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Most of my Cosy memories are of events of an earlier time in my life but this one is only days old and it begins with a bus journey. My nephew Peter Tuffs was visiting and Jenny and I took him on an hour long circular bus ride that picked us up and dropped us off at our house. It travelled along some very narrow roads going to off the beaten track villages, where it acted as a lifeline for the country folk who would be stranded without this twice weekly service. Jenny and I have often travelled on this bus for it proved a useful way to to view the ever changing seasons of the Welsh countryside and, in time, we got to recognise many of of the passengers as they were picked up from their remote homes. Most of these were Welsh speaking women and so Pete's friendly, "Good Morning", was answered by an equally friendly, "Bore Da". What Peter could not know was that within a fortnight two of these travellers would be meeting his Uncles, Bob, Len and Gordon in my home and muttering, "Nos Da", to them. This is how it happened -------------!
I was sitting at my big old oak table, as were my three brothers, and we had just finished our evening meal. The dishes had all been cleared with the exception of the wine glasses which were still in use. I had put a 'Guy Mitchell' album on the CD player for, over the years, I had found that his songs were a sure fire way to ensure my brother Len started singing. It was the last night of my brothers visit and the plan was for us to soon move from the dining room to the lounge, where we would argue about what film to watch. All that changed when I heard an almighty THUMP! I immediately called upstairs asking Jenny if she was okay and thankfully she was. Seconds later, however, I found myself following her out of our front door to discover what appeared to be a three car pile up. People from most of the neighbouring houses had instantly appeared and we saw what seemed to be smoke coming from the middle car. An instant crowd gathered around and as I stood in my stocking feet at my front gate, I could sense Len, Bob and Gordon peering over my shoulder. We all watched as my ever capable wife took control, "Has anybody phoned for an Ambulance and the Police", she enquired and someone immediately did so. She soon discovered that one car containing four people had driven into the stationary and empty car of our next door neighbour. It had shunted his car some thirty yards up the road and somehow wedged itself between it and a third car.
Within minutes Jenny was ushering a man from the crashed car into our home to await the para medics and this poor fellow was in a state of shock. Having sat him down in our lounge she was soon outside again and was leading in the other three casualties, all elderly ladies, past my three gaping brothers. Jenny firmly told us to go back into the dining room as she spoke calmly to the four crash victims, two of whom we both recognised as regulars from the above mentioned bus ride in the sticks. Having established that no one was badly hurt, Jenny went to the kitchen to boil a kettle and met me as I grabbed some bottles of beer for my brothers. I could soon hear Jenny's reassuring comments to the obviously upset lady driver as she served them all tea. We, the brothers four, remained as instructed out of the way behind the closed dining room door. I'm told that when the police arrived they could hear our dulcet tones as we gently sang along to Guy Mitchell's song, 'Singing the Blues'. Despite the accident, the combination of beer, wine and yet more wine had made our mood a good one. Then the Ambulance and para medics arrived and that made a crowd of nine people gathered in our lounge. At times they could clearly hear the voices of Bob, Len, Gordon and myself wafting from another room where we, the Tuffs brothers, sang with much gusto, 'Heartaches by the Number'.
When I ventured out of the dining room for more beer, I found our neighbours from three doors up and the ones from one door down were all in our house, keen to see what was going on. There were also the two policemen and the two para medics, together with the arrival of a concerned relative of one of the crashed car passengers. Add to these the actual crash victims and you can imagine the chaotic scene that our small house was unexpectedly experiencing. Later, having establishing that no one was physically hurt, the ambulance people left to the sound of us brothers singing, "My Truly Truly Fair", and it was then Jenny decided she would rather have us watching a film than to continue singing along with Guy Mitchell. We were swiftly moved into the lounge, as she shooed everyone else into the dining room, offering more tea and asking the crash victims if they would like a sandwich? On hearing this, and recalling the delicious sandwiches left over from lunch, Len pretended mock outrage at the thought that Jenny may be giving away OUR SANDWICHES!
In time the Police left as did all our neighbours. The concerned relative drove two of the crashed car ladies home and Jenny was left with just the elderly woman driver and the still in shock man. He, we discovered later, was her nephew and was called John. As we watched the film, a Gary Cooper 1940's stinker called, 'The Westerner', Jenny sat with the two as they awaited the car recovery vehicle. She told me later how she had smiled as the Aunt and Nephew each blamed the other for the accident. The nephew claimed he had warned his aunt loudly, "Watch out for that car"!, to which she apparently replied, "Well, I never heard you, so it's your fault, for you've always spoken far too softly". Whose ever fault it was, the fact remained that the car was a write off and the old lady would probably never get to drive any car again!
The recovery vehicle had to travel thirty miles to our home and for all that time Jenny sat comforting them both. Meanwhile, as we sat watching the film and sipping our whisky, we could actually hear laughter from the other room and I realised that Jenny was once again working her magic. Later, after our unexpected guests had left, a tired Jenny wished all of us goodnight. I looked into the dining room and saw she had it all set up ready for the next mornings breakfast, just as I had expected. The following day, after my brothers had returned home and Jenny was preparing our evening meal, our door bell rang. Our young next door neighbours, the ones whose car had been crashed into, handed Jenny an enormous bunch of flowers and said that they were a thank you for all she'd done the night before. I was in the Kingdom at the time and when she later showed me the flowers she was truly puzzled as to why why she'd been given them. "What did I do"? she asked, and I love her all the more for not realising how unique she is in so many special ways.
One hour ago our post arrived and in it was an letter from someone who clearly does not write many letters. In it were the following words, exactly as he wrote them...........
To the very friendly lady who was so helpful on the evening of the 24th and welcomed us into her house. I found your words VERY HELPFUL. Both friendly and welcoming.
Thank you so very much.
What you did my darling is what you always do in times of need, you took control. In years gone by you were a hero to old Frank and to Doctor Musson and to many others. You made what you did for them look effortless for you quietly solved their problems. As you did for all concerned on that night of September 24th when you once again, just took control. That is why the young couple next door gave you that wonderful bouquet of flowers, that's why my brothers love you, that's why a stranger called John wrote the above letter, and that's why I'm so lucky that you chose me to share your life with.
Many years have passed since all of the above occurred and I now find myself in a state of terminal bad health. In almost all other circumstances I would by now have been permanently hospitalised and miserable, but I'm not, far from it! I'm still at home, living a difficult and sometimes messy day to day existence, but one that's still mostly enjoyable. I owe it all to my personal eighth wonder of the world, my Jenny, The Lady whose STILL taking control!
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