Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ABC Wednesday - M

There was only one place I could possibly use for the letter M and that's Mumbles, village of my birth and home of my heart.
It's said that the name Mumbles comes from the French word 'mammelles' meaning breasts. It's claimed that the Normans sailing into the bay gave it that name because the two islands - that you can't see clearly in the above photo! - looked like breasts. (That's the French for you.)

Mumbles is a suburb of Swansea these days but once it was an independent village with a thriving oyster industry and in Victorian times became a popular holiday destination. On the edge of the Gower peninsula it's still popular with tourists and, it's said, that there is once again a thriving but secret oyster farming project in existence ...

When I was a child Mumbles was a village in a truer sense of the word than it is today. Everyone knew everyone else - and their business. Today the boundaries of many of the surrounding villages have, with the creeping in of new housing estates, blurred into a more amorphous blob.

Here you've got George (much younger!) and me on Mumbles hill with the village immediately below and behind us.
Both my great-uncle and later, when he retired from his job as an insurance man, my grandfather worked on Mumbles Pier, my uncle on the skee rolls and my grandfather in the kiosk entrance to the pier itself. Naturally the pier played a large role in my growing-up.

As a child I was scared to walk on its wooden slats but my Auntie Gay assured me that 'the pier could hold the Queen Mary' (the liner that was). I wasn't wholly convinced but conquered my fear, although to this day it's a major plucking-up-the-courage job if I'm to walk from the pier along the small bridge to the lifeboat house.

The last time we went on the pier, last year, it was in a state of disrepair and parts were sectioned off as unsafe. Now the entire pier is closed until a plan has been agreed/money has been found for its renovation.
I hope it can be saved. Mumbles wouldn't be the same without the pier.

To take part in ABC Wednesday go here.


Roy Schulze said...

A lovely story, but for a supposedly French name, "Mumbles" sounds quintessentially and quirkily British to me; and I'd love to be able to put it on a business card. My ABC Wednesday is Another Mouse.

Joy said...

I always think of the famous lighthouse when the name is mentioned, didn't know there was a pier. Hope the money (and will) is found to rebuild, I love a pier seems to make the seaside complete.

Leslie: said...

How gorgeous! I can hardly wait to see it for myself and if the pier is all fixed up, I will definitely walk the entire length! No wonder you love your home. :D

Roger Owen Green said...

mmmblss - oh, mumbles means breasts? wouldn't have sussed that out.

ROG, ABC Wednesday team

NitWit1 said...

Very nice for M. I can see how it got its name, too. They must repair the pier for you and George to sit and dangle feet in the water. Hmmm, George probably would be IN the water.

mrsnesbitt said...

Piers ....all must be the same age - Whitby is having troubles too!
Thanks so much Liz

nick said...

Oh, I hope they manage to restore the pier, I'm a great fan of piers. As a child, I often went to Southend and I just loved the little trains that ran up and down the longest pier in Britain.

Rose said...

A beautiful place, and I love the story of your growing up here and its history. Lovely photo of you and George!

jabblog said...

I love the Gower peninsula. We visited quite often when our youngest daughter was at Swansea university.