Washi Bach..

by Andrew
(USA)

Felin Graig, Llangefni

Felin Graig, Llangefni

Things seem pretty much affirmed that the man known as 'Washi Bach' received warm welcomes from the "Felin Graig" Farm where ffermwr Williams lived with his wife and son. Washi Bach would be allowed to sleep in their 'barn' or equivalent.


Farmer Williams' son died young, so to speak in the mid 1960's, I said, giving my age away.

Farmer Williams, the elder, herded his last three or four Black Cattle - some breed I have never seen since - around the roads that ran like spaghetti through the new Pencraig housing estate.

A huge Black cow with long, wide horns was a stark feature, that and it's cumbersome large udder. He would drive them around the estate to graze upon the grass there.

Neighbours complained of the 'end-results' that often spattered the pavings! Nonetheless, he farmed until his last breath I'm sure, like the total farmer he was.

As a lad I walked once right into his home's narrow entry way. I found a dark room to the left, with what appeared to be a earthen floor.

Often he carried a whip. On the streets he would pick up oddities such as a plastic shoe that fell off a toy doll, a foreign coin, a brass shoe buckle, and other curiosities that didn't exist during his childhood I would imagine.

How far the farm went back into history's mists I could again only imagine somewhere in early Victorian scenes lent in imagery of those 'Torn Bodice' novels. That, and Anglesey's way of life that was. Before the first major bridge was built, in 1827 by the engineer Telford, spanning from the Welsh mainland to Ynys Mon. Anglesey the "Breadbasket of Wales".

One would think perhaps, that the newspapers of the day would have some record of who was Washi Bach was. I mean, to actually put a name to this face, some hint, some mensh'.

Maybe lend cause to more dots to become joined in terms of enjoyable research challenges which fond memories can evoke of Llangefni and indeed all Anglesey. Who was "Washi Bach?

Andrew

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Jul 12, 2011
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More Memories of Washi Bach
by: Wil

Dear Kathleen

Wil Yma! Wil Here!

I was talking to my Mum this evening as we were driving through Llynfaes in the heart of Anglesey, past Glan Rhyd where she lived as a teenager.

My Great Grandmother, Mary, never allowed any single tramp to pass without being fed. Hard lives were common experiences so you reached out to those in trouble.

It was about 1940.

My Great Grandfather, William helped her by making tea and Mair would make slices of thick bread with an equally thick layer of homemade butter.

Washi Bach would eat his meal in the cowshed attached to the house.

Washi Bach spoke English, to other people and frequently to himself. Mary couldn't speak English so William would help.

He was a generally passive and gentle person but a temper would occasionally manifest itsef, with threats to burn down a farm in the Llaneilian area.

Mam said that although he was gentle at Glan Rhyd - where he well knew the welcome he'd receive - she always felt a sense of wariness in his company. Nothing untoward, just fear of his strangeness.

'Y Yard' is what Aunty Jane (Jones) called Malltraeth, where she was from. She married Ifan Jones and moved to Dolafon Llangefni.

Lovely and beautiful woman and Ifan kind to my parents.

Wil

Jul 10, 2011
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Hen Atgofion
by: genethofon

Dear Wil

I remember Washi Bach as a young child when he would come to Malltraeth or Yr Yard as we called our beautiful little village by the sea.

Washi Bach a man of the road and would sing for his supper. My mother was always very kind to him - just like she was with everyone. Her maiden name was Mary Cleverley. My father was Glyn 'Penlon', Pritchard.

Yes, he would sing, one of his favourites was, 'I will take you home again Kathleen' and that's how I got my name.

Happy days.

Kathleen




Dear Kathleen,

Diolch o waelod calon.

It's strange that this man can engage both our sense of nostalgia and an overwhelming pity at the same time.

There go I ....

Be well a Nos da,

Wil

Jan 03, 2011
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A Naughty Boy Confesses.
by: Anonymous

I confess I was one of those lads who followed Washi and heckled him. He seemed to have an awful lot of coats.

It was obvious to us boys that Washi would not talk in any depth to anyone and I think our heckling was to some degree a form of "Talk to us Washi".

I remember him asking the time and on the same breath saying "Blow the time I know the time".

He carried a 'stand easy' tin, wonder what was in that? If we got too much he said raising his tin, that he would 'cut our bloody dials' - a threat we humourously employed for many years.

Washi was harmless and so were we. Here now, compassion rises, as well as our maturity and wisdom of the years.

Yes, it would be so humbling to know the name at least of just who Washi Bach was as he passed through the Pencraig estate and on unto the Penmynydd road.

Ffermwr Williams' cattle were Welsh Black, renowned for tolerating foul weather - as indeed they did.

Naughty Boy




Dear Naughty Boy,

Shame on you.

By the way, I understand that Washi Bach wore three coats.

I learned that today in Amlwch of all places. While collecting photos for an Amlwch page I encountered two local men, Dafydd and George, and learned so much more about Washi Bach.

He used to stay at farms in the Amlwch area as well as the Blue Bell (I found the site of the old pub cum hostel). I'll share this and more with you in a few days when I've generated the pages.

Wil

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