How Did We Survive?

My mum used to cut chicken, chop eggs and spread butter on bread on the same cutting board with the same knife and no bleach, but we didn’t seem to get food poisoning.

Our school sandwiches were wrapped in wax paper in a brown paper bag, not in ice pack coolers, but I can’t remember getting e. Coli.

Almost all of us would have rather gone swimming in the lake or at the beach instead of a pristine pool (talk about boring), no beach closures then.

We all took Phys Ed ….. And risked permanent injury with a pair of plimsolls instead of having cross-training athletic shoes with air cushion soles and built in light reflectors that cost as much as a small car. I can’t recall any injuries but they must have happened because they tell us how much safer we are now.

We got the strap for doing something wrong at school, they used to call it discipline, yet we all grew up to accept the rules and to honour and respect those older than us. We had 40 kids in our class and we all learned to read and write, do maths and spell almost all the words needed to write a grammatically correct letter.

Staying in detention after school caught all sorts of negative attention we wish we hadn’t got.

I thought that I was supposed to accomplish something before I was allowed to be proud of myself. I just can’t recall how bored we were without computers, Play Station, Nintendo, X-box or Netflix. We weren’t!!

Oh yeah … And where was the antibiotics and sterilization kit when I got that bee sting? I could have been killed!
We played “King of the Hill” on piles of gravel left on vacant building sites and when we got hurt, mum pulled out the bottle of iodine and then we got our backside spanked. Now it’s a trip to the emergency room, followed by a 10 day dose of antibiotics and then mum calls the lawyer to sue the contractor for leaving a horribly vicious pile of gravel where it was such a threat.

To top it off, not a single person I knew had ever been told that they were from a dysfunctional family. How could we possibly have known that?

We never needed to get into group therapy and/or anger management classes. We were obviously so duped by so many societal ills, that we didn’t even notice that the entire country wasn’t taking Prozac!

How did we ever survive?


Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Remember Bath Nights?

When we were kids, our bath was very similar to this one. I had 4 sisters – all older than me – and a younger bro. The bath was kept in the garden, and would be carried into our ‘front’ room, placed in front of the coal fire, and some kettles boiled for the hot water.

Bilbow and I would have to go and sit in the back room – cold, and with no lights – whilst the girls were bathing. We would then have our turn, with the girls interested spectators. We never really understood why the girls could stay whilst we bathed, but not t’other way round! Now, of course, we know that ‘Mother knew best!’


During bathtime, we would be listening to Dick Barton, Special Agent, and his sidekick Snowy, on the radio, or perhaps Radio Luxembourg signals drifting in and out!

Gosh! I still remember the stink of the girls ‘Toni’ perm lotion!  Stank the house out. Bilbow and I, after our baths, would have the pleasure of having a boiling-hot kaolin poultice applied to wherever on our poor bodies it was needed. Do you remember the smell of the kaolin poultice? Very specific. Actually, I liked the smell. Not so the ‘application’! We would yell the house down!

Very nice of the Germans that they never bombed us during bathtimes!

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments


Barbara says that she has never heard of P.C.49! How very dare she!

Created specifically for radio by Alan Stranks, PC 49 (Police Constable Archibald Berkeley-Willoughby) was an ordinary bobby on the beat, solving crime in the late 40s and early 50s. He worked for ‘Q’ Division of the Metropolitan Police.

The series featured Brian Reece as PC 49, Joy Shelton as his girlfriend Joan Carr (see picture above), Leslie Perrins as Detective Inspector Wilson and Eric Phillips as Detective Sergeant Wright. The producer was Vernon Harris.

A combination of light comedy and sleuthing in a character who also appeared in comic strips and films as spin-offs. The series began in 1947 and lasted until 1953. 112 episodes were made but only two are known to have survived in the BBC Archives.

Categories: Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Most Disliked Person!


I recently came across this photograph – and immediately had very bad vibes! Why? Well, because this is Mr. McGibbon, my old maths master in Dynevor School.

He was a right nasty piece of work! Today, he would have been hauled before a court for what he did to me one day. I’ll tell you what happened.

It was near the end of term, and he was going over our test papers – which had been completed, marked, and given back to us. Now, I have to admit that a). I was not very good at algebra; b). Had not done at all well in the test, and c). I seldom completed the set homework. So, all-in-all, he didn’t like me.

Anyway, as was customary at the end of term, the teachers allowed us to do some ‘reading’ instead of having lessons, and so it was that day. One or two of the lads asked him about one of the questions on the test paper and he began explaining it to them. I, and the rest of the class, carried on reading. Well! He must have literally crept up behind me and, with all his force, smashed the back of my head with his flat hand. This knocked my head forward onto the desktop, and I was ‘knocked out’!

Without a single word, he went back to his desk and carried on as though nothing had happened. My macho pride would not allow me to show how hurt I was, and, totally stunned, I sat through the remainder of the lesson.

Needless to say, when he left the room, all the boys came over to see if I was alright, and that was the end of that. Except that, ever since, I have been hoping that one day, our paths would again cross!!!!! Too late now, of course, as that happened in 1954, but the photograph did bring things back to me!


