Of course, the disaster at Aberfan in 1966 made a huge impression on me, as it did on everyone at the time. For those of you who are too young to know or don’t live here, it is a village in Wales where a coal slag heap slid, following heavy rain, onto the village primary school, killing nearly all the pupils and their teachers. The most appalling tragedy, everyone was shocked and grieved for their parents and the few survivors.
What I remember too is that there was a fundraising appeal. How money would help wasn’t that clear, but there was a big response. We were asked to bring contributions to school and my mother gave me half a crown to take in. I never told her, but it was quite embarrassing. Everyone else brought in sixpence or a shilling at most and I rather stood out. Since my main aim in life at that time was to remain unnoticed in the background, I was particularly uncomfortable in case it looked as if I was showing off.
Half a crown, two shillings and sixpence. Twelve and a half pence. There’s inflation for you, it would be an embarrassingly small amount now. I wonder what happened to the money – apart, perhaps, from funeral expenses, I can’t think that any of the bereaved parents would have wanted to take it for themselves.
I’ve had a rare burst of domesticity in the last couple of days. Unable to sleep the night before last, I got up early and could think of nothing better to do than clean the aga and polish cutlery. Today, I defrosted the fridges. Well no, one of them is the frost-free sort so I cleaned it – I’m not sure what happened while I was away but it was slightly and unidentifiably whiffy when I got home. The other one has a freezer compartment with a very slightly deficient seal. It’s fine for weeks, then a slight build-up of ice soon turns into a snowstorm. Not literally, mind you.
Next week I shall revert to my normal slapdash self. Domesticity doesn’t suit me in the least. Why, I even ironed the skirt I’m wearing this morning. All quite worrying. I’ve been cleaning windows and everything.
Have a good weekend, everyone.
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