Mud on a Young Boy's Clothes

Norris Nuvo is an Audio/Video Editor, Graphic Illustrator, Performance Artist, Musician, Poet and Writer based in Wales, UK...

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Norris Nuvo
artist, poet & writer
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Nov 26, 2012 7:18 pm
Location: Caerdydd, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Mud on a Young Boy's Clothes

Postby Norris Nuvo » Tue Nov 27, 2012 11:31 am

When both my parents and my much loved uncle died all died within months of each other, I was plunged into a deep depression.
to try and salvage something of my sanity and to pay homage to my family and my own personal history, I wrote a biographical
novel. In it's pages I tried to capture the essence of the world i grew up in; a world of grey post war Wales where men went to work on bikes
and women did not even smoke in public. I try and describe my transformation into the world of colour, of TV and most of all how DR Who changed my life.

The Novel is Called "Mud On A Young Boy's Clothes" in respect for Danny Abse's book "Ash On A Young Man's Sleeve", one of my favourite books as a Boy

This is the introduction, if you like it please download the full novel below.

I can still recall feelings of joy that ran through me as the bell rang to signal the end of term. The sheer pleasure that swept over me in knowing that the summer holidays had begun. In the summer of 1963, I was but eleven years on earth and growing fast. Long they said I was, not just tall, but long my Nan always said. I had just this year gone into long trousers, but not long enough as the three inches of grubby sock could testify. Being the eldest of two boys there were no hand me downs for me, but there was rarely anything new either so I just had to lump it. But, during the summer holidays I could wear my jeans and t-shirts every day and not the straight jacket that passed for a school uniform.

I don’t now recall too many individual days, rather a pleasant blurring of many days melded into one long hot summer, flood into my memories; walks in the surrounding meadows, bike rides, swimming, camping, and most of all, playing down the dump.
Ah, the dump. Its proper name was The Town Council Refuse Depot or something like that. It was a place of wonder and mystery, a place where buried treasure abounded and dreams could come true. All the rubbish that the good people of Barry put out in their bins ended up here. No black bags then but proper metal bins mind you, and although recycling was not a national issue, everyone saved milk-bottle tops and took their pop bottles back to claim the three-penny deposit. The Dump! That forbidden place that could not be resisted by an inquisitive boy was also the battleground for fights over territory and scavengers rights. On one side was a private estate of rather posh houses and a farm, while our side of the dump was made up of rows of terraced houses and ramshackle outhouses. As the centre terraced street was Bell Street we called ourselves the ‘Bellites’.

The red-bricked slate-roofed house we lived in had seen four previous generations of our family born into it. It was not a grand house but an end house in a terraced street identical to thousands of streets across Wales. A front door opened into; a damp and peeling, stone tiled, cabbage and cats-piss passage leading to the facing naked stairs. The first door on the left, the front room with its pink and blue polka-dotted walls was only used on special occasions, and of course for my Nan’s special card and tea-leaf readings.
I didn’t go in this room too much, my Nan kept all her best ornaments in there; the china dogs on the mantel, the glass cabinet filled with little china people, the grandfather clock in the corner, silent and tick-less for years, and my Nan’s harmonium, a sort of foot pumped organ that I was never, ever, allowed to touch. A small table and a couple of armchairs completed the layout of the sacred and holy front-room.
The living room was just that, we lived in it. It had two old brown settees with the horse-hair stuffing bulging out from one of them; there was a dresser festooned with crockery which was never used tucked into an alcove, the family table, topped with a thick brown cloth and ever-present brew of tea, milk and sugar stood in front of the dresser, three chairs were tucked under during the day. A large armchair, my Nan’s seat, next to the radio was in front of the small stained glass window. It was not actually a window but a door to the garden, but it had never been opened in my lifetime. A green quilted stool for my Nan’s feet was tucked against the chair, but it was often the only seat for me when everyone was home.
The mantelpiece was the family dumping ground: there were letters, keys, my Nan’s purse, some loose change; payment cards for the milkman, the Co-op, electric, gas and so on; assorted cigarette packets; everyone smoked different brands; matches, lighters, spills to light the gas, and anything else that needed a temporary home until wanted again.
A cupboard, built into an alcove, was filled with books, there were books piled under the table, behind the settees, on top of the sideboard and left about on chairs. My family loved to read, my Mam and my Nan had taught me to read long before I had started school. By the age of eleven I had already read most of the ‘classics’, although I may not have understood some of nuances within them. I had even tackled some of my Nan’s esoteric tomes.
The square of curling faded brown carpet was edged by red linoleum up to cream skirting boards crowned with the green floral patterned wallpaper, brown-stained as was the ceiling, from the continuous blue smoke of my family’s cigarettes and my Dad’s occasional cigar. Yes, we lived in that room, a close and open-minded family, communicating and understanding life together. There was me, my Mam and Dad, my Nan and sometimes my uncle Sid.
The kitchen, or scullery as my Nan called it was a gloomy and damp room where she ceremoniously burned every meal. No hot water and no modern labour-saving machinery back then. Everything had to be done by hand, from boiling the washing in a bucket on the old gas stove to sweeping and mopping the floors, no fridge either, everything was bought daily or kept in the meat safe or on a cold slab of marble in the pantry.

Now my Nan’s cooking was terrible, there is no way this can be glossed over or made little of. It was not the ingredients, it was not the gas-stove, nor was it the recipes. No, my Nan used to forget things, not that she was demented or anything; apparently she had always been that way, a dreamer, her head always in another place to her body. She would put some sausages in a pan with a lump of lard and begin to cook them, she would decide to pull up an onion from the garden to add to the frying meat, while in the garden she would notice that something needed to be weeded or the chickens needed feeding. By the time she remembered the sausages they would be burned, this was standard for anything my Nan cooked, but with everyone else out to work she had commandeered the role, and to be honest we were all used to every meal having black crunchy bits in it.....................

My book is available to download for free in Kindle and PDF formats ...

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