I have noticed very reluctantly, two things have been happening over the last couple of years. I have broken my promise of not following in the footsteps of my parents who both, Bless them, drove me a little madder than I was, by continually reminding me of the good old days when this cost this and that cost that. But even more upsetting is the fact that I not only miss their wonderings into the past but I now miss the things they used to remind me off, such as Grandma's 6d trifle treat on Fridays my brothers and I always looked forward to after the customary news paper full of thick golden chips topped with streams of vinegar, the trick being to get them back to Grandma's house across the road from the chippy before the vinegar soaked into the paper.

And I never remember the sawdust sticking to our shoes in the butchers shops even when it had rained but whilst mum was buying homemade sausages and faggots us kids would be drawing pictures in the sawdust.

Not too keen on the compulsory trip up the road whenever the men were laying tarmac however [still do not appreciate the smell] but mum would make us stand there and breathe good for the lungs I remember was the comment!

So we never had it so good well they may have been right, we were never bored, felt safe playing outside all day with no phone between us, able to survive without any heating upstairs as my younger brother keeps reminding me and prepared to do our set chores after school but best of all was the thrill of finding which ONE toy out of a list of three we were permitted to request on a letter to Santa a week before Christmas, he had brought on his sleigh and pushed into the stocking tied to the end of our beds. How many shops which have disappeared in this village have left us with memories?

Val Trevallion

All photographs used in this slideshow are from the books of Bernant Hughes, Ystalyfera Memories and Stepping Stones in the History of Ystalyfera.