Rhyl 1960s a video compilation by Chris Turner

This shows a range of footage from different sources showing Rhyl as it was in the early sixties compiled by good mate and collaborator Chris Turner…  various copyrights…

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Beyond the Reso at bargain prices!

Click below to see books at £2.75 at Amazon marketplace…

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Resolution at bargain basement prices…

Resolution is available at bargain basement prices on Amazon marketplace at present… £2.87

 

Click below:

 

 

 

 

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What a connected world!

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It is our 37th Wedding Anniversary today. On this day in 1981 Jane and I shared one of the 3 happiest days in our lives. The others being when our children are born.

I posted this letter up on Facebook by way of celebration. I hardly recognise myself as the same person as the one pictured here and the mirror testifies to that daily. Yet I know I am exactly the same person inside. That is both a comforting and disturbing thought – that the years that have passed, and the experiences in them, have both changed me radically and not at all.

I’ve had a stunning number of replies from Facebook friends, which is some testimony to the positive power of the internet on the day that Mark Zuckenberg testifies before Congressional Committee.

Amongst those friends I’ve communicated with today are my earliest playmates on the Reso housing estate in Rhyl, friends from other areas of Rhyl who I joined up with in primary and secondary school – what an amazing melting pot is formal education – giving us our first taste of swimming in humanity and making the friends that, if we are particularly lucky, will stay with us a lifetime, despite the diaspora of work careers and aspirations.

Of course, my family have also responded. At this stage, I’d group my family into three columns, those older than me, of whom there are too few left and whom I treat with respect; those who I have managed to spend a lifetime winding up, and those who have spent their lifetime winding me up. For the latter two groups we always remain about 7 years of age in our mentality. A further group are family members recently discovered or re-acquainted with, through investigations into our family tree made by my Conway family. Which group they will enter is undecided, but provisionally I think they are destined for column 2.

Another group are work colleagues, perhaps fewer than you might expect, especially from my early career as time has taken their toll. The wonderful nature of my chosen career in teaching, for all its other woes, is that I’m in contact with people I taught from the time of my wedding onwards. They too, in my head, remain the age I remember them as students, although as one reminded me the other day, they are now solidly in middle age now. I’m so pleased to have such brilliant and caring people in my life and am proud, on reflection, to have been able to see them turn out to be so successful as human beings, despite exposure to my teaching in their formative age.

I’ve second generation friends who came into my orbit through friendship with our children, Luke and Owen. Amongst all of them, I’ve never heard a bad word said about other members of the group and their friendship has survived the different paths they have all taken since school. They are currently helping each other celebrate marriages and new homes – such an exciting time for them all.

Then there are the people I have met more recently online, or in my travels. These span all the continents and include a number of astronauts and former directors of Kennedy and Johnson Space Centers, aviators and educationalists who share the passion for the power of learning to improve the condition of all from Argentina to Australia.

I look at all this joy and happiness and wonder how the world can be in such a bleak state for so many. I think in particular of a young friend, Nour, who I first came into contact with through a mentoring project. Nour is interested in learning English and attending her course at Gaza University. She loves cats and spending time with her friends. Nour is like the best of young people everywhere.

Nour and her family are currently under siege in Gaza for what seems to be the crime of being Palestinian at the worst time to be a Palestinian. Just like the Second World War was the probably the worst time to be a Jew.

I hope if you have a faith, you will think of Nour, her family and the rest of Palestine in your thoughts. If you have a faith and some spare money, I’d urge you to commit some to the medical and humanitarian relief effort in Gaza and Syria.

I think the most important thing I’ve learned in all these years is what my parents showed me by their words and example: there is no justice without fairness and compassion.

We need a lot more of that in our world today – some of us have it in abundance and will be no poorer for sharing our good fortune around.

 

 

 

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Easter Monday at Rhyl Fair!

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Easter Monday was our traditional family visit to the fairs in Rhyl.

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My dad didn’t hold with it as he reckoned the ride owners were testing their rides after the winter break and that they were looking for, and I quote, “local tatty heads to act as ballast on rides that were in the process of being serviced.” I didn’t listen to my dad on this occasion as the visit, led by my indomitable Nain was a family tradition. Nain had led the family to the fair every Easter Monday that I could remember. We went in all weathers with in-dampened enthusiasm, rain showers, high winds, even snow in the Easter of 1963, it didn’t matter.

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The tradition was that we all had half a crown from Nain, which meant we could go on five rides. I tended to be averse to anything that went up high as I had a morbid fear of heights. I always made out that I was saving my money for an extra turn on the dodgems when the others, including my younger cousins went on the Roller Coaster, Mad Mouse and the Rotor.

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Everyone went on the little train around the lake and the sulphuric smell of the well lubricated engines stays with me now as does the impression of the wooden slatted seats in the blue coaches as we wend our way around the Lake, being covered in smuts.

I remember the best Easter was probably the last. Fifty years ago today. My cousins and I gathered in the morning in the clinic field as it was a windy day and we wanted to fly our kites – the craze of 1968 as I remember it.

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Everyone gathered at Auntie Doris’ in Clwyd Ave by lunch-hour and the adults seemed keen to spoil the fun by sitting in the garden chatting endlessly. This state of affairs was only broken when my mum, managed to fall through a deck chair. My first thought was horror. Firstly  that she might be badly hurt as I knew the agony those deckchairs could inflict when I caught my hand in the scissor action of one as it collapsed on itself, as they seemed inclined to do. Secondly I was worried that she would do what she did when she fell over in Vale Road carrying the shopping home from Kwik Save in Queen Street. On that occasion, despite me carrying six bags of shopping  she jumped up and slapped me on the legs saying “Why didn’t you stop me falling!” It was the only time she had hit me and I understood that it was more about embarrassment than anger. Luckily she was unhurt and everyone burst out into a fit of the giggles as the children urged the adults towards the gate and away to the fair.

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Eventually we were there, revelling in the fresh breeze off the sea and the golden sunshine – Sunny Rhyl indeed.

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The rides and stalls transported us in all directions, spinning and whirring us at impossible angles and promising us magnificent prizes in exchange for our expertise with darts, ping pong balls, hoops and air rifles.

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It was all over too soon and we were corralled around the prams of the younger cousins and made our way down the Walk back to O’Hara’s for shared bags of chips. Along Wellington Road we ambled, past the Gas Works where my Taid had worked, past St John’s Church where we had attended the Good Friday service, past the Army Cadet base which seemed so enticing. We passed the new telephone exchange which seemed a picture of the future- all glass and clean lines, and arrived at the old stalwart… Sidolis.

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As every year, we pretended to lick the massive ice cream near the entrance and took possession of a large table  in the corner whilst Mrs Sidoli carefully went through the ritual of making the frothy coffee for the adults whilst the youngsters drooled waiting for their heavenly vanilla ice cream and a part share of two packs of Cadbury’s fingers.

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After half an hour we retraced our steps and made our way over the H bridge to our house in Gwynfryn Avenue. We children played out in the garden with water pistols and tennis balls while the aunties and Nain made the first salad of the year… and bugger the expense. Ham, tomato and cheese  sandwiches never tasted so good.

 

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