BNC Text HF2

Gwynedd County Council tape 17: interview for oral history project. Sample containing about 7872 words speech recorded in leisure context

2 speakers recorded by respondent number C382

PS2Y3 Ag5 m (Dafydd, age 65, miner, Interviewee. Treasurer of the Ffestiniog slate dispute.) unspecified
PS2Y4 Ag2 m (No name, age 30+, historian, Interviewer) unspecified

1 recordings

  1. Tape 104301 recorded on 1986. LocationGwynedd: Merionethshire () Activity: Interview for oral history project Interview/reminiscences

Undivided text

Dafydd (PS2Y3) [1] Yes I think that probably this had been er very wise in this er in so I'm not saying that they've helped us or anything but they've kept the middle of the line and erm ... In the beginning when things were beginning to whatsit er the inspector sent two policemen down here and asked me would I ask the lads not to do any damage to property and all this, and that and said, Right there's a lodge tonight and I shall ask them I shall tell them to do that.
[2] And er why he sent for me because I'm not a shop steward or anything.
[3] But as I said before probably it's the white hair that er [laughing] that does it [...] .
[4] So ... what they had done it had a big slab there and it had got on it er [...] The World's Largest Slate Mine, and perhaps you've seen it yourself they've rubbed the T off and they put V and somebody's done a very good job of it er in the same paint and everything.
[5] So tourists have been stopping even to take photo of that the largest slave in the world.
[6] [laughing] I mean that's not the right description of it [] but er anyway.
[7] Now Will brought down an old van er which was scrap it was quite a good body I mean and he painted on it, We're still open, er something like, Despite Transport and General Workers' Union picketing we are fully open, and he plonked this van with no wheels on it just the body right th in the entrance of th on his own ground naturally er right in front of the pickets which was like you know tantalizing.
[8] Naturally he he wanted to keep his place open and when he got up the next morning somebody had painted the side of the van completely over.
[9] So and smashed all the windows and everything in it erm so what's that and as I say it was only a scrap van er and now he'd bought the little chapel on the corner.
[10] Er there were lots of er little panes broken before but er whether our lads were having a bit of a pot shot.
[11] I mean when you're on picket line it's very depressing it's very heart breaking unless you get some comedian or something you know it gets er y you don't know what to do with yourself and perhaps they'd been taking pots of this paint I'm not saying.
[12] So I asked them in the lodge like don't do any damage and Tom was in e he gave them a good lecture [...] so [...] and the lads in the lodge said, Well look you tell them as well not to do this attitude and perhaps you've seen it on these flumes when they saw a crowd that was there they were changing gear with the Land Rover and through you know like anybody in the way you'd be underneath.
[13] So I said fair enough.
[14] Well the next morning I was up at the top gate on picket and erm came with his van and he he spelted up through and the lads jumped one side well, I'm nearly sixty five I didn't jump so quickly.
[15] And I don't I don't think I tried jumping.
[16] And I think he meant, and I say this quite fair now, I think he meant to come straight up to me and brake suddenly to frighten me.
[17] But he missed his trick and he came a little bit too far and he knocked me over and I was underneath the front of the van.
[18] Well [clears throat] naturally I was ... I was raving wild when I got up and that's well the lads I thought they were going to turn the van over tell you the truth.
[19] And course he'd frightened himself and er I counted up to about eight, nine and ten I said to him, Look when you go inside that bloody gate now I said go straight into the office sit down and think for a minute where the hell are we all going to in this carry on?
[20] And I don't where I got I gave him quite a good sermon which I thought was y know quite erm to try and help the situation and he said I'd give them er my conditions.
[21] I said, while you adopt them that you'd give them your conditions we're getting nowhere.
[22] And I said you sit quietly and think and we shall do the same.
[23] And erm [...] he was still at them and then that he was in the right.
[24] And said why'll well why'd you'd b dogmatic about it, I said we can't never be solve it.
[25] Anyway in the end he went in and erm the next thing the Inspector came up and er he called me and the Union chap into his car and er he said, We got a mark I said yeah well I had a little scar across me knee.
[26] So he said, Erm do you want to press charges?
[27] I I's thinking well this long would make the blinking situation worse and we're trying to resolve it.
[28] I said, No I don't.
