Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1980 – Driving Test, Whirlwind Romance, Barbra Streisand and Fame by Sally Cronin

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

Last time I shared my first year at Bontddu with life in the hotel and exploring the lovely Snowdonia National Park.. and the amazing coastline of Mid-Wales.

As Frank Sinatra would say, 1980 for me was a very good year… I was happy in my job, had a whole bunch of new friends in the area, loved my job at Bontddu Hall and on April 1st my divorce was finalised. It did not escape my notice that it was All Fool’s Day and seemed fitting.

It had taken me three years and my savings to get past this time in my life but it had been worth it. I was now 27 years old and I vowed that I would never marry again as I held that precious piece of paper with the words Decree Absolute in bold print emblazoned across it.

You know what they say about famous last words don’t you...

Anyway the second great event was that I took and passed my driving test in the August. I have begun driving at age 17 and had several lessons but then ran out of money. Over the years various boyfriends and my former husband had attempted to teach me to drive but without success.

After living midway between Barmouth and Dolgellau for over a year and having walked myself down to a size 10; I decided that I should book some more lessons and take the test. I signed up with Mr. Evans in Dolgellau who would pick me up in his mini in the middle of the afternoon during my couple of hours off.

I have never regretted those lessons on narrow Welsh roads as they have stood me in good stead when driving in various countries and terrains around the world. However, there was one slight problem at that time in my local area…No traffic lights and no roundabouts. Road works were useful for practice but we had to drive 30 miles north of Dolgellau to find a roundabout which we would go around for about ten minutes before heading back before the lesson finished.

I was very lucky to have met a wonderful friend called Joan who was a district nurse and used her own car for work. On my day off she would let me drive and we travelled the length and breadth of North Wales, up and down mountains to give me as much practice as possible. That August I passed my test in Machynlleth despite stalling at … You guessed it… Traffic lights.

Rightly chuffed with my achievement I set about putting away a little each week towards a car… But of course fate was about to take a hand in my life yet again.

In the first week in September I took a call in reception for a booking for two single rooms with arrival on September 16th for two weeks. I thought at the time that the caller a Mr. David Cronin had a lovely Irish accent and when I had booked the rooms and put the telephone down, I turned to one of the receptionists on duty and said jokingly; ‘What a lovely voice, I think I will marry him.’

On the day that Mr. Cronin was due to arrive I had a few extra hours off as I have been filling in for the said receptionist who was off for a week at a family wedding. I came on duty at 6.30 p.m. in my long dress to carry out my evening duties which were to accompany our guests to their table in the dining-room and then ensure that they were happy with their meals etc throughout the evening.

Put it this way I was not disappointed when I met the owner of the voice on the end of the phone.

For the next two weeks our paths crossed several times and I arranged some business meetings and meals for Mr. Cronin. His room, Number 40, was at the top of the flight of stairs on the first landing and as I checked the hotel before locking up for the night, I would pass by and see a light under the door and wonder about this very nice man.

On the night before he was due to check out, he approached me and asked if when I finished for the evening I could meet him for a drink in the Blue Lounge, which intrigued I did. We completed the Telegraph cryptic crossword and enjoyed a good whisky and water before he handed me a small packet. He said it was a thank you for arranging his meetings so efficiently.

It was a Celtic pendant on a silver chain with a small note in the box… For going beyond the call of duty. Best wishes David Cronin.

I obviously thanked him and part of me was sad that he would be leaving the next day and I would be unlikely to see him again. But he continued to surprise me by asking me out for lunch the following day when I would be off duty until the evening. Of course I accepted and he booked himself in for a further night rather than travel back to Liverpool. It was at this point that I began calling him David rather than Mr. Cronin.

We had lunch and walked along Harlech beach where they were making a film at the time. As we chatted, stuntmen thundered past dressed in Arab costumes on fiery stallions, kicking up the sand. Talk about romantic.


After work that evening we met up again and talked for a long time. The next morning as we prepared to say goodbye, David simply said… I think there is only one thing for us… Will you marry me?

Later on that Saturday morning after accepting David’s proposal, I had gone into work and found the owner of the hotel leaning up against the counter reading his paper. He asked me how my day off had gone and I replied that I was getting married. Shocked rigid he asked, ‘who the hell to?’ My reply was, ‘Room 40.’ Now a standing joke in the family.

That was September 29th and we moved in together when the hotel closed on October 5th in a small holiday flat. David rang his parents who were surprised to hear that he was getting married to someone they had not heard about… He told his mother we were getting married on 15th November and she was delighted to hear there was a year to prepare.. until he informed her it was in two weeks.

We managed to get a visit to Dublin fitted in to for me to meet his family on November 1st.. and I was made most welcome despite the whirlwind romance.

We were married in Dolgellau registry office five weeks later on a very wet and windy November 15th 1980. That obviously means that we celebrated our 41st Wedding Anniversary this year.

Dolgellau Registry Office.. fondly called Bridge End Cathedral (just over the bridge that led to the town) This was a visit 20 years later…

See what I mean about famous last words!!

I still relied heavily on the radio in those days and we also had music piped into the public rooms in the hotel. The hits of the year included Don McLean with Crying, Abba with Super Trouper and The Winner Takes it All. The Police with Don’t Stand so Close to Me, Blondie and Atomic, Diana Ross with Upside Down, Pink Floyd and Another Brick in the Wall, Dr. Hook and Sexy Eyes, Michael Jackson and She’s Out Of My Life. But I think Barbra Streisand summed it up with Woman in Love.

I did not get to see many films in 1980 but there were some great ones to catch up with later on DVD and television. These included The Empire Strikes Back, Raging Bull, The Elephant Man, Caddyshack, Airplane, American Gigolo, Private Benjamin and Fame.

Here is the theme song from Fame.


Thanks for joining me today on this trip down memory lane.. I will pick the story up again in January…Sally.

53 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Memories, Music and Movies – 1980 – Driving Test, Whirlwind Romance, Barbra Streisand and Fame by Sally Cronin

  1. Well, that must come top of the most romantic moments ever! Congratulations on your 41st wedding aniversary and may your days aways be filled with love and delight. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a lovley story.
    How romantic.
    I love the songs you chose. Definatley my era. I love Barbara Streisand and enjoyed the ‘Fame’ TV show too (as well as the film)

    I was married in 1980 too, on the 6th September.
    Not quite as romatic I met my husband to be when our eyes met across the room at a party. I would say a crowded room but it wasn’t. It was a house party and everyone else was watching the eurovision song contest in the other room. But hey!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! A whirlwind romance after you had given up any thought of marrying again. Just goes to show you that fate has a way of stepping in when you least expect it. Congratulations on your anniversary – 41 years is not to be sniffed at!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I remembered your whirlwind romance, Sally! It’s the stuff romance novels are made of. I didn’t know about your driving lessons. Yes, it must have been complicated to fit everything in living in such an out-of-the-way place. Second time lucky for you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It was lovely to read your “love story” again, Sally..1980 must have been the year for whirlwind romance and shotgun weddings which were predicted not to last that was the year we married also after only a few months of courtship…I think you just know…xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a great year for you. It´s true, when the right person shows up, you just know it. Funny, I got my driving license at age 27 too. After my dad, first husband and a few others tried to teach me to no avail, Paul gave me the money to take lessons when we got together. I said, “Can´t I buy a nice outfit instead?” I think he had visions of him having to drive, not just me, but my two kids around.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – December 5th -11th 2021 – | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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