Some of the things that are taboo nowadays were more common in the days of my childhood. It’s funny how society’s values change with time.
Take egg collecting for example. If you’re caught with an egg collection nowadays, you’ll be lucky if you’re let off with a big fine. People have been put in prison for taking birds’ eggs.
When we were kids, an egg collection was a common thing.
The most difficult eggs to find were the well camouflaged ones – like the curlew’s. I never managed to find one of those. The light blue blackbird’s egg was the easiest to spot. Even at that age, I felt guilty about stealing eggs, so I only ever took one egg out of each nest. (They say that birds can’t count, so I reckoned they’d never miss just one.)
Finding the egg wasn’t the end of the story. You had to blow it. Taid showed me how. You used a pin to pierce both ends of the egg. Then you’d blow into one hole and the white would drip out of the other. To ooze the yolk out, you had to blow really hard. Some of our friends, the real nutters, used to suck. They said they liked the taste.
Yes, life for Abergele’s birds was perilous. And if stealing eggs wasn’t enough, stone throwing was another danger. There was one really hard gang that used to hang out in the Playnies (Parc Gele). Yes, Maes Canol’s Diddy Davies Gang were tough. If ever you saw them walking towards you down Peel Street, you made sure you crossed the road onto the opposite pavement.
In the next Abergele in Shorts I’ll tell you about the time the Diddy Davies Gang killed a sparrow.