Thursday, August 31, 2006

Invaders from Lancashire

Earlier this month, August, we had two of our grandchildren staying for a twelve day holiday. Of course we fell for the idea that it was down to us to entertain them. Unless they are small children this is not necessary. But we took them out to the Welsh Mountain Zoo at Colwyn Bay when it rained quite a lot and took the shine off the event. The photos you see are of Eleanor, aged nine and Josh aged fifteen. As he was taking photos of the sea lions swimming underwater Josh's camaera stopped working. Josh immediately blamed it all on the rain and said it had written his camera off. From then on it was all sighs and moans about his out of service camera.

On the way home I called at Argos in Llandudno to buy some rechargable batteries for Pauline's camera ready for our forthcoming holiday in Greece. As I was writing out my order form I heard Joshua explode with enthusiasm. "Hey, Grandad, they have a remote controlled car here that was £100.00 last Christmas. It's only ten quid in the sale. I'm going to get one!" From then on he forgot all about his camera and in the car he never stopped talking about his bargain buy!
Once he had run out of steam on this topic he leaned over to his sister, Ellie, in the front seat, to give her loads of advice for when she started in the senior school in two years time! Once home he began once more to relate his story about his bargain to Pauline. It was now her turn to listen to his excited comments.

Next morning he was out at 7 o'clock running his car in the road outside. He eventually came in only when he had run the batteries flat. If it was wet he was happy to watch TV. We are lucky in that we have a spare TV in our bedroom so the children can watch their own choice of TV programme.

Pauline loves to go swimming so she took them several times on poor days to the local swimming pool at Amlwch Leisure Centre. Josh loved going and so did Ellie when she demonstrated for the first time that she could swim. The pool people gave her certificates to show she had done it. She was thrilled - no more arm bands! Of course Pauline had to buy her the relevant badges.

Later I went with Josh to buy him an advance birthday present from Pauline and me, a fishing rod and all the extras he needed. Eventually we had a good day for weather so I took him to the rocks off Moelfre to learn to fish. As I did not have a clue I suggested he asked someone how to fish when he got there. He ran on ahead of me, and by the time I arrived a minute after him he had already found a tutor. The trouble was that he experienced problems which he asked me to solve. Eventually this created so much friction that I left him to it and went home for some lunch. Pauline went to collect him and he came back to report he had caught two tiddlers!

The next day I simply said we were leaving Pauline at home for a rest and going on a magical mystery tour. We drove down to Abersoch, a place I had never before visited. Then we drove along the coast, visiting Pwlleli and then Criccieth where we stopped for lunch. next we went on to Porthmadog where Joshua was thrilled to see one of the Fairlie Doubles hauling a steam train across the cob on its way up to Blaenau Ffestiniog. We came home as happy as we could be.

On the Wednesday I promised to take Josh down to se the jets at RAF Valley in the afternoon. By the time Pauline got back home it was getting late. When we eventually arrived at the end of the runway all the jets had been flown in and there was just a lone helicopter excerising overhead. However, it fascinated Josh, and that was mattered.

The following day we took them back to Milnrow in Lancashire. We did not stop for lunch with their mum. I had a plan to take Pauline for lunch at the Romper Inn near Manchester Airport. She enjoyed the food there and said she would like to go again sometime. Some time after arriving home we set off to see if we could grab a table at the Quarterdeck Restaurant for the evening meal. We were lucky, even though we had to wait for the table.

The food was sensational and was the best experience we had ever had in a restaurant. It was an excellent way to end a heavy day, not having to cook or wash up. Now that I am aware of Josh's interest in aircraft I can take him there next time he stays and he will be happy. He even took interest in the wildlife he saw on the roads around Anglesey. But we shall not go fishing again!
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Monday, August 28, 2006

The Macmillan Golf Day

On Sunday 27th August the 8th Annual Macmillan Golf Tournament was played at the Bull Bay Golf Club near Amlwch. The weather was better than the previous year when it was overcast and blowing a gale. This year it was bright and sunny almost all the way through. I do not play golf but I was there as Secretary of the Macmillan Cancer Support, Anglesey Committee. I had been allocated the job of driving a golf buggy with supplies from the clubhouse to the hospitality tent by the 10th green. However, I was first asked to sell raffle tickets as the teams arrived. Shortly afterwards I was transferred to the stand in post of starter for the teams setting out from the first green.