[29] And he only had to wait a couple of erm points left on his licence [...] so if I'd taken the dangerous thriving or something [...] he could have lost his licence but erm that's besides the point.
[30] At the moment I thought, no the best thing was to forget it and that's what we did.
[31] And I'm not sorry that I did that because erm I wouldn't like I wouldn't have like to think that er anything I'd done had escalated the situation you know.
[32] And erm then the Inspector then found out if this scum works is going to carry on charging through these men.
[33] And as I say we did the mass picket down in [...] Inspector was coming straight up t an the Sergeant to y you know what's like to leading er people and he said, Now what's the what you going to do what's what you want this morning?
[34] And we used to say, Well we want to stop the Land Rover.
[35] Right there'll be no punch-ups no nothing just one person to speak er to the driver or whoever he wants to speak to.
[36] Yes right.
[37] Well in that case and they'd been stopping them for us you see and er [clears throat] excuse me stopping them for us and whoever decided to speak to them has had his few words and that's it carry on.
[38] Well the other morning we were there and everything was quite in order what the police were afraid that somebody was going to get hurt.
[39] And when we were getting people from outside coming there and some of them quite militant they were going to sit and lay across the road.
[40] Naturally police didn't want that.
[41] So we thought, No if we can stop them to speak to them cos at the end of the day we can't actually stop them going up, we can give them as much harassment as we can yes er and keep within the law.
[42] Well as I say, the police stopped them the other morning and one of the lads had a chat with the driver and all this and he carried on.
[43] Well after they went round the corner one of these erm well stupid young lads in the back er lifted his two fingers on the pickets.
[44] But you see the Sergeant saw him.
[45] And the first thing he said, oh who's that bloke?
[46] And he got his name and he was up in the quarry during the morning and he's giving him his final warning that if he does that again he'll book him.
[47] Because he's really agitating the situation.
[48] And the same person, this young lad, I know he young stupid but erm I mean er I've had many a black eye for er speaking instead of listening but er h perhaps he'll [...] be learnt the same way.
[49] Erm he goes round the pubs and he agitates on these lads.
[50] The lads that are on strike well I mean you'd think it'd be vice versa him being like a blackleg er that's er they'd be agitating but he's vice versa.
[51] I don't know if he's looking for trouble and of course that er would undermine er what public er relations and everything and we don't want that.
[52] But erm unless he alters his way you know I can see it coming off.
[53] But erm I think the police realize as well that he is a bit of an agitator and he's not to strike that's wrong.
[54] Yeah.
(PS2Y4) [55] Has there been any sort conflict open open to in the in the town at all?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [56] I think there've been one or two not er brush ups you know in the pubs once er or twice, they er they won't drink with them and that and er some of the lads some of the lads that have gone back have really realized the situation they've put themselves in you know, and they sorry and now they're on they don't know which way to turn.
[57] I mean I feel sorry for them erm they've put themselves in a position branded forever more or less.
[58] One lad went back because his father went back.
[59] They did work in er two worked in two different quarries but within a week or a fortnight that young lad approached one of our members and said he's sorry that he'd ever gone back and I [...] said to him well come back and join us and forget it all.
[60] And he's back in the lodge he's on less money but but he's much happier so.
(PS2Y4) [61] He's he's out?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [62] He's he's out yes and there are two or three in [...] which have erm ... you know they're sorry that they've gone back and er we feel sorry sort of for them that they've dropped into [...] and a lot of our young lads have got mortgages and all that but there are some gone back ... er they need not [...] people erm they'd finished rearing their families and everything.
[63] And erm if they could have given us a proper explanation why they'd gone back and prove us wrong them fair enough.
[64] But I think they'd just gone back for the money creed and once you get that well erm they don't realize that they could be falling into the trap unless we blokes stand firm now to maintain this standard of living.
[65] Well their standard of living will come come down.
[66] Right they're getting everything they want at the moment because erm er [...] ease the situation.
[67] But I mean once this strike is over, unless we come to proper agreement erm they know then that then it will be too late then cos there's somebody saying then they came for the Jews first was it?
[68] I wasn't a Jew so I didn't bother.
[69] And then they came for the Communists, I wasn't a Communist so I didn't bother.
[70] And if I remember they came then they came for the Trade Unionist.
[71] I wasn't a Trade Unionist so I didn't bother.
[72] Then they came for me and then there was nobody to bother and that was the end of it.
