Wales Fam 2011
Sept 8th - 13th, 2011

September 13th, 2011
Breakfast, coach loaded with both our luggage and us and off we went, through the countryside to Pontypridd. We were going to make one stop first and that was to a community garden. Donna had gotten in touch with one of the garden owners there and asked if we could come over and see it. We arrived in the rain and while Terry was telling us about the gardens it started to clear up so by the time we had made out way to the farthest gardens to visit, it was bright and sunny. Most of the gardeners here are men. I think they enjoy what they call ‘chatting over the spade’. It was started in 1917 and has 27 members and each member pays 14 British Pounds to have their plot. Each plot is 300 sq. yards. They can grow anything they like and while there were some that were in need of care there were others that were a showcase garden.

A lot have a little shed and you will see a little stove in them for making tea or for preparing vegetables before taking them home. One of the fellows’ wives did not like beets so he prepares them all here and then takes them home. The most popular crop is runner beans and their tomatoes are grown inside the little greenhouses to try and keep them safe from blight. Terry Walton is a regular with a program on and we were there at the same time that they were doing a show so we got to watch him in action.

Then we stood around and chatted with a few of the other men while Albie was making coffee, we couldn’t refuse…it was a great cup of coffee made by a fellow gardener and the setting was perfect. He loved having his picture taken with a few of us and I know we appreciated just being a part of their lives for such a short time.

From here we drove to Pontypridd as we were on a mission – one of the gals in our group was born there and we were going to find her home. We did and she was happy.

The mining days were something else. It was a beehive of activity in those days and Donna told us that there was a term used then called ‘hot bed’ one miner would get out of bed for his shift and the one coming back from his shift would get into the hot bed. I have been down two mines in Wales and I will never forget the stories I was told.

Almost in Cardiff now – then the train station – two getting off at Gatwick and two heading to Heathrow. One staying on to explore further and one heading to Italy…We were all friends as well as writers before this trip, but I think we all bonded just a bit more because of it.

Special thanks to Visit Wales – Ceri, special thanks to Bob, special thanks to Donna, an excellent guide and Hugh our wonderful Driver from Eifions Coaches.


  • New Eden
  • Kids Garden
  • Plant a Row Grow a Row