Childhood Memories by Martin Rees

A Playing Past & Present Digital Story

 

Digital Story Transcript

My name is Martin Rees, I live in Nelson at the moment but I used to live in Penyrheol from the age of three right up to the age of twenty-eight. I lived in number forty-two, so that was the old part of Pen-Y-Bryn before the new bottom end was built. I still have very fond memories of Penyrheol. We were very poor, to be honest. So it was difficult really, for our parents.
Es i i Ysgol Cwm Ifor, ysgol gynradd. Ar ôl ysgol gynradd es i i Ysgol Gramadeg Technegol Bechgyn Gaerffili. Dwi’n briod â Gwyneth, mae Gwyneth yn dod o Gaerffili hefyd. Mae tair merch gyda fi: Bethan, Delyth ac Ellin. Mae Bethan yn byw nawr yn Bro’r Llynnoedd. Mae tri phlant gyda hi hefyd.
(I went to Ysgol Cwm Igor, a primary school. After primary school I went to Caerphilly Boys’ Grammar Technical School. I’m married to Gwyneth, and she comes from Caerphilly too. We have three daughters: Bethan, Delyth and Ellin. Bethan now lives in Bro y Llynoedd and she has three children too.)
Well we used to play most of our games in the street when I was younger, because there was very little traffic. I think there was only about two cars in the street. So we used to play football, rounders, the whole street used to play rounders together. A lady called Peggy James, she used to organise all the children in the street to play rounders and things like that. We used to have huge skipping games, with about thirty children in the skipping rope.
We also used to play in a place called Stoney’s Field. Mr. Stone was the name of the farmer, and the field behind Pen-Y-Bryn (which is where Highfields Estate is now) used to be the place where we played football, cricket, best faller and all sorts of games like that. I used to do a lot of sports on just about everything, really.
We used to make our life outdoors, basically. Do you know the lane that goes past Pen-Y-Bryn up to the top of the mountain? In those days we used to call it Wimberry Mountain, because it used to be full of wimberries in the autumn, late summer and early autumn. Nowadays of course they’ve burned them all off.
But that was our playground, Wimberry Mountain. We used to make dens up in the ferns there. It was a very healthy life, in fact when we were your age, about nine, we walked all the way over the mountain right down into Abertridwr. Down through Byngelli and back round through the Bowls… you’d never be allowed to do that today. All we took with us was a bottle of water and a couple of jam sandwiches, that was it.
In the summer we were just out every night, of course we had to do our homework first. But then we were out playing, lots of games like marbles that we used to play in the gutters. We used to play football, we used to play a game called “dutch arrow”, we used to play it with bows and arrows which I don’t suppose would be allowed to today. We used to play on the building sites in those days, they’d never allow that today. The power station up behind Pen-Y-Bryn, we used to play on that.
One thing that hasn’t changed, I noticed on Penyrheol: Past & Present the other day about the antisocial behaviour outside the Top Shop. That was the same when I was a boy. There were lots of people messing around by the bus shelter by the Top Shop. The shopkeeper would deal with it and if he didn’t, the parents would. There was far stronger discipline from parents than today.

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