Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sue Wilson, Sydney Australia

This has just appeared on the BBC Mid-Wales web-site:

"Very interesting project- I recently watched a programme on ABC tv about a farm set up in Molong in Australia for children brought out from the UK to have the chance of a better life in Australia after WW11. The abuses there were kept secret for so long, but for many a chance at healing the memories has begun.
Fri Dec 4 11:26:37 2009 "

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ivy Stokes - St Brides

I pick up the phone in Scotland. It's a call from Newport in South Wales and a lilting Welsh voice asks about St Brides.

It's Ivy Stokes, searching for her missing Welsh history, time spent as a child in this TB sanatorium on the Pembrokeshire coast.

Did I know of anyone there? She would love to be able to talk to someone who had shared her experiences.

Ivy was a patient Kensington hospital 1941-45 age 10 years.

I give her David Pearce's phone number . He runs a blog for ex-patients.


I do not normally carry stories about other sanatoriums but Ivy's account is so similar to the Craig-y-nos experience that I thought it worth telling it here although I am sure David will be running it on his blog too.



Ivy Stokes asked her granddaughter if she would help her search on the internet for Kensington Hospital.
“ I would love to meet someone who was there the same time as me,” says Ivy, age 77 from Newport.

“I was there as a 10 years old from 1941 for three and a half years. After I left my mother wouldn’t let me keep in contact with any of the other children. TB was all “ hush hush “ in those days and she was afraid of bringing it back into the house again.”


Now suffering form osteoporosis and arthritis she finds herself thinking about those early days as a child in plaster out on the balcony in Kensington hospital.

“I remember shivering from cold and how we used to pray for it to rain so that we would be wheeled back indoors again.”

She also remembers being strapped to the bed.
“ It was for my own good. It was to make me keep still”.


She remembers being in the Girl Guides, and the day World War 2 ended.
“There was a party. Everyone kept saying” the war has ended the war has ended.”


On returning home at 13 half years of age she went back to school for six months.

“ Nobody talked about TB then. It was all “ hush hush”. But it leaves a mark on you as a patient. I keep myself to myself. I am quiet. I am not a good mixer.

“I got a job in a factory sewing shirts. Then I got married and had two children. Now I have six grandchildren.”

If you were in Kensington in the early 1940s then Ivy would love to hear from you.

Her phone number is: 01633 768651

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Reunion - in dancing class!


(From left to right) Doug and Joyce Herbert, Roy Harry and Val Filby.

Two boys who were in Craig-y-nos during the war met up again - in a dancing class in Cwmavon!!

Roy Harry says:
"We recently joined a new dancing class in our village. There were no familiar faces, until Doug & Joyce Herbert walked in.

We couldn't place them immediately but then remembered we had met them at the first Craig y Nos reunion.

If we hadn't met at the reunion over two years ago in Craig-y-nos we would not have realised that we were together in ward 1
during the war! "

Roy Harry gives a very moving account of how as a child of three he had a gastric lavage and Doug Herbert tells how he was force-fed cabbage until he was sick.

Both stories are in the book:"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, price £9.99. available from all good bookshops and online from Amazon.co.uk

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Dr Frank Wells-First Medical Superintendent at Craig-y-nos

Chris Willey, from Gloucestershire, grandson of Dr Frank Wells the first medical superintendent at Craig-y-nos, discovered our web-site and contacted me to see if we have any information on his maternal grandfather.

I could only refer him to our book "The Children of Craig-y-nos" and the research carried out by Carole Reeves.

She discovered that Dr Wells was appointed in 1921 but left in 1926 due to illness to be replaced by two young Scottish women doctors, Dr Lizzie Robertson Clark and her assistant Dr Sarah Walker.

He qualified at St Mary's hospital, London, in 1911.

Chris says:" I never knew him as he died before I was born but my mother used to play at the castle as a child (she was born in 1915 so I assume it would have been in the early twenties) especially in the theatre where the opera singer Adelina Patti sung."

Chris added in another email:

"About twenty five - thirty years ago I took my mother (who died in 2001) down to Craig-y-nos. We were very fortunate that when we were there a person who worked there struck up a conversation with my mother, the end result being that he showed us all round the place. Obviously quite a lot had changed but she recognised a lot. Her biggest thrill was to be shown around the theatre where she used to play as a child.

Frank Wells was a medical missionary in Southern India and shortly after he married he and his wife went out to India. My mother was actually born there (in 1915) and at the age of 5 the family returned to England for my mother's education. I believe Craig-y-nos was his first UK appointment on his return.


This visit to the Castle was, I believe the only time she went back there since her childhood but she used to speak about her time there with very fond memories - she adored her father, her relationship with her mother was of a much more "formal" nature."


"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, published by The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL, price £9.99p

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Norma ( nee Bryant) Neads - 1945




I have just had an email from Simon Neads whose mother, Norma (nee Bryant) was in Craig-y-nos in 1945 for seven months. She was five years of age.


He says:
"My mother was only allowed one visit a month from my grandparents.
My mother had her 5th Birthday at Craig-y-nos. My mother remembers her preacher visiting from Cwmaman (her village). Her bed was placed on the verander with a sun hat and only underwear to have all the fresh air.

My mother also remembers snow on her bed. The staff used to plait her hair with calica. My mother had her tonsils out in hospital, she remembers the bathroom and the big table in the middle of the ward. My mother recently visited on her 70th birthday, and was taken around and saw the ward.
It was very emotional for her."


"The Children of Craig-y-nos"
by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves is available from Waterstones or online from Amazon.co.uk

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Robert Lindsay, actor- TB as a child


The taboo of silence that used to surround TB crops up in unexpected quarters.

On today’s BBC Radio 4’s Saturday Morning Live programme actor Robert Lindsay says he didn’t know until he was 42 that he had TB as a child.

It was a doctor who looked at his chest x-ray and told him there was a TB scar on his lung.

He asked his father who confirmed it (his mother was already dead.

He said: “It was a disease of the poor, something that was hidden away. My parents never talked about it.”

Yet as a 7 year old he remembers that he spent three months in a sanatorium.

As an actor he “ dumped his background” along with his Derbyshire accent.

But loosing a chunk of his childhood did have consequences. It made him isolated; he likes being on his own.

Well, all those of us who went through the “sanatorium experience” know exactly how he feels.

