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Half A Century of Friendship !

hywel

By hywel

45 comments


Part one
(A long story)

In August 1965, when I was 15 yrs old, I went on a holiday with my mam, dad, and little brother, to
North Devon in England.

One rainy day (no it wasn’t always sunny in those days either) we went to Barnstaple for a walk around the town – no good going to the beach when it was raining (although I must say I would have enjoyed it myself !)

… and down a little side road I found a florist shop, where I stopped to have a look in the window …
There I saw these wonderful and strange looking plants, and was fascinated by them …

Of course they were Cacti :o)

As I stood there in the rain, with my mam and dad calling “Come on, you’re always behind !”
… to their annoyance, I went in and bought one :o)

It cost 9d (That’s about 3 pence lol – which was a lot then)
and of course, because I had one, my little brother wanted one as well :o) which also cost 9d …

The cactus I’d bought was labelled ‘Mammillaria hidalgensis’

My Brother’s was actually a succulent plant, labelled Crassula lycopodioides :o)

These two cacti lived on the sunny windowsill of the little chalet we rented in Coomb Martin, for the rest of the fortnight,
and then made their way home with us to south Wales, … across the River Severn on the Ferry boat –
None of the Severn Bridges had been built in those days.

Actually though, the first one was already being constructed, and I can remember sailing under it on the Ferry boat, with my little cactus, when it was only half built.
My father said this would be the last year for the Ferry to be in operation, and I remember feeling rather sad about that.
There was something restful about the Ferry boat – so different to hurtling along a boring motorway full of speeding lorries and a lot of dust :o(

When we arrived home, I put the cacti on my bedroom windowsill
(I also ended up looking after my brother’s … lol)

.

Now as 1965 progressed, the summer ended, and Christmas time came upon us …
And a man living up the road from our house, suddenly died a week before the Holiday.
His name was Bryn, and his wife was Kate.

(To be continued …)

More blog posts by hywel

Previous post: Resilient Cacti

Next post: Half a Century of Friendship ! (Part Two)



Comments

 

Can't wait for the next instalment Hywel.

9 Dec, 2015

 

Great memories,Hywel........you would have driven right past our house,but in 1965 I was living in Cardiff training to become a Physio.......that road from which the ferry departed has become quite busy.......do you remember the Ferry Inn?

9 Dec, 2015

amy
Amy
 

I love a good story I'm also looking forward to the next installment Hywel :o)

9 Dec, 2015

 

nice little read hywel. we were down there on holiday about 1960. of course living this side of the bridge we did not need the services of the aust ferry.

9 Dec, 2015

 

Oh Hywel, you can't leave it there! Next instalment please!

9 Dec, 2015

 

I enjoyed reading all about the start of your cactus collection Hywel and your memories of that holiday, I beat you by a few years, my first cactus came from Woolworths in 1957, cost me half a crown, which I had received as a postal order for my 10th birthday from an auntie, mind you I have never collected as many as you, lol.....Looking forward to part two..

9 Dec, 2015

 

I'm all agog , Hywel , more , more please .

9 Dec, 2015

 

Interesting story. I have 3 brothers so I understand.

9 Dec, 2015

 

This is interesting, Hywel. I'm looking forward to Chapter Two.

9 Dec, 2015

 

Yes me too Hywel....you've left it just when we need to know more, which is the right way.
It's good to reminisce isn't it and only yesterday I came across old holiday pics from when I was about 9, and we used to have holidays in Skegness, lots and lots of pics because then the seaside towns had Wrates photographers who would be on the sea front snapping pics of holiday makers all day long. They would then be pinned up in a kiosk and you would go late in the afternoon to get them, sometimes 3 or 4 a day.....we must have had money to burn or else were a very vain family...lol!

9 Dec, 2015

 

What a lovely story Hywel. My first one was an Opuntia microdasys, and later I had the Crassula too - how long ago it seems now. What fun it was learning the names! How nice it must have been going home on the ferry - but the bridges are easier and you don't have to wait for the next one! Looking forward to the next instalment.
Gosh yes Janey I remember those photographers. The only photo we ever bought was one where we were given a parrot to sit on our shoulder - avast there me hearties...

9 Dec, 2015

 

A Cacti love story! look forward to your next installment Hywel, great to hear how it all began for you :o)

9 Dec, 2015

 

Thank you all for reading about my cactus lol :) So many years ago but it seems like yesterday.

Meadowland, yes I do remember seeing the Ferry Inn.
I remember waiting about 2 hrs for the tide to come in lol :D or you'd have to drive all the way around through Gloucester.

Sue (Linc) I used to buy cacti in Woolworths as well. I remember they had a nice garden department in those days.
Half a crown was a lot to spend in the 50s !

Janey I don't remember the photographers you mention. They couldn't have come to Wales. I love looking at old pics. This winter Beryl and I have decided to sort ours out, and label them etc (but we don't even know who some of them are lol)

Sue (Stera) It's nice to know which cactus you bought first. I find O microdasys difficult to grow. Mine is just about surviving after several years and never puts on any new growth ...

