Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1979 Part Two – Bontddu Wales, Anne Murray and Star Trek The Movie by Sally Cronin

I cannot remember a time when music and movies where not a part of my life.

Last week I shared my decision to leave the school where I was happily feeding 140 three times a day and managing the housekeeping team… also my application to a hotel in Wales and my arrival outside a gothic mansion late on a cold windy night….

What lies behind the door, Anne Murray and Star Trek

There I am nearly midnight, standing in front of this gothic edifice waiting for those thunderous footsteps to arrive at the door and open it…….

As it did with a bit of a squeak. There stood a perfectly normal looking young man of medium height and build, with a smile on his face.

‘You made it okay then,’ he opened the door wider. ‘I am Richard the manager, come on in and we will get you settled for the night.’

After a quick chat Richard took me back outside and around to the front of the hotel where there were some large windows beneath the long terraced dining-room.

Here I was introduced to my room mates who sleepily grunted hello to me and who I met in the morning. One of them was the assistant manager and the other two were newbies like me and made up the reception staff for the hotel.

The hotel was due to open for Easter so it was all hands on deck for the next few days. The opening weekend was usually booked out by an Insurance company from Liverpool and the kitchens, housekeeping staff were hectic getting the rooms and the menus prepared.

For those of us beginning life working in the hotel it was also a hectic time getting acquainted with all the usual reception duties and processes, but we enjoyed working and living with each other.

The one drawback was that I didn’t drive and on my day off was usually a Sunday. In Gwynedd at the time this meant no public transport and unless I could get a lift into either Dolgellau or Barmouth, I walked the five miles each way to one or other.

This meant that within about six weeks I was skinny as a whippet!

A few weeks into the season and the Assistant Manager who was there for the second year in a row decided to leave and run her own B & B in the Lake District. I was offered her job and one of the perks was my own little flat on the ground floor of the nearby Chapel House, with the chambermaids and waitresses living above me in a number of bedrooms.

This was great and despite the fact that I never seemed to be off duty I loved that spring and summer exploring my local surroundings on foot and meeting new friends. If I was lucky, a friend with a car would organise day trips along the spectacular coast and here I am at the famous Portmeirion.

We had our moments in the hotel as every establishment does and they certainly added some colour to the proceedings. We had a number of celebrities through the restaurant and staying. Film crews for the Holiday programme with Judith Chalmers, The Radio One Road show with Tony Blackburn and Margaret Thatcher’s husband Denis one lunchtime.

I loved the atmosphere and the hectic schedule and largely managed to keep myself out of trouble that first season.  I opted to stay for most of the closed season in my flat in a caretaker and maintenance role in my small flat. That meant that I did even more walking back and forth for my shopping as there was only a small shop in the village. Although I had taken driving lessons at age 17 I had not taken my test so that winter I took the plunge and Mr. Evans from Dolgellau became my driving instructor. It would be August 1980 before I took my test.

I went home to Portsmouth for a few weeks at Christmas and did some temp jobs and then headed back in February to start to get the hotel ready again for the 1980 season.

I had a small transistor radio that went with me everywhere and managed to keep more or less up to date with the charts… One of my favourites was Anne Murray I Just Fall in Love Again.. fabulous singer. thanks tohappysun


I did manage to get to the cinema during the Christmas break and Star Trek The Movie... and whilst I wouldn’t call myself a Trekkie.. we have certainly watched every series since then… thanks toOrange Band Media


Next time 1980 and my divorce comes through on April 1st!!! Just in time for the new season.. I had a few more adventures that season and then in the September I was swept off my feet.


43 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1979 Part Two – Bontddu Wales, Anne Murray and Star Trek The Movie by Sally Cronin

  1. You’ve lived such an interesting life, Sally! It seems like you’ve always had a great work ethic, but you enjoyed having a good time too.

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  2. You certainly do look skinny as a whippet in that second photo – but also happy and healthy. It’s lovely to hear that the hotel worked out so well for you and I’m impressed that when you went back home at Christmas, you went straight into some temp jobs. As Pete says, the work ethic is undoubtedly there! xx

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  3. Your life story is proof that truth is often better than fiction. As you know, Ann Murray is an icon in Canada and so well-loved. I particularly love that song. Thanks!

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  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up- 28th November – December 4th 2021 – 1980s hits, Wales, Book Reviews, Christmas Book Fair, Blogging and Humour | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  5. Whew! Thank goodness that turned out okay. You had us worried last week. 🙂 Such adventures! I always said if I could choose any voice in the world, it would be either Anne Murray or Dottie West. Loved both of those ladies. Thanks for sharing, Sally!

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  6. Walking 5 miles each way is a lot. You had an interesting life, Sally. We would make the most of anything when other choices are not available. I walked a lot in Hong Kong by choice. When tired, I could always hop on the bus. ❤ Star Trek is still our favorite.

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  7. What an adventure.
    At this time I think I had just left college and with no teaching job decided to retrian as a tracer/draughtswoman.
    But nothing as exciting as your story.
    I’m a huge Star Treck fan (not a Trekkie) but only really knew the original series and the films (which I loved!)

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  8. I just love the stories of what you did, back in the day. I feel like I’m with you every step of the way. I hadn’t thought about transistor radios in ages. I loved mine!! It was music at our fingertips.

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