I should really use this blog more often!
I’ve had “Wolverhampton in old photographs” and “Lost Wolverhampton” on my Facebook for many moons. I see places which, in my childhood, were landmarks which showed the history of the old town. And read comments from people about past events there.
Alas, many – perhaps most – of the old buildings which are stored in my memory have gone. The whole town – er – city now! – has been physically altered by the new ring-road.
But I still cast my mind back to former times and the Wolverhampton I grew up in. That remembering often makes me quite sad for the old place – but equally often I feel uplifted when I recall the people who used to live there. Most of those people have, of course, passed on now. But I learned so much from their behaviour, and for that – therefore them – I remain grateful.
I live now in a smallish Welsh village where the camaraderie and neighbourliness feels very much the same of the working-class area of Wolves where I grew up.
The character of the “city” is very different now, I gather. What a loss that is!
We must, in this part of wild Wales, look after the character of our communities and ensure that we, as individuals, behave in a way to preserve that character.
My thanks (in retrospect) to all the good folk I knew as a kid.
It was over a week ago: Tuesday, 20th March to be exact. And what had happened didn’t hit me right away.
After a couple of days, during which I pondered a fair bit on what might have happened, it struck me. The pain of grieving for my friend Bess’s leaving us had abated. Yes, I still missed her terribly – she was a very special dog. But the sharpness of that painful grief had eased noticeably.
I do not know why. It had plagued me since her death in October, 2016. That’s a long time to grieve over the death of an animal, I suppose. I’d recovered rather quicker and more smoothly from the passing of all the others who’d been part of my Family – even that of my little pal Gypsy who, like Bess, had left us suddenly.
I still think of my Bess – there are many things which remind me of her: places, the habits she had, the discipline she had taught herself. I still love her, and remember every part of her passing.
But no longer is the sharp pain of loss there.
That having happened, I seem to be able to become closer to Libby who lives with us now. Libz was never supposed to be a replacement for Bess in any way, of course. Bess was and is irreplaceable.
Life brings many sorrows to each of us. We must never be scared or ashamed of what those sorrows do to us nor how they manifest themselves. If they are brought on by the passing of humans – Family members – I know that love does not end at the grave. Either side of that grave. And I wonder if, on “the other side”, the animals we still love still love us . . .
It was a fine and sunny morning recently when I drove from home to go to Bronglais. There had been a frost in the night, and there was a strong East wind blowing.
I passed a field where I saw ewes lying down and their new-born lambs snuggling up to them to keep warm. How lovely that mothers – even those supposed to be “dumb animals” – simply take care as best they can of their children. And that thought reminded me of my childhood and my Mom.
Although she and Dad worked hard all their lives, we were not a well-off Family. In those days, the labouring-class grafted solidly and received poor wages for their toils.
I remember when I was about ten years old that I asked Mom a question. It was based on the teachers at Christ Church C of E School – our nearest primary and junior school – teaching us (indeed, harping on about) “the poor people”. They never seemed to define what “poor” actually meant.
So, seeing all the second-hand furniture in our old, brick-built terrace house, and knowing that Mom bought the cheapest stuff she could, be it food, clothing or whatever, my question was “Mom – are we poor?”
She was surprised at my question and paused in her housework. Having thought for a moment or two, she answered.
“Well . . . no . . . not poor . . . Not poor.” Then, almost perkily, she added “Er . . . we’re not very well off . . . but not poor.“
In the telling, that doesn’t sound much of an answer. But the young me knew what she meant: we had very little money, but were not starving or anything.
She was quite strict about bringing me up. That was because she loved me. She would make sure that I never told lies, was always respectful to older people, and all sorts of good things like that. And she often emphasised those things with a quick slap on the back of my bare, short-trousered knees. In those now seemingly remote days it was called “discipline”.
If she heard me swear – nothing really crude like today’s accepted standards – it was an even harder slap. When she saw me doing something I shouldn’t which didn’t quite deserve a slap, she would look at me and say “Ooh, our Keith . . .” and I behaved better. She taught me many things about growing into manhood as a decent, helpful person.
My Dad, if he was there when she disciplined me, sort of smiled happily.
And, because I understood my Mom’s attitude, I was a fairly obedient little lad.
Yes, there was no spare cash in my childhood home. But there was oodles of Love!
I loved my parents. Still do. Love does not end at the grave.
My Dad? Well, I’ll tell you how he showed his love for me in a future post.
Seeing old photos of the Wolverhampton of my youth, and mentioning to one of my FB Freds that I used to listen to AFN from Germany on Medium Wave, set my creaking old mind a-thinking.
Wonder if any of you remember Radio Luxemburg (208 metres Medium Wave) before it became just another pop-‘n’-pap station and disappeared under the weight of commercial stations starting up right here in Britain?
Back in ancient times when I was a lad, Radio Lux broadcast short, 15-minute plays/ serials and other non-pop-music stuff. Dan Dare (didn’t you ever read ‘The Eagle’ comic?!) and a very Anglicised version of Perry Mason were part of its schedule.
Later to become a stalwart of BBC pop-music, etc., Pete Murray began his career on Radio Lux. There were just three DJs/programme-presenters back then: him, Peter Maddern and Geoffrey Everitt.
We listeners tolerated the “Luxemburg fade” and listened keenly as it was a good alternative to the posh BBC.
I haven’t used (bothered with) this blog for quite a while. Winter is passing and all sorts of things this season have got in the way of me writing herein.
I do, as many of you will know, write my “daily happenings” on my Facebook page. Perhaps, then, I should copy them here – maybe once a week – for easy reference. Easy reference, that is, for me as well has Cornflake’s Comments enthusiasts!
I will, therefore, adopt that idea (if I can remember to do so). Stand by for developments!
I have a low boredom-threshold. I do not like the idea of just doing nothing.
Over the last nearly-two weeks, Rosie has been in hospital and I’m “living on my own”.
Yes, many, many people have kept in touch with me – Family, friends, neighbours, etc. That really HAS helped ease my “being-alone” syndromes.…
But, due to my own aches and pains, I can’t really DO physical things presently – things like general household chores, gardening and that bit of house-decorating I’d hoped to do. That’s just in case my chest- and shoulder-muscles start hurting again.
So I just sit around for much of the time.
Thank goodness for the people who’ve kept in touch via texts, etc. Thanks goodness for my Cuddly Companion, Libby the dog, with whom I can manage to take gentle strolls (“Don’t pull, girl!”). Thank goodness for mobile-phones with which I can speak with Rosie while she remains in Rhiannon Ward.
But always, always, there is the lurking nuisance of boredom.
Here endeth the whinging.
I follow on Facebook a couple of sites which are all about “old Wolverhampton”. They post photos and memories from people who have lived there over the years. I look at the changes on Google Earth, as well. A lot of the buildings I knew have long since disappeared – removed by “the developers”. It is my town no more.
The “developments” give me an all-over feeling of sweet nostalgia and a sadness that so many things have disappeared – including much of the old street where I was brought up. I’ve visited that remodelled street a few times over the years and that, too, gives me that same nostalgia and sadness. Perhaps – and this is where the sadness comes in – I am the last person to remember that street (and lots of other now-gone streets). Gone, gone are those days gone by. And their history is hardly recorded.
Perhaps a daft old beggar like me shouldn’t follow such sites. Yet, when people ask on them for information about places that once were, I can sometimes help. That, surely, helps to record a very tiny part of the town’s history.
I see in dear old Aberystwyth the work of “the developers” changing the town near which I’ve lived for most of my life. As with Wolverhampton, I love that town. And I hope that what stood where once upon a time will be recorded and youngsters will be taught about those times.