Keeping up with the Joneses
by
Pat Seguin [nee Jones]

My childhood in Caernarfon. I would like to add to Caernarfon Down Memory Lane. If anyone remembers me and would like to get in touch, Iíd be pleased to hear from you.

I am a Cofi. My maiden name was Patricia Jones, and I have two younger brothers, Colin and Malcolm. We lived on Ael-Y-Garth, where my mother still lives. My motherís name is Catherine Jones. She worked for many years at both the Caernarfon Library and at Barnardoís charity shop between the years of 1965 and 1985.

Colin was an Ysgol Sir Hugh Owen student between the years of 1951-1958. He went on to teach and now lives in Penmaenmawr. Malcolm and I attended Ysgol Segontium. I was there from 1950-1956. Llew Rowlands was the Headmaster and he died suddenly during my school years. Gunston Jones succeeded him. Mr R.I Roberts was the Deputy Head Master. Miss E.V Davies taught 3A Music and English. Miss Payne taught Math and Biology, Mr. Roberts, Art and Woodwork, and Miss Crosby taught me P.E. I was on the netball team, very reluctantly, as sports and I have never had an affinity. The fact that I was 5"7 secured my place on defense with Marion Hope Jones of Maesincle.

Other names of school peers include Ann Usher of Lodging Hall, Nora Davies of Waterloo Port, Beryl Humphreys of Pengelli Farm, Glyn Robinson of Rhosbodrual, Eldon Davies of Chapel Street, George Haines, "Duke" Jones (John Myrddin Jones) of Wynne Street and Llew "Cwellyn". His family operated an apple orchard on Llanberis Road near the school, where windfall apples could be bought for a penny. Lodging Hall near the county school also sold apples to students.

Maureen Carter (nee Bleathman), now living in Australia gave the information about this site. Our mutual school days friend, Buddug Roberts of Cae Garw Farm, Rhosbodrual, lives in Holland and has visited me in Canada. Her twin Geraint also lives in Canada.

In Ysgol Segontium, I remember Mr. Owen 4A had a unique way of gaining the boys attention when they were disruptive. He would run between the desks and clout each lad with the class attendance register. A mister Hughes, who did not teach me, wore a moustache he was very proud of. One day during a cookery class he was called by our teacher Miss Jones and requested to fix a gas pistol attached to a stove that refused to ignite. After inspecting it, he turned it towards his face in order to look down the cylinder. Testing it, he pressed the ignition button, which gave a large whoosh, ignited and set his moustache on fire. I can still remember the stunned disbelief of Miss Jones and we pupils as Mr. Hughes frantically worked to extinguish his moustache!

School students were assigned into four houses for sports day. Eryri (red), Elidir (blue), Eifl (yellow), and Eilian (green). Sports day held no appeal for me, and whatever sport I was tasked to compete in did nothing to assist the Eifl house I belonged to.

On Mondays lads who left school before the age of 16 and went to work at Llanberis Slate Quarry were required to return to school for the day. They were known as Hogiauír Chwaral. They felt so superior to us being out in the workforce and earning. They would smoke openly at recess times defying the teachers who could not discipline them as they had officially left school.

Ysgol Segontium had a recorder band and Miss E.V Davies trained us. Among the group I remember Marian Jones, Beryl Humphreys, and Norah Davis although I do not remember the names of the others. For St. Davidís Day the school held a concert. Parents were invited. I was in the school choir. Once the concert was over we had the rest of the day off.

I recall the cane was allowed to be administered for severe infractions of the school rules. Only the Headmaster could administer the punishment and all the details were recorded in the "pink book".

Who can ever forget the days of the "Bangor Trio" came to school to give a concert of light classical music? The Headmaster, Llew Rowlands, after morning assembly would announce when they would be at the school and say, "any child causing a disturbance by laughing will be in my office after the concert". Frank Thomas played the piano, Miss Ballantyne the cello, but I forget the name of the lady who played the violin. Despite the Headmastersí dire warnings, I remember lads stuffing handkerchiefs (no Kleenex then), in their mouths to stifle laughter. This trio did the rounds of all the schools and what astonished me then (1950ís) is that my mother remembers them at the County School when she was a pupil in the mid 1920ís.

Once In a while, classes were taken to the Majestic Cinema. I saw a film of the Coronation, as well as Macbeth. I also saw the Coronation live in 1953 on my grandmotherís 12" black and white TV. She was one of the very few who had a TV in 1953. Later "H" shaped aerials attached to chimneystacks indicated who owned a television. The "Hí shaped aerial from our home, our father fashioned into a spear which to his astonishment my brother used to catch a large salmon bass at Aberdesach!

The Queen came to Caernarfon on her post Coronation tour in 1953. I, with many other children was on tiered benches in front of Christ Church. Looking left we saw her inspecting soldiers on parade at Caernarfon Station. Then a car took her to the Castle. I won a book prize for my account of the event. I remember we were given cardboard periscopes to view the Queen, and they worked!

