Early Life Part 2

Again this was how My Dad wrote it

As I have said times were very hard and food was rationed and to supplement this most people grew a lot of there own food in their garden's, in reply to the Government posters of the day Dig For Victory, and we were no exception.
My father grew many things but the bulk of his crop was potatoes because our family was made up of Mam, Dad, three sisters, myself, and two brothers of which one was in the Forces fighting the war, the other was only a baby he was born in 1944 .
My father was unfit to go into the forces due to a club foot so he at the time worked at the bomb factory at Rhydymwyn just outside Mold .
His father, my grandfather, lived about five hundred yards from us in Alexander Road.  He used  to be the blacksmith at the Gasworks in Gas lane Mold, this again was about five hundred Yards  from us in the opposite direction, At the back of grandfather's house grandfather had a large pigeon loft housing dozens of pigeons and I  remember on the odd occasion having roast pigeon as meat in our meal.
Another item of course was wild rabbit ,which someone in the locality would capture with a snare or with a ferret and nets and would charge as little as six pence old money (two and a half pence in today's value 2001 ) and this would make a huge pan of stew, enough to feed the whole family.
Another type of stew my Mother made she called JOT, this was made with bacon scraps, potatoes cut like today's crisps only thicker and an onion, not much in the way of taste but very filling and welcome in the winter. One other favorite which I greatly enjoyed for supper was a basin of Bread and Milk. Which again was very filling .
A further item Mother used to make was called Wartime cake, was made without any fat or butter this of course tasted great, and  I must also mention the Bread pudding made in a large roasting tin even a small piece of this made you feel very full and bloated, wonderful,
We also had what today would be regarded a strange way of making food ( strange by the standards of today that is ) and it is impossible to think of housewives of today preparing an ox tongue. Mam, when we were lucky would purchase a large ox tongue this was boiled in a large saucepan for hours on end mostly on a side iron on a coal fire until it was very tender it was then placed in a large pot dish, the boiling juice with a small amount of gelatin added was poured in just to barely cover the tongue and a plate was then rested on the top to press the tongue, On this plate was placed some weight, in our house this was always two house bricks which were scrubbed for this purpose and behold a day or so later Mam would turn out this tongue onto a plate for slicing ready for a meal in fact a couple of meal's ( Wonderful stuff ) today tongue is only seen in a plastic wrapper in a supermarket .. A similar thing was done with a Pigs head this again was boiled for hours and when tender the flesh was stripped, finely chopped and again pressed as a tongue but this was then your home made brawn. Again only made today for some butcher's and supermarkets. But to me one of the strangest things and even now I have difficulty getting my head around it with all the disease in the world was another way of obtaining a good meal... In those days the late 1940's  it was quite common for a sheep's head to be purchased from the butcher this again was placed whole ( including the brain's ) in a large pan and boiled until tender, the skull removed leaving the small amount of flesh and brains in the pan to which potatoes and vegetables were added to make Sheep's head broth again in those days a wonderful meal I might add that I can't recall seeing the sheep's eyes... I think the butcher removed them. All in all we were well fed but because of rationing you could not go and help yourself to food in the pantry in fact the pantry was almost out of bounds.   Each person of the family had a ration of a few ounces of butter, a few ounces of cheese, a few ounces of sugar e.t.c.for each week So you could not go and say get a ""cheese butty" or an extra spoon of sugar in your tea because you would be taking your sister's or brother's ration. This meant that in our house that mam had to dole out all food at the table and I would say that she was very good at putting the butter on the bread but even better at wiping it off again but in our house this meant that we all had our fair share.

I will leave that there now

I used to love hearing stories from Both Grandma's and My Parents and often thought what it would be like  I'm vegetarian and one thing I am glad about was not being around and having to eat some of the things they had to eat

Early Life

As briefly mentioned in my previous post Dad wrote a book called "My Early Life" He never tried to get it published even though he kept saying he would have liked to try - the nearest was snippets on the BBC Wales Website a few years ago.
It was about what it was like growing up as a child during the War years (2nd W.W.) along with some memories of other things he got up to.
His Brother John did the sketches in it, most of the information and places are local to us here in North East Wales which if you take the time to read this blog many of you won't recognise but I hope you will still enjoy it, who knows you may recognise a name a street or something.
I will write it here just as Dad wrote it.

