My dear friend Mr Pugh died in his sleep yesterday evening at Prince Charles hospital Merthyr. We had the most wonderful conversations we discussed every thing. Mr Pugh was born in 1916 in Tedegar his father died in a pit accident. His mother was widowed very young and left with three children, Mr Pugh was the eldest and he did not want to work underground. Mr Pugh wanted to better himself, he went to night school and did what would be equivalent today to an HNC. He would cycle from Trededgar to Treforrest twice a week. He was married for over 50 years. Mr Pugh’s politics differed from mine he was a Tory, I am old socialist, the last conversation we had was over Prime Minister’s question time. I said “Cameron is running rings round Milliband” He nodded “I never wanted Cameron to be leader I wanted David Davies”. I replied “David Davies did he not once say he was in the SAS and was caught out because he was only in the TA’s instead”. Another time I was visited Mr Pugh and I wore a blue fleece, he said “I like your Royal blue sweater” I smiled, he was holding a red coloured pen and I replied “Is that old Socialist red pen you are holding there in your left hand” We grinned at each other. Sharing tea in bone china tea cups we put world to rights, we would discuss NHS and how we should take full responsibilities for our own health not rely on the NHS to make us well. We talked about Syria and the gas that’s there. Mr Pugh was conscripted in during Second World War, Mr Pugh believed in peace not war. Most of all we spoke about books, towards the end of his life Mr Pugh could not read books due to his eyesight I suggested talking tapes he did for awhile but would nod off and would miss the book reading. Up till 2 years ago, Mr Pugh would walk 4 miles each day. At the age of 90 he walked up Pen Y Fan on his own without telling his family what a man!!Here is a photo of the lane he walked up to feed the horse and then he would walk on to Gelligear Common.
Photo by Julie Pritchard
For the past 6 years, I read my poetry to Mr Pugh he would give me his opinion. He liked my poetry he bought my book let of poems “Butterfly Kisses and a Bee Sting Mind” I warned him there was one swear word in the booklet he replied. “At my age I am not that easy to shock”. Last book we discussed was “The Ordeal of Ivor Gurney” Who was 1st WW poet and unlike other WW1 poets Ivor Gurney was not an officer and we both agreed that war never solved anything. I will walk this afternoon where Mr Pugh walked and I will take Mr Pugh with me.
I will remember you
when the Chaff finch calls.
Snow drops poke their nose through the cold
when blue bells tingle their heads in spring.
Watching a sun rise through a rainbow.
A book in my hand as I turn every page
for I am odd in many ways
others I cannot talk with.
You never made me feel strange,
you accepted me and my eccentricities
I accepted you and your politics .
Sad we will not see the card on your mantel piece
from Saxe Coburg Gotha
After all it was the conversation that mattered.
Poem by Julie Pritchard