Whilst trying to make contact with ‘Smudge’ recently I was very sad to learn that he had passed away.
Ron was a very ‘special’ character – an out-and-out Brummie and a very clever and original artist, historian and author.
It only seems a short while ago when Ron, Kathleen Dayus and myself formed a trio of ‘oldies’ who often met up and shared book launches and gave ‘talks’. You always knew that it was going to be fun with Ron and Kath along and I feel I have ‘lost’ two good friends. Ron’s sense of humour was such that when crowned ‘Queen of The Jewellery Quarter’ Ron drew a sketch of me sat on a throne – but not quite the kind of throne one might expect!
This Foreword to one of Ron’s books ‘An Overflow from Hockley Brook’ was written by one of his close friend Mac Joseph and sums up his personality: ‘I have known Ron for several years and this is his ‘hat-trick’ of books. It is a great honour for me to be asked to write this foreword for a very dear friend who has helped me over the past few years. Ron, affectionately known as ‘Smudge’ has given great pleasure to many, many Brummies, and adopted Brummies, with his entertaining talks, books and paintings depicting the suburbs of old Birmingham. Ron shares his memories of sad and happy times of his life in Birmingham through the words and paintings in this book and I am sure many people will reflect on these memories and say “Yes, that happened to me” or “yes, I remember that”. I feel privileged to know Ron and Edythe …….”Ron always referred to his wife Edythe as ‘Cuddles’.
Ron often broke into ‘brummagen’ in his books and the beginning of this particular book is a prime example: “Cum-on-son”. It was my dad shaking my shoulder gently and whispering softly, presumably so that he wouldn’t waken the other members of the family. “Yo’ll ‘ave to gerrup now if yome gunna get ta ya’ nu job on time, so cum on now, I’ll gu down fust an’ mek yarra cuppa tea, w’ile yo’ getcha self dressed, an’ don’ mek a noise or yo’ll werken the othas, oright son?”
“A-r-r-right dad, o wunt mek a noise” …………
The last few words written by Ron in ‘An Overflow from Hockley Brook’ were: ‘I’m flowing like a river to see what’s out there in the world for me, in fact. I’m overflowing from Hockley Brook into a far bigger Brook.’
A fitting epitaph ……
This was Ron’s signature – his paintings always included a dog? If you want to buy this book, the ISBN number is 0-9538009-0-3