The Vaynol Hotel Summer 1970
A Memory of Abersoch.
Fond memories of Summer 1970. I was sixteen, had just taken my ‘O’Levels in Bramhall, Cheshire, (back then Abersoch was known as Bramhall-by-Sea, perhaps it still is?). I had snared a Summer job as a lowly kitchen porter at The Vaynol Hotel . I already knew the village courtesy of annual family hols at The Warren – back then The Warren had old-world charm, narrow meandering sandy tracks leading to traditional 1950s and 60s caravans nestled in hollows deep in the dunes. The Vaynol job was a dream for a teenager. I had my own ‘pad’ (an old beach hut tucked away behind dog roses in the Vaynol’s garden) and that Summer the weather was truly blistering. My employer, the monocled ‘Major’ Forbes ran The Vaynol with an iron fist, and woe betide any customer who called him plain ‘Mr’ Forbes . The Major was followed around by ‘Colonel’ - his elderly yellow Labrador. Mrs Forbes bustled around the hotel resembling (in my mind’s eye) a compact blue-rinsed Princess Margaret (One always got the impression that the hotel business was slightly infra-dig for Mrs Forbes). The hotel’s chef – Peter – and his wife were super people and may have been somehow related to the Forbes (?). What other memories, The Tarantella (smoke, coffee and scary motorcyclists) , bopping to Mowtown hits at the Village Hall Disco, monumental drinking sessions on the terrace of The White House Hotel (rammed with teenagers), The Power Boat Club, The Sailing Club etc. People? Mike Shawcross, Gillian Kemp, Chris Hepple & other Bramhall Diaspora, locals like Karen Davies and her sister (?) – I believe their family owned the end cottage overlooking Abersoch harbour. I recall that their younger brother was a budding entrepreneur who constructed and manned a demountable toll bridge over the Harbour Reach to save beach walkers the longer journey around the harbour by road. Despite being much younger than me he had purchased a small speedboat with his earnings. Impressive lad. What else to recall? Lazy afternoons sunning on the dunes, or on the yacht Bellhound (forget who owned this, may have been Karen’s family?) trips out the Island for beach barbeques. A truly glorious Summer. My family enjoyed a subsequent holiday at the Warren, but our interest in Abersoch waned as brutalist cliff-top mansions began to multiply and as The Warren’s quaint charm ineluctably shifted with the arrival of larger and more permanent holiday accommodations. Still, happy memories of Summer 1970.