Friday, May 23, 2008

Barbara Paines 1952-53

(from left to right) Jean Griffiths, Barbara Paines and Jean Shakeshaft in the grounds of Craig-y-nos Castle

I can remember meeting Norman Wisdom, he came into the hospital with Ann Morris’ father.
Norman Wisdom was telling us how to escape from the hospital by tying the sheet together and getting over the wall.

On the Christmas we had a pantomime with Harry Secombe and afterwards he came on to the wards to see the ones who couldn't go down to watch and he was really funny.

One night inside Ward 2 a few of us were messing around after lights out, I was by Rose Ryan's bed when we heard someone coming. So I got into Rose's bed when I heard it was matron, I was so frightened I wet in her bed.

They were changing her bed in the morning and she got into trouble. But she didn't say it was me because we would have all been in for it.

I can remember the time that Dr Huppert was stuck in the lift and Sister Morgan saying: “A shilling to look” .
Quite often when we heard Dr Huppert in the lift upstairs we would open our lift door so that she couldn't do go down.

Then there was the Coronation and we all sat around a small black and white television to watch. After it had finished we all received a certificate and a small mug and a coin that I still have. I also still have a book given me called “The Little Men.”

Once you were on so many hours a day you were allowed into the grounds more, you had to make sure you had your meals. We used to go for walks down to the lake and a have a bit of fun on the boats.

When I was out on the balcony my bed was right by the locker where the school bags were kept, so I had the job of handing them out to the other girls. They were green bags with ties on and also your name. One day I was doing my work and I could hear a lot of bees buzzing above me, so I started shouting.

Miss White came to my bed and told me not to be so stupid and sent me into the corridor, until I could behave myself.

That night I put all the bags back into the cupboard but I placed them all to the front, so that when I was told to get the bags out they fell to the floor Miss White was shouting at me to pick them up, so as I did I started throwing them off the balcony. I think three of us were sent downstairs to retrieve them

Another time I remember tipping water over the balcony, while Miss White was downstairs. She must have been leaning on the balcony as she got all wet.

The following morning she came on to the ward shouting “whose the one throwing water off the balcony?” nobody answered her.

High jinx on the balcony: Jean Shakeshaft(left) and Barbara Paines

I didn't have many clothes as I had been in bed for over a year at home, so one of the girls altered a pleated skirt to fit and then I ended up with a little wardrobe so that I could go out with all the girls.

Whilst going out for walks we had to go past the Six Bedder ward, I looked in one day and saw this young woman who waved at me. After that we used to talk to her and she used to pass little notes to us. There was myself and Mari Jenkins, she gave us both a photograph of herself.

Mine was somehow torn in half. I only have the top half, when I look at it I can still see her smiling face. Her name was Joyce Reece and she was 23 and married to Ken and they had a three year old son called Stephen.

I think I was up for about eight hours a day because we did have more time to ourselves. We were out in the grounds more, we used to go to the field to help Edgar and Alfie, put the hay on the back of the trailer. When it was full we would have a ride to the bottom of the field . I think that was the best part of my stay in hospital, because I was free and out in the open.

Then came the time when I was told that I would be going home soon. I started crying and Dr Huppert said :”I told you that you would be crying because you don't want to go home.”
But she was wrong.

I did enjoy my stay at the hospital because our ward was one big happy family. But I don't think it would have been if it wasn't for Sister Morgan and Auntie Maggie and Annie Reece, Nurse Davies, Nurse Moidwen Edgar and Alfie Repado, who had told the staff he was my cousin because our mother had met on the bus one day, when my mother was coming to visit me.

And not forgetting all the girls that were on the ward with me , and the rest of the staff and doctors that I have not mentioned.

( Second extract from Barbara's own account of her stay in Craig-y-nos)

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