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Published: December 11th 2018
"Today is your own. Tomorrow perchance may never come". - Swami Sivananda.
Today was one of those days. We had a plan and that plan meant rather a lot of driving. Every year we do a round trip and it was happening today. Sometimes it starts in the Wrexham area . For the last few years it had started here in Derbyshire. We have wreaths to deliver. The weather as we drive is pretty awful. A thick mist hung in the air. The sun struggled to force its way out. Pale and wan in the sky. We let the Sat Nag pick a route and then chose to ignore her pleading as we made the decision to go our own way. She wanted to take us down the M6 Toll. We did not want to go that way. It might take longer to get to St Georges by not using the toll but it was a cheaper way to get there and more enjoyable . As we drove we talked . We always do pass the journey putting the world to rights. We talk about Brexit .Will it happen? Parliament is in disarray due to the postponement of the vote
yesterday. Will we get another vote? The Peoples Vote. Our PM is travelling round Europe talking to other EU leaders in the hope of swaying their thoughts about us leaving. Will we get on holiday? This time of the year we would have already booked our train to Europe. Holidays sorted - a whole month off work but no travel booked . Dare we book and hope things will be sorted? If we go will we be able to get home? Perhaps we need to think of alternatives .
Our little car eats up the miles and before we know it we are driving into St Georges - a tiny part of the much larger Telford. All roads look the same. All roundabouts look the same and without our Sat Nag we surely would have gone round in circles . Lost forever in Telford. Our mission to take a wreath to our great great great grandmother and great great great grandfathers grave . We arrive just in time and miss a funeral. The hearse is due and we need to get to the grave and back out again before it arrives . I wonder what our long dead relatives
would think about St Georges and the changes that have occurred over the last 100 years.
Our second stop delivery of a Christmas card to son in law and daughter before heading for lunch at our intended new home area of Bangor. We stop off at the Buck Hotel and find a seat in the packed lounge . We are joined by a group of noisy and excited women who are clearly a party from perhaps the local church . They say prayers before their meal and sing Happy Birthday., The pub is decorated beautifully and the hosts attentive . We order coffees just for a change and order smaller portions of the meals. Hunters Chicken for Glenn with chips and peas. I choose the Wrexham Lager battered cod with chips and mushy peas. A fantastic meal and an enjoyable lunch in what we hope will become our local. After lunch we walk over to the Bridge which spans the River Dee and stand whilst we chat about what it would be like to live here right by the river. There would be lovely walks in the summer months. There was nothing we didn't like about the village .
How far we are with the house sale/purchase is anyones guess . The buyers solicitors had lost the documents . They miraculously appeared the next day. There is a rush to complete on the house we are buying. Perhaps by the end of January we will be living here and eat in the Buck every week.
Third stop was my mums grave and my gran and granddads . We lay the final wreaths and headed off for a visit to a monument that was erected to commemorate a very sad event . It was just down the road from my childhood home and it told a story I grew up with. As a child I grew up living almost on top of quite literally a coal mine. Through every window of our house I could see the coal wharves, the pit engines, the pit chimney and the winding wheels. I grew up to the sounds of the colliery all around me. From the black coal dust that was everywhere to the blackened faces of the miners. From the pit head bath towels to the pit head baths soaps. Our village lived and died with the colliery. All the time I was told about the disaster and the dead miners beneath my feet .
The Gresford disaster occurred on the 22nd September 1934 when an explosion and underground fire killed 266 men. It was one of the worst coal disasters in Britain . It affected all of our village. I knew of a lady whose husband died and my grans brother in law died there too. The inquiry into the disaster did not identify a cause although evidence had suggested that failures in safety and poor mine management were contributory factors . Neither were the families reunited with their dead loved ones as the damaged districts were permanently sealed . Still sealed they are today.
The memorial is made up of slate which holds one of the winding wheels from the colliery. It took many years and a long campaign followed to eventually result in the memorial to the dead miners . The memorial was dedicated on November 26th 1982 in the presence of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the surviving relatives of those miners killed in the disaster. Since then an annual service has been held at the memorial every September. There are no invitations sent for the service at the memorial; people come because they care, not only those who lost a loved ones. I stood in front of it as someone who lost a distant relative and also to remember my grandfather who luckily didn't work that day and my dad who worked at the pit from the 1960's until the mine closed . It is now a peaceful spot . One to reflect on the greed of mineowners and the difficult work that the miners undertook.
A pilgrimage I have wanted to do for the last few years . Done at last . It did make me think - changing the words from the top of the blog = today was their own , tomorrow for them never came.
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