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Island in the City

I first wrote this book for my grandchildren, painting a picture of my own childhood growing up in a working-class area of Cardiff. Having expanded it and added illustrations, it turned out to have interested people; not only those who also lived in Grangetown, but also those wishing to get a feel for what it was like to be a child after the war, experiencing rationing and a much freer way of life. We seemed to roam for miles, in and out of what now would be considered dangerous places, learning how to manage these dangers and look after ourselves.

There is always a danger in books of reminiscences, that they become one boring list of opinions and observations by the writer, as though he or she wants to protest at the present rather than present the past. I hope I haven’t fallen into this trap.

One thing that I hope will help avoid boredom are the stories of some rather odd people, characters of great interest, who seemed to populate such areas then. Eccentrics seem to have been squashed or otherwise got rid of these days, we’re all a bland beige colour. Similarly, childhood adventures have been prevented by Health and Safety thinking by nervous parents. This book takes us back to a more relaxed time.