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Oriel Jones Llanybydder / Late 80’s / Early 90’s (Past Picture Post)

Hello one and all. I hope everyone’s weekend is going well and you are enjoying some sun. 

So to continue the story. After we moved to Wales Dad started at Oriel Jones in the workshop, keeping all the various trucks and trailers going. Volvos, Mercedes, MAN, Scania, oh and an ERF that everyone hated, nicknaming it ‘The Coffin’. Well, Dad at least! He’d often work all day and then do a run at night, often Smithfield Market in London. Remember what I said about us being hard workers!? Excessive hours for me was a fact even as a teenager! Dad would often ring asking if I wanted to go to Smithfield overnight with you can imagine I never said no! So often I’d spend the day in school, go home, have my dinner and wait for Dad to swing by to pick me up for my ride to London. It was something of a white knuckle affair as it was the days before limiters, with a load of hanging lambs and Oriels trucks were known for their breakneck speeds up and down the M4! We’d go to London in a time that would look ridiculously impossible today!

Me And brothers have always been help out types so we would often be in the back helping Dad. Then we’d go to Smithfield Cafe for a cup of tea and if lucky a bacon sandwich. I remember first time I went in there there was what looked like an old homeless man. Unremarkable except for I vividly remember he was hunched over his tea, looking totally zoned out of it, with a huge long trail of blood and snot dripping into his tea. Which he then drank! Bit of a contrast from sleepy rural West Wales. Once tipped we’d race back home, get there very early morning where I might get an hour or two of sleep before I got ready for school. I doubt I’m the only one but being tired in school because I had been to London and back overnight can’t be that common.

And talking hard work when we got back no matter what time is was we’d often find Oriel himself in his trademark hat drifting round the yard checking up on everything, keeping an eye on fridges. He was very much the sort of boss who usually works harder than the employees! Except Dad of course, who would spend the day fixing them, the night driving them and still be on time and hard at work next day, sometimes fixing things that had gone wrong or he noticed needed doing on the lorry or others overnight!

A good while ago now he sold up and Dunbia bought it. I’ve done lots of work out of there all across Europe for Whites so I like that sort of circle. Oriel lived near my parents and you’d often see him flying about in his Range Rover with personal OJ 20 number plate.

Sadly Oriel passed away fairly recently so he’s no longer a regular sight zooming about in his hat! The name survives though, the family have a butcher shop. Good that the name survives, mention Oriel Jones to any farmer in West Wales and they’ll know, it’s rather legendary. 

Thank you for reading, I hope you have a good weekend

The SK, with its Electronic Powershift, EPS. This livery on the unit was my favourite of his but I don’t think he liked it himself

The man himself, the late great Oriel Jones!


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