Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Leaving The Cup And Saucer Tree

April 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Prose

In the middle of all this enjoyable childhood, sudden disaster. My father lost his job on the estate and of course, no job, no house. A move followed and, although it was only about four miles to the adjoining village of Trefeglwys, it seemed another world. The house itself was a station house, Pwll Glas Station’, about a mile out of the village The railway line ran in front of the house. There was a big yard, a railway siding with trucks and wagons, and as there were only two trains a week, there were lots of places to explore in safety.

Monday morning in the new school brought the first shock. The children naturally all spoke Welsh, but when they realised that we only spoke English they did their best to involve us, but inevitably in the excitement of the playground they would revert to their first language. I was Welsh and very proud of being so. Why on earth was I not taught Welsh in school? The old prejudices of past ages lingered on, one village school disregarded the Welsh language, another, just four miles away, was strongly in favour.

The children, the local farmers and the people I came into contact with were perfectly friendly. However there was one difficulty – the Headmaster, who resented me, decided that I was a corrupting influence on his school and caned me whenever he could find the slightest fault. Not just caning; he would punch, slap and shake, muttering in Welsh, red in the face, completely losing his temper. It was then that I learned how to use the ‘Cup and Saucer’ safety area. In my mind I would climb the tree, then absolute peace, blotting out all pain, untouchable, look the bigot straight in the eye, and dare him to do his worst. He would never make me cry. I was safe. Thus the complete trust in the tree was established, and would be used constantly in War, and peace.

The pity of all this was the fact that I desperately wanted to learn to speak my native tongue. He simply beat it all out of me! Such a shame, especially as he had a very pretty daughter attending the school. I would have been very pleased to have been in her circle of friends.

Fortunately this episode did not last long. The unhappiness was noticed, and a return to my village of Caersws, and my old school reattended.

Although no longer living near the ‘Cup and Saucer’, it was easy to jog the couple of miles, climb the tree, and spend some hours of complete bills, marred only by the absence of that great gentle giant the stallion, sold on to pastures new.

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