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Form 'The Colliery's of Wales' Facebook page.

A beautiful picture by there right now...

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My Father , for several reasons , was obliged to " Go down the Pits " when he left school in the 20's .... that is the 1920's ... he eventually escaped by joining the MN ... he rarely talked about his time as a young Miner but he described the working conditions in the then privately owned Collieries as truly awful ... not just for the men but the Pit Ponies ... the Pic in your Post shows a Pony wearing a leather protective cap .... I can remember my Father telling me of a Pony in one of the Pits he worked in that had a large flap of permanently loose skin on its forehead caused by walking into an overhead beam and the resulting wound not being adequately treated .
He became an erudite and self taught man and I always held him in high esteem and he was another who vowed he would never let any son of his " Go down the Pits "
 
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It's funny how one's thinking changes over time. My first passport, aged 16 for a solo visit paid for from my full.time job earnings to see my German gf who I had met when she was an au pair in mid.Wales was a British Visitor's Passport...a bit of cardboard obtainable from Post Offices for short visits abroad...I can't remember if the question 'Any distinguishing marks ? was on the form, but it must have been when I got my first proper, black, passport a year or so later. At the time I dearly wanted to include something to make me seem interesting, though I couldn't. Now I know the value of being as indistinguishable as possible on any kind of 'ID' or 'trace'...not because I am some sort of wanted criminal, because I know that the less known by those who want to, the better.
My old man always used the phrase improvement means deterioration to describe the "benefits" of automation and technology.

When I was 17 I got my first passport, I popped into the post office (remember them?) on the way to school on a Monday morning, picked up a form and a postal order for 12 quid (or whatever it cost back then) and got four black and white photos in the little photo booth.

Arrived at school, filled out the form during the break, got it stamped and signed in the school office and posted it (to Belfast) on the way home in the evening.

Wednesday morning at 8am the postman dropped my new passport on the doormat.

Now through the benefits of technology it costs the thick end of 100 quid, takes almost three months to get delivered (the last time I applied it went to Liverpool via Hong Kong) and woe betide you if you didn't look into the camera correctly for the photo, you'll go to the back of the queue and have to start the process all over again.

Something similar with driver's licences too as I recall.
 
Mine got out of the pit in 1938..joined the RN as a Pom Pom gunner. After the war went back underground. Died from coal dust in his lungs and the 40 woodbine a day he smoked.. I was 8 years old when he died.. Devastated as I thought he was invincible.
I think I might have mentioned this story before, forgive me if I have.

I went to a bar in a tourist resort in Spain about 25 years ago, it was owned by a British bloke and was all done up in mining regalia and stuff. It was a quiet sunny afternoon and me and the owner got chatting, he had been a miner almost all his life but was made redundant in the 1980s when he moved to Spain.

Looking to wind him up I said "You're not a big fan of Mrs Thatcher I suppose", just then his happy grandkids came running in from the beach, all suntanned and covered in sand. He looked at them and then said to me "I went down into a filthy black hole half a mile under Coventry at the age of 15, and I went there every working day of my life until I got laid off and used the money to buy this place."

He lifted his glass and said "God bless you Maggie!"
 

skeetstar

Old-Salt
I think I might have mentioned this story before, forgive me if I have.

I went to a bar in a tourist resort in Spain about 25 years ago, it was owned by a British bloke and was all done up in mining regalia and stuff. It was a quiet sunny afternoon and me and the owner got chatting, he had been a miner almost all his life but was made redundant in the 1980s when he moved to Spain.

Looking to wind him up I said "You're not a big fan of Mrs Thatcher I suppose", just then his happy grandkids came running in from the beach, all suntanned and covered in sand. He looked at them and then said to me "I went down into a filthy black hole half a mile under Coventry at the age of 15, and I went there every working day of my life until I got laid off and used the money to buy this place."

He lifted his glass and said "God bless you Maggie!"
I guess the absence of daylight was the only difference to being on the surface .
 
 
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