1/1/2015 - A happy new year everyone - today I walked around my house.

2/1/15 - A nice sunny day but I was tied up in the morning with my day job at www.rugbyrelics.com . Got out in the afternoon and the sun was still around so did got out onto the Cwm Gwrelych Geo Trail and kept bumping into my local MP the Rt Honourable Peter Hain and his wife. I should have asked for a selfie with them but this thought failed dismally to arrive at the right time in my head. They were doing Merfyn's Memory Trail which is a waymarked route in the Cwm Gwrelych valley. This valley is of geological importance because it is the only place in south Wales where all 7 layers of rock come to the surface. There are several coal seams and many disused mines in the valley. Coal is still mined in a massive open cast mine directly above the valley. The Hain's asked a some interesting questions - where does this path go and where does that path go and is this the old Neath to Brecon railway line. At the time I said it was Neath to Aberdare but then it popped into my head a bit later that it was the Neath to Pontypool line. I'll research that and get back to you at a later date. I think I've got a book about it  somewhere.  

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3/1/15 - I walked to the post office in the rain and while I'm waiting for the sun (due at 3.00 pm) and to go out on the bike I'm completing this blog. It's downhill to the summer but there's not a sunny day due in the next 10 days according the weather forecast.

Which reminds me of last year when we had 2 sunny days before I broke my leg then immediately we had 10 sunny days in the next 14. The 2 sunny days we did have though I spent watching the sunrise at Port Eynon Point in the Gower and I invented 'porridge on the point' although almost everyone I spoke to about p-o-t-p want to add bacon butties to the equation.

Sunrise at Port Eynon Point - 14th January 2014 

Recipe for Porridge on the Point - find a point along the south Wales coast (illustrated Port Eynon Point). Take a camping cooker, camping gas, saucepans & lighter, spoon & ingredients. Arrive at the point about 20 minutes before sunrise, refresh the body with a beverage of your choice, (mine is coffee). Pour your ingredients (one cup of porridge oats, once cup of milk, one cup of water) into the saucepan, cook porridge on a low heat to the preferred consistency. Eat while the sun is rising, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm............ followed by the beverage of your choice. 

Porridge on the point

4/1/15 - It's a full moon tomorrow night and I had a busyish day so at 7.00pm I made up the Glynneath Night Tour walk, about a 4 mile walk around the lit streets of Glynneath, no head torch needed. I tried taking a few photos with my best camera but they all seemed to come out black and white. That means I'm going to need to read the instruction manual again....... now where's my glasses. CLICK HERE FOR THIS WALK


6/1/15 - A sunny afternoon and I stayed local to Glynneath primarily to photograph the Addoldy Welsh Independant Chapel. I've been woking on creating a page for the chapel as I pass it on one of the walks, it's nice to know about the places I am passing or am I just nosy ? You decide. To slow, the answer is I'm just a curious individual and it's a good job I'm not a cat because we all know what happens to curious cats. I've forgotten, told you I had a bad memory. Anyway there was the possibiliy of a good sunset and I arrived too early at the church to catch it so I carried on to St Cadog's & Mill St when the clouds above turned red, off I went at a canter only to arrive back at Addoldy just after sunset, gutted. Some of the photos can be found on this page - Addoldy Welsh Independant Chapel - CLICK HERE 

10/1/15 - Family stuff

My great grandfather's watch was to small for the shelf
So I took to his old house in the Melyn in Neath

...  then I planned to do a family history walk around the Melyn district of Neath. Both Mum and dad's family have strong ties to this small area so for a change I dug out my great grandfather's clock - sorry, watch and took it with me. The reason behind this is that years ago when I was researching my family history I could only find limited information on my ggf. I thought that I had found him in the 1891 census living in no 10 The Green, Neath, where Millands Rd car park is now behind the train station, My grandfather was born in 1887 in The Green and his father's name was James Richards but the James Richards in no 10 the Green was James D and although he had a son the right age, the son's name was James as well so I was doubtful on this score. When I inherited the family bits and bobs after mum passed away a couple of years ago a pocket watch that had belonged to my ggf James Richards was amongst them and this watch had his address inscribed to the casing 9 Ethel St, Melin, Neath. A new clue so off I went to check out Ethel Street and plan my walk from there......      

........... but instead of walking I ended up driving to my mum's cousin's, also in the Melyn to climb the family tree. Mum's cousin's husband James is the top man when it comes to research and we were soon chasing the info and we found my grandfather and great grandmother in the 1901 census next door in 11 Ethel Street, no sign of my ggf James - he would have been 65 then so it's possible he was a goner. Working back again to 1891 and we found James in the Green in Neath not in no 10 but in Lakes Court which is now the location of Hubert Davies & Son & the Cattle Market. Further back than that, 1881 we couldn't find him but he had two other children born around that period, Elizabeth born in Monmouth & Lucy born in Birmingham. He himself we established was born in Northumberland so although all 4 sets of my great grandparents we living close to the centre of Neath in 1891, 5 of them were born in England, oh dear. I was so upset I had to fill my face full of Franco's gravy & chips with a fish on the side and contemplate my shocking genetics with a walk on Aberavon Beach, and it got worse, I didn't have a coat, it rained and I did less than 2 miles :(    

17/1/15 - Under pressure with the day job meant that I can't remember any walks this week but will definitely check my garmin because I'm sure I did something. Picked my youngest (Simon) up from Uni in Pontypridd in the morning and he agreed a walk with me but needed the shops in Neath. We drove to Neath and planned a walk in the Gnoll Country Park but shops first, and I couldn't resist buying a non-stick frying pan for Bacon with my porridge on the point exploits. Then we started walking but didn't make it past the rugby ground as Neath were playing Pontypridd and my Simon likes a bit of rugby and all was going well for Neath for a while and they could have won the match with the last kick of the game, but it didn't go over and Neath are now rooted to the foot of the table, a long shot from the glory days of the late 1980s when they ruled the roost. - And as for walking I did park about half a mile away from the ground so we did walk a little.

