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U3A Writing: Memories Of Crumlin

...My fondest memory was of the summer time, when the men living around, would dam up the stream and we had our own lake to swim in... Margaret Crowther recalls distant days.

My late husband was born in Crumlin in 1920, at No.5 the end of a row of 5 cottages in the 'Gold Tops'. This meant walking from Crumlin up the hill, past the Viaduct station to the top. His grandparents lived in No.1.

One day while playing in his grandparents garden, at the bottom end, he found a tobacco tin under a rhubarb leaf. Opening it he found coins in it. Excitedly he ran in to show granny. She looked at the money, including a sovereign, looked at Gordon, then told him to put it back and not say anything to anyone, about it. It being grand-dad's supposedly secret horde!

In later years, the Viaduct was in a scene in the film 'Arabesque', which starred Sophia Loren and Gregory Peck. Just imagine the excitement that day! People living around the arm were paid 2 per house, to vacate them. Crowds gathered either side of the Viaduct to see the small plane flying beneath it and the two characters plus stunt men, struggling along the girders.

One lady I know who was on holiday at the time, was very annoyed because her neighbours had not thought of getting 2 for her.

If you have been to Cwmcarn Forest drive, you will know it is a pleasant picturesque place.

In my childhood, there was a pit there, where most of the men in my family including my brother and father worked. Now, there is a lovely green field in front of a row of about 30 houses. Then, it was a pavement and a dirt bank which dipped into the stream. The other side was always grassy. My Gran and Grand-dad lived in No.10 Feeder Row and some families had ducks or chickens or both.

My fondest memory was of the summer time, when the men living around, would dam up the stream and we had our own lake to swim in and be able to lie out on the grassy slope. I do not remember the water being all that cold but, as it was a mountain stream, it must have been icy.

Today it has been piped in that section, to allow for the field, which really makes it attractive for the residents, but it is the friendly neighbours my thoughts cherish. The stream can still be seen at the Drive with beautiful clear water babbling along.


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