The Fifa world cup has only just finished. Unfortunately, neither Wales nor England came out victorious, although both gave a fairly good account of themselves.
My memories of the world cup go back to the final in 1966, the year England did manage to win. We were staying at my Nain’s house in Barmouth. I remember the final, but I did not see it. Instead, I was fascinated by the people on Barmouth High Street. Back in 1966, televisions were not as ubiquitous as they are today, so people who wanted to see a particular event had to find a friend or relative who owned a television and hope to be invited in. Gwynfor Owen owned the radio and television shop on Barmouth high street, two or three doors down from Nain’s. For the duration of the world cup, he put a television quite high up in the shop window so that passers-by could see live pictures from the matches. From the first-floor window we had a good view of people as they passed by.
For the final, quite a crowd had gathered. So many that they spilled onto the road, which was narrow and one-way. As the match progressed and became more exciting, the crowd got larger and less inclined to move along. In the end the traffic came to a complete standstill. As Barmouth High Street is the only road along the coastal route the queue must have stretched for miles. When the final whistle was blown, and England had won there were celebrations in the street. I guess that it took a while for the traffic flow to return to normal.
Another time the High Street was closed was when my mum took her piano home to Port Sunlight from Barmouth. The piano, which was a self-playing pianola, was in the parlour on the first floor. Since the piano was installed, the house had been altered so that it was no longer possible to carry it down the staircase. Instead, it was taken out through the first-floor window, which, in turn required removing the window frame. All in all, this was quite a palaver. Getting the piano through the window needed a front loader and several removal men. Of course, the street was blocked with traffic being redirected by the police. The event made the national newspaper, the Cambrian times.
In January 2014, a severe storm damaged the railway line and parts of the coastal defences near Barmouth. As a result, a couple of stranded trains had to be transported by road from the coastal stretch to safety in Chester. The most difficult part of the journey was getting the train past Nain’s house. This was well documented by the BBC.
I think that Nain could have told us many stories about the things that could be seen from her first-floor window. She and Taid had the perfect place in the centre of the small town. Their home was constantly visited by people from all over the place and all were made welcome.
Nain = Grandmother, Taid = Grandfather in Welsh.
Just as an afterthought, my latest scan showed no undesired activity in or around the operation site, so I am good to go for another three months.