Book "The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves

Dr John Crofton- leading TB specialist

Dr John Crofton, the Edinburgh doctor who perfected the triple-drug regime for TB has just died aged 97 in Edinburgh.

He was given a copy of “The Children of Craig-y-nos” a few months ago by my former colleague Chris Holme , Health correspondent on “The Herald” who knew him personally and had written about his work for many years.

Chris is now Communications manager for the NHS in Scotland.
He hand delivered the book to Dr Crofton one afternoon and he says there was a “scrabble between Dr Crofton and his wife as to who would be the first to read it.”

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Raymond O'Connor- his story-( final )




Bertha O'Connor with her two children Eileen and Raymond, 1942.

Missing piece of the puzzle
Bertha was to die a few years later in Craig-y-nos where both Raymond and his sister were patients. He remembers living in a "big glass building" but only when he received a copy of "The Children of Craig-y-nos" did he realise that it was the same place his mother had ended her life in.
Following her death he was sent to relatives in Liverpool.





Raymond celebrating his 71st birthday


sister Eileen

Raymond continues the final part of his story: Act of kindness
Many months passed before my sister Eileen joined me and I remember it was Christmas time. The war was still on and the food I was given was next to nothing as I was always hungry, mostly bread. The only person who showed any kindness was the next-door neighbour Mrs. Quinn who ran a grocers shop, she gave each child an apple, orange and a stocking with chocolates.

Thrown scraps of food
I must not forget the workmen who worked at Camellaird shipyard who on their way home. They used to give me their leftover sandwiches, which I shared with my sister and stepsisters. This was the pattern of life to follow for my sister Eileen and myself for our main source of food was going through the bins.

Moving house
The next thing that happened was my father was demobbed as he came home and told us we were moving into a new house, 71 St.Paul's Road next door to William's paper shop and opposite Cissy Walker's. Shortly after this, Christina my half sister was born. She was not to know then but she had a
great deal of misfortune ahead of her. She was neither a Walker nor an O'Connor and totally deprived of love all her life yet she admired and worshipped me as her big brother.
This I found out at Clatterbridge hospital, Cheshire shortly before she died of cancer at the age of 50.

Beatings doubled
My father started work at the shipyard, the only thing that altered for Eileen and myself was we got 2 beatings instead of one because after Kitty Walker had told him what we had or not done we got another hiding off him.
It was round about this time that I had a strange experience, during the night I was disturbed by a lady who stood at the end of my bed beckoning to me and when she left the room I ran down the stairs, woke my fathe and told him of the incident. As you can imagine this was not a wise thing to do, he dismissed me and told me to go to bed and not to be so stupid. I slept on the staircase for the rest of the night, as I was frightened.


Traumatised and stammering

The food situation never improved as we never ever had breakfast, went to school hungry and had only bread
when we got back. Things improved when we were given supplemented food and free milk at school. I was so traumatised, that I began to stammer and was sent to a school in Well Lane for special therapy after school
hours and was still under observation of Doctor Foster a specialist in TB, his surgery was in Hamilton Square,
Birkenhead. I had to go every 6 months for a check up and I wondered why my sister never went.

Sent to convalescence
It was during one of these visits that the doctor found it necessary to send me to convalescence in Southport for three months. When I was about 11 years old the schoolteacher called Mrs. Allroyd at Ionic School took pity on me and gave me a pair of leather boots, which were studded on the heel, and toe and I shall never forget this act of kindness.


Flea infested home
What does puzzle me is why nobody ever took any action against the conditions and the cruelty that prevailed in this house that we lived in. The beds, bedding and the walls of the house were infested with fleas, we were bitten from top to bottom and we were covered with scars from the belt, shoe and bamboo cane beatings. Kitty Walker used the steel brush to beat Eileen over her head whilst she brushed her hair.

Childhood games
It was not all gloom and doom. Like all children you always find time to play and enjoy yourself, as adversity is not a thing you think about. The bombed houses became a playground a place for hiding and full of adventure as I had a vivid imagination. The local pub was a focal point for all the characters that lived in the district. At the weekend it was a hive of activity and as children we used to watch the grownups singing and dancing in the parlour. There was a passageway between the parlour and the snug where all the old ladies gathered to gossip and men played darts and stood by the bar drinking. We used to do pretend boxing outside the pub as the drunks came out and threw pennies at us in the middle of the road as there were no cars about in them days. In the weekdays it was quiet except for the snug where the old ladies had their heads together gossiping.

Earned pocket money running to bookies
There was Cissy Walker head of the pack with Mrs.Shields, Mrs.Laverne, Mrs.Hughes and a few others who were my source of income as I was running messages for them by placing bets at the illegal bookies and collecting any winnings. When they did win their bets, they gave me some extra money.

Suits to pawnshop on Monday …back on Friday
They also sent me to the pawnshop, one was on St.Paul's Road and the other was on Old Chester Road near Green Lane. I took bundles of bedding and their husbands suits and shoes on a Monday and fetched them back out on Friday morning so their husbands could use them at the weekend. I don't think the men were aware of this.

The prize panda that came to life
It was near Christmas time they had raffles and the prizes were hampers of food. One of the times the prize was a great big Panda and guess who won it, 'KITTY WALKER’ She was not going to to give it to any of the children and they discussed re-raffling it to make money for themselves. So on the following Saturday while they were at the pub I opened the panda and took all the filling out, asked my sister Eileen to get in and stitched it up. You can imagine the shock on Kitty
Walker and my dad's face when they returned home drunk to see the panda running around, I knew what to expect so I ran away when I heard them say 'what has he done this time’.

Running away from home

All the time I lived with this family, I tried running away at every opportunity, as I wanted to go back to my family in Wales. I took a plan of action when I found out that two boys who broke into a corner shop were sent to work on a farm in Wales as punishment. They told me tales of how they looked after animals on the farm, so at every opportunity I used to break into shops, play truant in the hope of being arrested and sent to Wales.

Confessed to crimes that I didn’t do in hope of being sent away
Finally, on one of my excursions I stole my fathers cycle and cycled through Chester to Wales. I got as far as Conway Castle before the police who wished to know where I was going arrested me. I was taken back to Well Lane police station where I was interrogated by the CID, I told them everything I had done and when they asked me to look at the book which contained all the crimes, committed in that area, I admitted to most of them hoping they would send me away even though I had not
done them.


