As much as I love my home, it has its problems. Nowhere is perfect and Rhondda Cynon Taf most certainly isn’t. There’s usually more sheep than people and if you want a successful shopping trip, you’ll have to travel elsewhere. Here are 10 reasons I sometimes wish that I grew up literally anywhere but in Rhondda Cynon Taf.
1. Most town centres have become ghost towns.
Tonypandy in particular, is known for becoming a ghost town. Once Woolworth disappeared, there wasn’t much left. Our local shops are dying and most businesses have become takeaways. There are only a few good shops left along with the Friday market. Most towns have become the same. With everything being replaced with online stores, there’s no reason for people to come visit anymore. It can be sad walking around most days, seeing boarded up shops and empty streets.
2. Everyone seems to know your business.
Like a lot of small towns, everyone knows everyone. Nothing happens that someone else won’t know about. There are no secrets and definitely no privacy. Once one person knows, you can bet the whole of the Rhondda knows.
3. Too many hills to have fun travelling.
Not too many people travel by bike here. Sure, we walk our dogs a lot but otherwise, public transport or cars are our main source of transport. The hills are too steep for most people to walk anywhere, making us quite lazy to be honest. For those of you who still ride bikes here, I salute you. You must have thighs of steel.
4. There wasn’t much to do as a child.
With town centres closing most buildings, there was never much to do as a child other than walking to local parks or mountains. It was worse during Winter when you really didn’t want to be outside. There are a few more community centres open nowadays but there still isn’t enough for young people. If you want to do something interesting like go to the cinema or arcade, you have to find money for the train first.
5. Nobody knows where we are. No matter where you’re from, you’ve probably never heard of us.
A part from certain areas of Wales, nobody really knows where we are. This makes it incredibly boring and not a great place for larger companies to bring business. It’s not somewhere many celebrities come either. If we want to see a band, singer or go to a signing, it won’t be here but probably in Cardiff. And that’s if we’re lucky.
6. The roads are always terrible to drive on.
If it’s not a bus route, the council doesn’t care. It takes a lot of complaining to get your roads fixed out here. Most car journeys are like roller-coasters due to the number of potholes. It absolutely kills your car.
7. If you want to be anywhere on time, don’t take the train.
There’s a new contract coming in that will hopefully stop this. But usually, the trains are terrible! From a five-minute delay to five hours, you can bet they won’t be on time. If you have any plans, leave over an hour early, trust me.
8. It can be difficult to find local jobs.
Most people have to travel further afield to find work. Most jobs are in Cardiff, which isn’t too far but is still a forty-five-minute train journey…longer as they’re always late! There’s just nothing open here anymore, there’s no reason to bring businesses here. Look online for a job and there’ll be a very limited number local to Rhondda Cynon Taf.
9. Mountain fires are, sadly, a Summer tradition.
One of our best features in our landscapes. Wales is extremely beautiful but we’ve even managed to ruin that aspect. Every Summer, a bunch of bored, idiotic teenagers go up to the mountains and lights them on fire. There’s no excuse, it’s moronic. It completely destroys our scenery and the animals that live there.
10. If it snows, it’s the apocalypse.
We don’t always get snow, but lately we’ve had a few white Christmases. We can’t handle it… As soon as there’s even a whisper of suspected snow, all the bread and milk are sold out and everyone is in a state of panic. It happens every year. We don’t know how to survive in snow, it’s just not for us.