Yes. I had an excellent day out when I went to visit FormerDeskFriendTwoDots yesterday. Big Pit is close to where she lives, so I got to kill two birds with one stone- socialise with Celestial TwoDots, AND go to a coal mine.

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The coal mine was SO GOOD. I can't get over the fact that it was all free, for one thing. The highlight was the bit we did first, where we got to go dooooown into the pit in little groups and have a tour. Our guide, like all of them, was an ex-miner himself, and was both amusing and enthusiastic. I was a bit surprised at his enthusiasm because you'd think that you'd get bored of saying the same thing several times each day, but he acted like it was his very first tour. As a side note, I'd never thought of the South Welsh accent as being especially strong before, but then, I'd only really ventured into Cardiff, Swansea, Bridgend and just over the border before. These men had PROPER accents that I could not always understand. The mine tour lasted quite a while and was quite fascinating, and not at all scary. I thought that I probably wanted to be a miner when I grow up, my main qualification, other than the fact that I don't find being 100m below the surface scary, is that I'm very short and hardly had to duck while underground. I'm sure if I send off an application, it will get looked at by someone. The miners, however, did not make it sound like an attractive career option.
We went to the former miner's canteen, in which the food was surprisingly tasty. I do not mean surprising in an insulting way, it wasn't as though I expected it to be horrible, but I thought there was only so much tastiness a cheese and broccoli bake could contain. It exceeded my expectations.

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Then we mooched around the rest of the museum before descending on the gift shop, where I went a bit mad and was all like 'YES. BUY ALL THE THINGS. I WANT A MINER'S LAMP EVEN IF IT DOES COST £50'. Luckily, TwoDots was there to act as a voice of reason and I came away with SOME CHEESE that had been matured down the mine.

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It is fantastic cheese. Possibly the best cheese of its kind I've ever had. I kept sneaking downstairs after I'd gone to bed to have a bit more of it, because I'm actually 8 years old and not nearly 25.
After all this excitement, we proceeded back to the home of TwoDots and her cats (awww cats), devoured nachos and watched a reality TV programme about families going back to 1926 and working in a coal mine. A very lovely day, overall, and I hope to return when I'm next in the West Midlands, for it wasn't at all far away by train. Maybe one day, I shall move to Wales and combine my current career of translation with my dream career of coal mining.

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