This is a post of two very different halves! I hope that my posts are usually happy and inspiring which may give people ideas of places to travel and things to try out. However, after my 24 hour whirlwind trip to Wales last weekend when I visited the Royal Mint, I’m really keen to tell you what else I got up to.
So, let’s talk about the ‘sadness in Wales’ part first. When people think about the history of Wales, the tightknit mining communities will often come to mind. I’ve known for many years about the tragic events of the 1966 colliery spoil tip collapsing onto the village of Aberfan which was referred to in season 3 of The Crown on Netflix. I really felt compelled to visit the site of the old school where 144 people, most of them children, lost their lives. Now, there’s a memorial garden with inscribed benches and flower beds. Taking photos absolutely didn’t feel like the right thing to do, either there or the graves overlooking the hills in the cemetery just a few streets away. All I will say is that if you get the chance to visit, I’d really encourage you to.
I also visited The Guardian which is a 20 metre tall statue commemorating the lives of the 45 men who lost their lives in the 1960 mining disaster in Six Bells. This work of art is nothing like I’ve seen before as, from afar, it blends into the environment with its metal framework…..
….but then, up close, it looks completely solid with the names and ages of the lives lost inscribed beneath. It’s not hugely easy to find as it’s deep in the valley and the translucent appearance meant that I drove past initially. But, again, it’s a really interesting place to visit with information boards. Travelling around the Welsh valleys and heading over to Tenby and Cardigan too means that I’ve now scratched off all but 2 Welsh counties of my UK scratch map. I’m sure the other two will also be visited in a matter of months!
And now onto the fun part of my trip….roundabouts! Okay, two geeky facts first! Did you now that half of the world’s roundabouts are in France?! However, here in the UK, according to Wiki, roundabouts make up a larger proportion of our roads. Anyway, back to me and roundabouts…..I drove over the Magic Roundabout in Swindon, Wiltshire. Oh…my…word! This is mind blowing as it’s one roundabout surrounded with 5 mini roundabouts! Whilst this photo online makes it look rather calm if not confusing, it was utter chaos when I went through it on a Saturday moring! It was packed with cars pointing in all directions, slowly edging around each other, desperately hoping not to crash. So, another bucket list tick and one that cost no more than the petrol to get there!
I’m on my travels again this weekend so no post on Saturday but hopefully lots to share the weekend after