On the 2nd of January 1941, bombs hit the city of Cardiff harder than any night before or any night since. Bricks and glass, toys, hats and hands dressed the chaos that dragged itself over the city. Fires raged from fresh cavities in walls whilst their heat betrayed their purpose, warming the cold and injured in the street. Whilst it is unclear to most families at what point a house becomes a loved home, it is blood clear when their home has become nothing. Sadder still was how those left with nothing were the fortunate ones, as, for many that night, the life with which they recognise the state of nothingness, or sadness, or love, became organic rubble itself, red rubble cast black by gas light and orange flame.
In a house on the docks, not yards from where a bomb had fallen hours before, a woman named Ivy Jones, terrified and excited in ever competing measures, gave birth to twin boys on a rug her neighbour had brought over, a blanket wrapped around her shoulders. The twins were plump and stocky, chubby hands and round, squishy, lovely faces, their puppy fat almost in spite of what was going on around them. After holding them and kissing them an inordinate amount, Ivy named the boys Llyr and Aneurin, after their father and her father, respectively. Sometime in the hours that followed, Ivy Jones fell asleep. A sleep so deep, so still and cold that her mother feared Ivy’s life was about to be robbed from them. But she did not die. She slept. And she dreamt. She dreamt of Llyr and Aneurin opening their Christmas presents the year after this one; the sound of torn brown paper, of the laughter of her children, hands navigating wooden blocks and pawing the pleasing fabric faces of two home-made rabbits that she would make for them. Matching ones, of course, and matching, kind faces delicately stitched together. At this moment, she wasn’t quite sure how to sew or where she would find the fabric, and her sleep made her unsure of if it was this moment or a year from now. Ivy Jones woke, panicked, feverish, and mumbled the word ‘rabbits’, much to the amusement of her mother (a story told each year in the Jones house since then). And as she drifted off back to sleep, snow fell over Cardiff and the planes finally left the sky. Dawn crept over the city, and seagulls stamped on snowy fields to waken worms. The boats in the dock bobbed up and down on Tiger Bay. Llyr and Aneurin had their first sleep of their lives, and Ivy Jones, now awake, holding both her loved ones, was quite possibly the happiest woman in the history of women, of that day and of any day since.