10 Dec, 2015

 

A nice and lovely story, Hywel, and one of your unforgettable vacation, You're always fascinated in Cactus :-))) xxx

10 Dec, 2015

 

Woolworths - oh yes - didn't have money to buy the cacti but I used to hang round the counter and pick up any bits that had dropped off and take them home as cuttings....

10 Dec, 2015

 

Woolworths? You had Woolworths in the UK? My grandma would always take me there to ride the electric pony and for rootbeer floats! ahh memories!

10 Dec, 2015

 

When I was about 15 Hywel, I was a Saturday girl at Woolworths.....£1 for the whole day. My friend spent the day on the sweet counter which was a huge oval mahogany affair, and I had to run between the departments, one minute measuring out curtain track for the queuing customers, then in the lift and below stairs weighing out potatoes with heavy brass scales. Oh joy....hardly Miss Selfridge....lol!

10 Dec, 2015

 

Wow Janey, That sounds like hard work. I can remember being told when I was little that everything in the shop used to be either 3d or 6d! There wasn't an electric pony or any root beer though. Oops, off topic again...

10 Dec, 2015

 

You've left us on a cliff hanger Hywel... :o) Please don't make us wait until Christmas Day for the final episode - Like Downton for instance... lol ;o)

10 Dec, 2015

 

I remember it being a cheap store Stera, but maybe not that cheap! Definitely no electric pony or root beer either, but the shop itself was very attractive and quite expensive looking compared to today's noisy warehouse styles. Lots of shining beautiful wood and panelling, quality even in a cheap store.
One of my favourite songs is by Nanci Griffith, Love at the Five and Dime, all about the Woolworth Store.....

10 Dec, 2015

 

The Kettering Woolworths was definitely a 3d or 6d store
before WW2.
I remember going there to buy my 'Bees Seeds that Grow'.
Found out years later they were packeted and marketed by a Mr. Bulley. He wouldnt have sold so many if he had put 'Bulley's seeds that grow' on the packet. Ha ha.

11 Dec, 2015

 

amazing that you still have them Hywel. look forward to the next instalment...

11 Dec, 2015

 

I'll never forget that electric pony. Once you plunked in a quarter, you were in for the ride of your life. You had to hang on with both hands just to stay on. You really got your money's worth and maybe a few black n blue marks on your bum.

11 Dec, 2015

 

Wow, sounds like a Rodeo ride Bath, our version would probably have been more on the lines of a nice sedate Dressage prance.....:))

11 Dec, 2015

 

I worked in Woolworths too , Janey .
Endless Saturdays and during the Christmas Holidays , the year that I went to Tec College . It had to be done if one wanted to fund a social life .
It wasn't very smart as a store , but there was certainly anything and everything you needed there . It was arranged in "islands" ... haberdashery , fruit and veg , make-up , clothes , crockery etc. , I tried to get on the record counter when possible , because then you could play the latest " records" for customers to hear ( and usually not buy!)

11 Dec, 2015

 

Woolworths was like a variety shop or predecessor to what is now Walmart. It was good for toys & games.

11 Dec, 2015

 

We went off on a tangent there didn't we lol - such things happen when we chat :D

Thank you all for reading about my cacti.

Sandra, I haven't got many of the original ones left, but some of the later ones are now quite old, and big :)

Petaltracy the next part will come soon but I need to find a photo to put in it first :o)

Junna, you will know why I like cacti so much after you read the next blog :)

11 Dec, 2015

 

Great so far....hope there are no deaths or falling off of window sills, Hywel.

11 Dec, 2015

 

Thank you Linda.
There's already been a death ... but that's the only one,
and nobody fell off any windowsills :)

11 Dec, 2015

 

I was still at school Driad, and yes that £1 seemed a lot of money to me! I've a feeling ours must have been a different store before it became Woolworths, yes all the different islands....gosh thanks Hywel, I haven't thought of it for years!

11 Dec, 2015

 

Woolworths was the in place to meet when we were teenagers, especially on a rainy Saturday afternoon, in our store there was a supervisor who was a right misery and thats putting it mildly, she used to kick us out if we weren't buying anything, all the kids took it in turns to go on the weighing machine that was just inside the swing doors, only cost a penny in old money, of course you needed your friends with you to hold the coats and bags and if there were a few of us it could take a while, she used to be spitting feathers at us because she knew we were only doing it to wind her up, as long as we were polite she couldn't get rid of us as we weren't doing anything wrong, just winding her up, lol......

11 Dec, 2015

 

My mother was a supervisor in Woolworths. She was only 4 ft 10 ins but she had a beedy eye and used to see everything people did. You wouldn't believe the stories she'd come out with about how she'd catch people thieving :D ... She could have written a book !

She never mentioned they sold cacti there.

