My mother

My Mother

Barbara Owen with a cousin, circa 1929

She is 95  and currently in hospital with blood clots in her lungs. She is funny, intelligent, curious, warm-hearted and is and has been a wonderful mother.

My parent’s wedding day, spring 1954

Pre-COVID I visited my family in the UK nearly every year. Since COVID, she has told me me not to come over. She knows the difficulties of getting back into Australia. A friend of ours was waiting for five months to get back into this country. I applied for a permit to travel but was refused. They wanted to see my birth certificate, I can’t leave this country without proof now! I have applied for a fast turn-around copy from the UK,

I love her dearly – we were talking nearly everyday on the phone before her admission, and I have spoken to her in hospital a few times.

She was born a long time ago: Coal crisis – Lord Reading – Morocco Peace Hitch – Weakness of the Franc – German Cabinet difficulties – The Duchess of York, birth of a daughter – Political notes, Winston Churchill. The Times, Wed April 21 1926.

Her father ‘a dock gate man’ in charge of berthing ships at Gladstone Docks walked to St Helens (23 kilometres, 14 miles), because of a strike to see his daughter, born in The Bankhouse, Dr Fox’s surgery now demolished. He was a cousin who let them stay there. Her grandfather,  Charles Hayes, ran the Locomotive Inn, called the Roundhouse, but was too generous, a great raconteur, and gambled on the Isle of Wight with Sir Berkeley Sheffield – had lost it all.

My mother and father in the late 70s I am guessing.

On her 90th birthday she was live on TV and a hit.

Hi John,
I just wanted to check in and say a huge thank you for making the long journey to London last week! It was absolutely wonderful to have you all joining us on the show. Your mum was fantastic – she was a huge hit amongst the team – it was a pleasure to have her on the show! She is a very impressive woman!

Please say a huge thank you to her for sharing her 90th birthday celebrations with us and making the long journey in the cramped taxi all the way to London. I hope you all enjoyed the experience and got home safely.

On behalf of everyone at the One Show – thank you again.
Rosie Martin, Researcher, BBC Television, April 2016.

Spring 2009, Chenies Tudor Manor House. Built by the Cheney family 1180

Pre-COVID, I would spend many weeks each year with her and my father, before he died. They loved the countryside and visiting National Trust gardens.


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