The Chef at Brynfield Hotel
One of my newspaper rounds was; down Brynfield Road and then up Marytwill Lane. In those days – late ’40s and early ’50s, the last house in Brynfield Road on the right was Brynfield Hotel.
After delivering their paper, I then had a long trek up a rough road to a house situated on the very top. It was called ‘White Horses’ after the choppy sea which could be seen from the house. Mr. and Mrs. Burgess lived there. He owned the Swansea based Burgess Shipping Line.
In winter, it was a dreadful place to have to visit. Thoroughly exposed to the wild elements which seemed to come in off Langland Bay. All the time, in the distance, I could hear the haunting toll of the Mixen Ball, warning ships of the sandbanks at the entrance to Swansea Straits. Sometimes, after delivering the paper, I would creep around the rear of the house so that I could climb through the hedge into the grounds of the Glyn Vivian Home of Rest for The Blind. O.K., The Blind Home!! I would then have to find my way across their vast gardens, to where I delivered their paper. This was quite perilous as they had a mad goat tethered somewhere in the garden! Thank God it was tethered. I swear that it spent it’s entire day, just waiting for me! It would charge – as far as it’s chain would allow it. I would run for hell! Anyway, I digress!
As in most cases of it’s type, the Brynfield Hotel expected me to deliver the papers not to the front door, but to the servants’ entrance at the rear, and the kitchen must have been near to that door! Because sometimes the elderly chef would meet me at the door. He was a big man – at least, he towered over me!!! – and was always immaculately dressed in his chef’s hat and full uniform. And, invariably, he would be holding a slice of tart, which he would offer me. You must remember that we were bloody hungry in those days and it was like manna from heaven. He would say, “Do you know what this is?” “Apple Tart.” “No, no, no. Apple Charlotte!”
And so, some 65-odd years later, I know what Apple Charlotte is, and – I remember the Chef at Brynfield Hotel, for his kindness to a scruffy little erk!