My 1st Job

A Memory of Arlesey

In the mid 50s my grandparents moved from Bedwas S Wales on retiring from the local colliery. He chose Arlesey and moved in next door to his sister, Olwen, on Station Rd no 21. I also had another great aunt, Beatrice, she lived over the line and down the lane and had about 200 chickens and some pigs. I loved the smell of the hot mash but didn't like searching for eggs in the field between the lane and the river. Aunty Beat was a cook in the London brick works. If it wasn't for the railway it would be possible to go down Primrose Lane to my aunt's house rather than over the bridge. There was a round shelter at the junction of Station Rd, the brick co road and Primrose Lane. I thought it was nice. My grand father got me a job as an apprentice tool maker at Sandon Engineering at the start of Station Rd. Only lasted 6 months or so - I had an accident - nearly lost my right index finger. I thought I'd never pick my guitar again. One of the men working there used to play trumpet for a famous band. He and some others kept one 6x6 inch window glass clean while all the others let very little light in, the reason being, a girl living opposite was unaware she could be seen in her bedroom - so I've been told. Going to Tech as it was called then, meant biking through 3 counties hospital grounds, mostly in freezing fog, to the Hitchen Rd. No blxxxy street lights, then on to Wallsworth House with its china door handles, a very cold and grey memory. I liked the low flat topped rear wall and low steps though and sparse shrubby trees. Hated on occasion having to push my bike because of the fog, its a long walk. We didn't seem to suffer fog back home in S Wales and the street lights went on for ever, always on. We didn't have midges either. Still, the smell of apples from the orchard behind Station Rd and the bakers was compensation, apart from the wasps. I liked the little river, it was clean. I always thought it was called the Ikle after Ikle Ford but its not is it? Our river the Rhymney (rum knee) was black with (duff) coaldust and stunk, wouldn't support life - only rats. I also had another great aunt, Mable, who lived in Stotfold. I cycled over every Saturday to visit Uncle Alf Dando, bred rabbits or coneys as a rabbit is, a baby coney (not a kitten) so we had rabbit for lunch one Sunday and a chicken the next. Some work was done and floor boards were raised and the space was packed with straw a very pistol was found in it. I was told the original name Forstation Rd was straw street because of its links with the brick works. I used to go to the flea pit, the shack like cinema opposite the old co op at the junction Station Rd, Hospital Road and the railway station. When the Peterborough express went through, the sound system went all wobbley for quite some time. Another pastime was being engulfed by steam while standing on the station bridge as a train went under. I always wanted to return to Arlesey but google earth suggests maybe not. Remembering Jellice, trip to Sar Fend and Bubbles, (Bubbles' dad was caretaker at hospital) and all the lads with scooters. I also have mems of 1st delli I ever smelled by hosp gates, the track to blue lagoon and remains rail/tram track, eating heads of corn at side of track and much more. The depression caused part of the family to move to Arlesey, I wonder what caused them to move into Bedwas and the Caerphilly basin over 350 years back.

A memory shared by Rhys Jenkins , on Aug 3rd, 2013.

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