STORY CIRCLE | THE STORIES

Nature

Nature During Lockdown Days by Diana Wee

During the lockdown days, the whole country seemed very quiet and calm for the first time in decades. The air is fresher with less pollution, the leaves of trees are greener, the carpets of shinning green grass are alive with rainbow varieties of wild flowers in bloom. Birds are flying freely darting to and flow enjoying the peacefulness and clean air. Birds are a plentiful here, especially when it’s their feeding time, there is also a lonely fox browsing around at ease enjoying the freedom. In the morning when I open the windows I feel the luxuriously clean fresh air which has improved my health greatly, am more relaxed, have a clearer mind and feel more active on those days. These are the joys of lockdown days.

The Things I Noticed When The Lockdown Began by Penny Savage

Bark on the oldest trees in Kennington Park
The wild flowers in Burgess Park
The smell of the sea on the wind as the tide comes in on the Thames
The tadpoles in the pond in Myatt’s Field
The smell of the earth when I’m repotting my plants
Parakeets in the tree outside my window whilst dancing indoors
The clean air
The Silence
The sounds of birds even above the radio playing in the kitchen.
The lone robin in Van Gogh Walk

Lockdown Covid-19 by Sheila Brett-Fallon

No noise in the sky. Sounds of nature much more clear. Dogs barking. Breeze in the trees. children crying, playing, laughter. Music in the distance. Colours more vibrant in flower pots and gardens. A feeling of calm and peace.

Nature by Monica Gordon

Green looks greener
Red roses are missed
Longing for the flowers to bloom
The time pasting by very fast
Afraid not to see the flowers, for a long time
But we know its nature, it will return
Foxes are not prominent, scarce is a dangerous word.

Nature in Lockdown by Lucia Daniels

Changing times
Dark clouds – scudding whites
Hot blue skies
Brockwell Park lakes
Alive with water fowl
Swans on nest
And foxes in the rushes
Lurking at dusk
I’m hearing the birds rejoice in spring,
Smelling wet grass in clean air
Flowers rioting, yellow, purple, red and pink
Here, in Brixton’s back yard

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Parakeet by Penny Savage

I am the parakeet in the cherry tree,
Bright of colour,
Sleek to look at.
Flying over the London streets
Then visiting kin when this is over
Crying Free, Free, Free.

Jennie Wren by Sue Evangelou

My name is Jennie, Jennie Wren,
You might say I’m tiny but I think I’m tall,
My song is the loudest and longest of all.
When I swell out my chest and begin to sing
the other birds quieten or take to the wing.
My tail is set jaunty, my bill long and thin,
I like eating insects and must always keep slim
to squeeze through a crevice for a morsel to eat.
A soft juicy grub is my idea of a treat.
My mottled brown hue helps me blend in and hide
until I start singing and then I’ll say with some pride,
My name is Jennie, Jennie Wren.

Seagull by Sheila Brett-Fallon

I would be a Seagull
Fly over land and sea
Follow boats and ships; dive and dip in the water
Other birds would envy me
I could soar above the farmyard or walk proudly on the green
I guess I am a showoff who likes to be seen
I have a varied diet so I’m never short of fare
I would not steal from your garden, you know I wouldn’t dare.

The Eagle by Monica Gordon

To be known in the bird kingdom
To fly to the highest mountain
To be admired.
What a strong bird.
I would like to be an eagle, fly low, fly high
The wings are more powerful than most
The beak is danger
The claws can hold many things.

