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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Back to reality!

There's nothing like spending 45 mins brushing your dog's teeth to bring you back home with a bump (and incidentally remind you who's boss - and it ain't me!! :) ) Luckily with Spot positioned in front of the chicken coop I can do pretty much anything to her, so spent time scraping the plaque that brushing hasn't dealt with, with my finger nails!!! - oooooh lovely job! (and thanks to the genetics of my family I have nails easily hard enough to do this! )

Obviously the last 2 posts were a blow by blow account of what we did on holiday, but I just want to add a few points that didn't fit in with the "left here and went there" kind of posts.

Wales was beautiful! - It had an essence all of its own which was somewhere between the cornish coast and the wilds of Scotland (given its geographical location I guess that's no surprise). The sea was just the most beautiful colour though - a real turqoise blue - especially at Abersoch where I think the depths must change quite significantly off the long flat beach. Honestly, you could not have hoped for a more beautiful setting if you were in the South of France. All the villages were picturesque and everyone was friendly and helpful. There were small cafe's and plenty of places to sit out in the sun and enjoy a coffee or an ice cream (have you noticed the plentiful mentions of ice cream?) and often quite a mediteranean feel to the menus - often including dressed crab and other seafood delights. And do you know the best part ??? NO McD's or Tesco's or KFC............ what a triumph for the welsh coastal villages...... and there were real honest butchers and little Spa's that reminded me of my Grandfather's grocers too many years ago to mention, that stocked normal everyday groceries without all the frivolities we've got rather too used to in my neck of the woods! It was a revelation! I also found it pretty sad that I noticed, despite having a hatred for McD's and all things that commercial, I can't believe that I have become so accustomed to That Logo, that I noticed it was missing!!! grrrrrrr.

There were no motorways (although occassionally the locals seemed to want to drive as if there was one) as life seemed a little more relaxed and pleasurable than it is round here (I am currently listening to some buffoon with his hand on his hooter presumably because someone hasn't moved off from the lights promptly enough.)

We saw loads of buzzards - and both remarked that Welsh Buzzards must be a bit more "show-off" than their English counterparts as they were far more often seen low and close to the road - properly showing off that amazing colouring they have underneath them, often hunting or having a bit of a set to with crows or kites, rather than the high altitude gliding that we only ever seem to see them do around these parts. Maybe it was just because of the kind of roads we were travelling on, but it was awesome to see, they are so utterly beautiful.

Right - I must think about putting on some dinner!!! - anyone got any suggestions?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

.... the rest of the week!

(I don't really expect any of you to read this as it's a bit long winded, but I have a dreadful memory and if I don't write this down I'll never remember where we went or what we did! - and some of it I'd like to do again next year!)

So, up bright and early on Monday as the house had to be vacated by 10. Packed everything back up and left on time!

First we wanted to drive round the headland of the Lleyn Peninsula, so we headed west to Aberdaron.
A beautiful coastal village, we stopped for a late breakfast and sat in a cafe by a really pretty little river. While we were sitting there a thrush watch avidly from not 3 ft away on the wall.... obviously knowing that people leave little crumbs and bits that she could take away to her little ones. We got back in the car and headed further west to Uwchmynydd, where there is a little national park. We popped out for a bracing wind-swept walk to the tip of the headland to see Bardsey Island.
We sat admiring this view for a while, also quietly hoping to see Dolphins or some such but all we saw was beautiful glistening sea.... well that's ok isn't it!

From there we drove back towards Pwllheli via the north edge of the Peninsula. And once we reached there Mr Noo just had to try out the Bass fishing spot that had been recommended, before we left the area! So I snuggled down on the sand by the rock with my Ipod and knitting (knitting didn't last too long 'cos I fell asleep!) and MrNoo fished for a couple of hours. We both ended up with cracking sun-tans from this particular outing! Mid-afternoon we left the peninsula via Criccieth and Porthmadog, with the intention of camping near Snowdonia and walking some of it the next day. It turns out that if you want to do that kind of thing you really need to have planned ahead as there are no road signs for "Climb Snowdonia from here" !!! LOL Plus as it happened the weather began to close in a bit. We went through a town that we think was probably the base of all things upward.... and camped close by in Llanrug, luckily I had the foresight to ask the owner if there was a good place to eat nearby and she directed us to a pub within walking distance at the end of the road - Good move!!! :)