Sent to approved school
The consequence of this action was that I ended up in court and sentenced to approved
school. Before they sent me away the social worker visited me in my cell and said that I had a choice as they could intervene on my behalf if I wished. They gave a choice, did I want to go away or go home to which I
replied 'I want to go away' as this was my plan all the time, to get away from the house of horrors.
I was sent to St.Thomas Moores in Southport.

First job as coffin maker
I was released at the age of 15 and returned to 71 St.Paul's Road, Rockferry but things had not changed. I was given my first job by the social worker as a coffin maker and when I received my wages at the end of the week, I was told by my father to hand over the wages to Kitty Walker.

The meal situation was no different as Kitty Walker was playing the black market with the ration coupons as she had always done and when I finished work and sat down in the chair I was told, why don't you go out, you are always under my feet and when I did go out it was always, 'where have you been, don’t you know what time to come in'.

Leave home
Finally we had a bust up as I said, 'how can I go out if you take all my wages?”
Kitty Walker said, 'you have to pay for all your food and all the family allowance I lost while you were at the approved school'. I told her I was leaving and never coming back. She told me to tell my father when he came home which I did and he said, 'you've made your bed, now lie in it, as it is a big world out there and you will
be sorry'.

The happiest day of my life is when I left 71 St.Paul's Road never to return.”


Raymond is married with three children and two grandchildren.

He lives with his wife in Gainsborough with their eldest son and is kept busy doing maintenance, decoration and repair work for all his family.


"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves available from Waterstones or online from Amazon.co.uk

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Raymond O'Connor- his story-( contin)


Raymond with his father Chris O'Connor and mother Bertha taken in 1939.

After leaving Craig-y-nos, where his mother died, his ordeal was about to begin for he was sent to relatives in Liverpool.
Raymond's story is so heart-rendering that I am running it in full. It's like a Welsh version of "Angela's Ashes".
This is the second part:


"The next memory I have is that someone went to a great expense to kit me out in brand new clothes, grey jacket and trousers, collar and tie, a peak cap, socks that came up to my knees with a pattern on the top, brand new shoes and mackintosh. I can remember travelling to the railway station in a horse and cart and the gentleman with a top hat handed me over to the porter along with a letter of instructions of my destination. I can remember changing stations at Crewe and being put on another train to Chester.

On my journey from Crewe to Chester I recollect a lady telling me to take off my mackintosh as it was very warm in the coach. I remember having to wait in Chester in the porter's room where they gave me a big mug of tea and biscuits. After some time I was put on a train to Rockferry, Birkenhead.

I was met by a man and a woman there who took me to a house in St.Paul's Road, Rockferry.


Craig-y-nos Castle

If anybody thought of 'Craig-y-nos' as a bad place to live in, what was about to take place is like a horror movie.

I was introduced to my new family as they put it, the lady who picked me up at the railway station, told me that she was my new mother and the place where I was to live was a one room flat and the 2 girls that were there were my sisters. Catherine who was the eldest and Beryl. I was told to put my bags down and come to meet the new family .

We walked up the street for 300 yards all the houses we passed were derelict and bombed, to a row of houses that were three storeys high with a cellar.

Opposite there was a pub called The Railway Hotel. We went into the first house that we came to, down the steps into a cellar.
Inside, was a crinkly old man in the corner and his wife sat opposite and about 5 children of different ages.

The mother and father of my new mother were introduced to me as Cissy and Hughie Walker. The horror was about to begin as I was told to take off all my new clothes and to put on the rags that they gave me.

The shoes had holes in the soles with piece of cardboard to keep out the water. ' These new clothes will be kept for Sunday only' were the harsh words of Kitty Walker, needless to say, I never saw them ever again.

My reaction was one of horror as I ran out of the house down the street straight across the main road where I was brought to a final halt by being covered with black mud and water as I had reached the muddy shores of Rockferry muddy beach.

I was retrieved by two of Kitty Walker's brothers Sammy and Gerald who dragged me back to the big house, stood me in the backyard and hosed me down with cold water.

What an introduction to my new family on the first day!

(to be continued)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Raymond O'Connor- Lincolnshire


Raymond's 71st birthday party

This is Raymond O'Connor personal account of how TB affected his life.

He decided to write his story after a relative sent him a copy of "The Children of Craig-y-nos" as a 71st birthday present.

Not only did it trigger off many childhood memories but it provided the answers to questions he had been asking all his life.

Today he is married with three children and lives in Gainsborough.
He says:" I am kept quite busy doing the maintenance, decoration and repair for all my children.

My story is about Tuberculosis and how it took control and shaped the destiny of my family.

It all started with the death of my grandmother Margaret Ann Davies formerly Williams. Her father was a coachman who had the public house called the 'Bull's Head' in Brecon.


It was at the time of the farmers market where she met Dan Isaac Davies whom she later married. This was normal practice at the time, for all the local farmers to visit Brecon to sell their wares. Margaret eventually settled down in Forestfach on a farm called Glanyrafon, a farm with a mill attached. Dan Davies also worked down the pit following his family tradition as his dad
William Davies better known as Wil Sar ran the farm at Pontalasau, Morriston called Maeseglwys.

He also worked down the pit, made coffins and buried the dead as he was a joiner and also had time to practice country medicine. He originally came from Llanderbie where the family is well
known.


Craig-y-nos- view of the Glass Conservatory and balconies

My grandparents had four children called Ifor, John William, my mother Bertha Kathlyn Mary and Margaret. The fourth child Margaret Davies, born February 29th 1920 and died March 12th 1920 due to complications in birth and tuberculosis.

Grandmother Margaret died Dec 14th 1920 at Cyrola Sanatorium, Neath. Two years later, Dan Isaac died Sept 6th 1922 due to an accident down the pit where he was crushed between two trams, leaving three children as orphans so they were taken under the wings of the formidable Aunty Annie. She lived on a small holding called 'Tredigarfach' on the road that leads to Felindre, until British Steel built the steelworks in its place. She raised all the children that were orphaned from the Davies family as there were others besides my mother and her two brothers.