This is my recollection of my early childhood I was born in Bromfield Park in Mold on the 8th May 1940 just after the start of the second world war, so to start life for parents must have been very hard indeed with the austere conditions of the day.
Food and Clothing were rationed and to a child of that time the most important thing was rationed - sweets! but more about them later.
As far as I can recall I must have memories from when I was about 3 years old, The house we lived in was on a bit of a hill we had a clear view of the skies over towards the direction of Liverpool.
I was taken out of the house on more than one occasion to see "the lights" these were the beams of searchlights up in the sky 
"Do you think our guns will "Gerrum" Dad"
These of course were looking for German aircraft who were bombing the cities and docks. Again as I recall being taken by my father to the recreation ground in Mold to see 2 searchlights and their crews. This was in daylight and maybe they were practising I do not know. I also remember we had a small Anderson Air Raid Shelter underground in our back garden to which we were to retire to in an air raid and I have vague recollections of being in this shelter I certainly remember playing in it when I was four of five.  I shall say at this point I also remember that just after the war  MY Father and others dug it up and a man whose garden backed on to ours  who I called Uncle Alf took this shelter to be his coal shed and I know it was there at his house for 30 years after - I often wonder  if it is still there today.
But having dug it up there was a large hole to fill in our garden and all sorts of rubble and rubbish was put in this to fill it including a small battered red pedal car which I cherished. I can remember to this day I shed buckets of tears as I watched it disappear under the rubble and soil. I could not take my eyes off it and crried and cried until it was out of sight.

Another memory was of lowering the paper blackouts on the windows of our house at night These were made of a stiffish black or dark grey paper with a piece of wood running along the top and bottom. These were lowered at dusk and pinned at the sides with drawing pins so that when the lights were put on in the house not a glimmer of light would be seen from outside.  It was said that aircraft could see a chink of light from a great height and of course this was what they were looking for and in those days navigation was not as good as these days and by dead reckoning by the stars and in daylight, by ground maps, and flying from Germany looking for Liverpool they could be as much as 30 miles out.
I remember listening to the wireless for news I of course was very young and just happened to be there but at this young age I can remember the droning voice of Lord Haw Haw  he always started by saying - This is Germany calling  Germany calling - then would go on to say how Britain was losing the war  and suffering great losses. Also on the radio were programmes put out to assist the war effort I don't remember much about these I can recall one was called Workers Playtime which was put out to keep up morale of the factory workers by playing lively music one or two comedians and interviews with workers. We listened to all news programmes but as a child they didnt mean much to me,  but on a Sunday night it was a must to listen to the Palm Court Orchestral Concert.which was listened to without fail, I in my early years preferred Dick Barton Special Agent and his 2 sidekicks Snowy and Jock.

I shall leave this here for now - As I said times were hard and food rationed - more to follow soon

A little bit about Mervyn

I thought for my first posting on here I would tell you a bit about Mervyn
He was a devoted man to his family and friends,  His wife Beryl, Children Janet, Stephen and Alison, and Grandchildren Simon and Megan.
During his working life he was a well respected member of the workforce at a local cement works there he progressed to Senior Production Manager but had to take early retirement due to a heart attack  followed by  triple heart bypass surgery.

During his career one of his great pastimes was the restoration of Blodwen, Blodwen was a steam roller which I will tell you about sometime later in this Blog. It was a very proud day when Dad and those who helped him were finally able to "Steam up" and Blodwen rolled out in all her glory

Throughout his life Mervyn came into contact with people from all walks of life but he treated everyone the same.
He was a keen fisherman, enjoyed gardening and staying with Mum at their Caravan at a beautiful quiet campsite in Mid Wales where they met some lovely people who became very good friends of theirs.

My Dad was very passionate about Local History and was a valued member of the Local Historical Society which he enjoyed immensely and contributed valuable information.
He also compiled a book called "My Early Life" this was about his life growing up during the second world war. Snippets of this were put on the BBC Wales Website  a few years ago called "Mervyns Memoirs"  they still remain there today along with other memories of his.
He also too part in a BBC Wales TV Programme about Childhood Memories of growing up in Wartime Wales.

Mervyn was also a very determined man who would speak his mind quite openly (vex or please)  if he believed in what was right for people He was very keen to help anyone in any way he could If you ever had a problem he was always there as a friend or Dad, He was always the one to ask, 9 times out of 10 he had the answer /solution, if on the odd occasion he didn't know he went to great lengths to find out for you.

My Dad lost his very short battle with Cancer in September 2009 aged 69.
From becoming ill,  then being diagnosed, and losing his life to the illness was only 3 short weeks so you can imagine what a shock it was to all who knew him especially us - his family.
It was the biggest shock for my Mum who sadly passed away only 4 months after Dad this January 2010 she too was only 69 years old
They married when they were both only 19 and had celebrated their Golden Wedding Anniversary in July 2009

Mervyn was a unique character who left a lasting impression on all he knew and whom he came into contact with and is greatly missed by everyone