
as we say in Cymraeg. Very Good we say in English
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