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Tue, 10 Mar 2009
The Big Pit - Blaenavon. Alexander Cordell - My Diary 1853

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My Diary, Bryn Roberts, Monday 28th February 1853.

Posted 21:10
BlaenavonToday has been one of the worst days of my life. I will be glad to leave this God forsaken canal and the barge, anything than spend another day like this! To begin with it has been snowing for most of the day, my feet are cold, my hands are skinned to the bone where the damned tow rope kept slipping through them. God how I hate this job. Ha! A job, I don't even get paid for it. "you've got to be fourteen before you get any money boyo". Oh yeah, fourteen before I get any money but six when I started walking the paths, even towing the ropes with my brothers when the damn horse went sick or lame.
No I've had enough, cramped up in a tiny cabin with three sisters, the oldest not yet nine, the youngest not yet walking. Maybe that's a blessing at least one less under my feet. I suppose I should be grateful that I've got under the table to sleep by myself now that Iolo has left for the mines. My heart still grieves for Iolo, still it was his decision. Poor Mam, she was looking very old this morning Gone her lovely black hair, now just grey and going more grey with each rising day.
Old Mostyn Evans died this morning of the Cholera, they say three of his young ones will be gone in the next day or two as well. Poor Mrs Evans I suppose it will be the Workhouse for her and Myfanwy and Rhian, God help them. I counted seventeen rats this afternoon down by the lock gate. It made me wonder if Istyn Morris lost his leg down at Neath or if the rats ate it whilst he was asleep. If the Navvies from England kept their rubbish proper like us Welsh, then maybe there wouldn't be so many rats.
I heard from Marie Lloyd that two children where drowned at Resolven Yesterday, two less mouths to feed. Still t'is sad to think of so many children dying this way and most of them not reached their ninth birthday. Still who wants birthday's, nothing to look forward to there either.
"No money Bryn" Dada would say. "You know what it's like in winter, and now with these railways taking all our business we'd probably do better going on a ship to America along with the Irish."
Well this is me, thirteen in a months time and nothing to look forward to except more blisters and chilblains this winter and more sunburnt backs and arms in summer. Not if I can help it! Not me. I'll follow Iolo down the pit, not good but nothing could be worse than this. But how can I go, what would happen to Mam and Dada.
Still it's nice to dream.
Goodnight Dada, I love you Mam. Time to sleep. Bryn.R.

A small excerpt from one of the books written by the wonderful Alexander Cordell. start with "The Fire People" get hooked and then the first Trilogy, "The Rape of a Fair Country" "The Hosts of Rebecca," and "
Songs of the Earth" Da Iawn, as we say in Welsh.

1 comment


My Mum is Wonderful
I am going to try to make these Strawberry Muffins for mu Mum, She can't eat them as she's on a diet but it's the thought that counts, not the calories!


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