When we woke up on Tuesday the weather was really cloudy, and neither of us had waterproof trousers, so the thought of getting wet and then camping for a night didn't fill either of us with excitement. - We put that off til next year!!! So we left to head south to Barmouth via Caernarfon and Porthmadog. In Barmouth we stopped and had lunch in a little cafe on the front called Davey's Locker, the weather stayed cloudy and the wind had certainly got up. We decided to continue to head south down Cardigan Bay and looking at the map decided to head for Tywyn or that kind of area for the night. We got past Tywyn to Aberdyfi, but turned back to the bigger town to find camping as the weather had really begun to come in. Put the tent up and headed back into Tywyn to find the beach (MrNoo can't go anywhere coastal without checking out the possibilities!) The sea was so rough, big white horses as far as the eye could see, and waves crashing onto the beach. We watched for a while, then went and got fish and chips and watched again!!!! - til the sun set!

We got back to the camp site..... got in the tent and the heavens opened....... T'was a long night! :)

Wednesday morning we decided to leave the tent where it was as it's no fun packing up a soaking wet tent (and even less fun getting it out again) It had pretty much stopped raining but was grey and cloudy and so we decided to be a bit touristy for the day. We went to Devil's Bridge and walked round the waterfalls first. (Yep we walked all around that!) At Devil's Bridge there is also a little steam train station (The train comes up I think from Aberystwyth) so we stopped there for a cup of tea and I picked up some "What to do in Wales" leaflets... as you do! There was a book of local attractions so I found a local countryside visitor centre only about 20 mins away and we headed there. Well as it happens it was a centre for Red Kites....... we had just missed feeding time which was at 3pm, but the birds were still very much around and we slowly took a walk round a small lake and watched around 10 birds overhead. They played really quite low and we both got a really good look at the colours and shape of the birds (I could even tell the difference between Kites and Buzzards on the way home - which is quite unlike me!) it was a real privilege to be able to see these beautiful birds so well. We were again quite lucky as it didn't rain, just stayed grey! It was quite a jaunt back to the camp-site and the night before we had bought some lamb steaks and new potatoes and salad, with a couple of those disposable BBQ's - then read the notice on the camp site that said no open fires!!! - So as we were a bit tired and late we decided to have a go at cooking it all in a fold up frying pan on the tiny Camping Gaz ring we have for making coffee!!! - Well it was a bit of a squeeze but it worked well and we both enjoyed the meal! However by this time the wind was "blowing a hooley!" and staying in the tent any longer than we needed to didn't seem a good move. We did a deal whereby I would sit and watch the sea (from the car!!) in Aberdyfi for an hour and a half, and then we'd stop somewhere for a beer or two! - I love compromise! (I got half a sock foot knitted!!) It was a very, very windy night!!!!!!

Thursday was our last day so we got up early, finished eating everything we had bought and packed up, ready to leave for 9:30. The weather looked good to our West (i.e. the coast) but dreadful to our East (i.e. the mountains!) We looked at the map and asked our SatNav to kindly tell us how long it would take us to get home via the coast! - Only an extra hour..... so we drove to New Quay and spent the day there. By the time we arrived the sun was beaming, the sky was blue.... and the little fishing village was buzzing. We found a little cafe with a sun patio up on the roof where you could see out to the harbour, and they had Calamari...... who needs to be abroad eh? We ate a good lunch, walked to the jetty, walked back along the beach, sat for half an hour and watched all the families playing. Had an ice cream (!!!), walked a bit more. Finally just as we were going to set off for home we saw 2 dolphins playing around the jetty. We watched them for probably an hour. I think they were possibly mother and calf as one seemed a lot bigger than the other. They gave a good show, the little one jumping right out of the water a couple of times whilst waiting for Mum to come back and collect him (He stayed pretty static and just played - She covered a lot of water - presumably feeding) As it was now an hour later we decided to have a coffee before we left and as luck would have it the place had a huge ice cream menu - so as it was the last day we had another one! _ Mr Noo a chocolate sundae, and me - waffles and ice cream!!! (It's no wonder that I now have my very own Welsh Tummy!) We left there around 6pm and journeyed home via the M4.

So now it's back to normality, the end of the month fast approaches with invoicing and payroll to do.... and already the week seems like a dream - a darn good one though! :)