[73] And
(PS2Y4) [laugh]
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [74] it works in this situation the same.
[75] And erm ... you know er sometimes I'm sorry that it's come to this because like this family er they made a bomb out of it we're not saying that we're not denying them that at all.
[76] We've had a good living out of it but if that same system has brought them on their feet, you know and built them nice homes er right they've delved into Company's House now, all the dirty water not dirty water all the whatsit has come up how much they've drawn from these quarries.
[77] I mean [...] used to say quite often erm er I'd flat I'd erm show my pay packet against your's any day if we had a good week.
[78] We were much better off than him.
[79] Well yes because he had a Mercedes Benz which er with cherish number plates which the company buys him.
[80] The company runs for him.
[81] You know it's come out of the tax situation he's built himself a er massive big house or put an extension on it.
[82] The extension is bigger than the original house.
[83] We're not saying that that er has been done er through all the cheap channels [...] I don't blame him probably do the same.
[84] But he wasn't saying that he was getting eighteen thousand a year from Ffestiniog slate alone as a director's bonus and he's a director of the other quarries as well.
[85] So how much is he getting?
[86] Er not trying to kid us that er he's worse off than us.
[87] Well never can he and er the other partners with er [...] the plant hire that's been going for donkey's ages and never shows a profit.
[88] But I mean erm er figures can lie and liars can figure and he comes back well now when you go into Company's House and get all these things, how much they putting aside of the money which should erm like er so that they can get a good pension, well that money it doesn't come actual from their pocket, it comes from the company's funds which er really would have gone to the tax man.
[89] So er you know they're making their bed er nice and feathery and yet they denying it us and then that's where the erm the sore point comes in.
(PS2Y4) [90] You mentioned earlier on [clears throat] about your attitude towards the erm minerals and mining
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [91] Yeah.
(PS2Y4) [92] is it I mean has your attitude you know th th that because it's under your feet is to use your expression
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [93] Yeah
(PS2Y4) [94] that that it it is in fact something that ought to be shared more and people ought to benefit more from what's here?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [95] Oh yes definitely.
[96] Yes erm [sniff] excuse me.
[97] Er reading old books there the they talk about the [...] and er around [...] and the [...] beds and all that you know and the jollity people they're well known about it [clears throat] .
[98] My wife and my daughters are all erm great C N D and nuclear er whatsit people, so now when these people wanted to drill in [...] way, drill for er geological mineral er [...] Estuary cos that's a different story the [...] Estuary.
[99] Er they were a bit erm er all the C N D group, I'm saying this now with no disrespect or anything.
[100] They were erm a bit reluctant and were going to fight against it cos they thought they were going to look for er places to bury nuclear waste and it was shelved but I can't prove them right and I can't prove them wrong.
[101] But definitely they should er explore this County and not erm [...] wanted to come into I think it was [...] into the [...] Estuary to drill for gold and minerals an all that, and the planning of the National Park said, No, and the blinking hole is only about four inches wide.
[102] What I think should be done [...] at that time was [...] that the Government should be fifty percent shares in it so that anything that's er sample that's brought up they should know what it is.
[103] Because in one county there was erm I'm not sure it was Ireland was a big erm hired firm like that came, they explored round they paid so many hundred to each farmer for exploring the land and he said, Oh no we've found nothing.
[104] [...] A few hundred quid was smashing.
[105] [...] As the years went by these farms were bought up.
[106] ... They didn't know by people were paying good money for them as er the farmers were moving out and it was er a good copper bed.
[107] But you see they didn't know the truth of the exploration, but if the Government was fifty fifty in it they'd be entitled to know the exact amount and quantity and what was underneath your feet.
[108] And I still maintain er of course they use the old argument that er tapes and all this and erm they er scar the countryside.
[109] Well to me when I come home of the Crimean I look at these massive tips you know in Blaenau [...] on your left and the old [...] on the right and that, erm if the old man that first rucked his pick and shovel or whatever trussel and [...] or whatever they started would have known what he was starting then, it was like the Klondike of Wales.
[110] I mean I I'd love to see the the whole history and that's why I'm glad that erm you people are taking an interest now in not helping us but some day somebody saying who's that crank [laughing] who's been talking on there [] .