Random Memories

I recall winter nights, when it got dark early, courting couples would head for the seats in the quay. Younger kids, and I was one of them, would run in groups up to each seat and turn our flashlights on the couples. If a couple not known to be courting were recognized, we would yell " Mae Mari Evans a Huw Roberts yn ddau gariad" (Mari Evans and Huw Roberts are sweethearts). Iíve only made up these two names for an example.

"Cledwynís" was the only boys outfitter in Caernarfon. His small shop in Pool Street dressed generations of boys from childhood to teenage years. He and his wife were our neighbours on Ael-Y-Garth. Both are now deceased. "Dickís" shoe store in Bridge Street saw us kids as regularly as we needed shoes and "Clarkís" sandals.

We swam in the "Baths" as the Aber swimming pool was called. Will "welshguards" taught me lifesaving. Groups of us would bike ride to Dinas Dinlle (Dingles), where we would swim and play all day, and drink warm Corona and eat sand dusted sandwiches. It was wonderful! The ride back to Caernarfon saw us tired, happy and ravenous.

I remember crossing from the pier over to Anglesey on the ferry with my aunt and our bikes for a day of cycling to Newborough and a swim before the return trip. There were countless trips up Snowdon, but only on foot. I was never allowed to go up in October to see the Harvest Moon. I did hear of lads who took a large slate up with them. Coming down, they sat on it, on the train tracks and made the trip down very quickly. I never knew if this was true or local lore.

Our school day games were seasonal. Marbles were also called "Gi-Gins". The coloured ones known as beauties, and extra large marbles could be worth 2 or 4 smaller ones depending if coloured or clear. In East Twthill there was a strip of wasteland alongside a building where school dinners were prepared. I remember the excitement after school when many of the girlsí school pupils ran to this strip of waste ground to watch a game of marbles where Jean Parry and her opponent each put down a hundred marbles. Jean Parry won.

A girlís game that was popular consisted of throwing two tennis balls against the school wall in a precise pattern of throws, over arm, under arm, behind oneís back, etc. Boys favoured "Conkers". A field on the Bangor Road opposite the path down to Waterloo Port had and still has a large tree known as "Coedan Ganol". Here conkers (horse chestnuts) were collected. Once home they were steeped in vinegar and dried very slowly in Mamís stove. When dry and hard they would be threaded onto a string. I recall that when a player smashed his opponentís conker he assumed the score of the defeated opponents conker.

The best places to collect blackberries were along the old railway line in Waterloo Port and over the Aber at about the level of the golf course.

Twthill mountain was a place to play and a cave "Crachan Gam" was avoided as the tale was it was haunted by a witch.

Watercress and frogspawn were collected in the stream of the field on Bethel Road that has a public footpath running through it just beyond Ysgol Sir Hugh. We would stuff the frogspawn into Corona bottles, take them home and transfer into jam jars where we would watch them until they hatched into tadpoles.

I have collected mushrooms, hazelnuts, and wild primroses in Rhosbodrual Farm fields.

Chapels were well attended and in Chapel "Cyfarfod Ganu" and "Cyfarfod Pregethu" drew crowds that packed the Chapels much as pop stars draw crowds today. I remember being taken to a Cwm Y Glo Chapel to hear a renowned preacher of the day known as "Elfed". He was in a wheelchair almost blind and over 90 but the congregation was spellbound by his preaching and the Welsh phenomena of "Hwyl" (spirit), that made preachers shout in their fervour. I attended Salem Chapel. A diversion for children during the sermon was trying to count the organ pipes. I never arrived at the same number twice.

Sunday School trips to Rhyl where the fairgrounds with their rides were magnets to kids. We sucked on a pink sweet called "India Rock" which had the name "Rhyl" running through it. Most seaside towns including Caernarfon sold this rock. Candy floss, a pink gossamer, sugar spun confection delighted us.

Many have recalled town characters. I will end on a personal anecdote of one whom I got to know. "Will Sam (Seven) Bells. He was afflicted with an arm palsy and it was a source of amazement to see him somehow riding his boneshaker bike. In the early 60ís I was staff nurse at the Eryri Hospital. Will was admitted for treatment following an injury. His genial personality endeared him to staff and patients alike. Shortly after his discharge he biked his way back to the Eryri and daily undertook shopping errands for patients of 4 wards. Stamps, chocolates, cigarettes, posting letters and even placing bets on horses he did. I can still see him in my mindís eye biking in a wobbly fashion across the Morfa playing fields, to and returning from town in all weathers carrying out these errands, which were acts of kindness.

TAN TRO NESAF!!!!!!

Here a few pictures of my brothers and me. The first is of Colin and I, the second of Malcolm and I and the third, I alone. The last picture I have included was sent to me by my friend Maureen Carter (nee Bleathman) of Caernarfon, now in Australia. I am on the far right, in the front row. I have also included the names Maureen had written on the back.


Pat & Colin


Pat & Malcolm


Pat

 

School Photograph

Get in touch with Pat in

"Say Hello to an Old School Friend"