Fate decided to strike once more as young Ifor was killed in a motorbike accident in Llangyfellach at the age of fifteen. My mother and her brother William continued to live on the farm until my mother had to go into service to supplement the income of the farm. It was during this time that she met my father Chris O'Connor who was home on leave from the army. He was in the Kings own regiment at Brecon.



It was during their courtship that my mother asked aunty Annie permission to marry even though she was 21. The answer was 'No' the reason being that Chris O'Connor was an Irish Catholic. However, this did not deter her as she married him anyway but the Davies family ostracised her. She lived with my father's mother at 31 St.Georges Terrace now known as Hannover Street where i was born on 1st October 1938. My father was still in the army at the time. Two years later my sister Eileen was born. It would appear my mother was asked to leave as there were too many people at the house. My sister was actually born in Page Street in Nov 20, 1940.

At this time my father was away in the war in Africa so she was like a single parent struggling to raise 2 young children on her own. It must have been an awful time for her as she was forced to accept lodgings at her sister-in-laws in Richards Place behind the police station in Swansea. I have fond memories when I lived there as all the children slept in one bed, 3 at the top and 3 at the bottom.

I remember being snug as a bug with the welsh multi-coloured blanket on us. I know I was a handful for my mother as I remember running around the streets whilst the air raid was on, talkingto the ladies on the search lights while everyone else were taking cover in the shelters.

Now as I reflect at the age of 71, it is strange how something's are very vivid in my memory whilst other things are obscure.


It was when I received the book 'The Children of Craigynos' from my second cousin Hilary Thomas as a gift on my 71st birthday, some of the things in the book had answered the dreams I've been having for years and still have these dreams now.


The Glass Conservatory - babies ward

Most strange dream is about the house with many glass windows in and being tied down to the bed and travelling down a corridor on a trolley with lights passing overhead. Another one of my dreams was about horses and the blacksmith working, shoeing horses and quenching the iron shoe in a water barrel at the side of the door. The next one was, rolling down the hill which was full of nettles and wild flowers. Being locked in the cupboard under the stairs.

Now as I try to remember Craigynos it is a complete blank. Maybe I shut out the memories because of the death of my mother as she died a day before my 5th birthday.

I try to ascertain as to when my mother, sister and myself arrived at Craigynos and I can only do this by the last photograph that was taken in Swansea in July 1942 so, this leaves 13 months from the photograph to the time of her death in Sept. 30th 1943.

I do know that I was released before my sister and looked after by my aunt Molly. She was the one who gave me the photographs in 1990 at the re-union of the family arranged by me but that's another story.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Budgies and memories- Frances Purcell 1953-54


Ann with Bubbles


Memory is a curious thing ...

Take the case of my budgies, Bubble and Squeak ( named by Dr Huppert!). The other day I spoke to Frances Heenan ( nee Purcell). We were both children in Ward 2 together yet neither of us remembers the other.
Except the budgies.

I tell her the budgies were mine. She is surprised. She says after I left it was her responsibility to look after them though she assures me that there was only one not two.

Anyway one day she didn't tie the string properly on the cage door .

And Bubbles flew away.

Frances apologises, half a century later, for the mishap.

" I am so sorry."

I am lost for words. I never ever expected to meet someone, even if only over the phone, who not only remembered my budgies but had actually been put in charge of them.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Gwyneth Davies- Frances Purcell

Frances Purcell emailed:

" I am so pleased to hear that Gwyneth recovered and
went on to become a doctor. She was such a
lovely gentle girl.

I did not achieve any thing so grand.

Some years after I recovered my mother passed
away and I looked after my father and brother and sister for years.

I did not marry until I was 38 years old when ."

Traditional role of unmarried daughter
Frances, your story is that of so many young women in Wales where it was expected that the daughter would give up her life to look after elderly relatives.
When the family trawled around relatives to care for my 80 year old grandmother living on an isolated Welsh hill farm my name came up (" Ann is not married...she can do it").
I resisted the pressure though on at least two other occasions when an emergency call came to return to help out on the family farm I did succumb, giving up my job and flat in London to return to Wales.

Only last week I heard of a friend's aunt, now in her late 70's, who said her life stopped at 34 years of age when she left her secretarial job in London to return to the family farm to care for her ageing parents.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Frances Heenan (nee Purcell)- Ward 2, 1953-54

Frances Purcell e-mailed me after googling Craig-y-nos.

She is the only one, to my knowledge, to have come forward who spent most of her time inside Ward 2. ( This is curious because most of the children, around 15-18, were in fact inside the ward with only 6-8 girls on the balcony. )


Frances wrote:

"I was a patient in Ward 2 at Craig-y-Nos Hospital from 1953-54.

The girls called me Percy because my maiden name was Frances Purcell.

I would love to hear from anyone remembers me or would like to write to me?

If so, you are very welcome to write to me at my email address: francis.heenan@ntlworld.co.uk

I very much look forward to hearing from any of you.

I was mostly in the ward but was on the balcony for some months. It was winter and so very cold, a hot water bottle froze in one of the girls' beds.

The doctors

Dr Mullhall

Dr Williams

I wonder if Dr Mullhall is still with us? ( Yes he is still alive and living near Brecon - Ann)
Both he and Dr.Williams were loved by all the girls. After their rounds we would all say who we liked the best, a bit naughty for girls so young.

Memories


Gwyneth Davies suffered from asthma and Dr Huppert put her out on the balcony during a foggy spell in the hope that it would cure her. She had a severe attack one night . Even as a young girl Gwyneth wanted to be a doctor and she became one .

"I remember the Christian names of some of the girls on the ward; there was Brenda with short dark hair, Ann Norris who was there before I arrived, Gwyneth a lovely girl with long brown hair, who had severe asthma, Marilyn who was told her mother had died, someone pulled the curtains around her and left her to cry. There was a girl with lovely red hair from Swansea, I can't remember her name. Her parents gave her a big doll. "


"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves is published by the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History
of Medicine, UCL , price £9.99 and is available from Waterstones and most major bookshops or from Amazon online.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"The Children of Craig-y-nos" - book

It is good to hear "The Children of Craig-y-nos" is selling in Wales.

