‘He has the gift of story telling.’- John Idris Jones
Coming back home from the Far East after years serving in Burma, George Brinley Evans returns to his home in Banwen, Dulais Valley, South Wales, to find that the ex-servicemen are being treated as traitors – ‘Churchill’s army’ – by the ferociously Communist self-appointed commissars of the local colliery.
But that’s not all George has on his plate. There’s the fish and chip shop, the ice cream round, the Billiard Hall, the boxing club, Saturday afternoon football in bombed-out Swansea, and getting enough black market coupons off Jack Bach the butcher’s wife to buy a suit and marry beautiful, dark-haired Peggy the Papers.
As a painter, George has been praised for ‘just painting what he sees’, and this book is an astonishingly clear-eyed look back over a long lifetime in one community. Conversations fifty or sixty years ago, tales of drunken colliers and runaway ponies, births and deaths, trips to London and Cardiff, all are remembered and told with vivid clarity and directness.
George Brinley Evans was born in 1925. Aged 14, he began working in the Banwen Colliery in 1939 and then served in Burma with the 12th Army during the second world war. During his working life he became an established painter and despite losing an eye in an accident, also began to develop as a sculptor and writer. He published his first book, Boys of Gold, at the age of 77.