Was it a plot by the enemy to destroy Abergele? Or was it just a mis-hit by a pilot lightening his load as he swung round from a blitz on Liverpool docks?
Whatever the reason, during the Second World War a bomb fell on Abergele and rocked the High Street area. It exploded right next to the house where Gordon and Joyce Hughes live now.
Gordon was a printer on The Abergele Visitor when we were kids. The Visitor Office used to be across the road from the present office: where Whiteside’s newsagents is now. The paper was printed upstairs with lead type on a press.
Uncle Gordon and Aunty Joyce were very good to us as children. In those days before Round Table displays, they were the ones who organised our street’s bonfire party on Guy Fawkes night. I can taste Mum’s treacle toffee now. Gordon hammered Catherine wheels into the wooden telegraph pole at the back of our house; Joyce ladled out home made soup. I was frightened … not so much by the bangs of the fireworks but by the sight of the Guy being swallowed by flames. Because he wore an old pair of my father’s pyjamas.
We always lit that bonfire near the home of a neighbour of ours – and Gordon and Joyce’s – Mrs Stirzaker. She lived in a log cabin which originally came from Kinmel Army Camp. It was made of rough pine painted with creosote. She grew beautifully scented pink roses behind the privet hedge of her garden.
Then, one day, Mrs Stirzaker moved out. As a young boy, I remember watching them flattening her home. We children were playing amongst the planks as the men demolished it. As I climbed a pile of logs, I jabbed my hand on a rough piece of wood and got a big splinter in my finger. I ran home to mum, crying. The splinter did hurt but what really made me sad was having to watch Mrs Stirzica’s log cabin being torn down.