During the 36 years I've lived in Merthyr the area at the bottom of our village has undergone a total transformation.
It should really be known as ' Heolgerrig' and we at the top as 'Pen-yr-Heolgerrig' ( or 'Penrhiwl', as it was called).
Before you reach it , there's Georgetown, a community which consisted entirely of terraces where ironworkers who worked at Crawshay's Cyfarthfa Works lived.
I've vivid recollections of the sheep there: they wandered everywhere, grazing on roundabouts and taking cover in doorways.
It was like a Gren cartoon till the whole of Georgetown was demolished and replaced by new houses remarkably similar to the old ones.
A new pub was also built, The Great Escape, which appropriately is now a funeral parlour (the only growth industry in Merthyr!).
We used to have Christmas staff events there till we were banned! I recall one where an inebriated Maths teacher ate the paper table cloth and pelted the Head with bread rolls.
As you walk uphill, one of the few remaining buildings is Christ Church. There's a story that Robert Thompson Crawshay ( he with GOD FORGIVE ME on his large gravestone in Vaynor churchyard) encouraged a tip to be made to deliberately block his view of the church......whatever was on his conscience only the ghosts of the maids of Cyfarthfa Castle know.
Gone the old redbrick standup urinal, most useful as you staggered home.
Gone the disused railway bridge and large tip of lime.
Gone most of the dense bushes and trees and the shortcut lane down to Ynysfach.
Now the A470 arches over your head and the noise of traffic carries upwards against the prevailing westerlies.
Parks, both health and retail, dominate.
On the left is Keir Hardie Health Park ( still misspelt in the bus station!) and on your right Cyfarthfa Retail Park, whose sign still isn't bi-lingual.
Only a couple of weeks back Carlo Windsor visited the Keir Hardie University Health Park. The week before police were out sniffing the drains and workmen sucked up every stray leaf.
It was the ultimate irony in a town whose Rising of 1831 was based on the slogan 'I lawr a'r Brenin!' ( 'Down with the King!').
Not only that, but it's another calculated insult to the memory of one of the founders of the Labour Party and a former Merthyr MP.
In 1894, Hardie delivered what's still considered to be the finest republican speech ever to boos and jeers in the House of Commons. One sentence gives an insight -
' From his childhood onward this boy will be surrounded by sycophants and flatterers by the score and will be taught to believe himself as of a superior creation.'
His argument about the royal baby then is just as relevant today.
Hardie argued that it was complete hypocrisy to rail against hereditary titles, yet support the monarchy.
Our Labour Council have consistently chosen to ignore Hardie's fervent republicanism and pacifism and their fawning over Carlo Windsor is a symbol of that.
On the opposite side, the retail park and fast-food outlets show how we've become like everywhere else : chain stores thrive and the town centre shrinks.
In a town which tops the leagues for obesity and heart attacks, the smells of the fast food giants hang in the air , a smog of frying fumes.
When this area was mostly wasteland, there were actually two stores here, perched incongruously ; but there was enough rough ground for Travellers to settle most years and sell their carpets and offer to tarmac drives.
On the right as you continue uphill (or travel by the legendary John's Buses) is a vast area of disused land, once a brickworks.
In 2006 it was stabilized in readiness for the shopping store Trago Mills. who have three outlets in the West Country.
Their owner Bruce Robertson, UKIP's main donor, applied to dig up the site for 80,000 tons of coal and was met with so many local objections that he gave in.
Now the only purpose of this site seems to be to publicise UKIP every election time with many posters on the fences.
Trago Mills still promise to come here and the Council have no other plans, despite the company's very dubious record, including the posting of a blatantly anti-Muslim advert in a page it took in a Falmouth newspaper in 2009.
Further on is the entrance to Brondeg council estate and just along the way is Cephas Free Presbyterian Church ,opened by the founder of the fundamentalist Protestant sect Rev. Ian Paisley.
I recall writing an article for the 'South Wales Echo' about 'my locality' and the journo who'd requested it published not my photo but that of Paisley to accompany it!
As somebody who once marched in support of the H-Block Hunger Strikers , I was not exactly pleased.
This is a poem set in the area I've described in my micro-psycho-geography.
Outa the Undergrowth
Outa the undergrowth by B an Q’s they come
off of theyer eads on cheapo rocket fuel.
It’s a glorious Mediterranean day in Merthyr,
ev’ryone’s wearin socks ‘n’ shorts ‘n’ trainers.
Towards the church, clutchin plastic bottles
they’re screamin an yellin, larfin an barkin.
A woman crosses over an I slow down ;
seen em before but I’m still on pins.
They’re flingin stones at lamp-posts
in some crazee competition.
The pavement’s a tight-rope
an they keep on fallin.
The woman’s eyes like a bird
with a cat close by , stalkin.
They ewse fewnral cones as loud-ailers,
callin on-a dead t answer.