[111] But erm no I think we should take full advantage of it we we're sitting on erm you know good minerals because as the minerals of the world getting erm shorter in 'sit erm in Africa they're getting all the copper its getting, well now they're shifting their interest slowly into Anglesey.
[112] As the minerals are getting er er slightly scarer scarcer well the percentage value of erm is it's wors working now.
[113] Can't see why we shouldn't er take advantage of it.
[114] But I mean you don't want to er start working in the mines for peanuts or anything do you, you want it to be a good job such as everybody else.
(PS2Y4) [115] Erm throughout this you know since we've since we've been talking you you very clearly have given me erm picture of the people who own the quarries and own the and have the erm [...] of the directories.
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [116] Mm.
(PS2Y4) [117] They are very much local people
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [118] Ah yes.
(PS2Y4) [119] and erm members of local families.
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [120] Yes.
[121] I remember Glyn [...] and the kids were very young I think some of the were born in Blaenau erm and they were dismantling an old quarry at [...] there his brother W R from Harlech had bought it usa like a machinery merchant and Glyn then borrowed a lot of tools off me for dismantling it then we started we we'd done a lot off and on together we'd been in ... er I enjoyed working with him, he was the type of man very hard worker himself but he wanted his pound of flesh.
[122] Er you know while you're working er there was no you had to stop him sometimes because he'd kill himself ha ha that's it.
[123] Yes he's built a business up and I'm not denying him that er or anything at all, But somehow now er I don't know whether the wheel is turning too fast for him to co keep up with it or whether it's erm oh never mind the erm the industry of the locality, providing the money stakes a I know every business has got to pay for itself and that we we're not, If this quarry was on the down grade and er er somebody had come to us said, look unless you take a drop in your wages er we can't survive that would be a different issue altogether.
[124] But it's not, it's flourishing and there's plenty demand can't get enough slates and er yes they say they've got er terrific overheads this and that, er well erm they can put them figures there they change the tune changes every day.
[125] They haven't got one and I'll s er say this as I've said everything on the wireless or anything, whatever I've said I'll say to their face, and I can slot the num perhaps they can't prove everything but you know it's there.
[126] They can put figures down er you know writing things off erm whatsit twenty percent per year for a machine right in five years' time that machine is scrap.
[127] But it's still worth thousands of quid so to them that is there're thousands erm er there's quite a lot of things they built up.
[128] And whether the wheel is turning too fast for them to cope with it somewhere along the line they've lost control any and there's still I'm told [...] young many a time a good shop steward and a good management should be a good team together, but erm unless they can work in harmony you know it's no good.
(PS2Y4) [129] You seem erm a bit puzzled as to the silence of the big group.
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [130] Yes erm when I was talking when they erm they wen they went all silent erm [...] there was not talk about Ffestiniog slate.
[131] Whether they're moving the money from Ffestiniog slate into something else like nobody can prove it but that's my estimation.
[132] They getting er they training Ffestiniog slate now.
[133] Mean I'm putting I'm er if I was in their shoes that's exactly and I think I'm not far from wrong.
[134] Training Ffestiniog slate men one of these days they say there is no more Ffestiniog slate and that's it its gone bankrupt and er But I mean that can be easily arranged sort of thing.
[135] Erm right er Tom was going on his holidays our Union bloke about a fortnight nor three weeks something like that after the strike situation.
[136] Oh they wanted Tom then cos er the deputy I think it was old was it or something like that oh they didn't want to talk to him oh they wanted to talk to Tom and all this and Tom wasn't available.
[137] But as soon as Tom came back they didn't want to you know.
[138] So they'd been playing cat and mouse game and er it hasn't paid off you know.
[139] As they say erm whether they were thinking, Well we will starve them on the gate out and they'll have to come back, that's another situation but erm I never thought we'd have so much support from people and we can still erm I mean I'd rather be back at work but erm that is the situation.
[140] I mean said the other day, Why don't you pack up this stupid idea of picketing.
[141] I said, Why so that you can just carry on normally?
[142] No he said, We have given you my I said yes see we haven't if you adopt that attitude we getting nowhere.
[143] I said, I don't want to hassle you but I'm going to give you as much as I can.
[144] And I said, You flat out there avoiding it so he said erm you've accuse us of erm taking slates out at night.
[145] I said, Yes I stop me and [...] we stopped the waggon half past two in the morning on top of the [...] a load going to erm Holland or somewhere.