18/1/15 - Georgie Dog Rescue Walk - I'll start at beginning which was Saturday night when my friend Simon Pierce rang about 8pm. Now when Simon calls I know something special is about to happen because the last time he called we ended up walking the Knife Edge (Crib Goch) on Snowdon in the dark with the lights switched off, more about that walk another day. The conversation went something like this:

SIMON - "Fancy a walk tomorrow Dai"

DAI - "Sounds good, they've given nice weather and I want to get a walk in"

SIMON - "Let's do Fan Hir then, Georgie Dog fell over the cliff yesterday and we couldn't find her"

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DAI - "Oh No - what time and where"

SIMON - "7.00 AM at Tafyrn-y-Garreg"

DAI - "See ya"

Now I should explain that I regularly walk or bike or swim (and at one time I used to run) with Simon, his wife Heather and Georgie Dog, and I love Georgie Dog, she's amazing and mad and such a sweetie and she reminds me so much of the one and only dog I've ever had Buster Dog 1971-1983 even down to the little black and white spots near her nose. But the one thing they really have in common are the same eyes, beautiful, beautiful eyes - Buster once came 2nd in the 'dog with the most appealing eyes' competion in the Port Talbot Steelworks Show. He used to win the 'dog with the waggiest tail' everytime but that's a different story.........

Back to Georgie and the Fan Hir Ridge - pics below.............    


So 7.00 am it was at Tafyrn-y-Garreg along with Simon, Heather, Andy Williams and Kevin Bowen. It was an hour along the bottom of the Fan Hir ridge and Simon drove up to get closer to the ridge path and to get up on top where he could mark the spot with a white handkerchief (only kidding). When we got to the spot where Georgie had fallen Simon was on top pointing down and Andy spotted Georgie sitting in the rocks.

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We could see she was still alive, head moving but when I got to her she was freezing, shivering like a good one and so so sad, I'm sure she had the start of hypothermia. I covered her until the others arrived, Heather checked Georgie over, Heather's a nurse and confirmed she had damage to her back leg, Andy dished up some cat food for her, but we still had 2.5 miles to walk to get Georgie back to civilistaion. So we made a makeshift stretcher for Georgie with an old army poncho and slid her off the steep face of the ridge and trekked on down the mountain carrying her in turns.

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A big mention here for Andy who'd never met any of previously and was only out for a walk the previous afternoon when he bumped into Heather & Simon searching for Georgie, and then he turned up the next morning too. On the way others who'd heard about Georgie were on their way up the mountain. A paramedic that Simon had talked to and Gayle Marsh who also doubles as a reporter for the local paper. So we got Georgie down eventually, Gayle got a scoop, see the links below and Georgie got a broken leg and ligament damage for all her trouble, but she'll live to fight another day. 

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Simon & a well wrapped up Georgie and X marks the spot where Georgie was - I've purposefully made the picture a large one so you can see the tracks where we slid her down the mountain.

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pictures courtesy of Gayle Marsh, Simon Pierce & myself 


21/1/2015 - I walked a couple of miles through Glynneath & Pontwalby, nothing to write home about so I'm writing it here instead. 21 is a magic number, that means we are one month past the shortest day and only 2 months away from the Spring Equinox. Yipee - I'm off to write home about that one.

22/1/2015 - Planned a 5-6 mile walk to include lunch at Marshalls but on the way remembered I had my weekly massage appointment with Jacqui at Therapies in Wales - http://therapiesinwales.co.uk/10.html - With just over an hour I cut the walk and guesstimated 3 miles with a possible route finding problem. I was going to look for an easy route between Blaengwrach and the Langey footbridge over the River Neath. On previous attempts I'd struggled to find a way across the Nant - yr - Eithin valley. I approached from the Blaengwrach side, this way looked easier on the map and so it was. An extremly steep coal tip that had once stood in way had been removed and the slope had been levelled out and it being winter I could see my way over a stile and across to the path on the other side of the valley - piece of cake. Made it back in 46 minutes, time was of the essence so I had the burners on, travelling at just under 4 miles per hour I worked up a good sweat, I normally tootle along at 2-3 mph so it was nice to get a bit of pace going for a change. 

and Georgie dog came home..............



here are her x-rays - before and after (with plate in her leg)

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23/1/2015 - 30/1/2015 - lots of short local walks but nothing worth recording

31/1/2015 - planned a walk around Glynneath and Cwmgwrach but popped into the library for moe info about Park Cinema in Glynneath that burned down and the Miners Welfare Hall which used to be very close to the library. I didn't get further than there because I found out you can now research your family history on-line in the library for free so I got stuck to my seat. I think it's about time I told you that I've got ADHD. (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Which means I have trouble keeping my mind focussed on one particular thing at a time. I'm working on it, maintaining focus that is, but it's the family history thing that sends my mind on a tangent every time.  





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