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Death of ‘The Tiv’!


The Tivoli Cinema

When I was a lad, Saturday evenings were strictly reserved for ‘the flicks’! Our cinema was The Tivoli in Mumbles. At one time, they started showing films on Saturday mornings, for the younger generation, and these would invariably be Tarzan, The Lone Ranger, Lassie, et al., but the evening show was for us ‘men’!

It was 6d (six pence) to sit towards the front, and 9d further back. Some of us had to sit at the front as we couldn’t afford 9d and, well, you were only allowed to join the 9d-ers if you had a girl friend to cuddle up to. They looked down on us, of course! I honestly think that, not ever qualifying for the 9d-ers, gave me a lifelong inferiority complex!

The whole experience was, of course, much more than simply ‘going to the flicks’! Much of the time we spent baiting Alfie Lee! Alfie was the middle-aged attendant. Resplendent in his maroon uniform, with yellow stripe down his trousers, and thick, thick National Health Service spectacles! Alfie was armed with a torch that threw a spotlight wherever in the crowd he thought was becoming raucous – usually us, it has to be said. Alfie would die every time that there was a Walt Disney cartoon film. This was because, when the credits came to the line, ‘Produced by Alf Quimby’, the entire cinema would stare at Alf and bellow in absolute unison, “Good old Alfie!” He would race up and down the aisle shining his torch everywhere, red in the face. Well, he couldn’t throw us all out, now could he?

Another of our tricks was to gain entrance to the cinema, then, when Alfie was not around, go the the ‘Gents’ toilet. This was, needless to say, out of sight of the audience, and happened to be adjacent to the fire doors! These we would quietly open, and let our mates in. Unfortunately, Alfie quickly sussed this out, which meant that, thereafter, there was not much traffic into the Gents!

All good things must come to an end, and so did television kill off the local cinema. It became an Amusement Arcade! Hmmphhhh.

SWANSEA /  Friday 12th September 2014 Tivoli Arcade MumblesTomorrow, Sunday, 13th September 2014, the Tiv closes it’s doors for the very last time. It is part of the re-development plan for the area, and will become yet another supermarket – the Co-Op. Although I am very much in favour of the (ANY) re-development plan for our village, I must confess to a little sadness as yet another part of my wonderful childhood passes into oblivion. Indeed, the words spoken by a very local man, Grafton Maggs, puts it thus:-

The Mumbles Cinemas have long gone and as a result, the village lost a precious common meeting ground. Television took that away but sadly the expectancy of a family-evening-at home culture was not fulfilled, on the contrary, in the profligacy of the times a house full of electronic entertainment broke down the integrity of the family unit as never before.

The “Old” and the “New” were not just places of shallow entertainment and their influence was not limited by the physical boundaries of their halls, they were an integral part of Mumbles life, where we regularly bonded as a community.

I doubt we shall ever have anything like of it again.     

Well said, Grafton.

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Mumbles Train – Now and Then!

I travelled back and forth to school on the Mumbles train from 1949 – 1954. This video shows how things have changed since!

Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Bin Men

Further to my post on our old and wonderful binmen, I have just come across a pic of an old lorry that they used to use.


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Yes! I DO Remember!

I remember the cheese of my childhood,
And the bread that we cut with a knife,
When the children helped with the housework,
And the men went to work not the wife..

The cheese never needed a fridge,
And the bread was so crusty and hot,
The children were seldom unhappy
And the wife was content with her lot.

I remember the milk from the bottle,
With the yummy cream on the top,
Our dinner came hot from the oven,
And not from the fridge; in the shop.

The kids were a lot more contented,
They didn’t need money for kicks,
Just a game with their mates in the road,
And sometimes the Saturday flicks.

I remember the shop on the corner,
Where a pen’orth of sweets was sold
Do you think I’m a bit too nostalgic?
Or is it….I’m just getting old?

I remember the ‘loo’ was the lav,
And the bogy man came in the night,
It wasn’t the least bit funny
Going “out back” with no light.

The interesting items we perused,
From the newspapers cut into squares,
And hung on a peg in the loo,
It took little to keep us amused.

The clothes were boiled in the copper,
With plenty of rich foamy suds
But the ironing seemed never ending
As Mum pressed everyone’s ‘duds’.

I remember the slap on my backside,
And the taste of soap if I swore
Anorexia and diets weren’t heard of
And we hadn’t much choice what we wore.

Do you think that bruised our ego?
Or our initiative was destroyed?
We ate what was put on the table
And I think life was better enjoyed.

Categories: Uncategorized | 1 Comment


Categories: Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Eldest Sister Dies


1930 – 2014

At 7.30am on Wednesday, 5th March, my eldest sister, Jeanne, passed away. Jeanne, being the eldest of 6 children, looked after us whilst our Mum had to go out to work, especially during the war years when things were very tough. Naturally, we were always hungry and my lasting memory is of Jeanne frying a slice of bread in dried egg powder, then cutting it up to share amongst us! And I shall never forget her buying a Mars bar, then proceeding to cut it up into 6 pieces to share. Kindness personified.

God Bless, Jeanne.

Categories: Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: