Fire Engines, NHS, NCB and Milo!
S P Oldham
Took Milo for his usual run around after a tennis ball in the field across the road. Normally quiet on an early Sunday afternoon - not today! Field full of what looked like half a football team, in kits, mucking about in the shelter. The play park fairly humming with children. Nothing odd about that - just busy.
Then add the incessant, high pitched ringing of a fire or security alarm, and the wail of what seemed to be countless sirens, and things get more interesting.
I should explain.
The field where we walk is directly behind the now crumbling and abandoned hospital - the original birthplace of the NHS no less, here in Tredegar.
It has been vandalised terribly and is now nothing more than a dreadful eyesore. Kids have found a few ways into it, including via the roof. I am just surprised no one has had a bad accident yet. The alarm is always going off. Most of the time it is just ignored.
However, there have been multiple cases of arson on our street, and fires have been started in and around this building more than once. Thankfully, they have never yet amounted to anything serious.
Today though, someone (I think staff - one end of the building is still a functioning medical centre) decided not to ignore it. Hence a large fire appliance turning up on the car park - much to the delight of the assembled kids - with the exception of the few who scrambled down off the roof sharpish and cleared off as soon as they realised those sirens were getting much louder!
Turns out there was no fire, thank goodness. (I wonder how much it cost to send them out - needlessly?)The excitement died down and everyone eventually went on their merry way. Some time later the alarm was switched off too, for which I (and I am sure I am not the only one) was very grateful. That was our 'quiet' forty minutes over the field. And MIlo? Nosy, endlessly curious, highly sociable and friendly Milo who never misses an opportunity for a fuss? He seemed oblivious to it all, and only had eyes for his tennis ball!
On a more serious note it breaks my heart that the very building where the NHS first began, under the auspices of the great Aneurin Bevan, should be allowed to fall into total wrack and ruin. I wish the council would invest in it. Turn it into a museum of the NHS perhaps, and the local industries. Tredegar seems to be making something of a quiet comeback lately - I am not sure it makes as much as it should of its resources and history. At literally the other end of the street stands the slowly rotting and mouldering away NCB club. These are places of historical and human importance and interest! They should be nurtured and cherished, not left to rot.
I suppose you could say they are real, physical symbols of our ailing NHS and industries. How wasteful, how unnecessary and how very, very sad.