Carole Hughes sent me the following email:

"i had my copy of the book the children of craig y nos in may at craig y nos
but my daughter and son in law went to swansea and in waterstones there they had a lot of copies of the book

but amanda and phillip then went walking in neath abbey they walk miles and philip spoke to a sister williams from craig y nos

she knew nothing of the book but sent a young man into swansea to waterstones where she had her copy

many people who were either patients or nursing staff never knew but we live so near sister williams we never seen her before or since that day."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Raymond O'Connor- Lincolnshire


Glass conservatory for the babies and small children


And still the "children of Craig-y-nos" are coming forward in search of their missing past.


Only the other day I received this very moving email from Raymond O'Connor in Lincolnshire:

" I was one of those children at Craig-y-nos along with my sister Eileen and my mother Bertha Kathlyn Mary O'Connor nee Davies who died on 30th September 1943 at Craigynos.

Her death certificate was signed by G. Richards M.B. (cause of death tuberculosis).

As I was just 5 year old when my mother died and my sister Eileen was 3, do you have any records as to when my sister and myself were released after my mother's death?


I do have 2 photographs; the first one is with my parents at the age of approximately 18 mon.ths, and the second one is my mother, my sister and myself just before she went into Craig-y-nos.


My father was away in the war.

Incidentally, I just received a copy of your book from my aunt in Swansea as a birthday
present. I will be 71 on the 1st of October and my sister Eileen will be 69 on 20th Nov.
The full story about our childhood and our adult life and the way everything affected us is
a very, very sad story."



Raymond added:
" To this day I still have dreams of the glass conservatory.
I now live in Lincolnshire."

I have to tell Raymond that all records were destroyed - that's why we tried to piece together 40 years of missing Welsh history in our book The Children of Craig-y-nos available online from Amazon or your local Waterstones.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Waterstone's Abergavenny

Just heard that a friend finally managed to get a copy of "The Children of Craig-y-nos" from Waterstone's Abergavenny though he placed an order several weeks ago.

I tell people it is quicker to get it online from Amazon

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Valerie Brent and Susan Davies- surprise!


Valerie Brent ( left) with Susan Davies ( nee Evans) at her 70th birthday party

Susan, a former child patient in Craig-y-nos in the early 1950s had a double surprise the other day.

For her family gave her a surprise 70th birthday party and retired nurse Valerie Brent, the star guest presented Susan with a copy of "The Children of Craig-y-nos".

Valerie says:" Susan was unable to make the book launch but she did come to the reunion the year before. She hadn't been able to get hold of a copy of the book so I got her one and gave it to he. She was absolutely delighted."

Comment
Frances Purcell said...
I could not make the Exhibition.

I was a patient in Ward 2 at Craig-y-Nos Hospital from 1953 – 1954

The girls called me Percy because my Maiden name was Frances Purcell.

I would love to hear from anyone remembers me or would like to write to me? If so. you are very welcome to write to me at my email address: francis.heenan@ntlworld.co.uk

I very much look forward to hearing from any of you.

Kind regards, Frances

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jonathain Aitken and TB

I was surprised to hear former MP Jonathan Aitken talking on Radio 4 this morning ( "The House I Grew Up in") about his time as a three year old in hospital with TB.

The son of a wealthy, powerful Dublin family he caught TB from his Irish nanny and spent four years encased in plaster in the Cuppae hospital run by nuns.

He said his four years lying motionless on an iron frame taught him to be stoical, and time spent in this TB hospital proved useful training for his seven months in prison in adult life after being caught lying to the court.

He says he was happy there. He had become institutionalised and accepted that was the way life was. He remembers being wheeled outdoor for fresh air and how Sister Mary Finbar would order them to breathe deeply for the "fresh air treatment".

"It was all very theatrical. It was as if she was conducting an orchestra."

Life in the Dublin hospital though seems far less austere then in Craig-y-nos as our stories reveal in"The Children of Craig-y-nos". ( available from Amazon and a number of good bookshops.

Those of us in Craig-y-nos, including myself, lived out on the balconies all year round including in the snow - not wheeled out for a brief period each day.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Benefits of the "Children of Craig-y-nos" project

Just heard of another instance where an ex child patient said how much he had benefited from being able to talk about his early traumatic days as a child in Craig-y-nos as a result of this project.

"For years something that had been hidden is now out in the open. And that must be a good thing," said Terry Hunt.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Balcony boys - reunited

Roy Harry and Gerwyn Davies were both "balcony boys" in the 1940s and they have just discovered they live less than a quarter of a mile from each other in Cwmavon.

"We have never met since those days in Craig-y-nos but we plan to do so now," says Roy.

They have been in telephone contact after discovering through photographs on the blog that they were there together.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

History of TB hospitals- Abergele and Craig-y-nos

Valerie Brent rang to say she is reading a book on "The History of Abergele hospital - confronting the white plague". From her description it would appear to be similar to "The Children of Craig-y-nos" but a search on the internet reveals it is out of print and neither are there any second-hand copies available.

I wonder if anyone knows of a copy? It was published in 1999 by Gee and Son, Denbeigh Printers. ISBN -0707403316.


Meanwhile I have heard from a university friend at Swansea University that Waterstones are now stocking "The Children of Craig-y-nos".

And Pamela Hamer tells me ( on Facebook) that all her friends and relatives are queueing up to borrow her copy!....

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Girl Guides-Children of Craig-y-nos

This month the Girl Guides movement begins celebrating its centenary and there will be many stories of the ways it has benefited the community.


Mair Harris ( nee Edwards) centre with some of the Girl Guides on Ward 2 balcony


But there is one story that stands out, at least in the memories of girls who were living in an isolated TB sanatorium in a remote Welsh castle.

For Craig-y-nos had its own group, formed by an ex-patient, Ina Hopkins who returned as a medical secretary.( She was the captain of her local troop.)

I was one of those girls. It was our first link with the outside world , apart from monthly visitors. It gave us hope.








I remember how we used to cook sausages on an open fire on the balcony- something I suspect that would contravene today's Health and Safety regulations!




Christine Perry ( nee Bennett) is another. Christine excelled as a Girl Guider and became a leader, even representing the troop at a local event, the first occasion for anyone from the TB sanatorium taking part in an outside community event.

Nurse Glenys Davies recalls the occacion that Christine had their flag blessed in Abercrave church:

"I always remember that she was carrying the standard and Sister Morgan was always worried about the clock outside the door. ‘Watch that clock, watch that clock!’ Poor Christine was worked up and down it comes, oh dear, dear. The end of the world! It was only a clock anyway."

