View Full Version : A Night Out in the Welsh Valleys II Swearing and mature themes (but still no sheep)

March 7th, 2014, 09:16 PM
I am assuming that anyone reading this will already be acquainted with the first post I made. If not you should pop back there and read that first. I have therefore continued where I left off with Cledwyn drying out his trousers by standing against a radiator at the suggestion of his friend Rhodri after falling into a urinal at the Village Sports and Social Club....

Any critique or feedback would be appreciated.


While I intermittently scorch my arse against this uncompromisingly hot rectangle of metal I raise another pint of Mr Brain’s beer to my lips, kindly donated by Rhodri on his way back to the table and our comrades in arms. So I stand and wait, and wait: In the gathering microclimate of disinfectant block and other noxious odours gathering around me as a result of the drying out process I take the time to reflect, generally I mean, in a ‘What the hell happened to my life’ sort of way; not the localised dilemma I find myself in tonight.

I philosophise that my isolation on the perimeter of this room is sort of symptomatic of my predicament to date; the villain of the piece being a bout of pneumonia and a collapsed lung in my early years; what was I? Six; seven years old. While all the other kids rough and tumbled their way through school and down the pit where was I? I’ll tell you where I was, sat in bed reading. It seemed this skill fired a voracious appetite for words, taking me into worlds of Arthurian and Odyssean legend that passed by all the other kids, or so said my teacher who told me I was the best reader the school had ever had.

Passing the entrance exam for the Grammar School in Cardiff was a breeze but I never actually got there; mam and dad said they couldn’t afford the school uniform. Instead I stayed in the village and made up the numbers with all those other bigger stronger boys of my age, spending the rest of my childhood as the runt of the litter, being last to be picked for those games of rugby and the like. As the years rolled by I could feel my peer’s acceptance slowly metamorphosing into sufferance. God!! Kids can be cruel sometimes; no inhibition see, but I never thought to blame them then, and I don’t now. When I was old enough my dad got me a job down the pit and my childhood friends, with the benefit of maturity, became almost protective of me as the years went by.

“Cledwyn bach, you coming down the Miners?”

Rhodri’s voice brings me out of my reverie and I nod my acceptance of the invite for a game of bingo and the disco on offer at the Cwmfawr Miner’s Progressive and Educational Institute. He pulls me to him and in theatrically hushed conspiratorial tones says

“I hear Megan the Chip Shop ‘ll be there tonight; I know you’re sweet on her, hey! Maybe tonight will be the night, what say you?”

I don’t reply.

We tumble from the Social Club door and spill out across the pavement; a wave of cold mountain night air washes over us to some sobering effect and, like the bunch of adolescent retreads that we are, we head up the hill that is the main street of the village which threads it’s way onwards and upwards until it meets up with the main trunk road to Tonypandy. As usual I take up the rear of the group, but tonight I don’t mind because the drink has already given me warning my quota has been met. The thought of further intoxication is not appealing and I hope upon hope there is just a little more capacity in my tank to absorb it.

For some reason the conversation ahead of me has returned to Dafydd the Milk’s heroic display of flatulence at the coal face. Apparently it was the talk of the canteen that very morning. Some even said the feat had almost made it onto the inside pages of The Cwmfawr Morning Tribune but the editor held back fearing a possible downturn in circulation should the gentler souls of the village take umbrage. Rhodri and Cabdo are urging the rest of us into at least emulating if not exceeding Dafydd’s mighty fart. Fuddled with alcohol as my brain is, it doesn’t stop me from wondering for a moment why some folks just never grow out of the fascination with this particular activity, and more to the point why the fates have saddled me with such enthusiasts. I decline the challenge on the grounds of the already questionable condition of my trousers and they can tell from my face that I am just not enjoying this anymore so leave me in peace while they talk rugby and compare and contrast, between themselves, the various merits of Llanelli and Cardiff Blues.

We finally make it to the Miner’s and into the main bar. The room lights are off and rope lights adorn the dado rail around the room. There’s no DJ but the greatest disco hits of all time are playing on a loop that could give tinnitus to the deaf, while the smoke machine, obviously on max creates a Creature from the Black Lagoon effect across the postage stamp of a dance floor. To add to the discomfort of those with even the slightest visual impairment a bubble machine is whirring on its highest setting while a couple of strobe lights blink patrons in and out of existence crossing the floor. David Cronenberg could not have created a more unsettling visual experience.