Block Salt & Candles: A Rhondda Childhood

Mary D. Parnell, Author
Mary D. Parnell, Author Learning Links $29.95 (192p) ISBN 978-1-85411-056-5
Reviewed on: 12/02/1991
Release date: 12/01/1991
Paperback - 180 pages - 978-1-85411-103-6
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The village of Trehafod in the Rhondda Valley of South Wales continues to exert a gentle charm on Parnell, who grew up there in the 1940s. She recalls the comparative isolation of the tight-knit community composed of varied characters whose idiosyncrasies were benignly accepted, especially by her parents, Sal and Jack Davies, shopkeepers. ``Desperately overcrowded . . . rather like a wholesome Aladdin's cave,'' the small shop was the village hub, drawing children for their tuppence of sweets and elders for pharmaceutical counsel and credit without question. The block salt and candles of the title were perennial big sellers--when the frost came or when the electricity failed. Parnell offers a child's viewpoint of the cycles of living and dying, the harvest festivals, school performances and imagined battlefields of the distant WW II. Warmth and affection inform these engaging reminiscences. The author lives in Cardiff. Photos. (July)
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