Christmas was not far off now. I loved Christmas, we didn't have lots of money, but in those days you didn't need money to enjoy Christmas.
I remember we always had a real Christmas tree, with real candles in little holders that clipped on to the branches, and then the tree was covered with tinsel and ornaments.
Just up the street from our house was "Williams the Shop" which was just a house like ours except the front room was fitted out with a small counter and shelves filled with everything they thought the locals would need. The hallway was filled with sacks of potatoes and other vegetables over which the dogs in the street would often relieve themselves. We always said the potatoes had a better flavour from "Williams"!!
On Christmas Eve my sister June would go to "Williams the shop" and return with rolls of crepe paper,balloons and tinsel. We then sat for hours making decorations to hang on the ceiling.
We had no television to sit and stare at, we just enjoyed ourselves as a family should, playing board games, singing carols, until once again it was time to carry my little candle up the "wooden hill" to bed.
I lay awake again, not making shadows this time, but listening for sleigh bells, ( I'm only six remember) wondering what Father Christmas would bring me.
Magical! Thats the only word I can think of to describe Christmas morning. At around 6am ( I had already been pacing around my room since 5am) Dad called from downstairs "C'mon, Father Christmas has been" Without having to be called twice I crept slowly down the stairs and into the front room, which was lit only by the glow of a big coal fire and the lights of the Christmas tree. Dad must have come down an hour earlier to light the candles.
In the corner of the room I could just make out the shape of a white pillow case bulging with presents. On the top would be the my "main present" and underneath would be books small toys and fruit.
I remember one Christmas my brother Creighton bought me an "Escalado"
this was a horse racing game. It consisted of a roll of green material about six
foot long and a foot wide. This was clamped to each end of the kitchen table
and at one end was a handle which when turned caused the material to vibrate.
Metal horses were placed on the start line, bets taken and the handle was turned
and the horses moved up the track.
Unfortunately, Creigh being heavy handed, snapped the handle off.
Luckily I also had a Meccano set in my pillowcase, and this was used to mend it.
One of the best presents I can remember was a pedal car, it had red bodywork,
and wasn't made from plastic, but real metal. It had dials on the dashboard, and
even an opening boot. I spent hours driving up and down Phillip Street, showing
off to my friends.
One Christmas I had a cowboy outfit complete with gunbelt, boots and hat.
It had a red waistcoat and black chaps with a gold fringe. I thought I was the
"dogs dinner" or real cool as the kids say nowadays. One time I wore it at the
Town hall theatre in Pontypridd, where I met sheriff Johnny Denis, a real sheriff from
America. I had to go onto the stage in my cowboy gear and shout
"Howdy folks" in my loudest voice. He then pinned a deputy sheriffs star
on my waistcoat. I didnt take my outfit off for weeks.
Me in My Cowboy suit