Grandmother's Rocking Chair




So many days when I was young...

I remember all the trains and the long, long journeys;

Change at Bristol - come and pick me up

In the Hillman Imp with the GTX number-plate!

Liquorice root and swimming pools,

Black and white telly and corned beef hash.

Take a trip in the car to see the Flat Holmes1

And drive back home for tea.


I wish I could see my grandmother's rocking chair

With my grandmother sitting there

In the faraway home where I spent so many days as a child.

I'd do anything to be there now

If someone could show me how...

 wish I could see my grandmother's rocking chair.


Seems so long ago now...

Out with Uncle Wally - see the cricketers play!2

Cheer Tony Cordle - six out of the ground!

Slap on the hand for shouting L.B.W.!

Out with Granda' to the docks where he worked3

Then up to Fairy Castle with the pretty pink turrets,4

Buy fresh bread from the nearby bakehouse

Then drive home and eat it for tea.

Grandad's building and Morgan & Ieuan

enjoying a ride outside it.


All that's left are memories

Of that walk down the Avenue round to the sweetshop...5

Nana and Granda' are both in Heaven

Where I hope to see them again some day!

But, whenever I smell the coffee roast6

Or laverbread frying in bacon fat7

I can see a white car with Dougal on the side8

Driving back home for tea.


I wish I could see my grandmother's rocking chair

With my grandmother sitting there

In the faraway home where I spent so many days as a child.

I'd do anything to be there now

If someone could show me how...

 I wish I could see my grandmother's rocking chair.

©HarryMusic 2007


1 The Flat Holmes and the Steep Holmes are two small islands in the Bristol Channel.  One of nana's favourite places was a park on a hill in Penarth (nr. Cardiff) where you could clearly see the two islands.  It was a popular evening ride to this park where we would sit and look out over the Channel - probably with a Thayer's Ice-cream for company!

2 I first went to see Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens in June 1967 (see scorecard).  I was taken by my great-uncle Walter Brinkworth and his wife Dolly. Although just four and a half years old I remember the day vividly and it led directly to my life-long love affair with Glamorgan County Cricket Club.  I remembered a grey-haired Northants player I thought must be way to old to still be playing, their captain, Roger Prideaux who I also remembered because he had a strange name with an X in it! Another I thought must have been too young - Peter Willey (whose name made me laugh but who went on to become a good Test cricketer for England and is now an Internationally acclaimed umpire).  I played catch with Glamorgan's 12th man Lawrence Williams.  Mushtaq Mohammed, who played for N'hants I later umpired myself when, in late-career, he was club professional for County Club/Jesmond in the Northumberland League.  As for Glamorgan, Tony Cordle became an instant hero when, during his innings of 39 he hit two massive sixes right out of the ground.  I was amazed!  Later, when Northants batted and the same AE Cordle had snapped up two quick wickets the ball hit a batsman's pad; unable to contain my enthusiasm I shouted loudly "LBW!" I was surprised to receive a quick and rather hefty slap on my hand from Aunty Dolly and was reprimanded "You don't do that at the cricket!  It's not a football match!"  I wonder what Aunty Lily would have made of the Barmy Army? Tony Cordle took 9 wickets in the match but, despite his heroics, we lost the match after a dreadful 2nd Innings of 63. In 1977 during a match at Leyton v Essex I walked around the boundary with Tony - he could hardly remember the feat and lamented the fact that 'these days I can't hit a thing!'.  But the legacy of those hits has stayed with me and every summer I live, eat and breathe for Glamorgan's cricket results! 

3 Grandad Harry had had several jobs.  During the war he was a Fire-fighter and he later worked for several years as a chauffeur.  Late in his working life he was severely handicapped by very painful arthritic hips.  For the last few years of his working life he worked in the large red-building in Cardiff Docks (above) now known as the home of the Welsh Parliament.  It is also now famous 'as seen on Doctor Who' but - to us - it is and has always been Grandad's Building.  Incidentally, he later had a double hip-replacement that changed his life.  He took up swimming and bowls - both of which he did several times a week for the rest of his life.

4 Fairy Castle is properly named Castell Gogh - the red castle.  Situated in the Taff valley it has all the ingredients of a fairy-tale castle - you could place it in Disneyland  without it looking out of place! Near to the castle was a bakehouse where we would buy hot bread.

5 The row of shops round the corner from Templeton Avenue is still there.  In late 2006 I walked into the 'sweetshop' and asked politely if I could buy a Mars Bar for the same price as the last one I bought there.  The shop assistant replied, "They are 37p.  They haven't gone up for a while."  He then asked me how much I had paid and was rather bemused when I told him "4 Pence!" 1972 was a long time ago!

6 Nana never used to roast coffee so the smell is not associated directly with her house.  However, the first time I ever remember the smell of roasting coffee beans it was emanating from the 'Costa Rica' coffee shop in Cardiff City Centre.  To this day, if I ever buy freshly ground coffee it will be 'Costa Rica' rather than Colombian!  The other smell I remember from Cardiff City Centre is, of course, the yeasty, hoppy aroma from Brains Brewery.

7 Laverbread is the ultimate Welsh delicacy! It is processed seaweed - a particular type, mind you, that grows on the Gower Coast. I have lots of it in my freezer!

8 The first car I remember Grandad having was a Hillman Husky - beige coloured.  Then he bought the black Hillman Imp - because of the number-plate I always thought he ought to have got free oil from Castrol!  After the Imp was written off (Grandad had a crash) he bought a white mini.  On the door was a picture of Dougal - the dog from TV show 'The Magic Roundabout'.  People in Cardiff still remember that car - I have spoken to several people who remember the Dougal mini over the years, proudly telling them "it was my Grandad's!" He must have kept 'Dougal' for well over a decade and only changed his car a couple of months before he died - in fact he never even got to drive the new dusky orange one.

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