Day 97: Aberdare to Cardiff

‘I’m worried, there’s a generation of young people, some around thirty, who have never had a job in their life. And what’ll happen when they get older, and these people retire then? There’ll be no-one to do the jobs, cos they won’t have the skills.’

– talk at the Miner’s Institute, Blackwood.

I wake up in Aberdare, a little tired after another late night writing and trying to catch up with emails. Sleep deprivation’s dragging over many days, and the recent journeys have pushed my abilities, covering the most miles and steep hills in recent days. Fatigue I can deal with, but the slow starts are hard. There’s not enough time in the day for all the things I am trying to do. It’s not simply writing what’s happened, but arranging the different places I’ll be staying over the coming weeks, as well as keeping up with the modern dance of emails and their replies. Cut away meetings and emails, and what would remain of the activities of the average workplace?

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Day 96: Swansea to Aberdare

‘We haven’t heard the full story’
– Conversation in the Dic Penderyn, Merthyr Tydfil.

I awake with slow and heavy movements in Uplands, Swansea, a residential suburb of the city largely populated with students at the nearby university. It’s the morning after the night before, and though my head’s not aching – I wisely bowed out of the drinking around 2am – I’m feeling a bit worn out.

Remarkably, Sarah and her housemates are all up before I am. Their relative youthfulness means they can manage a few hours’ kip and be up and spritely again! My age expresses itself as a headache, one slowly assuaged with coffee and Weetabix. We talk about drugs and their legalisation. I always feel slightly surprised when I hear people discussing drugs openly, call me sheltered, but across my trip, and I guess indeed before, it’s something that I notice younger people are more comfortable, and more sensible, talking about. Most are in favour of decriminalisation, of treating drug addiction as a social and health issue, something I agree with.

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