SORRY about the late start to our 2018 TRMs, but my anticipated short break had to be extended due to the illness, and, sadly, the eventual passing, of Carole’s mum, in Neyland.

At 98, she was a remarkable lady, who’ll be sorely missed. She often told me how she loved reading my column, so I know have lost yet another of my greatest supporters.

Now let’s get down to business.

There has been a flurry of correspondence since my last effort, some pointing out how much TRM means to many of you, and underlining how far around the world these little memories and trivial tales travel.

Here’s an email which is a prime example of just that.

“Hi Jeff…My name is Melissa, and I am David Wigham’s daughter.

“I got your email address from the Milford Mercury columns you’ve written. My dad’s cousin, Susan, passed on a few of your pieces to my mum, who in turn recently gave some to me.

“They brought me both tears and smiles while reading.

“It’s sadly been a long time since my dad passed away, and thus a long time since I’ve heard him fondly reminisce about his childhood, and the antics he undoubtedly got up to with you, but reading your articles brought a lot of those memories back. I want to thank you very much for the stories and pictures.

“My mum was just visiting me, and mentioned how we’d met long ago, on one of our family trips to visit my Nana. Sadly, I was likely too young to remember our meeting, but I do recall hearing your name. My dad also mentioned you in stories from his days living in Vicary Crescent. One quite vivid story had to do with a fire on the Gunkle...I don’t suppose you could fill in the blanks???

“It’s unfortunately been a long time since I’ve visited Milford.

“I live in Canada and have not been back to visit in almost 20 years. My mum goes back now and again as she’s remained quite close with some of my dad’s relatives and family friends.

“In fact, I just spoke with my Aunt Sylvia on Xmas Day.

“My mum and I hope to go back later this year, and on that trip, I do hope I can have the opportunity to meet with you over a pint or two and hear more stories about my dad.

“He was a great man and I am happy to see that his memory lives on.”

What a smashing surprise this email was, ‘Wiggy’, of course, was one of my best buddies, and I look forward very much to seeing Melissa and her mum when they come over.

Meanwhile, here’s a snap of what was, at one time, one of our childhood playgrounds. The Pill waters, and what remains of the Gunkle.

I’m also grateful to both Margaret Brace and Yvonne Evans, both of whom emailed me following their Gordon Richards memorial event which was recently highlighted in TRM.

“We were amazed at the response from TRM. There was none from the Western Mail letter. Thank you very much for your help.”

Delighted to be of service ladies, and, if a photograph of the Gordon Richards does happen to turn up, I’ll be sure to let you know.

In our Trawler Corner this week is Juniper A540, a steel-sided trawler, built in 1961 in Gateshead. 234 tons. 115’. Owned by Ashley Fishing Co., Aberdeen and Managed by W.H.Kerr, Milford Docks.

She landed at Milford for only a relatively short time...from November 1961 to July 1962, her Skippers being Alfred Beckett and Sid Hearne.

She then returned to Aberdeen. Here’s a snap of her.

While we’re on the subject of Milford trawlers, I’m currently reading a book called ‘Lilliput Fleet’, by A. Cecil Hampshire, kindly lent to me by Richie McClelland, about the tiny fighting force of trawlers and drifters converted into warships to face the Nazis, and included the Milford trawlers are the Arthur Cavanagh and Milford Countess.

Another email arrived from my old Grammar School mate, Graham Clarke, who has always been an avid Milford Mercury reader.

“Hi Jeff…the picture of the paddling pool reminded me of the hours spent in the water there, ‘learning to swim’, until, eventually, you shouted you could swim...but your hands were still on the bottom!

“But at least it taught you the buoyancy of your body before you proceeded to the big pool.

“The second item was about the footpath to Herbrandston. I remember several times using the footpath to walk to Sandy Haven beach, it was a way of playing on a sandy beach without the use of transport.

“Mind you, I can also remember walking along the country lanes to Talbenny airfield, to pick mushrooms when I was in my teens.

“You couldn’t do it now, as you would be mown down before you got very far!!”

Cheers Graham.

Now it’s teaser time.

What is unusual about the following words?

revive, banana, grammar, voodoo, assess, potato, dresser, uneven.

Right, that’s it for this’s good to be back in the Merc vaults again. Don’t forget, if anyone feels like getting in touch, please do so.

See you next week.