Brown Bullet by Lucia Daniels

Small,
So quick,
I’m gone
Just as you catch me
From the corner of your eye
Brown bullet
Skimming through the greenery
Fly fast, then stop
Tail like a mast
Trilling my tune of territory
A brazen song,
So much bigger than me

Stories Hidden Inside Objects

Past and Present Comforts by Sue Evangelou

My threadbare Teddy with button eyes,
Mum’s medical book that made me feel wise.
Writing a letter with my Waterman pen,
My T barred shoes, so fashionable then.
Great Aunt Eva’s three pearled ring,
Snowdrops appearing, gently heralding Spring.
The little brass purse I bought with my Dad,
My sea glass collection, a beach combing fad.
Granny’s carved oak table that she asked Mum to save
To remember the soldier in a far away grave.
Old lace that I wore when it wasn’t the fashion,
Hall Thorpe woodblock prints, another great passion.
The book I was given as a prize for History,
How I pulled that one off was always a mystery.
These are some of the objects from present and past,
That surround me with comfort and long may that last.

The Jug and Basin by Sheila Brett-Fallon

The water jug and basin mother used to bathe my injured foot. Made my discomfort easy to endure. I let the jug fall into the basin and broke the basin. Mother glued it together but it looked spoiled. The purpose made table with a hole for the basin to sit into was a beautiful dark wood. Mother kept it clean and polished. It was her pride and joy object in the guest bedroom. I still feel guilty and sad when I remember breaking the basin. I know mother forgave me but I also know mother was upset when it got broken.

Mother bought the jug and basin at auction. In those days most precious objects were bought at auction. Wealthy estates and large houses held auctions. All big houses and estates would own a fancy water jug and basin. Small holdings and family homes would not possess such a beautiful thing. It might be deemed unnecessary. To possess such an item gave a feeling of luxury in a country cottage. I would like to know its origin. Who made it?. Who glazed it?. Who painted the pheasant on it? It might be worth a fortune now on ‘Flog it’!

The Smallest Object by Penny Savage

A gift from my husband, made of silver in the shape of a brooch depicting an elegant art deco dog and lady walker. A delicate and now fragile piece precious to me because I saw it whilst we were on holiday in Penzance doing what we enjoyed most, relaxing in a cottage by the sea. When window shopping I saw the brooch in the window of a second hand jewellery shop. Much to my delight it was given to me for my next birthday as a lovely surprise. Every time I wear it I find people commenting on it. It lives in a box with other silver necklaces also given to me by my late husband Joe. So it has very happy memories for me and I take care over it making sure it doesn’t tarnish. I wonder who wore it before me.

Regency Flat-pack by Lucia Daniels

Regency flat-pack
Transported by sea
Oriental glamour
Owned by glitterati
Made in exotic China
Ikea’s ancestor?

My Singapore Treasures by Diana Wee

Whenever I’m in Singapore I like to bring home some delicate ornaments, there is a fragile looking Chinese teapot with two little matching cups, a small slow electric cooking pot from my mother-in-law, my jade necklace with earrings to match, and last of all my precious Pink Quartz Necklace.

During my younger days in Singapore, I often go window shopping with my parents. On this particular occasion we were in the Queenstown area, with a big shopping complex. We entered this big shop, known as “Chinese Emporium”. This Emporium sells all goods made in China. There are women’s things from hair combs to wigs to clothes, coats, trousers and shoes. In the men’s department there’s all the things a man requires, then there’s children’s clothing for boys and girls. A department with all the kitchen utensils, including dried and preserved fruits. Next we came to a medical shop with rows and rows of little drawers from the floor of the room right up to the ceiling, each containing different types of Chinese medical herbs, there is also an in-house Chinese doctor, in service. The doctor will see patients and prescribe medical herbs appropriately. Some patients need instant medication, so the medical herbs are being boiled in the kitchenette while the patient sits to wait or come back in an hour. Then comes the beauty and jewellery shop, as we wondered around the jewellery department, this pink necklace caught my eye, the price was rather steep, so I said to my dad, “I like that necklace.” He said, “Then buy it, money is for spending.” I paid what I’ve got, and my dad paid the balance of the price. That was about 35 years ago, I had the necklace re-stringed in London and was told it’s some very unusual pink Quartz. I love my necklace so much, it also remind me of my happy days with my parents, I wore the necklace on my wedding day as a centre piece of jewellery. My daughter Cecilia, knows that she will be the next owner.

