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Page One of my Early Life

Dear visitor thank you for visiting my website, I hope you have enjoyed the experience of it. It is hard to create anything to do with history unless you try and tell it as a story. By doing so it sometimes distorts the known facts, I hope I have not done it to much.

In this section I have written about my early life, for I do not intend to tell you of my latter years as they were years spent bearing arms in the British forces. I hear some of you ask the question? why the forces? I answer you thus, farming was becoming more mechanised as I grew up and to survive in it one had to have capital. By the time I was sixteen and seeing the struggle the family were having to maintain a decent living on such a small mountain farm, I decided farming was not for me. So it was to be the big wide world and the 'excitement' of the services.

As far as I was concerned the forces was a far better choice than being a miner. Now there's a person the world over, who should be decorated. Be honest with yourself would you want to be like a mole working in dangerous conditions underground if you had a choice. Sadly, most miners do not and did not, have that choice like me.

Anyway Welshmen since the beginning of time have been warriors, that's not being bombastic, its just the way we are. There were even Welsh archers on the battlefield at Agincourt with Henry, king of England, perhaps its a Celtic thing, who knows. Yes indeed some of the greatest Regiments in British history have borne a Welsh image, I refer of course to the Welsh Guards, the South Wales Borderers, The Welch Regiment just to name a few.

Enough thoughts of the military however, for now I am at peace with the world and at the stage in my life when it is nice to look back and remember. I can have no happier memories than of those days of my childhood. They were glorious times, for I was a privileged child. No dear visitor, not by the fact that I was born with a silver spoon in my mouth, but solely because of the place in which I was brought up, a secluded little valley here in Wales.

Climbing the western ridge

Climbing the western ridge up out of the valley, a long long climb for a small boy. The farmhouse and some buildings are in the distance downstream. The river is to my right at the bottom of the sloping ground.

High on the Valley side

High on the south side of the valley, half way to the ridge. With me my greatest companion, a border collie named Juno. For twelve years he was by my side as we swam, ran, caught fish, played Cowboys and Indians, chased and caught rabbits and went to school.

Even today after the passing of many many years, he's still there, for I buried him in our beloved valley in a place that only I know. Now and again down through the years, this daft old Dragon goes back to say hello. Yes, I always have a tear in my eye when I do, I believed then and still do, that animals are for life

It still stands today, high in the mountains on a tributary of the river Wye, the little farmhouse that was once home for me. Sadly, those that made it such a warm and loving place, have long gone to a more peaceful place.

Did I honestly say warm? it was the coldest damn place on earth haha. No electric, no running water, no sanitation as one knows today, spooky winds and creaking doors. No road to it, just an old grass cart track. I used to bath in an old galvanized tub in the back kitchen, with water drawn from the river and heated by a giant wood burning boiler.

Oil lamps, a huge open fire in the kitchen, a 'palour' used for Sundays, Xmas and 'Special Occasions'. A gigantic 'dairy' where portions of pig, having been butchered, where laid out on a huge slate slab and covered with salt. A place where I used to have to turn the handle of the churn, for mother to make butter. Then there was our 'entertainment' the crystal powered radio. I wonder do any of you remember the children's programme ' Journey into Space ' my favorite programme. Who would have thought it would have come true.

For what seemed a lifetime, I enjoyed the freedom that was given to me to do all the things I have mentioned above. Then one Sunday as we sat down for dinner disaster struck, the word ' School' was said for the first time. I screamed, banged my fists and declared that this here kiddo was not going to any darn school, what happened when the following September came? you got it, School.

Every morning at 7.00 am sharp accompanied by Juno, O yes! he came too, he never learnt anything but he never missed a day, we would set off on the three mile hike up the valley to Mr. White's school. Yes I know it was a long way for a little boy to walk, but you never thought about it. Anyway all us country kids done it.

On the way Juno and I chased rabbits, looked for where pheasants had perched for the night.Yes! I knew every track through the woods, every rabbit run, where every badger set was. The different birds nests I knew of is far to long to list here. Education! I had the finest education in nature that anyone could have wished for, who needed schools. Finally, sometimes late, I used to arrive at school looking like the biggest ragamuffin you ever did see. But what a time Juno and I had had.

Into school with a glum face, while Juno went off to lie under the Oak trees over the other side of the playground, that was until dinner time. Then as soon as the bell rang he would bound over the playground wall, chase his tail and bark outside the classroom door until I went out and shared my sandwiches with him. Fussy devil he was too, so much so that it wasn't long before Mum had to pack him his own. Who carried them ?..... me ole Joe muggins, but then he was worth it.

In the Winter at about 2.30 in the afternoon, Mr. White would send me home, "so that your home before dark boy" was his words when he told me to go. Little did the poor man know that Juno and I would spend the next several hours checking my nets for trapped rabbits before getting home. Yes they were the days, not a care in the world. I nearly always arrived home just after dark, but with nearly always something for the pot. Mum used to say she could always hear me coming home because of my whistling, the sound of it would echo down the little valley. I often think now that I didn't whistle then because I was happy and contented, but because I was scared of the dark haha.

Juno's idilic life may have carried on all through my primary school years, had not a disaster struck me after a couple of years. I came down with something or other. Doctor advised that I shouldn't have to walk all that way each day at such a young age.[ O ! how I wish that man had been my M.O. in the services, he would have saved me hundred's of miles. haha ]

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