Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Mrs Jones and Mrs Hughes

I know it seems as though Trelawnyd is populated by a whole army of nicknamed given characters from a Gerald Durrell novel but it was never always thus. A decade ago, before I ever knew of the existance of village Elder Islwyn, Big Mary & Gay Gordon, Gentleman farmer Ralph, Auntie Gladys, The Affable Despots, The Red Faced Welsh Farmer ( RFWF) and now the world famous Mrs Trellis, I knew no one.
This morning at 6 am, I was walking back home in The Prof's soggy slippers with the dogs when I realised the date.
It's the second of September today.
We got the keys to the cottage exactly a decade ago.
It was, as I recall a weekday afternoon. Chris as usual was at work and I had driven up from our other cottage in Meliden to the village. It was cold but sunny.
The cottage was a shell then. It had cold laminate floors in the living room and bare badly painted walls and typical of an ancient property with 18 inch walls it felt cold and slightly damp without being aired.
I busied myself with list making and cleaning.

We only had two dogs then. A spoilt lovable Welsh terrier called Finlay and a bad tempered Scottie bitch called Maddie. Both dogs sat on the bedroom window seat in the sun, looking out over the field, I was to rent a few years later.
I wondered if we had done the right thing.
We knew no one in the village, I was still getting used to the fact I was a junior nurse again in a small district general hospital and I suddenly missed not running my own Ward  with a group of people I knew and respected. Sheffield was a city filed with friendly faces and friends.
It all seemed rather daunting.
I was washing paintwork down in the bedroom, preparing it for painting when I heard the front gate open. Both dogs were looking down at something through the window and I heard the faint chatter of voices. sing song voices in Welsh.
Now it was neigh on 25 years since I learnt Welsh at school, and rapid conversational Welsh spoken quickly and punctuated with many expressions of surprise such as " duw duw duw" ( pronounced Dew, Dew, Dew) left me completely in the dark, and so I crept downstairs so see who it was.

Peeping through the living room window, were two elderly ladies .

One was dressed neatly a tweed skirt and hat, the other more scruffily in a old green cardigan. Both were straining their eyes next to the glass in order to get a good look of the living room.
I heard the scruffier one say the English words " Doctor and nurse " to which the other lady gave a big " ooooooh "
Our arrival had obviously been discussed already by village gossips!
I let them amble off back up the lane and hurried through the kitchen to catch them both as they were passing the back wall.
The lady in the cardigan had taken the other's arm . I noticed that she had massively swollen legs and no ankles to speak of.
" Hello!" I called out and both women jumped like deer.
" Hello" both replied together
I decided then and there to be socialble
And I held my hand out to shake their hands
The first two people I met from Trelawnyd .....alas they are no longer with us


Mrs Banks- Hughes and Mrs Jones
Funny what you remember  eh?

41 comments:

  1. Happy anniversary John. And I have no doubt it is happy. You have made a home. And found a community.

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  2. And now you know everyone.....it's a lovely place to be, John.

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  3. I have a friend (from Liverpool) who like you moved to a small Welsh village. He once asked his local garage man how long it would take to be accepted by the locals. The man replied 'about ten years', my friend said 'remind me to sell-up in nine'.

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  4. A great memory! Sounds as though it was a great start to 10 years in the village!

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  5. That's a lovely memory John. In years to come people will be saying do you remember that lovely man who used to keep all the animals and organise the flower show and look out for neighbours and clean the church and take care of patients and lend an ear. Others will be saying do you remember the blogger who wrote about his dog's fanny! Hey ho!!! x

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  6. Congratulations on reaching your first decade. And I hope there are several more (at least) to come. (Yes, there's a hint there.)

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  7. That's lovely. Most of my male neighbours here are named John ! I always greet new neighbours & have the next door ones round at Christmas. We don't necessarily become friends but I feel I've been friendly.

    Sadly we have lost " The best dressed woman in the village " an incredibly sweet woman named Peggy ( at her funeral her straw boater was placed on her coffin )
    We've lost Beryl who said if she could still walk down to the beach she knew she was still alive.
    Dame Freda Cheyney, " the oldest Guide in the village " who still organised the poppy sales every autumn passed away.
    Cyril who took his dog for a walk on his mobility scooter, then would circle round & round with the dog chasing him has gone so is the old chap in the mobility scooter who collected pillboxes.
    Cedric ( I call stompy ) is still stomping along.
    Scary Mary is under control & back being the very interesting woman she is.
    Our lovely Judith at 96 still amazing is still with us, bringing us gifts to the charity shop... yesterday a box of peaches. We make her a cup of tea & enjoy hearing her stories.

