Just after the first publication of They Gave Me A Lamp in 1992, the mining industry suffered a serious change. All over the country, mines were closing - it seemed coal was no longer king. The village streets between homes and collieries seemed drab and empty. Talk in the welfare halls or clubs was based on anecdotes of incidents endured or enjoyed when the lives of local people were inextricably linked to the mines.
They Gave Me A Lamp, written by Phyllis Jones, Nursing Officer in charge of the medical centre at Cynheidre Colliery, contains her memories. The stories are sometimes light-hearted, sometimes tragic, and they vividly convey the affection and humour that existed in the mines and the surrounding communities.
Phyllis hopes that this reprint will bring about once more a touching reminder of that special relationship the people of the Gwendraeth Valley in Carmarthenshire once found in their own industry.
First impressions make the impact. Other people's routines become a vivid adventure; small foibles in an individual make him an outsanding character who is funny, endearing and not to be forgotten.
When I first came to Wales, I was unaccustomed to the industrial scene. There was tin mining in Cornwall, but the vitality of that community was confined to small centres such as Hugus, St. Day, St. Agnes, Dolcoath and others. My own family had drawn away from their own involvement with this way of life.