- CHARACTERS -
Caerleon had a few characters, such as Harriet who lived in Backhall
Street. A tiny little lady she lisped and had the longest tongue,
ever. She worked as a char lady at the Vicarage in Llanhonnock, each
day walking the two miles to the country village. She always carried
a fish frail, a type of woven straw shopping bag, into which she would
put anything she could scrounge on the way from out of the fields,
such as potatoes and swede. She was quite fun to talk to. Everyone
Charlie was a casual worker seeking labour on the farms. He was a
tall fair-haired man, quite good-looking and very polite.
He was spotlessly clean and neat in spite of sleeping rough in barns
He wore moleskin trousers scrubbed white, with a strap around the
leg, just below the knee, to keep the bottom of his trousers out of
the mud, and always a spotted handkerchief around his neck.
He often worked for us when extra help was needed, such as haymaking,
and always sat at table with us - my mother treated the workmen well.
Jack too was a casual worker around the farms, a tall dark haired
man, I think an ex-guardsman, again a clean man in spite of living
He lived in a dingle between Penrose Farm and the Glebe Farm, Usk
Road, quite hidden from view, with a stream running through, and so
having plenty of water for washing his clothes and his person. He
had cut himself a dugout in the bank which was of red clay and could
be fashioned into shape. He had moulded a fireplace with a mantelshelf
on which he kept his tobacco.
I remember going with my brother John (he wanted to see Jack Wrexham
as he had work for him) and so I was able to see his abode. It was
quite snug, the area around quite neat and tidy, perhaps due to his
Tom was a tramp who travelled the countryside. He was aptly named,
he was so dirty
his face was black, his clothes were black and
shining with dirt. I don't think he had washed for years. He wore
two bowler hats one on top of the other.
His billy can, frying pan, and mug, hung about his person; all black
from cooking on a camp fire. I was only a child but watched fascinated.
He usually called at our place, the Tan House, on passing through
the area; begging for food. Mam never turned anyone away without giving
them food, so Tom would sit on the ground with his back against the
garden wall and Mother would take him a jug of tea, bread and cheese
and a thick slice of cake. He was quite harmless, but the children
in the street would run a mile from him. There were quite a few tramps
around at that time.