My Dad’s parents moved from South Wales to the Midlands in the 1930s, but my Dad still has cousins living in the Tredegar area, where his parents grew up. My Dad’s parents lost touch with their families in the 1950s and when my brother got into family history in the late 1980s (he started when he was a teenager), he tracked people down and arranged meetups. Over the last couple of years my brother and I have been a couple of times to see the relatives; to do a little family history research and visit some of the places associated with our family. This time though we decided to take our parents along for a visit too. They don’t drive and Tredegar no longer has a train station, so it seemed easier to take them.
The reason for our visit that weekend was so that we could attend the Tredegar Orpheus choir annual concert. My dad’s cousin is in the choir and has been for many years, but we’d never seen him perform, so we decided to go. The concert was excellent and of a really high standard, which made it seem a shame that they had to perform in the gym of the local leisure centre – it didn’t really seem fitting.
Apart from catching up with relatives, we visited the local catholic church. This was where my grandmother was baptised and would have worshipped until well into adulthood. At my parents’ house there is a framed picture on the wall of the parish priest from her time: Thomas Vernacombe and my grandmother always put his picture in pride of place. His name was on a list of former priests on the wall. It’s likely too that my ancestors helped physically build this church, as it was constructed by the parishioners themselves, mostly poor labourers of Irish origin.
Aside from the weekend trip to Wales it was quite a normal week, but the highlight for H was going to the opening of the Smiggle shop in Birmingham. It was next to impossible to drag him away from the pinart stars and he wasn’t the only enthralled child as the pinart in particular seemed very popular. Smiggle are an Australian stationery firm which are opening a lot of shops in the UK. Their range of products is a breath of fresh air and I found so many lovely stocking fillers.