Growing up in the Lower Swansea Valley
Memoirs of a naughty boy in the 50s and 60s
Author: Jim Young (Editor-in-chief, Glycosmedia)
Published by Amazon
Kindle edition < LINK >
Paperback edition < LINK >
I wrote this book because …
Every boy and girl has fond memories of the playgrounds of their childhood, and for me Pentrechwyth in the Lower Swansea Valley was close to my heart. But I had a tingling inkling that it was indeed a special place. Seeing photographs in museums of the “terrible” dereliction that held visitors in a grimace of distaste, I wanted to shout out “no you don’t understand! – that’s my playground – these scenes are full of happy memories for me”. Beauty is undoubtedly in the eye of the beholder.
The sweat of the men who worked in the spelters, and in the copperworks was fossilised in the black slag of the tips that have now disappeared, and with them went the memories that were the foundations of my childhood. I had a longing to condense the swirling mists of time, the jewels in the cobwebs of my past and set them free again in the glorious playground of words. Words that would forever burn with the iridescence of a boy riding the gyroscope of life.
That is why I took up my pen – or more accurately my iPad – to start on a journey way, way back into the daring-do days of a naughty boy in the 1950s and 60s
Now that I have grandchildren who are far away from my background – both in time and geographical location – I wanted to set down a record of my childhood. My two boys were also unaware of where I came from.
But I wanted to do more than set down a simple description of the environment of my childhood, or dumbly relate events. As the words were laid down they were crafted to stimulate emotions in my readers that would match the feelings from the past that I remember so well. Words that I hoped would place the reader alongside me in those salad days.
Whether it was Helter Skelter fun, dark mischief, the sweet tears of childhood, or an emerging feeling of my place in time. I found the words, or maybe the words found me, and they were unstoppable. The book provided an opportunity to weave words, and those words are a magic carpet time machine that will take the reader back with me to where childhood ruled supreme.
“Shock, horror and a smelling-salted swooning from a gossip of elderly ladies pours from the shop”
“Then … Push it into the river and the splash went even higher. Do it again, do it again!”
“In slow motion I surfed the huge clod for two “life passed before my eyes” seconds to slurry to a stop in the stream which promptly filled my wellies with mud”
“My cousin choked on an ear-shattering paroxysm of auditory retching and a munificent mime of pointing at his throat and bucko bronking convulsions of his rubber neck. Out shot the renegade beetle whose colour almost matched the purple of my cousin’s face”
“But we boys enthused and transfused the halted who were embalmed in slag, with an irrepressible vibrancy that knew no bounds. Our play was a séance with the land that tingled across the fibers of our sensations and opened our minds to every excitement”
“Then crash! It hit the ground and every leaf and dusty twig swarmed up and into our hair. There! It’s done and we are done – Oh what have you done!? You naughty, naughty, boys! “
“Mums and dads, baths in front of warm fires, dreams in cold beds, village people – currants in the rock cakes of hard times”
‘To the aphorism “Give me the child and I will give you the man”. I would reply “Given the man I have returned the child”.’
If you enjoy words then I am sure you will enjoy my book.