Can you believe this pool has been empty for over 20 years, and just left to disintegrate? It's right in the centre of town - the heart of the war memorial park, which is my favourite haunt.
The changing rooms, shelter and other surrounding buildings are Grade II listed.
Presently, the shopping centre is undergoing a very expensive facelift. The giant concrete cuboid, formerly 'Taff Vale Shopping Precinct' has been demolished.
The tax office which was encased in this architectural masterpiece is slowly being taken apart (good old asbestos).
Plans for Next, Debenhams and other such retail giants to open stores here in 2012, promise to lure cash-splashing shoppers back to Pontypridd.
The precinct used to house 'Rainbow Records' "no love, I haven't got that top 20 album, I can get it by Monday?" (Monday never came, though I did buy some great stuff from there in the early nineties)
The barbers was by far the jewel in the precinct's crown though.
The couple who owned it won the pools in the 70's, and went on an intensive hairdressing course before they bought the shop.
The same apron was used for every customer, they only had 2. The 'gold'fish were suspended in slime, like a smaller, rotten version of Hirst's Cow.
The couple offered no small-talk to customers, never decorated the place, or took down the 70's posters, and never gave anyone a decent haircut. It was always busy though, I think the price structure had a lot to do with it.
The ultimate insult to throw at a boy would be "did you have your hair cut in the precinct?"
|gone, not forgotten|
The design template for most of the departmental buildings in Pontypridd (built post 1950) follow this pattern: get a ruler, draw a straight line, then another, and join up the sides.
|Only 2 floors left to demolish now, this was September.|
Brown Lenox was a chain/anchor works, constructed in 1816.
In junior school, lessons in local history tended to feature two things; coal-mining, and the chainworks. The image of Isambard Kingdom Brunel standing in front of the giant chains is iconic for me.
We walked through the indoor market on Saturday, the boys love it in there.
I bought 2 bras for £1 each from the beautiful stall Shapemakers - take a look, and imagine what shape you could create.
The second-hand book stall is chock-a-block with working-class favourites; My Life Has Been Utterly Shite, I Met a Nice Man and he DIED, I am a copper and I DRINK NEAT WHISKY all day - you get the picture? I didn't buy a book.
However, I will mock the market no more. It's improving month by month, and I remember getting excited about going shopping there as a child.
I'd buy a few ounces of coconut mushrooms ("why do you always choose the heavy sweets Lucy?") and look at the toy stall. I once bought a little doll inside a matchbox from there, it seemed a perfectly sensible purchase.
Recently, four ladies my age opened stalls, one (the market owner's wife) has a lovely delicatessen/butchers, another sells hand-made cushions, bags and decorative items, the third - an organic fruit and veg stall, and finally, a stall selling paper goods.
Tasteful, contemporary, quality, maybe things are looking up?
If we stay in Pontypridd, I hope the boys won't remember it as a dump. It's home.
My parents aren't from Pontypridd, neither is Rob, but I feel settled here, even when some of the sights get me down.
I was discussing 'inspiration' the other day; it recently dawned on me that you don't need to go far or be surrounded by stereotypical examples of beauty to feel inspired.
I do feel a change of scene is important to keep your mind fresh and add intrigue, but when you're in the right frame of mind, a walk down a well trodden path, one you've frequented all your life, can feel new and exciting.
I refuse to feel depressed about a supermarket and various chain stores taking over the town.
I'm on first-name terms with the lovely elderly ladies at the 'Truck Stop Cafe' in the market, and the young ladies starting new ventures. There's room for optimism, as well as dismay (though, I revel in the latter).
What makes 'home' for you, and why?