Memories of Greenmeadow
by Agnes Zennadi
Agnes was born in Aberdeenshire in 1932 and moved to Cwmbran via Tripoli, Kenya and Germany! In 1967, when her first marriage ended, she saw in The Sunday People that there were 400 new houses in Cwmbran that nobody wanted, so she and her 4 children moved into 9 The Courtlands. Her youngest child, John, was 6 months old, her oldest, Linda, was 12, with Robert and Katrina in between. (Later, Agnes remarried and had her 5th child, Michael, when she was 41.) Their brand new house wasn’t even decorated, so the first thing Agnes had to do was get some emulsion paint.
Although Agnes thought the Byways was a wonderful place to live, she found that some other people didn’t seem to agree: “You’d have a neighbour one day and then the next day they’d be gone!” Luckily, Agnes still found she had a lot of lovely neighbours, especially Hazel Long, who became a close and life-long friend. In those days, Agnes was known as ‘Aggie’ – or ‘Aunty Aggie’ to the local children.
One Scottish custom that Agnes introduced to her neighbours and their children was egg rolling at Easter. They would hard boil eggs in tea, or food colouring, then draw faces and put their names on them and go up the mountain to roll them down the slopes. Whoever’s egg had the most shell still on at the end won. A local farmer didn’t see the funny side of this one Easter and chased Agnes, Hazel and the children off his land while they pretended they weren’t able to speak English! Agnes’ pushchair was so buckled after this that she could never use it again.
On one occasion, Agnes got thoroughly fed up of her children coming home injured from playing on a slippery climbing frame made of railway sleepers on the estate (which has since been removed), so she borrowed a saw and set out to sort the matter out herself… until she was talked out of it by a neighbour!
Agnes worked as a cleaner in the Threepenny Bit during the late 70s and early 80s. She also helped out the committee whenever she could by working in the kitchen and the tuck shop. Her memories of the Threepenny Bit include a short-lived bar in the 90s, the nursery in the morning in the late 80s that she took her granddaughter to, but mainly the bingo, which, at one time, was 6 nights a week. She also remembers how incredibly smoky the hall used to be after the bingo.
Agnes and her husband moved to Oaksford for a few years, but then they moved back to the estate in 2013.
Agnes now has 22 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren (and counting…).