I had to go to Cardiff today, for my 12 weekly competency tests as a signaller, we have to do question and answer tests on the computer, it’s the way of the world we live in today. To cut a long story short, I passed all of them no problem, but had to sit through the quarterly safety briefing, boring!!!
The only good parts of the day, for me anyway, were the ride to Port Talbot this morning, and then the ride back home to Glynneath. It was dark when I set out at 05.45 and quite cold, could still see the stars in the sky, and saw very little traffic, just a couple of cars passed me on the old road as far as Aberdulais, but things livened up from there on in, through Neath, and into Port Talbot. I got to my home signalbox, at about 07.25, having stopped at a Spar shop, to get a breakfast roll, and something else to eat. Had a quick bite to eat, a clean up, a chat with the lads manning the box, then went on the train to Cardiff.
Sounds a bit strange I know, for a railway signaller, like myself, but I very rarely travel by train, in fact once a quarter, i.e., 4 times a year, to complete these tests. It’s not that I dislike travelling by train, in fact I love to look out of the window, at the scenery, wildlife etc., but the cost is very prohibitive. That isn’t a problem for most of my colleagues, because they have subsidised travel, which virtually means they can wander the whole of the country, and Europe for that matter, free of charge. I joined the railway six months too late, August 1996, when conditions of service were changed, meaning new starters were barred from getting this valuable perk. Still what I’ve never had I don’t miss, I suppose.
Fast forward now to the trip home, the sun was shining, but the skies were starting to cloud up, as I started my ride home, at about 14.05. It was a pretty ordinary ride home, but I stopped a couple of times to take photos of my environs, so that anyone reading, this very ignored blog, in the future, will know what the route I travel has to offer.
This is a shot of the A465, from Neath to Merthyr Tydfil road, taken looking down from Aberdulais, as it snakes up the Neath Valley.
And this is Rheola pond, between Resolven and Cwmgwrach, taken from the old road, which hugs the northern side of the valley up to Glynneath and beyond, alongside the aforementioned A465. Sadly my mobile phone’s picture taking qualities are, it seems quite poor, obviously not enough pixels. I used the magnify setting on this shot, which results, now I learn, in a small shot like this. So sorry, but I’m now on a learning curve, hopefully quality will improve.