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Colours of Wales

By Lyndon Wray
May 2007, Abergele
A digital story from Capture Wales

"The textures and colours of Bodnant Gardens near Llandudno Junction remind me of my days as a window dresser for Austin Reed in my home town of Leeds. Those days of psychedelic colours, flower power and Carnaby Street when bright clothes were all the rage. The shop windows were ablaze with sherry, mulberry and tan as are the magnificent rhododendrons, and flower displays around the tree-lined slopes that are Bodnant Gardens.

In the mid 70s, I won a holiday in Tywyn. As soon as I got there, I loved it. Eventually I retired to North Wales, but for family reasons moved back into Nottinghamshire. I missed Wales so much that I returned after two years. It was the sunrises over the Clwyd hills bursting with the colours of those earlier days that drew me back.

By the old bridge at Llanrwst, there's an ivy-clad tea house that changes colour from a rich green to russet red in the autumn. One day I watched a heron from the bridge as it picked fish out of the water. What a treat.

As I stood on the bridge, I was once again reminded of my colourful past. Back then I presented the seasons colour changes in my displays, now I present them in the photographs that I take."

Please tell us a little about yourself.
I am 70 years old and was born in Leeds. I have two daughters two grand-daughters. I spent most of my life selling shop display work for Austin Reed. I'm interested in genealogy, love reading and photography. I helped set up Radio Link Hospital Broadcasting for Derby.

What's your story about?
My story is about the beauty of Wales and how its colours and gardens remind me of the 1960s when men's fashions were influenced by Carnaby Street psychedelic colours and flower power and how the photographs I take reflect those trendy days.

Why did you choose to tell this particular story?
Because I don't think the Welsh people convey enough of the beauty and colourful gardens and scenery that is available to everyone. Many people, because they have read bad things about Rhyl think only scroungers live there. There are superb beaches there and once the Marina is finished, there will be more things for people to see. The Clwyd Hills and Conway Valley are nearby and offer some magnificent views and textures.

What did you find most rewarding about the workshop?
The friendship of those taking part, and the professional way it was presented. I had intended doing a book or film called An Introduction to North Wales, but had no idea how to go about the film. I now have some valuable experience on script editing, and piecing together my story and pictures. I gained more confidence in four days than I could have gained if I had one to one tuition.

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