"Lizzie Memories II"

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  "G E Jones"

Tonight’s subject is G E Jones, the former headmaster of Rhiw School. I believe he came here around 1906, and the schoolhouse was built for him in 1908. He didn’t like the place being called ‘The Schoolhouse’ and instead named it Talfarrach, and he thought the world of that name.

I believe he was originally from Felinheli, but he came here from Nant Peris, whilst he was there he was the leader of the band, and they won many prizes. He was an excellent poet and musician and was known by his pen name as ‘Ifan Efrais’. He was a good teacher and had great influence with the children until he discovered ‘Penponcyn’, then all his time went to waste, and all he could think of was beer!!

He was a good Sunday school teacher and the main accompanist at Tan y Foel. He would also accompany at singing festivals as well as conduct, and at the Rhiw literary society meetings he would always be the leader. He was very able and gifted and had an enormous amount of books, songs and poems, but he had one special book his ‘Black Book’ and it was said that this book contained all manner of things I’d be very pleased if I knew what was in that book!!

Politically he was an ardent Liberal and when D P Williams was the candidate for Llanberis, he went all the way there to cast his vote, and at the time believe me it was quite a journey from Rhiw.

He called himself ‘Uncle’ I don’t know why, but that’s what everyone called him.

Once John Evans Bootle was in Tan y Foel and after descending from the pulpit, he shook hands with ‘Uncle’, who was an old friend, “ How are things with you John Evans?” he enquired, to which the preacher replied “ Not so good I’ve suffered a great loss, I’ve just buried my wife” “Well, well” he said “ Uncle ‘s buried two”!!!!!!!

‘Uncle had gone to the sheepdog trials at Betws Garmon, with some others from Rhiw, and he’d had quite a skinful, when they came upon Rhys Lewis the preacher of Betws Garmon, who duly came and shook hands with ‘Uncle’ who turned away lest the preacher could smell the drink!!

He had an exceptional interest in choirs, and it would be nothing for him to walk to Tudweiliog or Dinas to ‘spy’ on them if he knew the choirs there would be practising Once one of the larger choirs of Rhiw were having a practice and ‘Uncle was accompanying them, when all of a sudden he sang “ Yes I courted an English woman” and the choir sang the chorus “ Hob y Deri Dando” and waited for ‘Uncle to continue with the response but instead he said “I married her and that put an end to the fun!!”

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"Rhiw School in 1910"

He used to get milk and buttermilk from Tyddyn Meirion, as he was coming up Lon Las one day he saw Isaac Ael Bryn hurtling downhill past him, on a bike that had no tyres, as he flew past ‘Uncle said “Dear me what do I see coming but Isaac on the wings of death”

Once one of the children was late for school and ‘Uncle asked “Where been skeets?” that’s how he ‘d always ask, “ Collecting lapwing’s eggs sir” said Dafydd “Where are they” “In my pocket sir” and then ‘Uncle slapped his pockets and they turned yellow with egg yolk. On another occasion Dafydd was late again for school and stamping his feet, for attention no doubt, as he marched into school, he’d just had a haircut QP and all, ‘Uncle peered over his spectacles and said “Dear me where did this turnip head come from?” To which we all laughed.

At that time the coal ship used to call regularly and many of the older boys skipped school one day to see the ship, eventually they turned up stamping their feet as they marched into school in a line, and the only thing ‘Uncle said was “Here come the colliers!!” I doubt they’d get off so lightly these days.

When it was the day of his wife’s funeral ‘Uncle had been drinking heavily in the morning, and as the funeral cortege began its way to Aberdaron he told William Hughes Conion, whose horse and cart was used to carry the coffin, “When you see ‘Uncle stand up, crack the whip” that meant he couldn’t get there quick enough, and at the bend near Tyn Lon, lo and behold ‘Uncle stood up!!!

When he went to Penponcyn he’d be on his knees licking the froth off his pint off the floor “Waste not want not” he used to say.

Gardening was both his passion and hobby his garden was a sight to behold, full of the most beautiful blooms, its never looked so good since. In the evenings you’d see ‘Uncle going around the village with his little wheelbarrow gathering up the horse manure for his garden’

I should have mentioned that his favorite song was ‘De Campden Races are five miles long, do da do da day’, he’d be singing it all day long.

It’s been many years now since he was finally laid to rest at the churchyard in Aberdaron, but his wit and humour will live on forever here in Rhiw.

 

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