My Father’s mother (Terza Warrey) we called “Mum”, short for Mumgu in Welsh meaning Grandma. Above is one of the few photos I have of her. Yes that is me as a toddler, probably on our annual family holiday to Saundersfoot.
She was a formidable lady, and one not to argue with. I thought of her twice today, and once in the week.
The first occurrence was whilst watching Bargain Hunt whilst eating lunch, when some poor unsuspecting person was negotiated down to a much lower price on an item, and he gave in. I once experienced her asking for discount in the Co-op (Leos – department store) on a radio cassette player. When she’d beaten him down to a much lower price than on the ticket, and he’d agreed to it. Her passing remark was, “and of course you’ll throw in some batteries and a plug!”. His mouth fell to his chin. (Do you remember electrical items used to come without a plug). Her mantra was “If you don’t ask, you don’t get!” and “What’s the worse that they can do, say no!” I’ve learned a lot from that.
The second time I thought of her was in watching the Eurovision Nostalgia show. I have to admit that Eurovision is a guilty pleasure. After one year’s Eurovision, we had to go out any buy her Brotherhood of Man’s “Save all your kisses for me”, and then we had to buy her a record player to play it on. Her record collection consisted of Brotherhood of Man, Bucks Fizz and Abba. All Eurovision entries we saw yesterday evening. So did I get my liking for Eurovision from her?
In the week I was speaking to someone, and discovered that they were from Reynoldston on the Gower. That was one of Mum and Grampa’s favourite places to stop on an outing in their Morris 1000. My brother and I on the long school summer holidays spent a lot of time with them, as both our parents had to work. We’d be packed in the back of the Morris 1000 and we’d go out for a “run” in the car “down the Gower”. Bouncing along the road across Cefn Bryn, getting a run up on the hill on the way up, and having the thrill of our bottoms leaving the bench seat at the back on the way down, if Grampa could get up enough speed. (She would tap the speedometer in the middle of the dashboard if Grampa (Frank) got close to 50mph and say “Furr, you are going too fast”. Sandwiches and welsh cakes were wrapped in greaseproof paper and packed into tin sandwich boxes (all re-useable with hinges – no plastic, tupperware was yet to arrive!). Tea came in tartan glass flasks with cork stoppers, everybody took sugar, post war it was seemingly compulsory! Reynoldston had a shop where you could buy Ice cream, it was cut from a rectangular block and served between 2 flat wafers.
Mum spoke Wenglish, when she couldn’t remember or didn’t know a word in Welsh, she would substitute an English word in instead, and Grampa who was brought up on a Farm in England, and never heard speak welsh would correct her (only gently) and offer her the missing word. I suppose working in the steel industry and later as a delivery driver for the co-op he would have needed to understand welsh. Every now and again, she would make Martin and I ask for things in Welsh. I was never proficient in Welsh, it didn’t seem important then. Some years later, Welsh was to have a huge revival.
I still have the Family Bible in Welsh (Y Bibl), originally owned by Mary Jones (not THE Mary Jones of the British and Foreign Bible Society story – but my Great Grandmother). It is a wonderful family memento, recording all the births and deaths of the Jones side of our Family, and later the Griffiths, and the Warrey’s. I need to update it to add in my family and my Brother’s.
We loved spending time with them, and thinking back now, I realise how much they loved us. Mum was a feeder, you never went without, and Grampa had the patience of a saint, even teaching me to drive (and I still don’t know right from left!)
Oh for a bit of nostalgia to cheer me up. (Gosh I must be getting old!).
You might be asking “Where is the theological reflection?”. Its just a reminder of family love and care, and “we love, because God first loved us.” 1 John 4:19,