My life on Byways Estate
by Christine Owen
Christine was born in Cwmcarn in 1945. When she was 17, her family moved to Croesyceiliog so that her dad could work training double decker bus drivers in the town.
When she got married, she was unable to get a house in Cwmbran at first and had a flat by St Woolos Hospital in Newport. However, in 1967 her parents saw an article in the Argus about there being over 200 empty houses in Cwmbran so, since Christine was in work, they got a form which they filled in and signed for her and, a fortnight later, she was offered a brand new house at 3 Marloes Path! She was very impressed by how lovely the houses on the estate are. Some years later, when the 4 bedroom house next door was empty, she ‘tossed everything over the garden fence’ and moved into there, where she lived until she left the estate in 2000.
When Christine moved in, the estate above Marloes Path was still unfinished and the main road ended near her house, where the bus used to turn around. In the morning, they were greeted by cows and sheep on the bank outside. There was also a 3-legged Boxer dog who wandered around that part of the estate. Christine and her husband, who kept Boxers, always wondered who he belonged to but never found out.
When she was pregnant with her first daughter, Christine left her job at a jewellers in Newport and had the chance to get to know her neighbours, who became very close friends. One of the things they used to do was have their own New Year’s Eve parties, since they couldn’t get babysitters to go to the ones at the Threepenny Bit. The neighbours would take it in turn to host the party while the children would be sent to one or two other houses for the night. The furniture would be taken out and the carpets would be rolled up for the party and the next day everyone would return to put it all back again.
The Threepenny Bit used to have bingo every night except Monday and Saturday and Christine used to enjoy going with her neighbour. The bingo was so popular that you had to turn up really early to get a seat. However, the most fun she had at the Threepenny Bit was in the 70s – 80s when she and her friends were running the kids’ Jazz Band ‘Greenmeadow Star Lights’. The band used to dress up in costumes, play instruments and attend carnivals where they would march for miles.
After having her son, Christine started playing darts and joined a women’s darts team, which she is still a member of today.
Christine had four children, Tracey, Nicky, Mandy and David, who all still live in Cwmbran, and now she also has 9 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren!