Sunday, February 18, 2007

Anglesey Winters

One thing we have been glad about since moving here is the mild winter we get. Whenever we phone our daughter in Rochdale we have better weather and two degrees warmer. Recently my chest complaint deteriorated and I have had to start taking steroids to deal with it. The complaint used to be diagnosed as Asthma but has now been upgrade to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). With the help of steroids and a lovely bit of weather today I decided to do some limited work in the garden. I ripped out lots of dead plants ready to allow other dormant ones see the light of day. This COPD is a real nuisance as it severely limits what I can do in terms of physical work.
But the thing today was that when I was taking the bags to the refuse tip (15 miles away!) I could drive along in beautiful weather. On days like this you take in all the wonder of nature. Under the trees along the lanes are many snowdrops planted at some time in the past by local people. They really make the countryside look productive. But for many weeks now I have seen more and more lambs in the fields. Lambing time in Anglesey starts about Christmas, so we see the lambs almost as soon as we emerge from the Christmas and New Year dead period.
Going back to the garden, I was able to see the huge amount of gorse growing just above the garden rear wall. Much had been cut back last year to stop it interfering withe growth of the lawn. Last Friday we got the gales back for 24 hours and one of the highest bushes lost a large trailing branch which was hanging loosely over the wall. Out with the tree saw and soon it was no more! The worst thing about gorse is that is is armed with the most vicious spikes which lacerate you very easily. Even with leather gloves to protect you some damage can be done.
Later, when the steroids have really got to grips with my chest I am going to dig over a small plot and plant two apple trees. The idea is to cover the ground with a membrane and cover this with loose slate chippings. My hope is that I shall be creating a low maintenance garden. I love to see the garden but doing the work is my bogie. Our friend, Ann, was going to dig it for me but she has a painful arm and can't dig. It's a pity because she's a keen gardener.
Last year, for our Ruby Wedding Anniversary, we got some red roses which have to be planted out. So far they have only been heeled in so I shall be planning a place for them soon. Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, there are lots of cuttings growing from Pelargoniums we grew from seed last year. Yesterday saw us at the garden centre buying £20 worth of seeds to be started in the greenhouse. Cleaning out the greenhouse and equipment is my next job in the garden. Wish me luck.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Around Anglesey

Today was a beautiful sunny day in the middle of winter. As Pauline and I drove along the A5025 from Penysarn to Holyhead every vista was incredible. We stopped at Tesco in Holyhead for some essential groceries and then drove round the edge of the town to access the country road past Holyhead Mountain towards Trearddur. Along the way there is a right turn if you want to go up towards South Stack lighthouse.

We turned up the road to South Stack and at the very top parked on the tiny car park by the gate at the top of 400 steps which lead down to the lighthouse. We got out of the car and as I turned to my left towards Ellin's Tower I noticed a speedboat dashing along the coast. The photo shows what I saw below me. I thought it might make an interesting photo so I pointed my camera at it. I had never seen a speedboat going past these cliffs before and I thought how unusual to see one in winter.

I was surprised later to see an article on local TV about this voyage which encircled Anglesey. It appears that as many other islands had a local speed record for going round a few people thought Anglesey should have one too. The speedboat captain had hoped they would make it round the island in about 1 hour 40 minutes. As they came round the headland where I encountered them they had to slow for some rough water along the north coast. They still managed to make it in 1 hour 35 minutes 10 seconds.

If anyone cares to take them on and go for a faster passage they might be interested to know that in the Menai Straits the 5mph speed limit by the bridges was lifted just for the occasion. The actual route was clockwise round the island from Beaumaris pier. I hope any interested parties will ensure they pass Penmon Point on the correct side of the lighthouse there!