[146] Oh he said, We've always sent them out at night.
[147] I said, Oh no you haven't.
[148] I said that is a he didn't deny it er and he said that driver won't come back again because he was hoodwinked into coming up.
[149] It was the same waggon yes but it was different driver and er not sure whether they taken the slates themselves there now.
[150] So really whatever little slates he's doing it's er costing him hard labour and er just because we can't er resolve the situation.
[151] And erm I say he wasn't er he wouldn't go to ACAS, Will and our Glyn from erm [...] they went to ACAS, and they said oh everything's fine in our quarry but they were side stepping the main issue that we'd been sacked and there's the [...] boys are out and majority of [...] .
[152] There are those that have gone back and erm er it was all right them shutting their eyes to what the the main the crux of the matter and saying, No no everything's fine in the garden that's just er trying to kid us but er I don't think it will work.
[153] Mind you erm there's one or two of the lads that are driving the waggons there.
[154] Well there's one lad he driving the waggon er he works for another branch of them it just [...] the haulage whatsit.
[155] Well he's like the pig in the middle again, er they've told him well unless you drive the waggon backwards and forwards through the gates, well you're no good to us sort of down the road.
[156] Well if he came out on strike with us erm and we won if we won everything we g he'd gain nothing in the end cos he's in another section.
[157] So I mean people can't say that we're just like er blind bats batting wheth we'll you'll lose the situation these lads are in.
[158] Er we'd like to see them out with us to give the company as much harassment.
[159] Erm right there's one of the partners there er he's a bit er I don't know what he's doing he's doing somersaults I think backwards to help the situation but it doesn't.
[160] Well there's another lad he's been ill in health he's worked more now than he ever has cos he used to work a few days and lose a few days and he wasn't.
[161] Well perhaps they've given him er a green carrot.
[162] You know you can't blame them I know it's going against our policies and everything but we erm we're not blind to the situation.
[163] Er we are a bit er vexed at the management er they are sitting down to slits er splay s tt split slates.
[164] Erm [...] he's had three crates the other day back cash rejects shows you that poor slates are going out.
[165] Well they maintain oh no anybody can sli split them.
[166] N yes anybody but then there is er a quality and a grade and everything to them.
[167] Because they are one of the worst ones if they bought er a Land Rover or any any British make, Oh oh look at the shoddy British, they're crying they're up in arms and they're doing exactly the same thing now.
[168] Right they've er they've been preaching against Spanish slates.
[169] Well I've seen Spanish slates in the quarry.
[170] So when I tackled Mr about it he said, Oh we must maintain our customers.
[171] So really they're not er playing the game.
[172] And I mean I'm not saying this now to advertise our cause or anything but I think it should be noted down.
[173] Right all the machines they've got erm are either German or Italian, say we got [...] dump trucks erm we [recording ends]
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [174] dump trucks there they know they're over five years old and they're still working.
[175] Er they say they're not worked hard well I think they have they've moved er moved a few thousand tons from there and erm.
[176] Of course er they have about erm well I'm not sure, about twenty eight or thirty thousand gallons of diesel stocked up there, and of course in them buying it in bulk like that they get it at a cheaper rate.
[177] They would fill the tanker from there and we go round the quarry filling the front machines, but erm they say at five or six thousand gallons has been emptied out of that er dump.
[178] As they say it would have been all over the village [...] the smell and everything it is wrong.
[179] Well I have made a statement to the police and have put it in the police station in a sealed envelope.
[180] I was about the last one with a tanker er before er strike I mean they've been there afterwards but er and er a certain tank was empty.
[181] Well I marked that certain tank and I put it in in a sealed envelope to the police station and I said I don't know which tank they said whoever's emptied it has done, but I said, If it happens to be that tank then they are lying.
[182] If it's another tank I can't prove otherwise but I know one tank er the fourth tank you can't empty it, it's got be syphoned out it comes from the top and er if you went there and just opened the valve you can get a an ounce of diesel out of it.
[183] So really you know it leaves them and erm they've got to prove it erm.
[184] I'm not out to if they're going to claim on this diesel then that's up to them but I'm not going to have our lads or anybody else blamed for something which definitely does not exist and I shall tell as soon as I erm I meet him to have a chat with him again that he's going along the wrong lines.
[185] And I think er well I mean they haven't said any I think the police had a little bit erm suspicious about the story.
