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16 October 2014

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The Mystery of the Lost Veg

By Gwyneth Harris
February 2006, Aberdare
A digital story from Capture Wales

The missing Christmas Lunch

Gwyneth shares special memories of her childhood and the beauty of growing up in a close community.

"A small cottage - one in a row of ten built on the bank of the river Cynon - this is where we lived. We were like one big family in the row. Doors were never locked. Everyone trusted each other. There was nothing worth taking anyway.

Someone was always ready to help from birth to death.

Times were hard, money was short. But Mam - although she had little education - was a good economist and a great cook and we were well fed.

One Christmas in particular, I remember Mam saving what she could each week in a greengrocer shop to make sure there was plenty of fruit and veg for the big day.

On Christmas Eve, to keep everything cool it was packed away into two cupboards in the backyard.

Next morning, with Santa's stockings emptied, it was time to prepare the dinner. But when we got there, the cupboards were bare.

Nothing left, not even a cabbage leaf. We were so disapointed. No shops open and no more money anyway.

As soon as the neighbours found out what had happened, we had more food than we started with. They cared and shared and we had a nice meal after all.

The mystery of the lost veg was also solved - clues were discovered...

A few weeks later, we were sitting around the fire talking when there was a thump on the back door. Mam went to see and the next thing we heard was, "Oh! Mam annwyl!"

My brother jumped up ready to defend her, but what did he find... in the doorway, two big sheep, hoping perhaps for another Christmas dinner!

A lovely time and place. We had little and yet we had so much."

Gwyneth Harris

Please tell us about yourself.
I am 71 years old, married to a wonderful man called Bill. I have two lovely children: David who's married to Carole and Cathryn who's married to Paul. I have five fantastic grandchildren who keep me young. I qualified as a nurse and stayed in the profession for 43 years. I enjoy life, I love my faith and I love craft card-making in particular.

What's your story about?
My story is about when I was growing up and the spirit of that age. This had an influence on me and has remained with me ever since.
I felt I wanted to bring a little of my time into today and show something of the community spirit that meant so much to everyone and what communication was like before 'mobiles'!!!

How did you find the workshop?
I really enojyed the whole project, but the most rewarding thing about it for me was being able to switch on a computer, something I had never done before and now I have actually completed a film.

Your comments

"We had the same community spirit here in Australia. The back door was never locked. Everyone helped each other & cared. This lovely film reminded me of that & my childhood. We had little but we had a lot." Kathy, Brisbane, Australia.

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