It was during the school holidays, the summer 6 week break that my first trip to Wales happened. A neighbour of ours was a lorry driver for Hilburns Transport whose yard was along from the Co-op in Laindon High Road. Although he had a licence to drive, he was unable to read (the driving test was a lot simpler back then). My parents were asked if I could go with him, to read the map and road signs for him, luckily for me they agreed to this.
We had to travel overnight, as the load of roof trusses he was carrying had to be delivered on site first thing the following day. Our destination was Risca, a new town being developed in Monmouthshire. We arrived in Wales sometime in the middle of the night, by which time I needed to take a toilet break. We were on a country lane, it was pitch black, as there were no street lights, when he stopped to let me out so I could relieve myself in the bushes alongside the road.
Now I need to mention, before continuing with this tale, that the lorry we were in was a Ford Thames Trader, a lorry you had to physically climb up the side of to get into it. So I jumped down from the cab, directly into the trees and bushes and grabbed hold of a tree trunk, which was rather fortunate as, in the moonlight, I could see that there was a huge drop right in front of me! Boy that was a scary moment, but this was an adventure after all and a little bit of danger simply enhanced the thrill for a young boy.
After having done the necessary, we continued on our way and reached our destination seemingly on time, no thanks to the local man we asked directions from, as we couldn’t understand a word he said! Thanks to Hilburns for the experience.