|Sun setting on what I believe to be part of huge Sims Metal Management scrap yard|
I followed a path that looked to take me back west, but hopefully stayed away from the thoroughfares. The path, along the twisting, bleakly muddy and apocalypticly barren Rhymney, ended up beside the industrial ring road I had previously been blocked from, hidden behind a small greenway. But I could see this was taking me to the sea and the grassy walkway, on a crest above the motorway, gave me great views.
This area of Cardiff, primarily home to empty and grimy industrial lands, made me think that this is probably what much of Cardiff Bay used to be like when industry reined. I find such industrial space, like that in west Windsor, my hometown, or like the Cherry Street area in the Toronto Portlands, intriguing. There is something primeval about the grimness and oiliness and nature's determination to spring up wild wherever it can.
As the path neared the sea and curved back towards the city, I was stunned to see a horse before me. As far as I knew I was in the middle of nowhere with dusk coming on and commuters whizzing by in their cars below the ridge. But I have seen horses within the city limits before and even an hour earlier in someone's backyard near the marshland. This horse, though he did not look well kept and was tethered to an old tire on the ground, seemed to have more than enough grass to eat and plenty of fresh air. I was perplexed though as to why he was there.
|Pony in front of the Severn Sea at low tide -- along Rover Way|
Continuing towards the city, past the pony, I could see the small figures of an adult and child coming towards me, probably at least 100 yards away (one football field -- about the only land measurement I seem capable of imagining). I was glad to see someone else on the path. As we approached each other I could see the woman was purposeful and hurried, not on a recreational jaunt, and I could only think that perhaps she was the owner of the horse. The woman, in her twenties with lovely red hair, hurried past me singing loudly with no acknowledgement of my presence at all, and no seeming interaction with the child whose hand she held tightly. It was disconcerting, as if perhaps she was a little insane.
Behind her and the child, who was unafraid and happy being pulled along the path, was a cluster of what appeared to be homes. I really couldn't believe anyone would be living here in the middle of nowhere, on a strip of land between the sea and a motorway. As I approached the compound, bordered with trash and wandering geese, the only thing I could think of was that perhaps Travellers or Gypsies lived here. Since then, after some research on the Internet, I realized that this is indeed a Travellers settlement -- an official area backed by the city of Cardiff, though there is talk of closing it down and relocating it. Since arriving in the U.K. I have learned that Gypsies -- or Roma -- are not only the dark-haired peoples of Spanish or Romanian descent with which I associate the name. Many of the Travellers in the U.K. are of primarily Irish descent and their lifestyle is something totally new to me.
It was also at the settlement that the path disappeared and came down to meet the motorway. Upon a little searching though I found it carried on across the road and I continued homeward past the expansive, metal scrapyards.
The road which the path bordered is called Rover Way -- a grand name that to me evoked pirates and perhaps, gypsies or travellers and the lure of the sea. In actuality, the motorway appears to be named after a Rover automobile plant which was in the area decades ago. However, it is a rover's way.
|Gate along Sims (?) scrapyard|