Girl Guides on Ward 2 balcony. Christine is on the far left back row.


Those of us who were Girl Guiders in Craig-y-nos have very fond memories of the organisation for it brought a bit of the outside world into our isolated lives.

The Girl Guide troop in Craig-y-nos is remembered with very fond memories for it was the first positive step by an outside organisation to introduce a sense of normality into lives of children removed from the outside world.


Photos from the collection of Ann Shaw ( nee Rumsey) and Christine Perry ( nee Bennett).

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Children return to Craig-y-nos


Ann Shaw ( nee Rumsey) and Roy Harry beside the lake in Craig-y-nos during recent return visit.

Ann on the balcony of Ward 2, 1951



Roy on the balcony of Ward 1 (far right), 1945

Now that we have "discovered" Craig-y-nos after more than half a century some of us keep returning to renew friendships and memories of past times. I was in Wales recently for research on Sully and took the opportunity to call in at Craig-y-nos to meet up with Roy and his family for lunch.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Haydn Beynon- deceased July 16 2009


Haydn on the boys balcony, age 7, 1931


I have just received the following email from Gillian Beynon:


"I thought I should tell you you that my dear father- in- law passed away during the early hours on 16 July rather suddenly - he was 84 and had been enjoying our son's birthday only hours before his passing.

I would like to thank you on behalf of all our family for including him in your book and for the enjoyment he took in the reunions and helping you to gather information to put your findings in print.

The book is remarkable thanks to the testimonies of people like my father in law and many others and you have done them proud by setting the record straight and producing a book to be proud of and be of interest to many for years to come.

His experiences like others will live on in print and the book is a marvellous keepsake for us all."

Extract from "The Children of Craig-y-nos", Haydn's story:

"My bed was on the balcony and I can remember sitting up in bed with pyjamas on and my mother and father with overcoats and scarves and hats on, the snow and the rain coming in, and they'd be shivering. It was cold but you didn't feel it after a while.

...You were given four squares of Cadbury's chocolate, and I didn't qualify because if you didn't eat your afters, you couldn't have chocolate. I can remember vividly...every few days the curtains would go around a bed and porters would wheel somebody away who had died. I was only a youngster but it seemed that there were lots of people dying at that time, like every other day.

Craig-y-nos was monotonous, one day after the other. The difference between Highland Moors, where I went in 1932, and Craig-y-nos is that there you were encouraged to play."


"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, published by the Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL, price £9.99p is available online Amazon.co.uk or from any good bookshop, Brecon museum, Val's newsagent in Ystradgynalais and through the Welsh Book Council.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Craig-y-nos Tearoom


Paul Brandon outside the former gardeners shed in Craig-y-nos

Last week while in Wales I met Paul Brandon in Craig-y-nos.
He runs a specialist food company called Unusualfoods based in Ystalyfera and he also has a tearoom out of the former gardener's shed in Craig-y-nos Castle.


Now that brought back memories! for that was the place that we "balcony girls" from Ward 2 used to go and sit and talk to the gardeners while all the time Sister Morgan and Dr Hubbard thought we were walking around the grounds filling our lungs with fresh air. Instead we were ensconced in a warm smoky fug sharing tea and biscuits with the men.

Paul tells me that many ex-patients come into his cafe for refreshments and since they heard about the book
"The Children of Craig-y-nos" they want to buy a copy.

" I don't know what to tell them because we don't sell books, neither do I know where they can get a copy from. But there is clearly a demand for it and I would be happy to stock it if I could find it."



From next February Paul will be opening a much bigger tearoom and Welsh Craft Centre within the Craig-y-nos Country Park Visitors Centre and he will be stocking books there.

Meanwhile I have put Paul in touch with some suppliers who may be prepared to let him have some copies as a "one-off" until his new premises are up and running.

Welsh Book Council - "The Children of Craig-y-nos"

Dafydd Jones of the Welsh Book Council tells me that they will be stocking"The Children of Craig-y-nos"" so museums and shops specialising in Welsh literature and crafts will in future be able to order direct from them.

The glitch seems to have been over the fact that the book is "print-on-demand" and wholesalers are still trying to figure out a business role model for dealing with it.

The book is, of course, available online from Amazon.co.uk, price £9.99 or from any good bookseller.

Comment:
Delyth Morgans said...
Thank you for your cooperation with the Welsh Books Council. The book is now available on
www.gwales.com

Monday, August 17, 2009

Brecon museum and "The Children of Craig-y-nos"



Brecon museum: Caroline Gorman (top) and Helen Weeks with copies of "The Children of Craig-y-nos"

Call in to Brecon museum to see how "The Children of Craig-y-nos" is selling and am horrified to find that the museum have not been able to obtain copies from the Welsh Book Council though we had been assured they would have it. Neither is it available from their on-line site.

Fortunately I had a couple of copies with me so I was able to let the museum have them.

The demand for the book followed a review in the Brecon and Radnor Express some weeks ago.

"Children of Craig-y-nos" - Surrey and Glasgow

Receive phone call from Surrey.

It's Mary Davies who was in Craigynos as a toddler.

" I am ringing to say I have just bought the book ( I ordered it through my local bookshop) and I would like to say how pleased I am with it."

A friend rang from Glasgow also rings to say she loaned her copy of the book to a Glasgow doctor who was one of the "balcony boys" in the days when sanatoriums ringed the city.

He too is fascinated by the Craig-y-nos story.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Cerwyn Davies one of the "balcony boys" - 1945


Gerwyn Davies and other boys on the balcony , 1945

Book launch of The Children of Craig-y-nos
Cerwyn Davies brought along some photos , including this one, to the book launch/reunion and he says he found it a "memorable and very poignant occasion".

Cerwyn tells me that one big memory that stands out from his time in Craig-y-nos Castle is the occasion that:

"My uncle brought me in some records for the gramophone and I threw them like flying saucers over the balcony into the bushes. One of the gardeners reported me and I got put in a straitjacket."

He had an older brother who used to come along to the castle for the monthly visiting but had to stand out in the courtyard or go to the cafe opposite and his brother remembers an outside lavatory with a photograph of Adelina Patti in it.

" I gave my brother a copy of "The Children of Craig-y-nos" to read and he got very upset. I told him "You weren't the one in there having tubes pushed down your throat or tied up in straitjackets!"