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A-Z of ‘ings’ by Lucia Daniels

Anthony’s decorated tray
For memorizing
A brass lamp for lighting
The cabinet of oddities
rich for exploring
Dad’s palette for painting
Granny’s mixing bowl for baking
Mum’s sewing box for creating
Teddy for cuddling
Uncle’s coffee cup for morning
Now Z for bed and snoring

So Many Memories by Penny Savage

That rag doll called Pat Tar (I wonder why?)
My Mother’s favourite plates sitting proudly on her Welsh Dresser
The painting of Jemima Puddleduck by my husband
My silver christening egg cup reminding me of my softly spoken, gentle god mother.
The surprise brooch elegantly portraying the twenty’s art deco dog and lady.
I mustn’t forget the American money box with the ugly face given to me by my dear friend no longer with us. It has an ugly clown face but I keep it because it reminds me of my friend.

An Imaginary Life of the Brooch by Penny Savage

My brooch was made in a jewellery workshop in the silver vaults in London. No doubt made by a craftsman making his living with others but alone with his fine instruments, a sawdust floor, a kettle in the corner and a strong light to make sure the beautiful workmanship is perfect. When complete it was sold to a rather posh shop in Knightsbridge where it was bought by Lady So and So. She wore it on the collar of her black velvet opera coat, much admired by her aristocratic friends. Later on after she died with her estate rather depleted there was no one to claim the brooch. It was sold again and again until eventually it arrived in Penzance seventy years later where I espied it.

Chinese Cabinet By Lucia Daniels

Bought in an dusty junk shop
Black and gold chinoiserie.
Granny’s exotic cabinet
From across the China Sea
Musty family talismans
Found in nooks and drawers
A collection of life’s flotsam
Kirby grips and lucky paw
Plus a tiny baby Jesus
Asleep in a walnut shell
Battered but treasured in my home
Rests the cabinet once again
Explored by the prying fingers
Of curious grandchildren
They search it for its secrets
Pokemon, or laughing Buddha
While I turn a blind eye
And wonder about our future

The Little Brass Purse by Sue Evangelou

I found it in a dark corner of a second hand shop on a back street in Nottingham that Dad and I had gone into on a treasure hunt. I was five years old and my pocket money was burning a hole in the pocket of my navy blue gaberdine mac that was also second hand. It has been my sister’s before me. While Dad chatted to the owner of the shop about the weather, the shortages, the rationing, I set off on my hunt. It wasn’t long before I spotted something shiny in a box full of interesting things under a table. It sometimes pays to be little. Someone taller would have missed it.

It was an egg, a golden egg. I wanted to show it to Dad but he was still talking and losing valuable hunting time. The egg had a small chain to hold it by and a clasp. I tried the clasp. What was going to be inside? Surely something really special would be in a golden egg? No, as it opened into two halves it was completely empty. What a disappointment. My stubby fingers ran over the surface of the egg. It was not smooth and when I took it to where there was a better light, I could see it was covered with magical symbols, birds, beetles, snakes, wavy lines. eyes, sheaths of corn, palm trees and more. I knew then that it was a very special purse. I must have it. It was going to give me magical powers. I was pleased I had enough money for it. I counted the copper pennies into the man’s outstretched hand. Six, six whole pennies but it was worth it.

I didn’t develop magical powers but I loved my little brass purse and when Dad polished his copper jugs I polished my egg. Later I learnt that the symbols were in fact hieroglyphics and much much later I found out that the purse would originally have been lined with velvet with an indentation to hold a thimble. It is interesting that, as well as a life led searching for treasures, I have sewn from a very young age. So perhaps the little brass purse did have some magical powers after all.

A Sense of Place

Joys and Memories by Sheila Brett-Fallon

The morning sun on my Patio.
Inviting me out with coffee
To wonder at my plants, flowers, veg and herbs.
To plan, think, dream about what today might bring my way
When I sit and look at my pictures and prints I go again to where I found them
And marvel at the places I have been and seen
Grateful lucky me.

