RETIRED Cardigan architect Martin Davies, author of two local booklets, Save The Last Of The Magic and Ancient Causeways Uncovered, recently found a book of short stories he had written 25 years ago whilst clearing out a cupboard.

Mice had chewed at some passages, but they were still intelligible. “Obviously book lovers”, laughed Martin.

 “I started reading them and couldn't remember how half of them ended,” he told the Tivyside. “I really enjoyed them and when I showed them to a few friends, they encouraged me to publish them.”

Attitudes had changed and some of the material, which would not have turned a hair 25 years ago, had to be either deleted or modified.

“That was an eye-opener, a sign of the times,” observed Martin wrily. 

The stories, called Bungalow Jim: Building Tales From West Wales, are based in the local building world of the late eighties and early nineties and inspired by the author having worked in that world for years.

“That's about all I was doing in the early eighties”, said Martin, “drawing bungalows.

“A lot of building was going on then. If it had carried on at that pace, I reckon west Wales would be one big metropolis by now.”

There are seven stories in all. They are an acutely-observed, affectionate and humorous vignette of a time and a place.

Martin emphasises that the characters and places are totally fictional.

Jim is a builder who seems to survive by the skin of his teeth. We watch him get into several scrapes as his long-suffering team have their own share of adventures.

The stories are linked by the blossoming of a young carpenter, Gary, who finds love and a new calling in the final chapters.

The first three chapters are light-hearted escapades, the fourth is sadder and the final three have an element of myth, history and mystery. 

The paperback is available from local bookshops, such as Seaways in Fishguard and Awen Teifi in Cardigan; but for those too far afield, it can be ordered from the author by emailing

They retail at £10.