The lucky boy from Swansea who collected footballs

Somewhere on the banks of the river Tawe in Swansea, there once lived a lucky boy. He was about my age, I never knew his name, but he had blond hair and always wore a striped t-shirt and shorts.

When I was growing up, this lucky boy used to collect footballs belonging to my brother and I.

I haven’t thought about him in a long while now, but I pass the river every time I visit some good friends of mine. This week, whilst driving past, I thought back to the time the lucky boy collected our footballs.

It’s the early 1980’s………

In the Swansea valleys there is a little village called Cwmtwrch. The river Twrch, one of the tributaries to the river Tawe runs through it. Next to the river in Upper Cwmtwrch, there is a very special house.

In this house live some of my earliest childhood memories.

This house once belonged to my Grandparents, my Mamgu and Dadcu.

When I close my eyes, I can recall details of that house that are clearer than the room I’m sitting in right now.

Having an older, sports mad brother meant that from a young age I was always being cajoled into playing football, cricket, tennis….. the list goes on.

Coaxed with promises of  ‘We’ll play what you want to play later’, I was ushered outside with a ball of some sorts.

Being a five-year old girl, my football skills weren’t exactly brilliant, and inevitably, the ball would end up going over the white-painted wall, down towards the river.

At this point, my brother and I would scramble over the wall ourselves to see how lucky we’d been.

At best we’d find the football nestled between some rocks. At worst we’d find it slowly making its way downstream.

Next, we would rush down to the riverside armed with big sticks, stones and steely determination that we weren’t going to lose this one.

At this point, my grandmother would appear. I’m sure it must be innate in all mothers and grandmothers alike, that they make an appearance when a child they love is doing something hazardous.

Hazardous that is, through the wiser and more weathered eyes of an adult, but perfectly normal through eyes yet to learn and understand danger.

‘Alan!  Bethan! Get out of that river and get back up here now!!’

Defeated, we would climb back up and stand on the bank of the river, our Grandmother’s arms around us. Helplessly watching as the river, and it’s newly claimed prize snaked out of sight.

Our Grandmother would then always say to us…

Never mind, there’s going to be a lucky boy in Swansea today who’s going to find your football’

 

That, is how I know of the existence of the lucky boy on the banks of the river Tawe.

Despite envying him for most of my early childhood, that lucky boy will always have a special place in my heart.

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I’m sure the cat next door was trying to kill me

I’m an animal lover.

I’m a cat lover especially.

But I find it difficult to love any animal straight from the cavern of hell!

The cat in this video is called Polly, but the cat in this video is the Prince of Darkness masquerading as a feline, and it lived next door to me for years.

Please excuse my potty mouth at the end of the video, but try and remember this cat must have been carved from dust from the Devil’s furnace!

All of the following statements are true….

  • I once came home from work and found Polly’s fur in my fridge
  • Polly used to sit on my garden fence and hiss at me for hours
  • Polly once let me smooth her and then nearly ripped my arm off
  • Polly once stole my car and took it for a joyride

OK, I had no proof for the last one other than the strong smell of catnip in the car, a fish bone and an empty milk carton on the backseat, but I know it was her!

Polly no longer lives next door, and in a peculiar almost Stockholm syndrome way, I miss her!

Trying to remember the colour of your underwear can boost your memory… Maybe..

Forget browsing the internet, Facebook and wandering around the office gossiping. Many hours in the working day can be lost across the world when people try to remember what colour underwear they’ve put on that day…

A simple subconscious task from the morning can become a personal memory game for the afternoon..

I’m not saying this happens to me everyday, but when it does, it’s usually after lunch when I’m at my least productive.

I’m at my desk, attempting to concentrate but then the mind starts to wander.

What shall I have for tea tonight? Shall I go to the gym? Do I need milk? That coffee stain on my desk looks a bit like an albatross if you look at it sideways…

Suddenly I can find myself thinking  ‘what colour underwear did I put on this morning?‘…..

Why can’t I remember?

Try and remember brain… TRY!

If you’re lucky your boss will walk past at this point and think ‘Wow, now that’s a face of concentration’.

Come on brain! THINK! It’s not that difficult… You were the one who put them on…

You could attempt a sneaky peak, but if you’re unlucky,  it will be at that point your boss walks past and sees you with your knicker elastic hanging out…..

The longest I’ve gone before I’ve remembered or given up is about 9 minutes.

Either way – it’s off to the toilets to check for certain.

Try and wait until the toilets are empty. There is something quite unnerving about hearing ‘Ahhh of course! coming from the cubicle next to you, and then seeing someone emerge with a rather ‘pleased with themselves’ look on their face.

Try it… next time your mind starts to wander, do something to boost your memory and play the underwear game…

I suppose the only people this wouldn’t apply to, are those who prefer ‘Going commando‘…. Or as my Dad once mistakenly called it ‘Going Columbo‘….

That amused me for days.

Grandmothers will always do the best they can for their grandchildren….

OK,

This is my first post and I think I should start by admitting a secret that only two people know. Myself, and my Grandmother.

My secret?…. When I’m out of the house everyday I ask my Grandmother to look after my cats for me. That’s it. That’s the secret.

My grandmother doesn’t live with me, or nearby, I never see her, but I know she’s been. Everyday.

My grandmother died 5 years ago. But I know she’s been. Everyday.

Whilst its liberating to say that out loud, it now forms part of the external me. The part that others can critique, judge and form an opinion on.

It no longer just exists inside me. The part that only I can critique, judge and form an opinion on.

This bizarre daily statement started 18 months ago when I came home and found my little kitten out on the main road, covered in oil from being stuck under next door’s van. I hadn’t planned to go home as I was due somewhere else. I was indicating to go right, but for some reason I turned left for home first.

As I stood at my front door, I heard a pitiful mieow.  On further inspection I found a pair of scared, inky black eyes staring at me from under the van. I called her, she came and I picked her up. She was trembling, dirty and disorientated. I was now trembling, dirty myself from holding her, and confused….

I didn’t understand how she got there, but I did now understand what made me go home first.

15 minutes later the owner of the van jumped in it and drove away. If I hadn’t gone home at that time, then……….. who knows….

Since that day, every morning when I leave the house, I tell my cats that Nanna will look after them today.

I believe it.

With unfaltering faith I believe it.

I have nothing scientific to back this up. Just a spiritual belief, gut instinct, and faith. Faith, the most important of all. Pure faith that it is so.

I’m not naive or stupid enough to think that it provides  immortality for them, but it gives me peace of mind. Peace of mind that even from beyond the grave, Grandmothers will always do the best they can for their grandchildren.

Thank you Nanna…. God bless you xx