With so much emotion recently about politics and terrorism here in the UK it’s been a huge relief to focus family and friends.
Tuesday lunchtime Debbie’s cousin Clive Thomas and his daughter Alison came to visit us in Llanfoist while visiting from his home in Criccieth North Wales. Clive is a retired police inspector and born in Merthyr, but who spent most of his working life in London working for the Metropolitan Police and we last met him nearly two years ago while on holiday in Llandudno.
He has a wickedly dry sense of humour (like most Welsh) at 82 years old and has loads of stories about Shirley Bassey, the Queen and the Kray twins that I’m afraid to recount here as they are not very politically correct but are hugely entertaining nonetheless!
After polishing off some ham & egg mayonaise rolls, couscous and salad they headed back to their B&B accommodation in Llwyn Onn where the landlady Moira recognised Clive from school! It really does seem everyone knows everyone else here in Wales…
At around 6pm we separately made our way to the Table Table restaurant in Pentrebach where Debbie had booked a table for 13 for extended family and friends to celebrate his “homecoming” to South Wales!
I spent most of the evening talking to Paul “Chips” who runs with his sons a fish and chip shop in Dowlais at the top of Merthyr, he was very good company and taught me a lot about the transition from lard to rapeseed oil to fry the fish. I also learnt that Clive’s father Islwyn was also a chippie!
In fact the whole group got on like a house on fire and by the time we retreated to the cars I felt like part of the Price family (Debbie’s maiden name) and learnt a lot about their history.
The next day Debbie and I met up again with Clive and Alison this time at the Cefn Coed cemetery where his mother and father are buried. It was quite a few years since he’d last visited but with Alison’s help using Byron’s knowledge she found it pretty quickly.
The two girls then proceeded to clean the grave of moss & grass and replace the old artificial flowers that had faded over time and replace them with some fresh. The men managed the overall process as usual while reminiscing the past.
After… Clive and Alison plan to have the lettering redone on the gravestone so that in future years it will really stand out and be easier to read and find
At last we left the cars in the cemetery car park and walked the short distance to Byron and Margaret’s house where they planned to give Alison & Clive lunch before their trip back home.
After viewing lots of old photographs and continuing the discussion of family history from the night before I persuaded Debs that we really should head back and take the hounds out for a walk given the mini heatwave we’ve been experiencing.
After numerous goodbyes we finally arrived back home and took Molly and Hamish to Castle Meadows where she went for her usual swim in the Usk and for the first time ever Hamish joined her, albeit only in the shallows!
On our way back from Merthyr we’d had a call from Rose and Paul who were in Abergavenny picking up an old friend from the railway station so on the way back from the river we stopped off at the King’s Arms pub in the square to enjoy a cooling glass of Moretti!
Paul had bought an old cannon ball for £40 although he had no idea what he was going to do with it and given the amount of clutter I’ve accumulated in the flea market since moving here I wisely said nothing in front of SWMBO.