My Road, My Neighbourhood by Penny Savage

Hackford Road is a tree lined street made up of late Victorian houses and flats. The posh end has some lovely Georgian houses, one of which has a blue plaque commemorating the artist Van Gogh who lived there for one year. I used to know the lady who lived in this house and called her Mrs Van Gogh. She had a tortoise in her garden who was probably older than she was. I wonder what happened to it after she had to leave to live with her son. There are two primary schools at either end of the road and a Type Museum. Whenever I have to get a black cab home I always mentioned the museum and was reassured that the cabbie had done his training if he or she knew where it was. One of the schools is now called Van Gogh Primary and the other is Reay Primary where I worked for twenty years – no commute for me. I have lovely reminders of the children who sometimes come up to me on the street or the bus and say ‘hello miss’. Occasionally a six foot young man will say ‘did you work at Reay’ and I would often have to ask his name which I would remember but not recognise his face with beard and moustache! We have a communal garden which used to be a dark and dismal street which no one cared to walk down at night. Now it is transformed to Van Gogh Walk where there are Olive Trees, places to sit, some play things for children and a basket ball net. Sunday afternoons we go out and tend the plots, weeding and planting to make it all look pretty. Our nearest shops contain a greengrocers – rare indeed and a DIY shop where they know my name – even rarer. An Italian baker serving delicious bread and cakes, restaurants from around the world, pizzas, chicken shops, Japanese noodles, West Indian, a French wine bar and a newly opened Lebanese, yet to be tasted. Hemmed in by two major roads means that there is plenty of transport for me to use my Freedom pass to go anywhere I like.

My Local Area by Sheila Brett-Fallon

Windmill Park. A working Windmill restored with lottery grant. Traditionally worked by prisoners from Brixton Prison. Now a tourist attraction. The Windmill Pub – listed in ‘Time Out’ as a place to visit. The first Theatre in South London on Brixton Hill. The architectural design is recognizable. Now a Gospel Hall. St Saviour’s Church – often used by film crews.

The Post Office who stock everything one might need on a daily basis and keep prices reasonable. Blenheim Gardens, St Saviours Road, and Lambert Road have beautiful Victorian properties which are well kept by their owners.

First Odyssey by Lucia Daniels

From plane to prickly heat
A rattling bus and bumpy road
Looping round the Greek hills
With groves of olive, lemon and vines
Tall Cyprus trees spearing the horizon,
Pointing us to a remote coast
The summer I turned ten.
Heat exploding over pallid skin
Dazzling sunlight blinding London eyes
And then the sea!
A cool balm after our epic journey

Memories of Beautiful Places by Penny Savage

My favourite county in England is Dorset. I’ve been fortunate to have a friend living in Swanage so have visited countless times with my late husband, my daughter, my sister and other friends. It is beautiful in all weathers and I especially like the town and beach in winter when visitors are few and far between. The bus journey from Swanage to Wareham must be the prettiest Freedom Pass journey in the whole of England, taking the back roads, soaring over the hills, through villages and looking out to sea, even catching a glimpse of the Isle of Wight on a clear day. Looking out for the famous Corfe Castle. Bluebells in the spring time. I can’t wait to visit my friend who moved in to a new house just before lockdown. With it the view of the steam railway from her back garden.

My Grandmothers Garden By Sheila Brett-Fallon

Looking back I remember my grandmother’s garden with joy and sorrow. A beautiful Orchard garden with Apple trees, Blackberries. Blackcurrants, Gooseberries. Redcurrants. All fruits for cooking and jam making. My brother and I would help pick the fruit but we didn’t always enjoy doing that. It was work. Our fingers would be purple up to our knuckles. Granny would bring a picnic of warm freshly baked bread covered with jam which we enjoyed greatly. We would sit by the stream at the end of the garden to eat it. I guess she knew it would encourage us to keep picking and harvesting to have a supply of jam. It was a peaceful place but not without dangers. We had to be cautious of wasps, bugs and stinging nettles which grew in abundance on the orchard floor.

