His love of music wasn’t confined to the harp. The ‘penny whistle’ was another instrument he loved to play. Though he started his musical career early with the town band and carried on in the Navy. I remember him telling me how he’d ‘guested’ with local bands from Cornwall to Scotland, depending on where he was stationed. And he’d played some bloody big venues. Had he devoted himself to music he could have made a genuine career from it but, as I say, he had other ‘interests’. On the left you’ll see a little leaflet he wrote a few years ago to give out to those stopping to listen; I typed it up and printed it for him.
We had some rare old times. But it took its toll, and his health deteriorated, leaving him in his later years with a stooped walk. Latterly I used to call to his little flat down in ‘Legoland’, and never failed to be amazed by his collection; not just of old music, but books, prints and other echoes of a lost Wales. And of course, the dog (or, rather, bitch) for he was never without a faithful collie.
There are quite a few stories I could tell . . . but had better not. Though here’s one you’ll enjoy; one of the best put-downs I ever suffered. We’d had a few jars one time, and I asked him if he knew Battle of the Somme. “It’s a lament”, said I, helpfully. His withering riposte was: “It wouldn’t be a f***ing jig, would it!” Thank you, Barrie.
In his later years he took to wearing the ensemble shown in the picture above: red beret, poncho-type blanket over his shoulders and trousers tucked into knee-high boots or socks. Looking for all the world like a displaced gaucho. As if he cared! God bless you, Barrie; you were a good man, and a good Welshman. I’ll miss you.