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Page Down Section Navigation Dedication to mum
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So the time had come for me to venture forth to the ' big ' school, Builth Wells Primary. O! the look on poor Juno's face that first morning, even after all these years I remember it well. He stood there, his tail wagging as the car collected me at the gate at the top of the valley. Then once inside I saw the forlorn look, as I told him to "stay". It may have been the first time I had ever done it, I don't remember. But I do remember him slouching down onto his all fours, I still don't know who was hurt the most.

Yes before you ask, he was there, when at about at 5.30 pm I arrived back. Out of the bracken he came, jumping up and down on me to lick my face. The same act he was to perform on my homecoming from school right up until his latter years, when as an old dog he was not able to run and jump.. Then he used to put his muzzle in my hand and give it a gently lick. I remember his cold wet nose so well.

Then came that final day, the day when Juno passed away. We had started off up the valley side as usual that morning, but he kept sitting down and looking up at me, as though he was etching the details of my face in his mind. Knowing this was totally out of character I returned home, Mum began to scold me until she saw the look of worry in my eyes. I asked her if I could bring Juno in. He had never stayed in doors, he had always preferred to stay in his box among the hay in the barn. Having got his box and put it up against the warm boiler in the back kitchen, I set off for the cowshed to get some warm milk from the bucket that Dad was using to milk the cows. When I got back, Mum was outside crying. I knew instinctively that Juno had closed his eyes for the last time.

Yes throughout my life I have remembered and I have no hesitation in saying I always will, the day Juno died. Remain in peace my faithful companion, for you earned the right of it O so well.

Feeding Chickens Just messing about with a pick My swimming pool on the river behind me
Breakfast time for the chickens. well it was supposed to be Just messing about My favorite pool on the river, just fifty yards from the back door,

Three miles by car it was down the valley to the bus. Three miles of torture, for you had to have springs in your bum as well as the car on that road. No seat belts in those days. I used to bounce up and down and go from side to side on the back seat, just like a jack in the box. Still they put Tarmac on it before I finished going to school, then I used a push bike to go up and down.

After the car it was twelve miles by coach, looked after by ' Ann Erwood Hall ' who had promised the family she would keep an eye out for me. How old was Ann, just a couple of years older than me. The mothering instincts of women I suppose, she soon gave up on me though ha ha.

Me. The start of the adventure through life.

Me waiting for the school car. Note the road, none of your tarmac highway. Pure stone, built for the three miles down the mountainside by the ' Stone gang ' and a 50 ton steam roller. Later the road was extended to serve other small farms which were dotted about in the valley. Note as well the old oak tree, it still stands, well it did when I last went back in March 2002. Sadly the old barn and sheds have gone, the result of progress I suppose, they probably became uneconomical to maintain.

So it was that, at Eleven years of age, I left the Primary school and crossed the road to Builth Wells Grammar. On doing so it was for me, the beginning of my journey through my teens. Cricket, football and sport I loved. Also it was the start of my love for history, taught to me by Harry Bicknell. All teachers then as do the ones today, have my respect, but non can match that which I had for Harry. Brilliant guy.

Then came the many many days of seeing the world, thanks to the armed forces. All of which has left me able to recall some fantastic memories, now that I lead a more subdued and peaceful life. However, non of the memories from those days compare with those that I have of those early days in 'my valley'.

Days, when the smell of Mum's fresh bread wafted through an open window, when a cock pheasant's alarm call would reverberate off the valley sides. Days like those when Juno and I fought with Custer and the 7th Calvary, with Montgomery in Europe and McAthur in the far east. Days when we fought with those legends at the Alamo and Juno got out and brought relief by means of the army. [ He didn't really - usually he had had enough messing about after an hour or so and went home to the farm for something to eat ].

Days when the fish seemed to commit suicide on the bent safety pin on the end of my line. Then there were the days when, in my little pool, I swam and won for Wales. Pulled on a Welsh rugby shirt in the orchard and played my heart out to win, [ Yes! you always won in those days when you competed for Wales ].

Days when muggings, shootings, killing of little children were unheard of. Days of glorious sunshine, when my faithful companion and I roamed the countryside with its fantastic colours and sounds. Thank you God for letting me be Welsh and thank you again for letting me grow up in 'YOUR' own special country --- Wales.

Once again Thank You for visiting my website dear visitor.
May your road through life be a happy one, and the journey of it long.
Hwyl [ Cheers ] from me Ole R.D.
--- The Red Dragon of Wales
Graphics by Ole R.D. Copyright © 1999-2002 / All Rights Reserved
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