|From the hill overlooking the Big Pit mine|
|Even the model horses looked real!|
The initial explosion disturbed coal dust present on the floor, raising a cloud that then also ignited. The shock wave ahead of the explosion raised yet more coal dust, so that the explosion was effectively self-fuelling. Those miners not killed immediately by the fire and explosion would have died quickly from afterdamp, the noxious gases formed by combustion. These include lethal quantities of carbon monoxide, which kills very quickly, the victims being suffocated by lack of oxygen. This disaster led to new and safer methods of signalling, detection methods for methane gas and eventually to the Davy Lamp, still used to detect methane gas.
|The Picket Caravan|
Following this we proceeded to Caerphilly castle, the largest castle in Wales. It was begun in 1268 by Gilbert de Clare, known as "Gilbert the Red", possibly due to his red hair. The castle proved a very handy refuge for Edward II in 1326 as he fled from his wife Isabella and her companion, Roger Mortimer! It is surrounded by a series of moats and small islands and has a drawbridge. The south-east tower of the castle leans at a greater angle than the famous Tower of Pisa! It's difficult to do justice to this in a photo but it is really scary to look at!
The figure bottom left seen holding it up is not a hunky Welsh hero but a wooden substitute! The sheer bulk of these castle walls is amazing. Imagine how it must have been for those armies trying to storm these walls or attempt to penetrate them with medieval war engines! I saw no sign of the fabled Green Lady who is said to haunt the site! There were, however, a few pale men around, as by this time a number of us were feeling the need of replenishment at Cooper's Carvery where we were booked to have our evening meal.
We were joined there by the other bus which had returned from their trip to Cardiff and Cardiff Castle. The roast beef was good and roast turkey and ham were also available. A recent visitor to the Garrabost manse commented, however, that the Yorkshire Puddings "did not match up" and added "I was comparing them with Donna's!" Well, that's a good note on which to finish and a wee reminder to me of why I should be thankful!