Recent contact with an old university friend set me off thinking about those days. Those days two-thirds of a lifetime ago. The Mostyn Arms, St.George's Road, Menai Bridge. Presumably named after the baronetcy that owned (owns?) half of Llandudno, chunks of Flintshire and other bits of north Wales. I consumed my first ever pint on Anglesey in here. It was an October evening in 1974 when my tutor, Peter Spencer, took one of his newly-acquired charges for a drink. It was the first of many.
For two years we marine biology undergrads had one six-hour session a week in the marine science labs in Menai Bridge, usually split by another session in either the Auckland Arms or the Mostyn.
The Auckland. Pretty lively. Pints of Greenall Whitley served via those strange half-pint, transparent, moving-diaphragm electric pumps. Juke box which Mandy, the ever ebullient Mandy, would feed to persuade it to play 10cc's 'I'm Mandy, Fly Me'.
The Mostyn. Quieter and generally more sedate. Closer to the labs if time was short. And now closed.
The Mostyn Arms Inn was listed as early as 1850 when Slater's directory has Maria Harper trading there. In more recent times it had a very successful, title-winning, pool team as well as a football side. Now it just has weeds and graffiti.
It seems that it last changed hands in 2010 and closed shortly after. I've heard that because the current owners can't get the planning permission they want (I don't know the details) that it's just going to remain shut and locked up. On the 20th September 2018, around the time that the picture was taken, Menai Bridge Town Council discussed the status of the pub and, according to the meeting's minutes, County Councillor Alun Mummery reported his intentions to make further enquiries regarding the 'derelict' Mostyn Arms. What the outcome was I don't know, but I hope that something positive happens to the place.
What about the Auckland?
Well, the Auckland has had a few periods of closure since those days but we have stayed in it on occasions when riding in events on Anglesey. It's no longer white, but it's currently open and apparently doing well. However, about three weeks ago the tenant was informed that its owners had put it on the market with vacant possession, so who knows what fate awaits it. Hopefully it too won't end up a bygone boozer.
And Mandy? The last contact I had with her was an email in the autumn of 2010 when she was about to leave for a week's field work studying seals, documenting dolphins or photographing porpoises. It was something like that. Conservation of marine mammals was Mandy's mission. She'd suggested that we should try to meet up the next time that I was in north Wales. I didn't hear from her again. I suspect she had other things on her mind as, a few months later, she received the news that no cancer survivor wants to hear. She took her last breath, in her sleep, on 30th August 2012 and now lies in the cemetery in Aberffraw, with one of her beloved seals watching over her from her headstone.
Dr Amanda Jane McMath 1955-2012.
“With a smile as bright as sunshine.” - 10cc 'I'm Mandy, Fly Me.”
Make the most of your Mostyns and your Mandys. You never know for how long they'll be with you.
Thanks to Christine Mansfield for the photo of Mandy.