From the archives

The Cadbury’s biscuit tin was explored a little more today. Now who do you think this would-be George Dixon is? At the time this was taken, presumably by my father, Dixon of Dock Green was probably as popular as Hawaii Five-o is nowadays. The indefatigable, down to earth, compassionate (but not for the wrong uns) PC George Dixon was a real family favourite. Hey, it ran to 432 episodes.

A youthful copper

I guess I was doing my “Evenin’ all” impression. This is undoubtedly outside the back of my grandmother’s house in Llanbradach. I can see the cellar door behind me. We used to have to pluck up courage to go in. It was rarely used, full of cobwebs and possibly ghosts although I seem to recall nothing more sinister than a rusty lawn mower.

This next one is a rarity. My paternal grandfather died many years before I was born. I have very few pictures of him. He is a bit of an embarrassment to me as he was actually English, thus damaging my claim to undiluted Welsh heritage. He came from Huntspill in Somerset. But I forgive him. I also have a pencil written letter from him to my father. It was written from the William Diamond Ward in Cardiff Royal Infirmary and is dated Good Friday. I don’t know for certain the year but possibly just before he passed away, so 1947. It is one of my treasured possessions. Slowly the pencil is fading and I must transcribe it before it is too faint to read.


The original photo is sepia tinted but I have re-toned it for clarity. My grandfather looks a kindly man, my grandmother rather distant. She definitely mellowed as she aged and lived to be 97, a widow for over 50 years.

FInally, one of the most lovely people who ever walked this earth, my maternal grandmother. She brought up 9 children, all passed away, and she died on December 28th 1970. I still remember my mother breaking down as we drove away from the house after the funeral. We were in dad’s Singer Chamois, GCJ 469D. 30 years to the day later, December 28th 2000 my mother fell ill and I took her to hospital. She died 18 days later.

Grandma D

The original of this photo is in dreadful condition. I added vignetting (a lot) to mask the deterioration at the sides and I roughly burned her cardigan to mask the patchy fading. Her silver hair was all down her back and I remember her brushing it every day. We used to help her sweep the grate in the morning when she came down. Even in her 70s she would mop the tiled passageway and scrub the front step. She owned no washing machine and only at the end of her days did she agree to my aunt putting in an indoor lavatory and bathroom. These were not better days in material terms but it is true that you could and did leave your front door open all day without fear of theft. Here my grandmother is in front of our front door and we left that house in 1968 so my father took the picture in the mid 60s I guess.

This is the generation of not one but two World Wars. What would they think of us today? I shudder to think. Remembrance Sunday is that nearest to the 11th of the 11th so that means today. We have much to be grateful for and in my head I can still see myself as a child going into Grandma D’s living room, the radio on (in Welsh of course), her face lighting up as her grandchildren arrived. Cwtsh down by ‘ere she would say, inviting us to cuddle up to her on the sofa. Behind the curtain to her right was a small cupboard, a bottle of lucozade always there for her. She ate so little. When we had dinner plates she would have her main course off a side plate. As a treat we used to take her for a drive in the car. When we went under a bridge she would duck and we all laughed with her.

The little policeman of the first photograph thanks the generations before him and hopes they are resting peacefully together.


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