Los Iros Bay by Earline Hilda Castillo-Binger

Los Iros Bay in Trinidad and Tobago (TT) is my favourite beach as I can still see my family, parents, as I spent special time with my siblings, father, mother and later friends, as a teenager and later in adult life.

The sandy beach line with spots of rocks, the waves lashing into the shores. I am in the water swimming and diving against the bid breakers/waves, feeling free, happy with the sun/rain on my face and enjoying the freedom of just going with the flow..

Later, trips back to TT brings back sweet memories of yesterday and now longing to dip my toes and picnic on the shores and recall the times that we all swam there. I hold these memories in my mind and heart of when I will go again.

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My House by Sue Evangelou

When I was three and a bit, we moved a long way from the farm where we had lived with Uncle Bob and Uncle Peter and Granny to a house on a hill that was surrounded by pine trees, silver birches and rhododendron bushes. Red squirrels lived in the pines.

My brother and sister were bigger than me and they went to the village school each day. Dad left early to go to work in the Potteries and only came home very late. So that left Mum and I and Sally, the golden cocker spaniel. After a breakfast of Farex, Mum wrapped me in lots of layers and gently pushed me out of the back door. She had jobs to do. I didn’t mind. I had jobs to do too. For I had my house to take care of. Each day I brushed the ground clean with a handy twig and divided my square house into rooms. A pine needle bed, a pine cone stove, acorn cups and leaf plates. I bordered my house with little stones. I had to make sure that there was a gap for the front door. Otherwise how would Mr. Rahry get in and out. Mr. Rahry was my husband. He was an extremely busy man. He set off early each morning to drive his lorry. The back of his lorry was piled high with the most wonderful jewels, all the colours of a rainbow. They sparkled and glistened as he drove along. When he needed a break he came home and I would tell him a story or sing him a song. He sometimes had a Marmite sandwich as this was his favourite meal. He had to be careful about what he ate because he had a duodenal ulcer like my Dad. It must have been caused by worrying about all those jewels. I was also very busy. A house doesn’t run itself you know. That is, I was busy until Mum called me and it was time to become a child again and have a Marmite sandwich of my own and hear Listen with Mother on the radio.

Duneill River Bridge – Growing Up by Sheila Brett-Fallon

My brother and I would make paper boats to float under the bridge. Put them in the water one side and run to the other side of the bridge to see who would win. When the paper boats were carried away down the river we would use large leaves with a small pebble to keep them afloat. There were so many delights to observe around and under that bridge. Fish jumping making waves. Smells of the water from the mountains. Perfume of the wild flowers and plants growing undisturbed. The taste of watercress and wild berries. We knew which ones were safe to eat. Happy memories of growing up in the country.

The Place Where I Grew Up by Penny Savage

Shirehampton is a village suburb on the outskirts of Bristol where I lived from the age of five with my parents, sister and brother. A safe childhood where we could roam all day and come back home in time for tea. From my bedroom window I could look over rooftops to the river Avon and beyond to the countryside. The primary school was across the road but would take my friend and me hours to walk home as we always had so much to do and say. She lived in the next street and we are still friends today after nearly seventy years, such a precious friendship. My front garden had a fuschia in the corner whose flowers I used to make in to ballerinas and a hydrangea bush with pale pink flora. My cat used to hear me coming home and come out to greet me. The back garden was lawned, with flowers down one side where Dad grew Crysanthamums and Mum grew roses. One of my favourite places was the library which I could walk to on my own. The smell of the books, the silence was very comforting. The children’s section was upstairs and I was always wanting to look at the shelves downstairs which of course I eventually was able to do. In summer the river used to pong when the tide was out with brown water and mud which I was very frightened of when crossing by ferry to a village called Pill. The slipway was slippery with shiny mud. A happy childhood where my place in the family was the youngest, my twin brother who always boasted (and still does) that he was the elder of us two. And my lovely older sister who used to play with us when we were small, make us do all sorts of theatrical scenes and dances. We both played the violin whilst my brother was learning the piano. What a row we must have made! Lucky me to still be able to have good times with my sister, holidays, concerts and galleries to see. And close ties with my brother and his family too.

