Monday, 23 March 2015

Old Ladies At The Window

We bought the cottage back in 2005.
There was a great deal to do, to make it look like a period property as the previous owners had put in laminate floors and had pulled out the living room caninets, fire surround and bannisters, so we lived in another cottage in Meliden until the work could be finished.
Almost daily,I would come up to Trelawnyd to paint and to supervise our joiner, who was notoriously slow ( but good) at his work and I remember one afternoon as I was painting our bedroom ceiling, hearing a noise by the front door.
I walked half way down the stairs  and looked over the banister and saw two old ladies peeping through the living room window.
I didn't disturb them but watched with interest as they pointed at various points of interest around the room and I only darted down the stairs and out through the back door when they ambled off back towards the village.
By the garden wall , I introduced myself, and there was much nodding smiling and slightly embarrassed Welsh hellos. The ladies, I was told, were lifelong friends Gwyneth Jones and Olwena Hughes and that in around 1930 Olwena had been taught the piano in our cottage front room!
I found out much later that the village gossips had been working overtime and that everyone knew tgat a doctor and a nurse ( both men!) were moving into the cottage. I was also told  that locals like Mrs Jones and Olwena had often popped down to see what we had done with the place.
Over the years, like most of the Grey hairs from the village, Gwyneth and Olwena became a regular backdrop to our lives here. On our very first open day they very slowly led the small line of villagers who walked down the lane to support the event. A scene that had me misty eyed, in it's pure cinematic impact.
Their arrival reenforced our acceptance into the community.
A few years ago Mrs Jones sadly died of a stroke and Olwena's health deteriorated to such an extent that she gave up her bungalow on Bron Haul to live in a nursing home towards the coast. It was here that she in turn died only a week or so ago.
Today is her funeral and I shall be going to pay my respects . I've cleaned the church in readiness and brought in some miniature daffodils to cheer the place up a bit , flowers which I suddenly realised had to be removed to the vestry as there is a " no flowers" rule in Church before Easter
I'll leave you with this small video of the pair of old friends, which I took several years ago now.
I had been asked by a blog follower to post a video with a couple of villagers talking welsh on it, so who better than Olwena and Mrs Jones.
I asked them to chat about a belly dancer , that had been asked to perform at the Friendship group meeting the previous Thursday but the pair  decided to chat about something much more interesting ( the story of how another local man had experienced a bad fall at home)
It's a very Welsh thing talking about a misfortune



61 comments:

  1. No flowers before Easter? Why? Everyone should have flowers at their funeral, even if it's just a small bundle of daffodils.

    You write so beautifully about the villagers of Trelawnyd. What a nice tribute to the departed.

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    1. Its something to dowith lent i seem to remember.........

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  2. How sweet. A wonderful remembrance.

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  3. Lovely tribute to the two ladies John. yes why the no flowers before Easter rule ?

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    1. Is it to do with lent?

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    2. I don't know !

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    3. It is indeed to do with Lent. Although I would be surprised if flowers were not permitted to attend a coffin.

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    4. It was a service after the crem...... There was one set of flowers from the coffin, these were laid at the altar

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    5. When my mother was buried, my aunt (who is churchwarden) told us there would be no flowers in the church because of Lent, apart from the family flowers on the coffin. I was therefore somewhat surprised when we went to my parents' friend's funeral a week or so later in a church only five miles away with one of the same rectors leading the service and the whole church was beautifully decorated with spring flowers and foliage plus six enormous fluttering butterflies! I put it down to the presence of copious members of the WI, who also led the singing of Jerusalem. Another packed church and another generation passed away.

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  4. How lovely these ladies are, John!
    Reminds me of a couple of local ladies/actors:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MES_fJSOp7U

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    1. They wore the same booties

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  5. Seems to me they could make an exception for a funeral...ah well.....best to follow protocol. I'm sorry you've lost a dear friend.

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  6. A wonderful film. I couldn't understand a word but I could tell they were speaking about a serious matter.

    Thanks for honoring a fine pair of ladies.

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  7. I like how they laugh at the end of the video. A nice tribute to old friends.

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    1. They were big gigglers debra

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    2. My husband is half Welsh, but doesn't speak it.
      It was nice hearing your voice at the end. It reminds me of my departed in-laws.

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  8. This is a very tender post.

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  9. I don't know why this made me cry but it did.
    XO
    WWW

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  10. I'm sorry for the loss of your friend. You come from a quaint little village it seems.

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  11. Who was that funny bloke at the end? As if we didn't know!

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    1. Could you show it at the funeral?

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    2. Funny bloke indeed.....I'm not the one weating a funny little hat that looks like a mushroom!x

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  12. How charming ~ the laughing at the end sums it all up ~ what lovely ladies.

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  13. How quaint the two old ladies are.(I couldn't understand one word until you spoke at the end!) I do hope you can show this at the funeral. Relating another's misfortune is also a great South African pastime. My 86 yo MIL thrives on telling us tales of disaster from the Old Age center where she lives. As an ex-Anglican organist, I know that there should be no flowers (merrymaking) the gloria etc in the church before Holy Saturda, I think... xx

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  14. What perfect ladies they were! Do you understand Welsh, John?

