Monday, April 17, 2023

The melting pot

Just making conversation yesterday, I mentioned to PG that it was the Orthodox churches' Easter as they celebrate it later than us (Icons passim) and asked if he knew the Greek Orthodox Church of St Nicholas in Butetown.

"Mary Phenis was born in North Church Street," he said, "between the mosque and St Nicholas's." 

The maternal grandparents of two of my nieces were married in that mosque I told him. He has mentioned Mary Phenis before, she is nearly a hundred now. "How are you related to her?"

"My grandfather's sister Kitty was her mother, and your Browne grandfather's sister."

"Mary's dad's cousin then. Phenis is an unusual name."

"Auntie Kitty was married to Uncle Albert Phenis, whose father Isaac was of part Portuguese stock. He was quite a figure in the docks. A snappy dresser who owned a boarding house for merchant seamen. So much so that its kitchen was called the galley and had sawdust spread on the floor. He was so well known  that when a sailor in some distant port sent him a postcard addressed to Uncle Ike, Docks, Cardiff it was delivered."

All news to me, but I feel better for knowing it.

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