11 Dec, 2015

 

Hywel thanks to you this has become the perfectly timed blog on nostalgia for Christmas 2015!

I am loving your cactus story and all the reminiscences of Woolworths too.

Barnstaple in the rain is not the most inviting place to be and I can see why the sight of a colourful cactus in a florist's window cheered up a rather dreary day! It was just the beginning..............

I miss Woolworths.

12 Dec, 2015

 

Am enjoying your cactus memories, Hywel, but I don't have the same feelings towards then, I'm afraid.

My father had a small market garden and one of the greenhouses was used for growing, and selling, tomatoes.

On the window ledges he used to have cacti and I had a love/hate relationship with them. It was my mother's "duty", and mine, to clear up after the tomato plants were removed. We used to wash down the windows, whitewash, where needed, and chase away the spiders. My father, born in Australia, had taught us to "fear" these so this was not a task we relished. Most of the spiders obliged by vanishing but one or two monsters put up a fight and hid under the nearest cactus pot. I used to poke the latter with a broom and of course, it used to fall over. Sometimes the pot would break; very often the cactus had to be re-planted.

My parents both loved cacti and even used to stay up all night just to see one bloom! We thought they were mad!

One Christmas cactus was huge and would grace the front of the village chapel around this time. The evacuee and I had the job of taking flowers every Sunday morning in our best pewter vase to the chapel and we found the the cactus plant really awkward. Members of the congregation kept saying. "there's lovely!" but no one offered to carry the plant back home!

We knew to avoid the spiny ones but often fell victims to the soft, "downy" ones. One brush against these and we spent the next few days searching for elusive spines.

Happy days!

12 Dec, 2015

 

Thank you WIldrose :)

Don't say anything against cacti to me Eirlys ... It makes me angry ! >O
as will become apparent in the next blog :(

May I remind you that the thorns of roses are much worse than cactus spines, as 50 years experience have taught me.

12 Dec, 2015

 

What a lovely story Hywel . I also enjoyed reading all the memories from the other Goyers. Looking forward to Part 2.

13 Dec, 2015

 

When I was younger I could grow "touchy" stuff...plants that others said were too "hard to grow"...but I could not, for the life of me, get a cactus to survive. Since moving out here to the country, and approaching my dotage, I have discovered that I now own a dozen or so Christmas cacti, an Easter one too... two varieties of Epiphyllum, a very tall Euphorbia, aloes and a thriving Ponytail palm..and they all came to me about the same time. I'm a cacti convert! the blossom of the epi is the most ethereal thing! I've often consulted your blogs and photos when needing to identify or diagnose what it is I'm doing wrong! Thanks Hywel... don't be too long about the next installment, please?

13 Dec, 2015

 

I'm with you Lori. Cacti have always been an enigma to me. I'll never forget when I visiting Scottsdale, Arizona last year for a conference. They were growing everywhere wild and free. Some looked like skycrapers - so many shapes and sizes.

13 Dec, 2015

 

Very glad, Can't wait to see the blog, Hywel :-) X

13 Dec, 2015

 

Thanks for all your comments.
Maybe you'll understand why I am so passionate about them after reading the next blog.

I hope it won't be long, but I am trying to find a photo I want to show you ... and I can't find it lol :D

13 Dec, 2015

 

Very interesting story Hywel. Lovely to reminisce. I remember Woolworths when we lived in Wimbledon. As a child I got very little pocket money but that was the one place I could find something to buy.

14 Dec, 2015

 

Thank you Linda :)

14 Dec, 2015

 

I love a story too, Hywel, & am wondering where yours will lead us.
Woolies store was something we all took for granted as being a permanent fixture in every town.
You & I are the same age & in '65 I was still at school but remember we girls all used to head to the Woolies make-up counter & try out all the testers on each other.
Next favourite counter was the music one & you could buy a record, usually a single of whatever was popular for 6/8p (less than 35p today), or a pair of nylons for 9/11p (50p)
or head to the pick'n'mix to pinch a sweetie.
It was quite a shock when all Woolies closed down in Jan 2009.

16 Dec, 2015

 

Thanks for your comment Green Finger :) I think they should bring Woolworths back ! None of the modern shops compare with it ...

18 Dec, 2015

 

Very interesting to read your blog,Hywel! I've grown a few Cacti in my time but they have never been much of an attraction for me. I had a Mammalia in Spain that just wouldn't stop multiplying! it had rings of Creamy flowers which later went on to produce fleshy red seed pots that stuck out of the plants & got knocked off when going to water other plants. I had them growing in half pots but they eventually grew over the sides of the pots making them almost impossible to move. If a spine got in your hand or fingers it would take days to get rid of it!

Like GF above I was shocked when Woolworths in town here shut down! I'd visited it almost daily when I was a boy in London. My favourite "island" was the gardening counter! Even now if we go into a big shop to do some shopping & get separated my wife says "I know where to find you if we are separated!" LOL! I also know where to find her, in the stationary dept!

22 Dec, 2015

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