She may well have been the product of her era here, as she was with a great work ethic. She would often have up to three part time jobs on the go, all of which enabled her to support her children, and these jobs would be worked around us, so that we were never without her company.
I think that there were four things of vital importance to Mum; good, wholesome food would always be provided; clothes would always be on our backs; annual holidays and day trips would be taken, and essential bills would never go unpaid. There would be luxuries if there was any spare cash about. She was the master of a budget, and the only things I remember being on "tick" were from the catalogue, which was paid for on a weekly basis to the catalogue man. I have tried to be as prudent as Mum in my life, but unfortunately, on occasions I have failed the Mum test.
While writing this, I am reminded of a huge hazard on some of those roads. It came in the form of a Welsh Methodist Minister and his car. He was a Nationalist who refused to speak English, even though he knew that you didn't speak Welsh. Being under 5 foot tall, there were blocks on the pedals of his car, and all you could see was the top of his head. He was a manic driver around the lanes of the village, and his speed was frightening. Fortunately, due to his excessive use of the accelerator, you could hear him coming, and just had enough time to jump into the hedgerow before he sped past you. Unbelievably, he never had an accident, but he did cause a few heart tremors in others.
At the right time of the year we would go to the mountain to pick wimberries. There amongst the heather and sheep droppings we would collect this lovely, small, blue fruit. As can be seen from the photograph, if you've never been collecting wimberries, it is a back breaking exercise, and seemed to take forever to fill the containers. The effort was worthwhile however, as the result was loads of pots of wimberry jam, which lasted for a few months. With Mum, you certainly never wasted the access to beautiful countryside outside of the village.
|Charlie Wright's Buses|
I was good friends with the youngest of the Wright sons, and would often be in their home playing board games. They also had a field opposite the garage where we would play games. I remember during one summer that we decided to have a sports day - not just the two of us you understand, there were other friends. It was the first day of the school holidays, and we set up a high jump. It came to my turn, and while I knew that the idea was to jump over the pole, I slipped on my run up, and broke my wrist. The plaster came off six weeks later on the last day of the school holidays.
Along with the regular bus service, Wright's provided special excursions which were very popular, and if memory serves me right, the same people seemed to go on all of them. This included Mum, Sister and I. A very popular trip was what Wright's called "Around the Coast", which meant a beautiful trip through Snowdonia, on to the North Wales coast and back home.
Blackpool doesn't seem very far away from the village today, but then, it seemed to take forever to get there, hence the need for a weekend trip. I have few detailed memories of actually being in Blackpool, but as I detect a hint of a smile in this photograph, I guess it couldn't have been that bad. One thing I do remember though is that my Sister and I were always the youngest by far on all of these excursions.
|Holidays in Rhyl|
My goodness, everything looks as if it's from another era, which of course it is. The caravans were basic, the facilities minimal and the bikes crap, but from looking at many photographs, it did seem as if we had a good time. Credit to Mother, as unlike other families in the village who rarely went anywhere, we were often off somewhere - again mostly courtesy of Wright & Sons coaches.
There is much more that could be said, but I'm in danger of losing you, and perhaps it's best to draw this sojourn to a close. However, let me conclude with the following.
|Salem Welsh Baptist Chapel|
My sister and I would visit him most Sundays after Church while Mum was getting the dinner ready. We loved his company. He was well read, and could speak with interest on a range of subjects. It was painful to see him struggle for breath after a coughing fit, but he never complained, and I always remember a smile on his face. A remarkable man indeed.
Well there you have it, the end of my journey. Unremarkable and very ordinary, but isn't this what most of our upbringing is about? I guess the important thing is what we do with the hand that is dealt us. My work life over the following forty years was very different, but perhaps that is for another time. I have enjoyed this bout of reminiscing, and appreciate the few people who have joined me on the journey.