Thursday, January 11, 2007

La Plume de ma tante:- Ivor & olive

Uncle Ivor (and Auntie Olive)

Ivor was my favourite because he looked most like Dad. He always had a twinkle in his eye and liked a bit of fun. When he and Frank were boys they were naughty, particularly in St Paul’s Church, would forget to pump the organ and the music would peter out. They also taught little Don to sing the rude words of the hymn he was to perform there. Ivor was a lay-about, according to his wife. He was apprenticed, and did well in the RAF, enjoying his time there when he was a pilot, I believe, and when he was de-mobbed he blew all his pay on a sports car, much to Olive’s annoyance, as she had had to struggle to keep his business alive. Afterwards he was not too keen to knuckle down to making a living, though they had inherited a lovely house in Caswell when Nana Howell had died, and Olive was determined to keep it up to scratch. Ivor couldn’t even be bothered to collect rents due to them, Olive said. He loved golf and bridge and played both well (in Clyne Club.) He and Olive divorced in their late 40s and she married a wealthy man and lived in Derwen Fawr. She said that Ivor had an affair with Winnie (Frank’s wife) but I never believed her stories for some reason. It was more likely to be a smoke screen for her affair with the wealthy man. Mum was also sceptical of her tales. When her second husband died however, she and Ivor re-married. She said she’d thought he had changed, but he hadn’t. They seemed to get on well enough. She was a non-stop talker and they spent a lot of time in the golf club. She was always a gifted gardener too and even in her later years managed to take cuttings in a greenhouse and weed standing up with a hoe.

I remember one lovely afternoon when Alan and I visited them with Mum when Alan had persuaded my mother to place a number of bets on the Grand National. We all got very excited watching Mum’s horses on their TV. The neighbours commented on the noise next day. Ivor didn’t wake one morning when she took him in his cup of tea. Olive lived on in the Mayals on her own and became even thinner and more frail. She had a couple of break-ins, which upset her, but she was still determined to remain independent. Don and her brother’s son, Bruce, kept an eye on her and she would go out to lunch with them occasionally. Eventually she went into Campion Gardens nursing home on the common near where she had lived and then to the Penmaen Nursing Home overlooking Three Cliffs Bay. She died there in the summer of 2006 in her 90s.

I remember a little of Ivor as a thin, still rakish figure living in the house in caswell, and trying to entertain me as a little boy with a putter and a few golf balls out in their back garden. I think they had a "monkey puzzle" tree, just like margaret's in London.

He was somehow connected with Evan Rees, the butter merchant, although I'm not sure how. I can still smell the butter factory now, that sweet, salty smell that suggested cardboard and greaseproof paper, coming from behind an Arkwright style counter in a dim office at the top of a narrow flight of stairs.

Olive, had a permanent meg-end stuck between her fingers. She did get thinner as time went by, but there was not much to get thinner from in the first place. She certainly was a determined woman, had several hip replacements, and remained staunchly independant until the closing years of her 80's. She met kim in Morriston Hospital, and kept quizzing her "how old do you think I am" - she claimed to be 91 then, several years before she died

She was quite a woman.


Post a Comment

<< Home