But my brother says it brought back all the memories of those days."

Monday, August 03, 2009

Roy Harry, age three and a half , 1945-46



Roy Harry rings to tell me he is the boy wearing glasses. He had never seen this photo before so I am putting him in touch with Gerwyn Davies who sent the photo in.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Book launch - May 1st Craig-y-nos Castle


Caroline Boyce ( nee Havard) and her husband Paul volunteered to register everyone attending the book launch of "The Children of Craig-y-nos".

Like many ex-patients the day was particularly emotional for Caroline because she had not returned to Craig-y-nos since she left as a child in 1950.



On the balcony of Ward 2, 1950 (from left to right) Mary Davies, Ann Rumsey ( in bed) and Caroline Havard




Ann and Caroline in Scotland


Today Caroline lives in Scotland - about fifteen miles from my home! something we only discovered through this project.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

"My lost childhood" -Bobbie



Main entrance to the Adelina Patti sanatorium, Craig-y-nos Castle

Barbara Glover, known to her friends as “Bobbie, felt as she approached her 70th birthday a desire to find out about her missing three years of childhood.

All she knew was that she had spent it in a Welsh sanatorium a place she was put as a three year old in 1943 with TB of the bones and she was to remain there until 1946.

“My one big memory was of American soldiers marching past and throwing sweets on to our beds which had been wheeled out for the fresh air.

“But my parents never talked about my time there.
After they died I went through their papers hoping to find some clues.
There was nothing,” said “Bobbie”, speaking to me on the phone from her home in Peterborough.

The eldest of 9 children her Irish parents had emigrated to Birmingham in the late 1930’s. But she had no idea why she ended up in a Welsh hospital “ unless we had been evacuated there during the war”.

“ All I know is that my parents could only afford to visit once a year at Christmas time.”

Another big memory is the day she left.
“ These two strangers came to get me, they were my parents, and I screamed and screamed because I didn’t want to leave the nurses and the other children. When I got home to Birmingham I had to learnt walk again because I had a calliper on and there were these other children there- my brothers and sisters whom I didn’t know and my mother was expecting again.”


The Glass Conservatory, used for babies and toddlers*


At a recent family gathering she was talking about these early memories, when her daughter, Karemah, picked up her laptop and said:” lets find out!”

She typed TB sanatorium Wales into Google and up popped the “Children of Craig-y-nos” blog.
“ I was amazed when I saw the photos. It fitted in with my memories.”

“Bobbie” is thrilled to discover her missing past and I have given her the names of people who were there at the same time as her.
She now plans to visit Craig-y-nos.

Looking back over her own life she says it has “had its ups and downs”.

“I married at 18 and my first husband died of cancer when I was 26 leaving me with two young children.
Five years later I met another man who wanted more children.
“But on the day I came home with the baby he announced he was leaving me for a woman he had met in the office.”

The story has a happy ending though for Bobbie met another man and they have been happily married for twenty years.

And so the story of “The Children of Craig-y-nos” continues….

*The Glass Conservatory has recently been refurbished into a function room for the Castle which specialises in weddings and ghost tours.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Boys on the balcony - 1945




Gerwyn Davies has sent in these photos of his time in Craig-y-nos. He was there for 14 months up to 1945. We are still trying to put names to the children.

Do you recognize anyone? If so email :annshaw@mac.com

"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves is published by The Wellcome Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL, in paperback, price £9.99p and available from most good bookshops or online from Amazon.co.uk

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

TB Survival Project

I wonder how many of you know about the TB Survival Project? a former colleague of mine gave me this link.
n The Herald newspaper , where I worked for over 20 years, in Glasgow.

Sadly she died recently from TB.
TB Survival Project

Monday, June 29, 2009

Mary Davies- how the internet reunited the "lost children"


Mary, age 9 , Ward 2 balcony, 1951


Mary Davies ( nee Morris) with her grandson, Stephen, at the book launch of "The Children of Craig-y-nos".

Often it was the children and grandchildren of the original "children of Craig-y-nos" that made the initial contact with me like Stephen (above). This is his original email on behalf of his grandmother:


"I was in Craig-y-nos in 1951. The photo shows me holding a teddy bear taken in September it was a present from my family for my 9th birthday in August. I don’t remember much about my stay only that I was out on the balcony and when I was rainy and windy they had to put tarpaulin on top of the bed to stop it getting wet. While in Craig-Y-Nos I made 3 good friends one was called Mary Jones one Jeanette Wakeham but I cannot recall the name of the 3rd one, we had a photograph taken but I can’t find it but will keep looking for it, and post it up on here when I do. I also remember doing lessons much to my disgust!



When I had a bungalow built I named it Craig-y-nos after my experience of the real Craig-Y-Nos.

I have been married for 46 years have 3 children and 4 grandchildren. The thing that sticks out in my mind was my parents were only allowed to see me one weekend a month. They only came one day as it was to far to travel as we lived in Rhayader in Mid Wales."


Mary still lives in Rhayader and, at our first official reunion two years ago, she was the first to arrive having driven alone for over two hours through the mountains.

This video clip captures her emotions on that momentous day:

Mary Davies


"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, paperback price £9.99., available from Brecon museum, Amazon.co.uk or most good bookshops.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Brian Richards - Bournemouth


Brian Richards travelled all the way from his home in Bournemouth to attend the book launch of " The Children of Craig-y-nos".

Now a retired baker, he was in Craig-y-nos along with his two brothers.

"The Children of Craig-y-nos" by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, paperback price £9.99., available from Amazon.co.uk or direct from Carole Reeves, Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL, 183 Euston Rd., London, NW1 2BE. Phone 02076.798 135

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ellis Thomas and "The Children of Craig-y-nos"

Both Carole Reeves and myself have received letters from Ellis Thomas regarding the book: "Children of Craig-y-nos":

"Have just received my copy of the book. What a marvellous production! I was
taking a first flick through it when Ann rang, asking if I'd received it!
The book I find absorbing, to be read and re-read. I thank you and Ann most
sincerely for creating something which I never thought I'd see in my time -
and all through an enquiry on the correspondence page of the local paper!"

Thank you Ellis. It is always good to have feedback.

