Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Village life.

Life in a small village most be much the same where ever that village maybe....I recently took stock of the several villages I have lived in. and a thumb nail sketch of some of them fills in a rounded picture of both the villages and the places of worship I've attended at various times of my life.
The first one was when as a very small girl my grandparents took me to South Wales when my father was in the army and my mother worked in munitions.
The village was on the Gower and it was beautiful. One of my earliest memories was being taken to look at the sea. It was rolling in and the sand looked wonderful but there was barbed wire rolled right along the beech.  I could not  reach it.  After a few years I  found a way through and played happily on the beach on my own until my Aunty found me, nearly had hysterics and dragged me home crying. How was I to know about land mines?
We went to the Welsh baptist chapel in the village and it was terrifying. The minister, a tall man in a long winged collar preached hell fire and damnation every Sunday. I can still hear his Welsh voice denouncing the young girls as he called them out. I resolved  that it should never ever be me because I was never going to be naughty!
My grandmother was a herbalist and I've never quite understood the relationship with the chapel but she taught me early what plants to gather and what ailments they were good for. My pinny had many pockets always full of dried roots and flowers....
One day in the village there was no water. something had caused a blockage. Someone was sent down the well to find out  what it was. A man subsequently came up the rope ladder holding a massive rat!  No one drank the water without boiling it for quite a while after that.
They spoke Welsh and I  am told that I spoke it too but I can't remember.  My mother came to get me towards the end of the war.
We were catching a train from Swansea back to Lancashire and the night we were going for the train there was an air raid. Swansea was burning. The local American airforce base sent us a jeep to get us to the station. I sat on the knee of a huge black man whilst we drove through Swansea alight. Great flames licked up the walls and there was a strange noise of  air being pushed through buildings at force.
When we got on the train to take us back to what my mother referred to as home I left my first village for ever...I have been back once as an adult.....it was not  as I remembered it.

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely evocative picture of that unique period.
    You really should seriously consider writing a book.
    I too spent a very small amount of time, less than a year with my paternal grandparents in Penarth at the outbreak of the war. My two eldest brothers were with the maternal grandparents in Rhiwbina Cardiff.
    All, like the Gower, lovely places in their own way.