(PS2Y4) [186] You again you mentioned earlier on about erm members of your lodge members of going out erm and talking
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [187] Yes.
(PS2Y4) [188] to other groups.
[189] Erm how did that h that may be quite a sophisticated thing to t t t to do in a way isn't it?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [190] Yes erm how can I say, we were invited Manchester University er to speak at dinner time, four of us went up and I was nominated as the speaker.
[191] [laugh] I made a bit of a speech and all that and er like a clever dick I went without me glasses [laugh] .
[192] So I had to make the speech best as I could and it went down all right I think.
[193] Erm then we had to call on the way back in Deeside er in Mold and there was a miner's support group there.
[194] We called and saw them and we had quite a nice reception.
[195] There was only about oh about two or three dozen there.
[196] And er and because [...] [...] we call him he spoke there and he spoke very well because [...] and erm that's it.
[197] People came to us after the meeting, we met this lady and er she was really interested in our cause.
[198] She's erm she's a waitress in Chester so it can shows you how much cross section we've got and erm she said her and her boyfriend was coming up to Blaenau to be on the picket line and so on and we were quite friendly with her.
[199] Then she said, I've arranged now if you would like to go down and speak in er a meeting in Oxford.
[200] We said, Fair enough.
[201] Er two of us went down to Oxford we pick her and her boyfriend up in Shrewsbury and we went all down together and erm [clears throat] excuse me.
[202] We went down there they'd arranged for us er place to sleep and everything, and we went to this meeting it was quite a big hall I think they were all like Trade Union delegates and that.
[203] And erm we spoke to the Chairman during the afternoon in his house and [...] was talking to him and spoke to him about erm an accident he'd had [...] in the quarry.
[204] Anyway erm the chap the first speaker was from Silent Night Bedding and they're in dispute for a long time.
[205] He spoke and he spoke quite well and that's it.
[206] Then the next one spoke was er one of the Yorkshire miners, one of these er that hasn't got a job to back to.
[207] He spoke quite well.
[208] And then it came [...] turn and er [...] was er speaking quite well when this girl behind us this wee well along side us was thumbs up on him all the time you know he was doing well and that.
[209] And erm and he did this sermon so the next bloke he came from Kent somewhere er he was a miner or a miner's delegate and he could really speak you know, arms waving and all that and he was a real preacher.
[210] But the thing was nobody was impressed with him he was too much of er he was too good a speaker you know.
[211] You have a feeling er let's get it over with with him.
[212] So anyway, he erm had his say quite a long story and er the Chairman turned round all of a sudden and he s he couldn't say the Chairman er said call him cos that's what we call him and he said er he said erm would you like to come back to the rostrum again and he said erm you were explaining to me about an accident you had in the quarry in [...] quarry, erm some years back and he said, I'd like you to explain to these people.
[213] So said to me [...] yes carry on you're doing fine you know and he went up and er well he didn't know how to start the poor fellow [...] doing smashing and he said, Well erm imagine this hall, he said, this hall we're in now as a big cavern underground.
[214] And he said he was working with an old fellow which is getting on in age and he was quite absent minded ... and he said, I was about thirty feet from the ground on a ledge er filling er s a hole ready for shot for blasting and the old fellow was about twenty feet higher than him and then he was ss er whatsit another hole and then a at the top of the chamber there's a little hole, he said, like a roof we call it which is a little passage that goes up into the next floor and then we used that as an escape route he didn't have to go far.
[215] Well then er quite, so he said erm it was all quiet and I looked up into the darkness and I said [...] that the old fellow had gone and he litten his fuse [laugh] and there was me there I could see the sparks in the darkness and I was way twenty feet below him and he must have whatsit.
[216] So I said I had to make a quick decision either I was going to go up me chain past his whatsit and into the roof, or else go thirty feet down and run right across the chamber into whichever er level they could go to.
[217] And I scrambled out of me chain and as I was doing that's the last he remembers.
[218] Either a spark had come down from the old fellow's hole up there or him with hobnail boots had trod on er black powder and set it off and his hole went out underneath his feet.
[219] It was only a small one he said.
[220] And the next thing he know he remembers he's hanging upside down with a half feet around his [...] the chain had slipped 't was round his ankle and he was hanging upside down in the dark twenty feet from the ground.
