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.


Smorgasbord Summer Music Festival – A little bit Country – Dolly Parton, Kenny Rogers, John Denver, Anne Murray and Crystal Gayle.

Country music has always been a top ten hit for me. Some of the 1960s songs had some interesting lyrics about life events from lost dogs to D.I.V.O.R.C.E… or P.T.A!

Today and next week, I thought I would share a selection of artists and their songs that I would perform either with my own guitar or with backing track, back in my late teens and 20s.

The first is a wonderful collaboration between the Queen of Country Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers with Islands in the Stream – Uploaded by Stephan Konings

You can buy the track: Amazon

This next song has been on my playlist and also one of the songs that I have performed in my younger days… and still sometimes after a couple of glasses of wine. Crystal Gayle who had numerous hits along with another favourite of mine, Don’t it Make My Brown Eyes Blue.. here is Talking in Your Sleep uploaded by Jack Lim

You can buy the music of Crystal Gayle: Amazon

I learnt to play the guitar so that I could play this song (and others) by the legendary John Denver – Take Me Home Country Roads…uploaded by MrRaymem

Buy music by John Denver: Amazon

The next song is by Anne Murray and is a wonderful end of the evening track… Just Another Woman in Love….uploaded by dmagicofmusic

You can buy Anne Murray’s music: Amazon

Thanks for tuning in today and I hope you have enjoyed this very small selection of country music and keep dancing…Sally.

Sally’s Drive Time Playlist #Music to get your weekend started – Billy Joel and Anne Murray

In the past I have been known to get up and either join the band or pick a few songs from the karaoke playlist. There have been some memorable karaoke sessions in various places around the world as back in the 80s and 90s there was a machine in nearly every pub or bar.

Due to the fact that we had a whirlwind romance (met on 16th September, engaged on first date 29th September, married five weeks later in 1980), David was not conversant with all my past life activities! This included my love of singing with the band, any band…

We were celebrating my new job as manager of the Eastex and Dereta fashion department in Owen Owen in the centre of Liverpool, and decided to go to a dinner dance at the swish Atlantic Towers. We thought it likely that we would be drinking a bottle of wine and they had a special rate at the weekend that included bed and breakfast so we decided to spend the night.

It was Saturday July 4th and although there had been some clashes reported on the news as a result of a traffic stop made by police on the 3rd of July 1981, we had no idea how things would escalate so quickly.

Here are some details of the Toxteth riots that escalated to massive property damage and many injured including one fatality.

THE Toxteth riots were sparked on a muggy evening in July 1981, when police intercepted a motorcyclist in Selbourne Street.

A crowd gathered, name-calling grew into jostling and within minutes there was a full-scale fracas that saw three police officers hurt and a young local man, Leroy Cooper, arrested on assault charges.

It did not stop there. Police mounted extra patrols in the area and early the following evening, July 4, they came under attack from a crowd armed with bricks and petrol bombs. The fuse had been lit on nine days of disorder that saw hundreds of police and public injured, one man dead, 500 arrested, 70 buildings destroyed and damage estimated at £11m.

Nearly 1,000 police officers were injured – 300 on one night alone – 500 arrests were made, 100 cars were burned out and one man, David Moore from Wavertree, was killed by a police van dispersing rioters. Police officers were accused of his manslaughter, although they were eventually acquitted.

You can read the rest of the article here: Toxteth Riots

Anyway we and around 40 other guests were enjoying dinner and listening to a four piece Italian band playing in quietly in the background, when the manager stepped up to the microphone and told us that the police had recommended that anyone who was not a guest should return to their homes as rioting had broken out in certain parts of the city. Obviously there was shock and a rapid exit by nearly all the guests except for one or two couples, who like us where staying the night.

The band played on but within 10 minutes David and I were the only ones who were still sat at a table with our wine and after dinner mints. The safest place we decided was to stay the night as planned but clearly there would be no dancing. We got up and chatted to the band and said how sorry we were not to hear them play more, when they suggested that since they were there and they could not go anywhere, that they continue…

We had been chatting about some of my favourite songs and before I could say that I was not that sort of girl….. I was up there behind the microphone and we jammed for the next hour.

Many days later when calm had returned to the city, I did feel very guilty about enjoying myself, however, that evening is definitely etched on my memory… And David discovered a little bit more about his wife!

The tracks that I have chosen today that are on my playlist are from two artists who have been bringing music into my life for the last 45 years… the first is Billy Joel and his 1973 Piano Man… I am a huge fan and can drive hundreds of miles in his company

If you want a great compilation album I can recommend:

You can find out more about Billy Joel and tour dates (would love to see him live)

The second track today is from one of my idols, Anne Murray and is one of the songs (among many of her tracks) that I have been known to sing when I have had a couple of glasses of wine.. apologies Anne.  All of Me…

You can buy the album that this is the lead track on:

And Anne’s Autobiography:

And the Anne Murray Website:

I hope you have enjoyed the selection today and please leave your favourite tracks in the comments and all the better if you can find the YouTube link so that others can head over to listen too. Thanks Sally