Sunday with Granny Back in 1958 by Lucia Daniels

Getting to Granny’s meant catching a train from sooty Vauxhall to Kingston and beyond by tram, past leafy suburbs and the Thames. Then up the stairs to her flat, drawn by the smell of roast Sunday lunch, eaten at the round table on the landing, lit by the skylight.

Beyond, lay many adventures – the kitchen to help stir Xmas puds, the sitting room with the Chinese cabinet, her bedroom full of potions, powders and books. The spare room with its twin beds to jump on (in secret). Then after lunch, to Bushey Park where, my father said, lurked crocodiles among the giant gunnera leaves by the lake. Monsters to four-year-old me. When I was five, she died and with that life changed. I started school and, safe from the crocs, got swallowed up by London life.

My Home This Spring by Lucia Daniels

My tranquil home, a shell to curl in
Had a carnival come visit in chilly March
The sitting room was decked with bunting
To celebrate my anniversary
Which still dances across the room, to this day
A never ending loop
Which sashays above the sofa and the table
Competing with the troupe of geraniums
now basking on the sunny patio.
Somewhere in this cavalcade hides my black bank card,
Frustrating reproach on another busy day, doing lockdown time

Time Travellers

Letter Grandad Might Have Sent Me, 23rd February 1945 by Sue Evangelou

Dear Susan Jane,

When you are older your Mother will show you the photo. It’s a sepia print and the size of a postcard. We all, myself, your Grandmother, your Aunt Dolly, your Uncles Billy, Bob, Pat and Peter and your Mother, little Violet, are looking quite solemn. For it was taken in 1916 and I had been volunteered by the other doctors in Mansfield to fill the post of Medical Officer for two newly formed Tunnelling Companies of Mansfield miners. What a grand bunch of lads they were. I was proud to serve with them.

But, I am getting a little ahead of myself. Your Grandmother was furious when she found out I was going to France. I was in my 46th year with a wife and six surviving children aged between 16 and 5 years, all relying on me to provide for them. The photo could have been the last of us together but I lived to tell the tale until a few short weeks before your birth today.

I won’t tell you about the sights I saw, it was said to be a war to end all wars. Yet here we are as I write in the midst of another war. It seems like the tide is turning now and my wish for you is a lifetime of peace.

Ironically, I was better able to look after my family whilst I was serving. For the first time I was getting a regular salary. During our early years of marriage, I afraid I was very reluctant to charge those who I knew could ill afford to pay for my services. Unfortunately, this meant that your Grandmother had to take turns bestowing her custom on the shops of Mansfield in order to spread her credit. It was only when I had been called upon to attend richer patients, whom I had no qualms in charging, that the money came in for your Grandmother to settle the bills. There has been talk of a system where no-one has to pay to see a doctor. Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing? I hope you live to see that happen.

Whilst I was still in France, even though the war had ended, your Mother, like so many, contracted Spanish Flu. I felt helpless. We had already lost Maynard when he was six and Philip when he was just a few days old. I am sure that your Grandmother will tell you when you are older that you were born on the very same day and month as Maynard. I have a feeling that your Grandmother will love you all the more for it.

Where was I? Yes, I was telling you about your Mother catching flu. Even though she was a skinny little thing, she survived and I sent money for her to have a little jug of cream each day whilst she stayed with two of your Great Aunts by the sea to recuperate. Your mother still likes cream to this day and you may find she has the habit of skimming off the top of a bottle of milk and I say good luck to her. She’s a hard worker and will be a wonderful mother to you as my Lizzie was to our children.