    I love these characters & hope if I remain in this village I will become one myself.

    Thanks John, I have had no idea what to write about recently so you have inspired me xx

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    1. Oh I am so glad, its not just me...someone else does the nickname thing

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  8. I thought 'Finally' was a good name for a dog!

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  9. I enjoyed your story of arriving at the village.

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  10. Happy memories. You've given so much to the village in your time there, it will be truly sad for lots of folk when you leave.

    You must be excited by now at the thought of seeing the Prof very soon :-)

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  11. Moving there and not knowing anyone must have been a daunting prospect but you put yourself out there and became an accepted and respected member of the community. Nice reminisce.

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  12. My father was Welsh and I spent much of my childhood in his home village. I had a Great Aunt who ended every sentence "duw duw". Memories indeed.

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  13. TRANSLATION FROM THE WELSH
    MRS BANKS-HUGHES Do you think there's anyone in Bronwyn?
    MRS JONES No! And look Myfanwy, there's a telly and one of them computer things! Oh and a microwave!
    MRS BANKS-HUGHES We could make three hundred quid on e-bay.
    MRS JONES I'll go back home to get my crowbar
    MRS BANKS-HUGHES Okay I'll wait at the end of the lane. Remember the nylon stocking masks Bronwyn.
    MRS JONES I'll be back in a jiffy Myfanwy.
    (Back door opens and bearded man holding family pack of scotch eggs rushes out)
    JOHN GRAY Surprise! Surprise! My name's John! (Holds out hand)
    MRS BANKS-HUGHES & MRS JONES (With jaws dropped) Gulp! Welcome to Trelawnyd!

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  14. I have always found villages much more friendly places, although much more prone to gossip. But anything is better than living in a town where you rarely know your neighbours.

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  15. congrats on your anniversary!

    those two ladies remind me of "mrs. premise" and "mrs. conclusion"; check this out:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=crIJvcWkVcs

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  16. Congratulations on the decade of weaving yourself into the fabric of the village.

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  17. This would make such a wonderful television show .. every Sunday night the cats and I would sit on the sofa and watch .. and laugh .. and wish we were there.

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  18. A beautiful memory! It seems as though you just belong there and have always been there.....I agree with the above comment and have said so myself....what a great sitcom it would be.

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  19. It started with a Hello. Good things in life often begin with a greeting.

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  20. i am not going to take it very well when you leave that place.

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  21. So you decided to be sociable and thus became part of the fabric of village society. And that's how it works. I cannot imagine spending only ten years in a place, but only because I have spend twenty ant thirty stretches in the same place.

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  22. I love the people of Trelawynd. Thank you for sharing them with us!

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  23. What a fortuitous moment that was-holding your hands out!

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  24. Happy Cottage-versary, John. I always remember special things like this too. Am I imagining it, or did you post a video of these two ladies talking [Welsh] in a post once?

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    1. I couldn't find the video where everyone says Trelawnyd...were they there?

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    2. http://disasterfilm.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/tre-lawn-yd.html

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    3. The posted video I remember was of these two ladies speaking Welsh. I popped over to the video you mention here. At last I know how Trelawnyd is pronounced.xx

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  25. This has been a great journey for all of us Thanks for bringing us along. Man it is going to be hard when you leave. Boo hoo :(

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  26. Lovely story. I lived in Pembrokeshire for 10 years and was taken back by the friendliness of everyone.

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  27. I love your blog so very much. It is always filled with such warmth, warmth and sweetness. It gives me the sense of coming home. Thank you.

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  28. Oh My Goodness, Just wonderful.
    Happy Anniversary.

    cheers, parsnip

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  29. Lovely ladies.

    And just another instance that shows both the old residents and the new ones need to be open to meeting and greeting and liking each other.

    What a great memory, well told.

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  30. Love this post John

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  31. A decade in Trelawnwyd, congrats!

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  32. Look how far things have moved along, John.

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  33. Village life seems to suit both you and the Professor. You will have fond memories of the place to look back on in your dotage. The villagers will miss you both and your menagerie.

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  34. You remember what's important to you. Fond memories.

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