[221] And of course the old fellow's holes went out but they went right over him nev never a scratch on him.
[222] And er he was there er two blokes had to get come get chains and get him out of it and all that and here wasn't a scratch on him but erm he was off for about five or six months you know he had ee ee this brain tests and everything, the shock had er he was quite bad for some time.
[223] Well, the people were so impressed they, you could have heard a pin drop in that hall, and he really in our Welsh way he put it over proper you know and erm the Chairman made a quite a nice remark in the end he said, Now he said we must remember these two fellows here, I said, They are Welsh and they speak Welsh as their first language they don't speak it for fancy they use it every day and he said I think they've done exceedingly well er to come down here and give us the Because what happen I was sit in the front row and somebody asked me [...] a question and he said, Perhaps er Dafydd there can answer.
[224] So I got up then and I spoke to the room you know and we were more or less helping one another out and I thought the Chairman had done well when he said erm they don't speak er Welsh for fancy or anything they use it as every day.
[225] And he give us.
[226] Well, we've had quite a lot of money from Oxford from different people so you don't know.
[227] There's some people send us money and say, I've read in such and such a paper, erm somebody send it from Chesterfield the [...] there their paper there, and they send us ten pounds or something and erm you know erm you never know how the fruits er.
[228] Somebody want us to go to Newark, I think that is by Nottingham isn't it, to speak there.
[229] And now there was a chap on the phone last night he want to go to [...] Valley and I was trying to tell the bloke who who he between doing pickets and trying to keep count and er [...] .
[230] Oh he said, You don't have to send er professional speaker or anything just somebody to have a chat with ya.
[231] That'll boost the situation up some.
[232] Got to see [...] later today to see what arrangements we can make.
(PS2Y4) [233] You erm you said that er y you felt that possibly after Christmas that the things would go fl flat a bit.
[234] How how do you sort of manage to keep people's spirits up the dynamism?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [235] I don't know you know it's er ... it er we do manage [...] and of course what breaks er people's spirit is I mean we we know we don't get the money we should be having.
[236] Well if you've got a big bill or something hanging over your head, that will send you quite erm into the dumps.
[237] We try and help them out mm best we can.
[238] Of course we haven't got erm money to just er s do what you like.
[239] We had a party a party for the kids in Aberystwyth on Saturday, but all the students paid it never cost us a halfpenny.
[240] And it was a kiddies party really.
[241] Yes they gave us a drink of beer and that erm and that was entirely up to them and erm.
[242] And I mean there are lots of things now er which er how can I say I never had much interest before erm never thought th that they when you've seen the help in hand they've dished out erm [...] , S D P, [...] the erm oh the Council of Churches which you know [...] never There are all sorts of erm I tell you another people and erm I sha the Gay and Lesbian Society you know, people take them er lightly but er it makes you sit up and and think now.
[243] And we had a really nice letter and good donation from them you know.
[244] So everybody that reaches out a helping hand.
[245] Naturally Mrs Thatcher doesn't reach out a helping hand cos this this is right in her er cricket pitch.
[246] No without being erm we get them from medical sides [...] you name them they come and erm oh it's fantastic.
[247] But I never thought I'd er be doing this type of job [...] t'other day er.
[248] No as I say I haven't got much to lose or anything but I think it's a trade that is worth protecting and er you know it's not a trade er it's a living for the people innit?
[249] And should be a decent living erm ... yes but surely with all the demand there is today for slate and that.
(PS2Y4) [250] You you've indicated that the work that you've been involved in has changed you in some respects i i it certainly m m made you m m more aware of of other other other people and the way they're prepared to help.
[251] Do you think that's had an effect on your your mates as well?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [252] Yes erm I don't know if I mentioned you a question properly er right there were young lads in there they be young lads in that lodge [...] do this and they jump up and they make a decision quickly.
[253] But you got to start putting all the works in motion [...] oh yes what is the end product or what is the outcome of this and that.
[254] And I've been a few years on the Council now and when I first went on the Council I was going to move mountains and make oh big Taj Mahals everywhere, but when you get on these things you have a rude awakening, it doesn't work out that way and it works out exactly the same in this erm.
[255] You can have one quick move and if it's a false one well er you made a bad mistake and you've gone back about er whatsit and I think 's done exactly the same here he's sacked us and he's put himself in er in er queer corner s like a game of draughts you know and he's trying all roads to come out of it.
