Rhondda Grey

One afternoon from a council school

A boy came home to play,

With paints and coloured pencils

And his homework for the day.

'We've got to paint the valley, Mam,

For Mrs Davies Art.

What colour is the valley, Mam?

And will you help me start?'

 

'Shall I paint the Con. Club yellow,

And paint the Welfare blue?

Paint old Mr Davies red

And all his pigeons too?

Paint the man who kept our ball -

Paint him looking sad?

What colour is the valley, Mam?

What colour is it, Dad?'

 

'Dad, if Mam goes down the shop

To fetch the milk and bread,

Ask her fetch me back some paint -

Some gold and white and red.

Ask her fetch me back some green,

(The bit I've got's gone hard.)

Ask her to fetch me back some green;

Ask her, will you Dad?'

 

His father took him by the hand

And they walked down Albion Street,

Down past the old Rock Incline

To where the council put a seat,

Where old men say at the close of day

'Dy'n ni wedi g'neud ein siar'*

And the colour in their faces says,

'The tools are on the bar.

The tools are on the bar.'

 

'And that's the colour that we want

That no shop has ever sold.

You can't buy that in Woolies, lad,

With your reds and greens and gold.

It's a colour that can't buy, lad,

No matter what you pay.

But that's the colour that we want:

It's a sort of Rhondda Grey.'

 

'It's a colour that can't buy, lad,

No matter what you pay.

But that's the colour that we want:

They call it Rhondda Grey.

               * - We have done our share

               Max Boyce, His Songs and Poems, 1976

 

                    Pouring rain and the Ely Fach in full flood - perfect weather for small boys to race sticks in the fast moving water; and then shelter under the Ely River railway bridge while making up explanations as to how their  feet were'sopping wet'.  Losing a sock would require an even a more drastic subterfuge involving going home in the protection of your grandmother.