Sunday, February 08, 2009

Winifred Maud Williams 1919 - 2009

I lived at Bank Farm, Castle Caereinion for the first 25 years of my life. Bank Farm remains the 'base unit' of T E Davies and Son, the farming business established by my father, and which has long kept the wolf away from our door. The neighbouring farm was Pen-y-Coppy, where Mr and Mrs Herbie Williams lived. Herbie died 22 years ago. Yesterday, I was a bearer at the funeral of his widow, Mrs Winnie Williams. She was 90 years old, and leaves three children, Carol whom I met for the first time in 40 years yesterday, Brian who still lives at Pen-y-Coppy, and Maureen. Plus lots of grandchildren.

The Rev. Bill Rowell, when speaking on behalf of the family, describing the wonderful treatment Mrs Williams (which is how I still referred to her) received at the Rallt Nursing Home in Welshpool. She had been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and had been in the Rallt for a year or so. We often read negative stories about the service provided in care homes. As a nation, we don't take care of the elderly anything like seriously enough. It was great to hear of an example of really good care.

Its now more than 24 hours later, and my hearing is only now returning to normal. As a bearer, I was sitting in the front row. Immediately behind me was Mr Geraint Peate, the funeral director, who is blessed with the lungs of a boomer monkey. The funeral was in Castle Caereinion Church, and I reckon I'd have heard him in Berriew. Geraint is a fabulous and quite famous singer, with a huge voice. I've listened to him many times before - but always as a member of the audience when he's performing. Never heard him at two feet behind me before. I should have worn the ear defenders I use when chain sawing. But there's one big plus. I have a loud 'foghorn' singing voice, but enjoy singing, especially hymns. Yesterday it was 'The Lord's my Shepherd', 'What a friend we have in Jesus', and 'Abide with me'. I was able to sing away to my heart's content, and there was no chance of anyone hearing me. Geraint is a congregation all on his own. After lowering the coffin into the grave, I stood in front of my father's grave (33 years ago) for the committal.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like you are really blessed Glyn living in such a community where families know their neighbours back over decades. I remember when I moved to London, for a time I lived in a bedsit and it apart from the people I shared a kitchen with, there was no chance of knowing who lived next door - just another load of bedsits either side of the converted house I was in. It was kind of strange, being on a train, walking down a street, like ships in the night - passing hundreds of people on the tube mass transit system yet rarely bumping into anyone one knew.

Those Londoners who have families going back generations in London tend to be very close to their families, in a sense they live in a cocoon set in a big city (there very own urban village filled with relatives). As an outsider you can kind of look in, but rarely be part of that kind of social circuit. I guess that is one of the reasons why Facebook usage has expanded so fast in the major cities. London can be a very lonely place for outsiders who move there for work, but who don't have a group to relate to.

I remember a line from a TV detective series (Lynley Mysteries?): "Here (isolated village) you are lumbered with your friends (and enemies), in the city you can choose your friends". I'm not sure which is worse, to be lumbered with friends you may or may not want, or be in a big city where it can be very hard to find friends let alone choose them! But then again, when kids attend school they are in a kind of village where some kids become friends and others bullies.

Feel blessed Glyn: you have many good long standing friends! Your life is very full indeed!

Glyn Davies said...

Anon - The four bearers were myself - from Bank Farm (now living at Cil Farm, just down the road, Richard Roberts - from The Cefn Farm, Cyril Gittins - from Ashton Farm, and John Roberts - from Pant-y-Brialli Farm (now living just down the road). All of us were neighbours and were all born on the farms we still run. Fairly unusual I should think.