[256] Fair enough, well if I can help him in any way by talking to him, it's not a case of who wins and who loses, we all lose.
[257] I'm quite prepared to do it.
[258] And er I've told Tom and the Union bloke who's said, Yes if you can talk to anybody member of the family to bring anything any consolation, do it.
[259] So I'm not creeping back for my job but anything erm it's not that and erm But the lads in the lodge sometimes you've got to and er I've got a bit of er well a speery voice you know rough so [laugh] sometimes I get a little bit of control on them and erm also as I said about these chaps that are working, erm we're not blind, we know what's happening and we've got sympathy even with them.
[260] And we don't want, another thing, we don't want to do now is erm get man against man.
[261] You see if we can split this Union in two, that's exactly what the management wants.
[262] Well we're playing right into their hands.
[263] Though we're not in agreement to what's happened, we got to be very careful because you see what's happened to the coal er dispute.
[264] And er if I can help it I've got to erm do me best to stop that happening.
(PS2Y4) [265] Is that is that level of of un understanding er sort of part general within within the mine?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [266] No not you get different statements different erm I wouldn't like to repeat some of them right, but if them lads sat down and studied it erm same as I've said now and they say, Well yes aye.
[267] If we quarrel if we have a good punch up and all that between us and them that would suit the other side right down to the ground.
[268] So we're losing.
[269] So really we've got to erm give in right in our estimation they were wrong.
[270] Erm and I've said further on that erm some could have afford to stay out but that's they we're not all built the same and erm we must avoid that at all cost.
[271] And I suppose it's up to us like the erm the old stagers to we should know better and I think Tom the Union chap, he's he can see that and he wants to avoid it cos he's got to speak to the lot of them [...] ?
(PS2Y4) [272] You've you've made it clear with him that you discriminate quite clearly between the people that go back to work because they've got children or they've got l lot of finan and they've got to do a lot of financial obligations and those who who don't.
[273] Would you say that is true?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [274] No there are some er lads gone back to work yes they got children they got mortgages we realize that.
[275] There are some gone back to work they haven't got all that heavy obligations but there are lads on the line which have got very heavy complications and children and they have stuck it out you know.
[276] So it all depends how you different people different personalities and that and erm right though I don't agree with them at all what they've done, erm as I said, If I don't speak or if we don't whatsit we going to ruin the whole thing we're fighting for.
(PS2Y4) [277] Would you say that that the that the experience of the N U M has been a very important one f f for you in that respect ?
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [278] Oh yes very much so and we've been these er lots secretaries and presidents and all miners and that they've been coming up you know and er you had a chat with them and they put us don't let this happen, don't let that happen, and make sure that erm you know people don't suffer and er oh it's been quite a vast experience for us yeah.
[279] And they still keep on sending not just one flash in the pan you know.
[280] They still know that we need that help.
[281] Now erm [...] they've been quite good to us.
[282] As I said I don't like to ment to pick people out because it sounds as if the others are not doing.
[283] We've had people we had one chap an old mate of mine he give us fifty P well he's on the dole there.
[284] You know er you felt whatsit.
[285] But that's it the system isn't but [...] they send us a donation which they'd had for appearing on B B C or something.
[286] Now erm [...] I think it is [...] and he rang me up and asked me would the strike still be on in the middle of er February.
[287] Well I said I can't say I wish it was over tomorrow.
[288] But if it was over tomorrow I said it's still left our lads in quite er hole financially, and we shall still need that.
[289] The help won't stop like overnight, we must keep going.
[290] I said in that case we will make you a concert in mid January and I think he said [...] are coming with them.
[291] Now er [...] they were having a concert and [...] I think was the principal part and when he went to have his fee he said, Oh no you can send it to the [...] Blaenau Ffestiniog.
[292] So I think [...] writing to John to thank him.
[293] I mean I don't like to pick people out there's quite a lot erm er Dr from South Wales he lives here, well he was born and bred here.
[294] We had a nickname for him, they call him.
[295] Erm won't mind that.
[296] He's been quite good to us and er [...] they sing on the street for us.
[297] Erm act I could go through that book and erm it's never ending.
[298] Yeah.
(PS2Y4) [299] Well Dav Dafydd thank you very much.
Dafydd (PS2Y3) [300] [laughing] Okay. [] [recording ends]