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From Facebook posts to book - a nostalgic look at Pwllheli in '50s and '60s

This week sees the publication of memories that paint a vivid picture of growing up in the small seaside town of Pwllheli on the Llŷn Peninsula. 'On Bonfires, Butlins and Being Welsh' by Jos Simon (Y Lolfa) is a nostalgic look back at growing up in the 1950s and 1960s.

Originally a series of Facebook posts that the author started writing in 2019, the idea developed into collection for a book. Jos Simon’s memories are bookended by memories from other members of the Pwllheli Facebook group. The book evokes the strong community spirit of the town during the period.

Author Jos Simon says:
“Initially I was dubious, but as the posts and comments accumulated, a colourful patchwork of life in 1950s and ‘60s Pwllheli was emerging that was worth preserving. They seemed to trigger lovely memories. The outpouring of anecdotes and opinions, the banter and jokes, the reconnection of people, who had lost touch perhaps half a century ago, were building up to be a colourful picture and a snapshot of a particular time and particular place.”

“The book is a celebration of the people of Pwllheli and the community there.”

From a time when the freedom to roam was the norm, On Bonfires, Butlins and Being Welsh is a wealth of lively and humorous anecdotes that bring the detail of time, place and culture back to life. The memoir is related from multiple viewpoints including the memories of other people who posted in the Facebook group. Whilst reading through all the information, the author noticed a number of prevalent themes emerging. The chapters are therefore organised chronologically and thematically, including ‘Childhood’, ‘On the cusp of adolescence’, ‘The teenage years’ as well as ‘Wales and the Welsh’ and ‘Then and Now’.

Friend and founder and chief administrator of the Ysgolion Pwllheli and District Schools Facebook group, Janet Kaiser says in the Foreword:
“On Bonfires, Butlins and Being Welsh is a universal tale of a small-town boy in and of his times, coloured by the kaleidoscope of hindsight.”