"WAS it really more than fifty years ago?" Judy Bissell asked herself as she pored over a pile of family photos, the majority of which were taken during those hot summers we used to have, every picture chasing away the years that have elapsed in between. You can't beat a few holiday snaps to start the memories rolling! Judy recalled her formative years, growing up as the daughter of a wedding photographer in Wolverhampton, and then reminisced many a long, hot summer's day spent at Borth in North Wales, carefree days that grew into weeks; of playing on the beach, hiding in the sand dunes and dodging the gentle waves at the water's edge; the fresh air and constant sea breeze forging a ruddy complexion and the sun that eventually bleached her hair.
There was no need for routine, or the existence of time, only endless hours of freedom and good fun.
We've chosen a few pictures from Judy's family album which we hope will capture that special magic and atmosphere of holidays that hopefully we have all enjoyed at some time or other and that Bugle readers can surely relate to.
"It was when grandparents also joined in with all the fun", Judy told us during a recent visit to her home in Castlecroft. "Those first few years I remember were spent in a converted double decker bus that had been driven all the way from Wolverhampton, courtesy of Don Everall. It was every child's dream to sleep on a bus, but Grandad Bayliss, my mum's dad, wasn't allowed as he smoked.
He had to sleep in a little caravan parked alongside. Dad had to go back home a lot for the weddings, but always returned with his trusty camera to take these memorable shots. It was feast of fun and laughter I will never forget.” Friend A neighbour and good friend of Judy's, Bill Kelly, who now lives in Saltburn-bythe- sea, was a constant companion of the family and often enjoyed their company on holidays at Borth. He and Judy's elder brother Mike were best of mates and Bill often recalls the "good old days".
Sadly Mike died at a young age, but Bill has never forgotten the Bissell family's friendship, and in a letter he penned to Judy he said, "I was reminded of something that I have thought about often for many years. I have always been very grateful for the kindness shown to me and my mother by the Bissell family. Holidays at Borth, watching Sergeant Bilko on TV, Hornby trains with Mike, playing Monopoly with you, and many other kindnesses too numerous to mention."
Bill also wrote a poem that epitomises those holiday memories enjoyed by us all.
"They told me of a fantastic land, mystic realm of dragons and druids, "Croeso y Cymru", welcome to Wales. Who? Me? I'm eleven and the year is '53, crammed into a Hudson Terraplane, with Mike and the Bissell family from Wolverhampton.
Wrekin "I spy, something beginning with V?" Valley? Village? Vanguard? I give up! OK, that odd shaped hill is the Wrekin, it's a volcano, it's said to be extinct but it may erupt again. Please drive on quickly! “Welshpool, feast of fish and chips, Mike's dad lined us up and snapped us - Mister Charles could surely handle a camera.
“Wales is mainly made of ups and downs, steep up slopes conceal oncoming motors, wind-rushing, ear-popping downhill descents, seven swooping switchbacks, all in a row.
“Sea soon seen, beside the beach at Ynyslas, that's Welsh and rhymes with you, my "bonny lass". Petrified forest seen at lowest tide, then the biggest beer bottle in the world! Sure enough, that must be it.
“Cliff-crested, overlooking Borth, monument to our dear dead departed, who gave their lives for me and you, on land and sea in World War Two.
Perched perilously by cliff's sheer drop, one day, like them, sea burial beckons.
“Our giant sandcastle mocks the flowing tide, youth's sweet optimism. The cruel sea soon conquers it.
“Snuggling between The Friendship Innand the sandy beach of Cardigan Bay, Morlan could not be better placed for pastimes of all ages.
But no dragons or druids? ... maybe they're on their holidays."