Swinging Bridge - a Memory of Merthyr Mawr.

What a 'Swinging Bridge' it was at Merthyr Mawr back in the 1050s! I don't know when it was changed to a 'solid' bridge, but how it ever survived the rough handling that we 'Cottage Homes Boys' gave it every year...Well! Amazing!
We would walk down the lanes from the 'Homes', past 'Island Farm' POW Camp, then on past 'Bluebell Woods', and 'Primrose Woods' (if there were girls with us, we'd detour into the woods, quite innocent really!), then on again past all those beautiful conker trees (which we scrumped every year), the tennis club, and then to the village.
Does anyone remember the very big 'Punching Tree''? We used to get all the younger boys to punch it, to show them that it was indeed possible to hit it hard without hurting your hands! It was in front of that big house on the main road, or was it the Church? The tree still had a patch of missing bark, the last time I saw it!
OK, now onto the Bridge! We would pack as many boys as possible onto it, and swing in unison, side to side, until the restraining hawser twanged to a point that frightened us to death, then stopped. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I believe that there was a time that a restraining hawser was not used! But that might be wishful thinking!
We didn't finish there! Oh no, we still had the 'Stepping Stones' to go! Quite a few duckings were had there, I can tell you! And I have known us to take any 'New Boys' across the stones, at a point where the tide was fast approaching 'Top Tide', then run back over to Merthyr Mawr side and throw stones at them, until they could only go back to Bridgend, the long way round. We still had two options left! Back to Merthyr Mawr, and on to the sandhills, or else join the other boys on the 'wrong side' and go on to Ogmore by Sea, and see what mischief we could get up to there!
I tell people who express pity about us 'Cottage Homes Kids' that we had a whale of a time! If I had my life over again, I wouldn't change a day. I've been meaning to write a book about it all, but names might have to be changed etc, and that complicates thing no end! The flow would be different, and I'm 70 this year, so it probably won't happen. Shame, but I've still got a few stories to tell about 'us lot', so 'Watch this space'.
Anybody interested in this subject? Make contact with:- thisisterry@fsmail.net

A memory shared by Terry Evans on Feb 24th, 2010. Send Terry Evans a message

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