A birthday memorial


I’ve been aiming  to get some material together to post here early each week, a chance to write something a bit more rounded than a family tree data record or the abbreviated voluntary sector news I produce. Today is 1st February, the 81st anniversary of Mum’s birth and the first one since she died. So I can hardly do better than include a little from her ‘Recollections and reflections’, written a few years ago.

I was born somewhere in the district of Neath Abbey near the town of Neath in Glamorganshire, South Wales in the early hours of February First 1930. ……  The first home I remember was Cae Hir, Church Village near Pontypridd. This was a bungalow on the main road with fields on the other three sides. Our nearest neighbour was about thirty yards away on one side and, about double that, on the other was a Garage that sold petrol and did car maintenance; behind us stretched fields and some woodland through which ran a stream.

Norma Watkins age 6 months

The bungalow was quite small: two bedrooms, two reception rooms and bathroom plus scullery ……. The living room had a kitchen range with an open fire and back boiler on which meals were cooked and water heated. If there was a separate kitchen in this house, I certainly can’t remember it: meals were prepared on the white wooden topped table in this room. But we did have a separate bathroom with a modern white enamelled bath!  There was a scullery, where the weekly wash and washing up after meals were done, near the back door. Outside this was a sort of conservatory or lean-to, where I remember the pram and probably the mangle were kept.

……

There were the usual few shops in the village: butcher, baker newsagent etc., but once a week Mum used to shop in Pontypridd and as I was under school age I accompanied her. The bus passed our front gate, so it was easy to hail it to stop: I enjoyed these adventures into town; I wonder whether my mother did?

It is difficult to decide what are appropriate extracts given that this was written basically for family interest (and Mum’s own satisfaction). But the bare bones above do show a little of the basic living conditions of her childhood and highlight some of the changes she saw over her 80 years.

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