Copyright: Rhyl Town Council
It started as a homage to childhood really, my childhood, growing up on the Reso council estate in the seaside town of Rhyl in the nineteen sixties.
It was a time when my most serious concerns were, in seasonal order, would it snow when forty of my family made their way to the Fun Fair on Easter Monday, would the temperature in Rhyl outdoor baths ever top 55F, would I be picked for the annual Gwynfryn Avenue 150 a side football match against Rhydwen Drive and where was I going to find the two shillings a day needed to feed my autumnal firework habit.
It quickly turned into something else.
In a feat of memory that seems to rival the Rain Man, I seem to have stored forensic detail of my childhood which others have forgotten……
… the starched feel of the antimacassars in our Welsh chapel-going neighbours’ front room where I sat playing with the snow dome bought on a Sunday school visit to Llandudno
… the metallic clunk of the stamping machine in the railway station on which you could print out rude messages of sixteen letter lengths, on which, I, at the age of eight, managed “Bum. titty bum bu” because I miscalculated the spaces and the punctuation
Not my copyright – Unknown Photo
…the intensely warm glow of a family Christmas tea at my Nain’s when twenty of my cousins would gather around the extended table to savour meats and pickles of cosmic variety and Corona lime and dandelion and burdock pop which was as flat as a witches’ tit, all the time sweating from the ship’s boiler room fire that my Nain had stoked up in the grate, inches behind me.
…the wisdom of my mother, who reassured me that the reason we didn’t have chocolate biscuits in our house was because “I’d only eat them…” an explanation that kept me happy until I was thirteen, and began wondering what else you’d do with biscuits!
…the twenty minute rule of my dad, which he reassured us, was more than enough time to have the immersion heater on for our weekly bath (whether we needed it or not!) in advance of watching the Beatles appearing on Sunday Night at the London Palladium
It seemed that my childhood was in fact everyone else’s childhood. Deeply rooted in that sixties decade when, despite the threat of world mutually assured destruction and random violence from the likes of Steve Caroli on the estate, everything seemed possible.
Many lived the same dream, and many today wished they had.