I wish you a life where you never forget those less fortunate than yourself and realise that money isn’t everything though I am not sure that your Grandmother would agree. Please don’t forget those who sacrificed their lives on our behalf.

By the way I am sorry I didn’t ever manage to invent a device for perpetual motion even though I spent many long hours in my surgery trying to do so. Remember it is the trying that counts. Never give up. Life is full of challenges. Embrace them and learn from them.

William Henry Gray,

Your Grandfather.

Letter From The Past by Lucia Daniels

Dear Lucia,

As the youngest of my 34 great grandchildren, I wonder what world you inhabit 150 years on from when I set out to sea. I travelled far in search of I don’t know what, facing dangers, dramas and dare-devil exploits. But eventually I returned home to Birmingham where I settled and started our large family. I loved to tell stories from my life and adventures and I look forward to hearing your stories too, now you are writing.

Your affectionate, ever curious, Great Grandfather George Mackey

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Letter From My Grandfather 1954, Co. Sligo. Ireland by Sheila Brett-Fallon

Dear Sheila

I write to tell you a bit about my life.

I was born on this farm, the oldest of four children. I went to USA when I was 19yrs old.

My cousin had a taxi business, established in New York, and trained me to work for him. I was happy there and enjoyed my work. In 1899 my father became ill and asked me to return. Being the oldest son, I inherited the farm. It was a difficult decision to stay here, farming, and leave my life in New York behind.

Soon I met Celia, your Grandmother, and married in the village chapel. I know I made the best decision and have no regrets.

Best wishes,

Grandfather James

A Letter From My Mother To Her Unborn Children by Penny Savage

You might like to hear about my family and why I might choose to bring my children up in the way I do. I was given up to a foster family aged four, not knowing my father but having intermittent contact with my mother up until the age of fourteen. We lived in a cottage near the Gower on the Tradegar Estate with my foster mother and her father and another foster child. I will not name my foster mother as she was never a proper mother to us. We had plenty of food to eat with chickens and a pig that was slaughtered for bacon and pork. I always say you can eat all parts of a pig except the squeal. Sometimes I was sent to the nearest village to get bread and paraffin for the lamps. At the age of fourteen my real mother arranged to send me to work at the local TB hospital at Cefn Mably, but becoming ill the matron soon found out my age and I had to leave. After that I worked as a maid in a big house in Cardiff only having one day off a month after working such long days it was exhausting. Happily I met your Dad there and he was the chauffeur. Sounds romantic doesn’t it but he was sacked after he went to his Mother’s funeral. I left then as well and went to work with a family of architects who treated me beautifully and even hosted our wedding at their house. So I will never get you to clean or tidy and I will never scold or punish you if you break anything by accident. I will make sure you are protected and loved by your Mummy and Daddy.

My Family Story by Audrey Nicola

My mother and father came from Cyprus. Her mother and father had 16 children, they lived in a village in Cyprus called Yialousa. Her parents were poor, the only income they had was from their home where they all lived and worked from a young age, which was a farm. They had chickens and cows and goats, so there food came from the farm. They also have the olive trees so they had olives and the olive oil. They also had tobacco trees which they had to pick in the hot climate. Her brothers and sisters and herself had to work hard with their mum and dad. They had no education in those days, but their earnings was their food. But they all loved each other and cared for each other. Their mum would bake the bread which she made herself, and it was cooked in the stone oven, which is still there today. Their water was outside – you had to pull a lever down to collect your water, and that also still exists today. I went to stay in the village 35 years ago and it was amazing. I went with my sister. We had a fabulous time and the Mediterranean diet in one we are still on!

The Past by Sheila Brett-Fallon

The past is the past for a reason
The past is over and gone
History flowing through my thoughts
We cannot change the past no matter how hard we try or cry
Live for today
Look forward to tomorrow