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16 October 2014

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The Monkeys Parade

By Muriel and Lauren
November 2006, Caerphilly
A digital story from Breaking Barriers

"After chapel on a Sunday we all went down to the Monkeys Parade. We'd walk up Crumlin Road, down the canal bank and along Abercarn Road. The Monkey's Parade was where all the boys and girls met. We were twelve or thirteen; we used to sit on the locks. Of course all the boys would be passing by. If you fancied one you'd talk to them, if you didn't you'd turn your nose up.

We'd play games. My favourite was whipping top where you put the fancy marks around the top with chalk then you get a thick string on it and whip the whipping top. Also bat and caddie, hop scotch, then we'd play kissing the ring. There'd be a circle of boys in the middle, we'd walk round them, and when we stopped we'd kiss whoever was in front of us on the lips. The boys would take us down the park put us on the old lullaby and swing the lullaby up and down for us there. Then they'd go home and we'd go home. We didn't go to the Monkeys Parade for courting, just to have fun with the girls.

I never told my husband, Arthur, about the Monkeys Parade. Don't know what he would have thought. We had a special licence to marry during the war. Arthur had nine days' leave. His family said, "That won't last, she's too toffee nosed. Our Arthur is going with a toffee nosed girl. She thinks she's somebody." I'll only give them so long. That so long lasted fifty-four years, the happiest fifty-four years of my life. I had one of the finest boys you could ever wish to pick up. Once I picked up with someone I never went down the Monkeys Parade after that."

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