A journey down our village’s memory lane.
Deep into the long, hot summer of 1973, the then not yet quite Mr & Mrs Green checked into the Gwynfa Bed & Breakfast on the little road that runs up the side of The Vaynol. It was the start of the couple’s love affair with Abersoch that still runs strong today. So powerful was the memory of that first visit that in 2014 the same venue, now a substantial holiday cottage, played host to the 40th Wedding Anniversary of the very definitely now Mr and Mrs Green. Best of all, they hadn’t been forgotten. Yvonne Lloyd-Jones, landlady back in the Seventies and a well known figure in the village, still lives nearby and found their entry in the original Visitors Book from 1973. For David and Lesley Green it was the culmination of everything they love about Abersoch – a house by the sea filled with the friends, children and grandchildren they now share their time with here in this special place. Abersoch memories indeed.
Lesley had visited Abersoch since she was a child and David came to share her affection for the place. Visiting regularly from their home village of Haslington in Cheshire they started off as so many do in a touring caravan, on Fach Farm in their case, just over the road from the village end of that beautiful stretch of sand that runs from the Harbour Beach, along The Warren and all the way to Quarry Beach. And there they have stayed, gradually upgrading from that first tourer to a beautiful static caravan that looks out over Cardigan Bay from it’s elevated pitch on the upper slopes of Fach Farm. It was here that I sat on a blowy autumn day with David and Lesley to talk to them about the big little book David has produced, a remarkable publication that captures so many peoples recollections of their own journey through their Abersoch Life. It’s a book that it’s hard not to see on every Abersoch Life reader’s Christmas List!
David’s profession was as a Transmission Engineer for BT, where he spent forty four rewarding years, having joined as a young apprentice. Towards the latter end of his career he started to develop an interest in using his existing contacts in the collectors market to record the history of his home village of Haslington in the form of a photo-journal. For it turns out that David has long been a deltiologist. No I didn’t know what one was either, so for the benefit of all I can share with you that a deltiologist is a postcard collector. David has a wide range of interests in the collecting field, from old photographs, cigarette cards, stamps, die cast model cars and of course his vintage postcards, a selection of which he sells from units he operates in both the prestigious Dagfields Craft and Antiques Centre in Nantwich and the similar well-known venue at Blakemere. Using contacts he has built up over more than twenty years in the game, together with the internet, ebay, auctions, collectors markets and car boot sales, he continues to amass a fascinating collection of stock in his chosen fields. Apparently one of the secrets is to look for cards that feature what collectors call ‘an animated street scene’!
The result was the book ‘Haslington & Winterley Remembered – a journey down memory lane’. That first volume was a labour of love as locals were initially unsure of the value of the project but when the first edition eventually came out in 2007 it was met with great enthusiasm locally – so much so that David is just completing his (probably final he believes!) book of the series ‘Haslington & Winterley Remembered – a sixth journey down memory lane’. It’s a remarkable feat – with locals there now queueing up to share their memories and photographs with David (he has some great tales of remarkable finds of slides captured by local photographers of yesteryear found in back cupboards in church halls and empty houses). His sixth book clearly feels a far cry from the struggle that was those early days.
As his collecting skills developed, David started to pick up old postcards and photographs of his beloved Abersoch. One of his hobbies during the extensive time he spends here (it seems he only goes back over the border occasionally to check on those units in Dagfields and Blakemere!) is to visit local car boot sales and auctions – travelling along the North Wales coast to Anglesey and beyond in search of Abersoch memorabilia. Sharing his enthusiasm with friends and neighbours on Fach Farm and contacts in the village he slowly sourced a remarkable collection of images of the village, the beaches, businesses, hotels, shops, cafes, beach-huts, holiday cottages, local characters, churches, local records, old menus and accommodation brochures, boats, the harbour and the surrounding settlements including Llangian and Llanengan. Added to which were some great shots of the development over the decades of his beloved Fach Farm and indeed of The Warren just over the road into the village. It is an absolutely fascinating collection.
Johnsons of Nantwich have long been David’s go-to printers for his Haslington & Winterley books and to them he turned again once he felt he had amassed a suitably substantial and wide ranging collection to justify publication. They have done a fabulous job – taking David’s images and commentary and assembling them in a beautifully produced little book. Which may be damning David’s work with faint praise as the book feature more than eighty of his captivating images – we are delighted to have the chance to showcase a small selection here. Some of my favourites are of the old caravan and camping sites in all their Sixties and Seventies glory – fond memories of my own first trips over here with my Dad, whilst the much older photographs and postcards from the turn of the last century recall a village both very different and yet surprisingly familiar to the modern visitor.
With David’s Haslington & Winterley series now having reached its likely conclusion it’s hard not to imagine that there may well be a second in the series of Abersoch Memories in the pipeline. So if you do have old photographs, cards, records, postcards, slides or other images featuring the village and surroundings, David would love to hear from you and will always safely return your precious memories after scanning. His contact details are on the inside cover of Abersoch Memories, or he can be reached via [email protected]. He is immensely grateful for all the support he has received locally for Abersoch Memories, without which it would not have been possible to bring his work to publication.
Meantime this remarkable first book is available at a number of local outlets including the Abersoch Garden Centre, The Warren Stores, Plas Glyn Y Weddw, Llen Llyn Llyfrwerthwr bookshop on Y Maes in Pwllheli, as well as David’s unit in Dagfields Antique Centre. For those who would prefer to shop online just plug ‘Abersoch Memories’ into ebay to find Davids internet outlet. The great news is that the book is priced at a very consumer-friendly £5.99, making it a wonderful and truly memorable Christmas present for anybody who loves Abersoch. I don’t think I’m giving any family secrets away when I say that my wife has already bought six!
Sadly for Lesley’s dream of upgrading from her lovely Fach Farm static caravan to a Lodge, the book won’t make them a fortune! The combination of the costs of self-publishing and a desire to keep the price accessible as an easy impulse purchase for visitors and locals alike, means that the profit on each copy sold is marginal. Nevertheless, typical of David’s affection for everything Abersoch is that he will be making a contribution to the Wales Air Ambulance and the Abersoch Lifeboat for every book sold. If that isn’t reason enough to enjoy your own copy of Abersoch Memories then I don’t know what is. Well actually I do – it’s a great book and will make a fabulous gift whatever the time of year – after all who wouldn’t want to keep their Abersoch Memories with them wherever they may be in the world?
The article on David Green’s book ‘Abersoch Memories’ was written by Kevin Bell for the Winter Issue of Abersoch Magazine – Subscribe Here