still stands today, high in the mountains on a tributary of the
river Wye, the little farmhouse that was once home for me. Sadly,
those that made it such a warm and loving place, have long gone
to a more peaceful place.
Did I honestly say warm? it was the coldest damn place on earth
haha. No electric, no running water, no sanitation as one knows
today, spooky winds and creaking doors. No road to it, just an old
grass cart track. I used to bath in an old galvanized tub in the
back kitchen, with water drawn from the river and heated by a giant
wood burning boiler.
lamps, a huge open fire in the kitchen, a 'palour' used for Sundays,
Xmas and 'Special Occasions'. A gigantic 'dairy' where portions
of pig, having been butchered, where laid out on a huge slate slab
and covered with salt. A place where I used to have to turn the
handle of the churn, for mother to make butter. Then there was our
'entertainment' the crystal powered radio. I wonder do any of you
remember the children's programme ' Journey into Space ' my favorite
programme. Who would have thought it would have come true.
what seemed a lifetime, I enjoyed the freedom that was given to
me to do all the things I have mentioned above. Then one Sunday
as we sat down for dinner disaster struck, the word ' School' was
said for the first time. I screamed, banged my fists and declared
that this here kiddo was not going to any darn school, what happened
when the following September came? you got it, School.
morning at 7.00 am sharp accompanied by Juno, O yes! he came too,
he never learnt anything but he never missed a day, we would set
off on the three mile hike up the valley to Mr. White's school.
Yes I know it was a long way for a little boy to walk, but you never
thought about it. Anyway all us country kids done it.
the way Juno and I chased rabbits, looked for where pheasants had
perched for the night.Yes! I knew every track through the woods,
every rabbit run, where every badger set was. The different birds
nests I knew of is far to long to list here. Education! I had the
finest education in nature that anyone could have wished for, who
needed schools. Finally, sometimes late, I used to arrive at school
looking like the biggest ragamuffin you ever did see. But what a
time Juno and I had had.
school with a glum face, while Juno went off to lie under the Oak
trees over the other side of the playground, that was until dinner
time. Then as soon as the bell rang he would bound over the playground
wall, chase his tail and bark outside the classroom door until I
went out and shared my sandwiches with him. Fussy devil he was too,
so much so that it wasn't long before Mum had to pack him his own.
Who carried them ?..... me ole Joe muggins, but then he was worth
the Winter at about 2.30 in the afternoon, Mr. White would send
me home, "so that your home before dark boy" was his words
when he told me to go. Little did the poor man know that Juno and
I would spend the next several hours checking my nets for trapped
rabbits before getting home. Yes they were the days, not a care
in the world. I nearly always arrived home just after dark, but
with nearly always something for the pot. Mum used to say she could
always hear me coming home because of my whistling, the sound of
it would echo down the little valley. I often think now that I didn't
whistle then because I was happy and contented, but because I was
scared of the dark haha.
idilic life may have carried on all through my primary school years,
had not a disaster struck me after a couple of years. I came down
with something or other. Doctor advised that I shouldn't have to
walk all that way each day at such a young age.[ O ! how I wish
that man had been my M.O. in the services, he would have saved me
hundred's of miles. haha ]