Ancestral Wales

Our Stories, Our History

Memories of a Button Jar, A Photograph Box and a Mamgu who was Adored!


Tonight looking out of the window at the rain, memories of the button jar sweep through

Gran's Flat

Gran’s Flat

my mind

She kept it in her sideboard until I came to stay … and we talked of where the buttons came from – the uniforms that they had adorned

We sat so many hours in her small Welsh flat, with its smell of Imperial Leather soap,

Jim Reeves on the radio… an Agatha Christie tale beside the bed…

…and breakfasts of fresh crusty bread, butter, marmalade and tea


More childhood memories of bus rides with Grandad, and Aneurin the conductor singing nursery rhymes to me

The Sweet shop in Tre’r-ddol …

Picking blackberries…

Swimming in the cold, cold sea…

Lamb chops, fresh mint sauce, rice pudding and Corona pop on Sundays (Dandelion and Burdock when it was my turn to pick!!)

Welsh cakes, warm and buttery

A sixpence pressed into your hand from family and friends


Time and time again, we poured over family photos, buttons and the stories they told

I never tired of hearing about my ancestors who had travelled – and lived – and died – in a past I would never know…

… and her stories led to my passion of discovering the past and in doing so … discovering myself

The Cambrian Line from Bow Street © Copyright Nigel Brown and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence


I saw her last, waving to me by the fence as my train went by her flat one last time, and I left for travels overseas

… and there isn’t a single day that goes by, that I don’t think of her

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