Monday, 28 May 2012

Moving On

Last year fifteen or so of the older members of the village community kindly contributed to Going Gently's sister blog  Voices From The Past
My objective in writing the new blog was to document some of the more interesting stories relating to village history before the significant proportion of native Trelawnyd-ites in their late 80s and 90s started to disappear, 

I found the whole process of research a fascinating and at times a rather humbling one, and  over last summer I made some unlikely friendships with a score of octogenarians who had some lovely stories to share.

This morning, as I was delivering some eggs out of the glare of another overly hot day, I walked past the pensioner bungalows in the centre of the village.
Outside one bungalow was piled up  several sticks of furniture. A bookcase, a couple of 1940's utility chairs, a sideboard, and as I stopped to look at them, I spied a neighbour who I know well.
"she's not coming back from the care home she's not quite well enough" the neighbour called a little sadly
"It's an end of an era" she added with a wave.
And I waved back nodding.
The tenant of the bungalow was a lady who had been born in the village 87 years ago.
Her name is Olwenna 
Olwenna had never left Trelawnyd until now, having lived, worked, loved and actively been a part of village life since she was born in a tiny cottage, which was one of three tiny dwellings along London Road 
I remember her delight in telling me the story of how she sang songs in the front room of our own cottage when she was a child, taught by Brenda Smith the coal merchant's daughter.
With a cackle, she remembered playing in "my" field with her schoolgirl friend Megan Hughes and  with pride she showed me a rare piece of arcadian china that was commissioned for sale in the village shop before 1920. The tiny vase had a transfer of the Memorial Hall on the front of it.
It was gleaming and polished on top of the fireplace

87 years in one place... it's a long time.

Here is a brief video of Olwenna ( on the left) chatting to Gwyneth Jones supposedly about the belly dancer who appeared at the village friendship group meeting.. ( in fact they were chatting about someone who had suffered a fall at home)


  1. like pheasants.... they seem a couple of game birds!!

  2. With them speaking in Welsh(?), I would have believed you that they were talking about a belly dancer.

    It is sad when old people pass on, or move on in this case. We attended our nextdoor neighbour's funeral last week - she was 86 - and it was only when the vicar briefly recounted her life that I realised how little I knew of her past.

  3. I always love the stories that they have. Some travel the world and have grand stories. Others stay at home and make history. History that makes our towns and villages what they are.

  4. when my cousin (well not sure which level she was 2nd I think) died a couple of years back that was the end of that side of the family having lived at the same address since the early 1920s. It was a different house, the old one was demolished and a new one built in the 30s, she lived there with a Mum then on her own for a peppercorn rent through to her death. Many unscrupulous property developers thought they'd get her out or increase the rent but every time someone else bought the place her solicitor would politely write and explain that they were screwed due to a "continuous occupation" clause the original developer put in to get them to allow him to knock the old cottage down and take their stables for the new buildings.

    She was a lovely woman - had a parrot that swore like mad "I don't know where he gets it from" she say then some politician would appear and she'd swear loudly... So funny. She had a book of poetry published just after the first world war - in those days printers would do small runs cheaply and I believe she funded it herself... and people think blogs and e-readers etc. is all new ;-)

  5. I used to just love the stories of the older folk, now that I'm older not many care to hear. We all leave a footprint somewhere and some stay on the minds of others for a long time.

    How wonderful to be worthy of remembrance. I'm sure she's sad she is moving away from her home.

  6. Everyone has a story. That generation, however, lived through such interesting and changing times, even if it was all done in one small town.

  7. I love that you have done this, documented their stories, made friends. So beautiful, John.

  8. When we lived in Wales, our near neighbours (the Evans's) had never really left the village either; other that to go about 20 miles away for their honeymoon!

  9. "What a pair." Bless.

  10. I'm getting up there and have much to tell but, alas, no one to hear, so I just remember and chuckle to myself. I remember and that seems to be all that really counts!!!!!

  11. How sad for Olwenna.

  12. Is that your voice at the end of the video? I love it when they both laugh. Were they surprised you were recording them?

  13. sparrow
    I recorded them for the blog ages ago cos some one wanted to hear conversational welsh spoken!
    yes thats me at the end...
    Chwarae Teg is "fair play" in welsh
    it really means well done

  14. I lost a cousin last week and that was the end of an era too John - life goes on and we all carry on. Maybe we feel it more than the people involved - I hope so anyway.

    Still look at those three terriers in the photograph and want them!

  15. How sad that she's unlikely to return to her homeplace.
    My son-in-law's gran had to go spend time in a re-hab after surgery, the thing that kept her going most was the goal to return to her little bungalow, and see her flowers in bloom.
    We tended her flowers until she could return, but sadly it wasn't for very long.
    I often think that people who are born and raised in the same place all of their life are rather lucky, never leaving bits of their life behind....
    Let's hope she has a happy life, in her new surroundings, she's such a love.

  16. What a gift you are giving to the village and the world in sharing their memories and history. Thank you.

  17. What a treasure of memories and experiences our elders have...and so will we when we reach their grand old age...good luck to her in her new residence, hope it isn't too stressful, although I suspect it is

  18. Anonymous4:37 pm

    and time passes whether we want it to or not...what a change to go from the village where you've lived all your life to a 'home'!

    love the ladies speaking (Welsh) in the video (and their laughter) that your voice at the end!

  19. What a charming video with the laughter at the end. I understood it all (when the two wonderful women weren't speaking)!

    You have done another very good thing!

  20. Anonymous4:53 pm

    Merle (a really nice older lady, unlike me who's older but not always nice) lives in Australia and blogs once a week on Sunday...she always has a ready supply of jokes that her friends send her...I thought you might enjoy some of them!

  21. I think if I'd lived in the same place for 87 years I wouldn't really believe the rest of the world existed. I'd think it was an invention, kept going by all those crafty journalists.

  22. I'm so glad you treasure these old birds John. What stories they tell with such humour.

  23. This is a lovely post. I think it's great the documentary that you're doing John. Bless these old folk. I hope she is well looked after in the care home.

  24. Molly
    my next door neighbour and I will be going to see her next week

  25. A universal situation when the 'elders' get together. The great thing about this is that you, John, recorded an important moment for posterity.


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