Margaret Madock- at the book launch



Margaret was a patient from 1951-53.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Gwanwyn Evans - 1931


Gwanwyn Evans with her brother


Gwanwyn Evans, first lady mayor of the county of Brecknock (1981/82) who was in Craig-y-nos in 1931 as a ten year old.

"I am reading "The Children of Craig-y-nos"" and I have got to page 91...it is most interesting...do you know that I think it was Nan Davies* who took my place singing in the concert. The dates are not quite correct but it is such a long time ago... I had the best voice in the ward and I was so looking forward to it. My mother had sent me in a special frock to wear and a nurse had put my hair in rags the night before so that I would have ringlets.

Then I woke up with a temperature and I had to stay in bed. I think it was the excitement. But I was so disappointed!"


Eighty-eight year old Gwanwyn, who lives in Aberyscir near Brecon, had hoped to come to the book launch and had paid her deposit but she couldnt find anyone to bring her.
"Afterwards Glynne Lowe rang me up. We have known each other for years and neither of us knew that the other had spent years of our childhood in Craig-y-nos."
If I had known I would have got a lift with Glynne."

I mention my cousin, Edna Walters, who farms near Brecon.
" Of course I know Edna! " says Gwanwyn.
"She came to the book launch too."
"If only I had known..."
"She would have been delighted to have given you a lift."

Her husband Glynne Evans, former vice-chair of Powys Area Health Hospital is also reading the book with particular interest for he was involved in the decision to move the children to Talgarth.


*Nan Davies
Her story is on page 16 of the book- how the ghost of Adelina Patti tapped her on the shoulder and told her she would go out and sing the best she had ever done.

"The Children of Craig-y-nos", by Ann Shaw and Carole Reeves, price £9.99, is available from Brecon museum. It can also be ordered from any bookshop or online from Amazon.co.uk
Or contact Dr Carole Reeves, The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL, 183 Euston Rd., London, NW1 2BE. Phone: 02076 798 135.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Gareth Wyke at the book launch


Gareth Wyke as a child in Craig-y-nos...


...returning as an adult

Gareth Wyke travelled all the way from Stourbridge in the West Midlands to attend the book launch of "The Children of Craig-y-nos".

He says of his five years in Craig-y-nos from the age of 5 in 1953:

"I think my time in hospital definitely effected the person I was to
become.I relate to words and phrases such as ones you mentioned, like'lost
childhood','loner','self reliant','independant' and could also add
'anti-social[sometimes]','unloved',and 'persecution complex'.
When I arrived home I had a new sister I'd never seen before and she used
to cry and say I wasn't her brother.
However,despite having 'matchstick legs' and being teased by new classmates
I made a full recovery becoming a PE teacher and playing rugby until I was
fifty."

Copies of the book "The Children of Craig-y-nos" can be ordered from any good bookseller . The number to quote is: ISBN-13: 978-0-85484-126-4.

There are two wholesalers who will be able to supply the book. These are
www.bertrams.com and www.gardners.com

Alternatively contact Dr Carole Reeves, Outreach Historian , The Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, UCL,183 Euston Rd., London, NW1 2BE, price £9.99 or online from www.amazon.co.uk

Monday, June 01, 2009

"Children of Craig-y-nos" Hay Book Festival


Emma Davies (left) and Emma Evans of the Welsh Book Council at the Hay Book Festival.

They are holding a copy of "The Children of Craig-y-nos" . The Welsh Book Council had very kindly agreed for me to display the book on their stand at very short notice and a number of copies were sold.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Children of Craigynos

We are staying in a cottage in Llanigon belonging to Pollly Rogers and she tells me that a friend of hers has a relative who was interviewed by me for the book"Children of Craig-y-nos". They want to buy a copy. A signed copy.

Archbishop of Canterbury at Hay Festival

Last night the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, and Desmond Tutu attended service in St Mary's church.

We arrive late. Very late. We are ushered through to the front pew marked "reserved" along with some other late-comers.

Afterwards a Catholic priest asks who we are. (Folk think we are celebrities from the Hay Festival.)
"Sorry, we are just late-comers!"
The priest is disappointed.

The Archbishop - who was a mere 5 yards from me - spoke about love and the power of healing. Afterwards I joined the queue to shake his hand.

You just never know what is going to happen at Hay next....

Dannie Abse

Dannie Abse, Wales' greatest living poet, gave a reading of poems from his new book before a rapt audience.

One woman dares to chatter to her companion while he searches for the next poem and he whips his specs off and glares in her direction. She goes bright red and never says another word.

Afterwards I join the queue to get my two books signed.


Except in the queue I am joined by Arnold Whesker and his entourage of friends behind me. My courage fails me. No way could I begin to explain about Craig-y-nos with Whesker standing behind me.
So I wave them through.

In fact when I look at the long queue I decide to wait until the last.


Finally I am face to face with Dannie Abse.
He is charming.
He expresses surprise at the book "Children of Craig-of-nos" ( " I don't know anything about this") so I explain that it has only just been published and I show him his quote which Carole Reeves had picked to introduce the book.

He's delighted. He accepts a copy and he seems genuinely pleased to receive it.

Then he signs the two books: one for Carole and one for myself.


For Dannie Abse was a doctor, a chest specialist, before he became a poet.

Internet access

First of all a moan about internet access at Hay. It is atrocious! dont know what they have done to it but in previous years there was no difficulty updating blogs on Festival site.

Now its a hit and miss operation. Mainly miss...
So its up to the Hay Tourist Office, join queue for computer then the agonising slow wait as the computer boots up and you try to connect...all the time the minutes and money is ticking away.

Oh yes and the Tourist office closes at 5pm so no chance of using it in the evening.

Come on Hay Festival- you can do better than this! and to compound the problem I cant use Twitter either because my Iphone is on O2 and this is an orange mobile phone area.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Dannie Abse

Dannie Abse will be talking later today. Have just bought his book and will give him

a copy of "The Children of Craig-y-nos". We have a quote by him in the book:

"TB I've got
You know what TB signifies?
Totally buggered. He laughed.

His sister cried."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Mari Friend


Mari Friend ( nee Jenkins) with her husband, Peter, and Ann Shaw (nee Rumsey)at the book launch"Children of Craig-y-nos" in Craig-y-nos Castle.

Says Ann:"We were children in Craig-y-nos together. It is great to meet up with so many friends again."