This, then, was my job for the rest of the day. As each team set out Annwen Williams took a photo of them and I read the rules out. So it was that I met each team who had paid to play golf for the Macmillan charity. What a happy and cherful crowd they were! Two teams had come all the way from the midlands to play golf in Anglesey. One early team of four included two doctors at the local surgery where I am a patient. I cannot imagine what Drs Owen and King thought as they both played dreadful tee shots which didn't travel more than twenty feet with a patient looking on! Dr Owen simply described it sarcastically as "an illustrious start".

Later in the day I found that one of the players was Arwel Griffiths from whom we bought our bungalow in Penysarn. I was there over 12 hours without a break and enjoyed every minute of it. I had watched the approaching date with dread as I wondered how I would get through 12 hours involved in a sport of which I had no knowledge.

At the end of the day the prizes were presented by the Captain and Lady Captain of the club. The organiser, Richard Butler, stood up to say thankyou to everone who had played a part in the proceedings. He had worked very hard in the months leading upto the day getting sponsors, selling raffle tickets, getting customers in his hairdressing salon to bake cakes etc. But he reached a point of embarrassment as he received a prize as part of the winning mixed team! This had been a special day when we had even had a player hole out in one.

The day was part of the Bank Holiday weekend when across the road there was a longboat race being held. This meant I had the chance to see the longboats being rowed across Bull Bay and back. The wind was in their favour on the way out but when they returned it was against them and they strained as they made headway over the waves. Many people were putting in a great effort on Sunday!

All in all it was the sort of one would remember for a long time. Many people had worked hard and loved doing it. They had done their bit to help a worthy cause, Glod bless them. It was a reminder that life may be hard but it can also be fun.
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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Beautiful Island

Recently we have had two of our grandchildren staying with us. Sadly, the weather was not as hot as it was in July. However, we tried to make the best of it. But trying to find things which would occupy them was quite stressful. Eventually it was Thursday 24th August when we drove them back to Rochdale, near Manchester.

We drove back to Anglesey, stopping at a pub near Manchester Airport for a lunchtime sandwich washed down by a glass of wine. The weather was fine and it continued fine all the way back to our lovely island. Driving back home along the A5025 we saw the beauty of the island and felt welcomed back.

It was our plan to have a meal out that evening as we would be too tired after a 250 miles round trip to cook an evening meal. We decided to take pot luck and see if we could get a table at the Quarterdeck, a restaurant in Red Wharfe Bay. We set off through the greenery of Anglesey and then turned down the narrow lane to the waterside at Red Wharfe Bay (Traeth Coch in Welsh). The tide was out and one could see acres of sand exposed at the moment. It looked at its best. But there were many, many cars parked there which made us think there would be no table for us.

Luckily there was and we waited in the bar to be called to our table after choosing what we would eat and drink. The wait was quite long but it was worth it. Our starters came and they looked delicious. Pauline had scallops, the biggest we had ever seen. My choice was figs, wrapped in bacon with a sauce and a salad. They both tasted wonderful. The main course for Pauline was a cod and crab risotto and I had monkfish. In each case the taste was exquisite and we had the best meal ever experienced. We both chose vanilla panacotta for sweet and we loved it. It was the best meal we had ever eaten. The weather had been good, the island lovely, and the food just perfect. It had been a wonderful day.

The photo above is a scene of Llaneilian, showing all the variety of nature we see there. There are many lovely house and bungalows to complete the scenery. It is a wonderful place. The other weekend we were in Cemaes Bay and I was talking to Dafydd Williams, the harbour master. He remembered me from the many holidays we had taken in Anglesey. I told him we now lived on the island and he asked where. When I told him he commented on the lovely views in our area. He was right. It is a privilege to live in Anglesey. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Beauty all around

It was yesterday, Monday, following a meeting of the Anglesey Committee for Macmillan Cancer Support, that I discussed with my predecessor as Secretary, the beauty of this georgeous island. Each of us has exactlty the same feeling about Anglesey as we drive round it. It wraps itself around you and gives you such a clean feeling of pleasure as you soak in the thousands of views.

