Three Dreams

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"A Tale of Three Houses, and how three friends built them."



"Dave and [...] were in school together and Derek and Dave were in school together so ...

We'd just had a baby, and I couldn't put a baby in a room with my daughter, so I had to have a four bedroom house ...

And then the [missus] said 'The boys have decided to look for a bit of ground, build their own house - that's beer talking.' That's the first thing she said, 'that's beer talking, you'll forget about it in the morning!' But the following morning, we all jumped in the car and went looking around Ynyswen.

We thought we'd buy the field; everyone said we were utterly mad.

I drew the plans. I drew them on the kitchen table, and we put the cloth over the kitchen table and they stayed on there.

And then we started on houses. The footings - my father came up and done a lot of work, I mean we were all - the three of us were - working. It was straight from work up to here till about eight in the night, ten o'clock some nights. And every Saturday, and every Sunday - no holidays.

Dave arranged for the Electricity Board to put the electrics to the [straight]; put a cooker in there, we could have breakfast on the Sunday mornings. Only on Sunday morning though. We only had it once. Dave was the cook the first Sunday - and the last! We said, we'll leave the breakfast alone ... [laughter]

When we started, we already decided that two would be the governing body ... I wanted to buy a dumper, but I was outvoted two to one.

As you were driving down, Dave said to me, 'Now how are we going to make Alan understand [that] we don't want a dumper?' I said 'Well, we've just got to tell him.' He said, 'But you know how Alan will go,' he said, 'we'll end up having a barney.' I said 'No, no we won't,' I said, 'we'll be alright - just tell him.' ... God bless him, Dave.

But I think each one of us gave strength to the other one. Alan's strengths helped me out, and Dave's strengths helped Alan out and so forth. Dave was an electrician, Alan a plumber, I was on sort of general, sort of thing, I was.

We moved the scaffolding from house to house. We had one set of scaffolding - we couldn't afford three lots. Once we've seen it put up, we could do it ourselves then. We went somewhere, I remember we came back and Dave's job at that time - he was left on the site - to put the scaffold right for the bricklayers the following day. And we had returned to the site and it was getting dark; and we thought that Dave had been and gone. And there was Dave holding the scaffold up! He said 'Hurry up, quick!' he said, 'its falling and I've been here and hour and a half waiting for you to come,' he said, 'I can't hold it!'

Everything was done by friends, if anything we had to do ... we never paid anybody - just buy them a pint ... but we had it pretty good to be fair. I mean we were lucky to have to borrow lots of stuff from different people weren't we? ... Fair play ... we picked everybody's brains that we could, type of thing.

We also had to have breaks, when different stages come about. We had a drains dinner, and we had a slab dinner - when we laid the three slabs of the houses. And another do, we had somewhere - we had a name do. We all put in a hat names - came out at 'Cae Siriol' - 'Pleasant Field', or 'nice-place-to-be field'.

I don't think [we] really believed that it would have been successful; got completed. And the first morning I looked out of that bedroom window when we woke up, I thought 'We've made it!'"

By: Derek Andrews & Alan Williams
Published: 2008

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