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    1. I understand some ... Especially when it is spoken slowly

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  15. That — and they — are a treasure.

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  16. I remember you telling me of these two ladies when I first met you John, a sad time when such folk pass but the tale still raises a smile.

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  17. What a lovely post today.
    I couldn't understand a word they said but it doesn't matter. The fact they were there is all that matters. So charming.

    cheers, parsnip

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  18. What a marvellous vido John - it should be played at the funeral - it is golden.

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  19. What a lovely picture you painted of the ladies, though I didn't understand a word they said in the video.

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  20. That was fun to listen in on their conversation. I loved it best when they laughed at the end. That is a language that we all understand. RIP Olwena.

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  21. I loved the little nudge of the elbow and the laughter at the end - it doesn't matter how old we are if our hearts are young.

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  22. If Trelawnyd was the setting for "The Welsh Muppet Show" those ladies would surely be your Statler and Waldorf. May they rest in peace.

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  23. My darling Welsh nan always loved a tragedy, especially one involving a "Fallen Woman"! What they fell from, I was never quite sure as a kid hehe x

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  24. What a lovely community you found, settled into and nurtured. Thank you so much for sharing it.
    And how I love the musical lilt in that video. Don't understand a word of it, and love it just the same.

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  25. that got me all teary as well.....having not long lost my own lovely Nanna...but teary in a happy/sad way, if that makes any sense at all.

    what a lovely pair....and i can just imagine them peering in at your window so see what you were up to with your refurbishments. :)

    that's very sad about the flowers, though....:(

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    1. What a lovely comparison. One of the few times I am in completel agreement with you Yorkshire P.

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    2. What a lovely comparison. One of the few times I am in completel agreement with you Yorkshire P.

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  26. Sorry about the loss of your friend.

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  27. I don't blame the two old ladies, talking about a bloody belly dancer John, as if.

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  28. Giving up flowers for lent? How ridiculous. My mother had to walk up the aisle to silence because the church had given up music for lent. A church wedding without music - imagine.
    I have a set of tapes to help me learn Welsh. I haven't tried it yet.

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  29. Great video John, love hearing Welsh being spoken it is such a sing song language. Lovely oldies.... RIP.

    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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  30. Such a lovely clip of these lovely ladies xx

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  31. I remember the first time you posted that video and loved it both times.

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  32. I think I remember the video from before. How sad that you can't have flowers in the church before Easter.

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  33. the video reminds me of mrs. premise and mrs. conclusion (john cleese and graham chapman).

    the village ladies have gone on to bigger and better things.

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  34. You are so fortunate to be part of such a wonderful community. I don't know who lives next door.

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    1. I rather suspect, and indeed he has indicated before, that John tends to focus on the nice aspects and scarcely mentions the less nice, which I expect are in every village (and often very interesting too). We have two convicted murderers and one convicted paedophile (or will have again when he is released), a couple of drug dealers and various other known miscreants (oh, and me). The stock of the village shop was covered in blood from a knife fight not so long ago. There are some nice people too though... (although mostly not in the church). I am busy writing about my village, after which I may have to move out. Day to day though, our one generally seems like a peaceful country idyll, and surely could be presented as such, but I prefer complexity.

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    2. You are indeed right andrew ( as always)
      There are two reasons for this
      1. I dont want to be tsken to court
      2 why concentrate your attention on scummy bad people

      I have always preferred the company of people that generally have the ability to make me smile
      Life is too short for the other kind

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    3. There are few, if any, people who are all bad or all good, and opinions on where they fall on the spectrum vary widely. I find that very interesting. One person's saint can be another's sinner. But you are indeed right to be careful given you reveal your identity and location - indeed I often marvel at how much you say. Presenting fact as fiction can help.

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  35. you can write about me when i'm gone! you are always positive without being over the top.

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  36. Well, bless their hearts! Surely they are enjoying each other's company at the pearly gates. Welsh sounds very much like Gaelic to me but I know little. Thanks for the video!

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  37. Fascinating language. Thanks for sharing and sorry about your friend. They look like a hoot!!

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  38. Ah, you know they both met up and are now chatting about the Doctor's and Nurse's wedding... (((hugs!))) xoxox

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  39. What a lovely post. No doubt they will be happily catching up with all the latest news now the friends are reunited again. Lovely to hear them, and you speaking, I struggle to understand even place names when speaking to Welsh speakers, they go so fast.

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  40. Wonderful little film of the ladies speaking Welsh, I have learning to speak Cornish on my 'to do' list. It is very similar to Welsh I believe.

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  41. How gorgeous. Vale the earlier generation. We owe them a lot. Do I want to think that I am now the next generation. Hmmmm. Possible not.

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  42. You can see how close they were and much passion in the subject with the head movements. You have done them proud and a lovely tribute.

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  43. What a lovely thing for you to do and a lovely thing to hear. May they be having good ol times again in the afterlife.

    Your writings always make me long for the simple life in a village such as yours. Their is a happiness and coming together as neighbors that no longer exist in the US. I appreciate you letting me experience through you and your writings.

    Many blessings to you and Chris...

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