I’ve got a load of emails archived from when I was working at The Gas (it’s possible I’m not supposed to). I just went and dug out one I remembered writing. It’s dated 11/07/2001-
I went back to my birthplace last night. It was a simple enough journey made epic by having to escape from Cardiff’s one way system.
As an example of just how messed up the one way system is-
I’ve been staying in the Ibis. To get to the Ibis from the office, you turn right, walk a hundred yards, cross the road and then walk another hundred yards and there you are. To get to the Ibis by car from the carpark next to the office required two full circuits of the one way system, at least two miles of travelling. (Okay, the second circuit was my own fault, but only because it seemed logical to follow the Car Park sign which lead me not to a space but right round the back of the hotel and back onto the one way!)
I got lucky and only made one and a half circuits of the system before finding a road which promised to take me to the M4. The road, however, took me through what could politely be described as the backside of Cardiff. Industrial and Post Industrial wasteland as far as the eye cared to see.
When I got onto the M4 it was matter of only twenty minutes driving until I reached Bridgend, which was dead.
It’s one of those horrendous small towns which sprang up to house the workers of some heavy industry and is now on the decline, serving only as a commuter town. There was more acreage dedicated to the roundabouts which got you out of town than to shopping space in the centre. I found a hospital, but the name (Princess of Wales) suggested that it wasn’t the one where I was born. It’s probably been knocked down, so one day some unfortunate family is going to have a blue plaque (“Famous [insert criminal activity or worrying habit here] Ian Pattinson was born here on…..”) attached to the side of their lego brick housing development home.
They say you can never go home. In the case of Bridgend, that’s a good thing.