Ty Coch – Welsh for the Red House was in the northern Rhuiwddolion hills of Wales and if you climbed the bluff behind the house you could peep over the top and see Mount Snowdon in the distance, like a huge bowler hat and like as not shrouded in cloud. In another direction was Lake Elsie famous for wild salmon.

He was a Mason by trade,
But fearful he was made
By his survival of the first world war.
The second took his son to floor

His hopes for a peaceful nation,
But he had made some preparation:
Cans and jars were stored in a way
High in the hills and far away.

As far away as he could safely go
Away from his country’s deadly foe.
He and the farmer, both in the know,
Knew the secret path, which way to go.

His security was made of stone
An ancient cottage hidden and alone,
With tiny stream running close by
He watched the trout rise for a fly.

In time across the stream he built a dam
To make a pool where we all swam.
With a well nearby for drinking,
The farmer gave us wood for cooking.

I watched Grandma punch her homemade bread.
With the mason they slept together on a feather bed.
Our choice, a mattress in the loft or ottoman, camp bed,
Unfolding sofa bed or pair of iron bedsteads!

How we all fitted in that tiny cottage I will never know
But many is the happy holiday we all enjoyed I do know.
All ages gathered once or twice a year, all generations
Living the simple life, all pitching in, friends and relations.


Family logging

With chickens, cows and sheep on the heights
Summer holidays here were sheer delights.
The farm provided butter, eggs, milk and meat
With fresh vegetables in the season, plenty to eat.

Far away from any madding crowd
The scent of the oaks in mossy shrouds
The smell of paraffin stove and lamps at night
And the candle to take us to bed was just right.

Pastures where the animals graze
Fruits of the field: mushrooms became a craze
Pickled in a hot vinegar and pepper sorcery
I relished this wild and wonderful delicacy.

We cannot go back in time, but if we could
We would go there again through the oak woods,
To return once again to that simple way of life
Just to back away from this frantic way of strife.

For this was my idyll in those summers of long ago
He gave me my first taste of the Shamanic way to go.
The mason who hid us from Hitler, my Grandfather Bill
Whom I, with the greatest affection, remember still.
© David Tenneson 2014.

Me in my element circa 1948 – The axe man cometh!


About David

Devonian writer
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