The view in this photo is of Point Lynas, near
Lllaneilian, the area in which Penysarn, my village, sits. All around are spectacular and colourful views you might never see if you came for the occasional weekend break. My brother and his partner stayed with us this weekend and we drove out with them to Porth Trecastle on the south coast of Anglesey. We arrived to find the weather was deteriorating and an uncomfortable wind was blowing. We did not stop and went, instead, to park up and eat our lunch overloking Treaddur Bay. After lunch we took the coast road round to South Stack lighthouse. The coves were appreciated as we drove along. We turned up and climbed the lower slopes of Holyhead Mountain to reach the car park. On leaving the car we could hear the lighthouse fog warning sounding. A great mist wrapped itself round the lighthouse so that for a time we could not see it.

We then drove to Holyhead, noting the new footbridge from the ferry and rail interchange into the town centre. At Valley crossroads we turned along the A5025 and headed for Llanfaethlu. Once there we took the route across the fields to Porth Trefadog. There the beach was deserted but covered in seaweed of many different colours. It was fascinating to see the seaweed and the different sorts that had been washed up.

Our next port of call was Church Bay where we all scanned the menu outside the Lobster Pot. There is no finer expert than the owner/chef when it comes to cooking lobster dishes. From Church Bay we turned left and took the road which joins the A5025 at Llanruthladd. We had called at Cemaes the previous day so drove past and across to Llaneilian with its 360 degree views. We took a peek at Porth Eilian and then returned to Penysarn via Nebo.

Our visitors declared they had benefitted from the poor weather as they had been treated to a tour of places they would never otherwise find. No doubt, if it had been hot, we should have remained on the first beach selected.

If you drive over to the coast that looks across the Menai Strait you find it full of the most surprising vistas. A trip to Black Point on a windy day will blow away all your cobwebs as you look across to Ynys Seiriol and the Great Orme at Llandudno. Shoot down to Newborough and then take the toll road into Newborough forest. At the end of the winding forest road is a car park and then a long walk which takes you to Llandwyn Island. Down to your left is the corner of the island that looks across to Caernarvon and its great castle. In fact, I really love to go to Caernarvon just for the views of Anglesey from the coast road there.

Wherever I drive around I feel blessed to live in such a beautiful place.
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Friday, August 04, 2006

Llandonna Beach

Most visitors to the island of Anglesey will never visit this wonderful open stretch of beach. They may see the land behind it from across Red Wharf Bay (Traeth Coch in Welsh) but probably the land just comes down to the water's edge. They would be wrong. Llandonna Beach is hard to find, but once found it is a peaceful, fresh location where a family could play on the beach between tides without spending a penny.

There are no shops. There are no ice cream vendors. More importantly, there are no public toilets. But the expanse of the beach is vast and the view over to Traeth Coch and Benllech is wonderful. When the tide goes out it recedes a long way, leaving a vast expanse of sand for several miles round this huge bay.

To get to it the traveller must locate the centre of Llandonna village. Turn off on the right hand side of the pub (Owain Glyndywr) and follow the narrow lane. When you arrive at the picturesque church take the lane down the left hand side of the church. At the very bottom of the lane turn left and the vistas of the bay will open up to you. There are a few cottages and bungalows on the left with a vast expanse of beautiful sand to look out on.

Along the road you will find a car park and the rest is up to you! The only reason I found this place was because I had to deliver a couple of video tapes to a man who lives along the beach road. It is an Anglesey secret worth finding for its beauty and simplicity. It is not too far if you happen to be visiting Beaumaris. You take the road towards Pentraeth and then turn right to approach Llandonna. if you approach from the direction of Pentraeth you look for a sign to turn left for the village.

Earlier today we arrived in Beaumaris from Bangor where I had been collecting some new sunglasses fro an optician. Knowing the little town as we do we parked at the roadside and walked up the Pentraeth road to Sarah's Delicatessen. There we purchased some exquisite cheese and some peppers stuffed with Feta. I had the stuffed peppers for my starter at dinner. This deli is one to die for. They encourage the cheesebuyer to taste before having a different cheese. This way you are assured of the quality of the food you buy. The smells in the shop assail the nose as soon as you go inside. If you love good food make sure you visit this shop. You will not regret it. Posted by Picasa