Philip’s War Part Five

Home Again

One day Mrs Roberts announced that we’d be going on a day’s outing, the destination was to be a secret. We boarded the bus full of anticipation, the bus took us to Caernarfon where we transferred to a train; we still had no idea where we were going. It was a complete surprise to us when the train drew into Central Station; we were back home, home in Liverpool. The trip had been possible due to the recent lull in the bombing of Liverpool. Mrs Roberts had managed to glean certain information from us and so she knew that the number three bus would take us to the Dingle, just a short walk from where we lived. We were only able to stay for the day but it was such a happy day for us all. Mrs Roberts had arranged the trip through the goodness of her heart; little did she know that despite the joy we all felt, it would have a very negative affect on our lives. We returned after a very long day, all of us tired and worn out. That brief spell at home meant that from that moment on, nothing in North Wales could be substituted for our real home and our real family; the pangs of homesickness were now stronger than ever. No more did those rolling hills look like the great-unconquered mountains of Nepal, the pirate ship became just a tired old boat and the seven seas just an ordinary lake. Thankfully, we didn’t have long to wait before we started being shipped back to Liverpool in ones and twos: I was one of the last to go so at least I had the benefit of having Mrs Roberts kindness all to myself.

When I left school I really did sail the Seven Seas, having signed up as a seaman. I would write to Mrs Roberts telling her of my real life adventures and describing all the wonderful places I had visited. Many years later, after I’d married and had children of my own, I returned to Penlynn Farm. Tom had sadly died, his old war wound finally getting the better of him but Mrs Roberts was there, still her same old self. Hugs and kisses all around and a sumptuous tea produced from nowhere. The farm by now was finished but the cow sheds and haylofts were still there, only now they provided a home for Bobbie and his wife. I sat there listening to Mrs Roberts reminisce, I looked around the room and it took me right back to that happy time as an evacuee. I noticed little things that hadn’t changed in all that time: there on the shelf was the little butter mould, which ejected the butter into its perfect shape, complete with a beautiful swan imprint. Despite its age and being riddled with woodworm it still symbolised to me all that was good about Penlynn Farm.

After several hours and lots of chat we said our final goodbyes, not knowing if I’d ever see this woman again. It was a difficult moment saying goodbye to someone who had such an influence on your life, someone who gave us light when all around seemed darkness. My wife and children all thought that Mrs Roberts was a wonderful lady, she was indeed but she was more than that, she was an angel, my guardian angel.

I’m sure that if there is a heaven, Mrs Roberts will be there, once again looking after all the little children, whilst poor old Tommy ….. Well he’s probably flying around in his best suit with Watneys Beer stamped on his wings.