My little Sardines

‘My mother’s song holds complexity. She grew up in Miranda de Alba, Spain, and lived a life of comfort for her first seven years on this earth. 

There are differing stories as to why they fled when they did and became immigrants... my grandfather spoke of being on an execution list because of his work forging documents for the resistance movement against Franco. 

They arrived in Hereford and brought a barn without a roof and my mother and her four, soon to be five, siblings lived in a tent for a year. There was this sudden descent into poverty then. 

When they were in the same place my grandmother would lead a song called 'Mis Sardinitas' (My little Sardines). I think that’s what they stood for when in unison, the improvised and earthy togetherness of family. That’s my mother’s song.’- Jonathan Biggs, Permitting Officer for the Environment Agency.