It’s the end of our second week on Anglesey, much cooler (15 C daytime temperatures) and changeable but with good spells of sunshine, so we’ve been out again exploring as well as thoroughly enjoying all the animals we’re looking after.
|Jackie with Lloyd, her old university friend|
During our time here things are changing in the world, the Syrian refugee crisis is in full swing with Europe seemingly unable to reach any agreement in how to tackle it, Jeremy Corbyn has been elected to leader of the UK Labour party, causing a huge interest in politics, which can only be a good thing, our friends Simon and Diane, who we met in Vietnam last November have returned from their year away and, on a more personal level, we have arranged a Solihull Mountaineering Club ski trip to St Jean D’Aulps for next March, staying at our friends Simon and Cassie’s chalet, just down the hill from where we’ll be staying for the next ski season. Things are coming together and, tomorrow we leave Anglesey without seeing Ken and Angela and drive down to see Richard and Judith for our month or so stay at Redmarley D’Abitot.
|Ginge and Tomas|
We’ll be sad not to see Ken and Angela return from their holiday in Scotland, but they don’t expect to be back in Anglesey until about 5pm and, by then we need to be down in Redmarley, so need to leave here about 1:00pm, leaving dogs dozing on the sofas, Bobbie chatting away in his cage and the cats in and out through the kitchen window as they want. It’ll seem strange not seeing them and we’ll be really sorry to leave here, despite the full house.
|Bobbie carefully takes a piece of pear from Jackie|
Not only have we met many very friendly locals who have made us very welcome, we’ve become quite attached to all the animals here. Minnie had to come on the bed a shivering wreck in the middle of last night following a clap of thunder, Jackie found the way to Bobbie’s heart when she found how partial he is to apple and pears, taking a piece gently from her hand when she happened to walk in with a piece and she has really bonded with the cats, particularly old Ginge, who just wants fuss and strokes and for Jackie to brush him.
|And thoroughly enjoys it!|
Since last weekend the high pressure moved away, we had some rain over the weekend and on Monday so Jackie decided the time was right to contact her old university friend Lloyd and drive into Bangor to meet up with him. I went along to keep her company, hear all her reminiscences as we drove round town and to give her an ‘out’ just in case the conversation didn’t flow freely with someone she hasn’t see for nearly 30 years. In the end it wasn’t a problem, we met in a pub in the town, drank coffee, had some lunch, Jackie had a good catch up with her old friend and we learnt a lot about travelling Europe in a campervan, which is what he does a lot of now he has retired.
|Inside the castle, showing the circular platform of the investiture|
Better weather from Tuesday onwards meant we were out every day, but back around 3:30pm each day to take doggies for their daily walks over the forestry. We had a plan of things we wanted to see and now the weeks over we haven’t seen them all, but we’ve had a good stab at it, we’ll just have to come back again, maybe even stopping here again next year if Ken and Angela ask us.
|The Eagle Tower at the castle|
On Tuesday we visited Caernarfon castle, just across the Menai Straits on the mainland and what a great visit that was. The town is fascinating in itself and the monumental castle, build by Edward I in the thirteenth century is fabulous and well worth a visit, the additional benefit for me was that I got a senior citizen discount. The circular platform used for the investiture of Prince Charles as Prince of Wales in 1969 is still in the open area in the centre of the castle and we had great views from the tops of the towers of the town, Anglesey and the mountains of Snowdonia, the many climbs of spiral staircases gave us the added benefit of a good workout too!
|At the ruined windmill on Parys Mountain|
On Wednesday we visited Parys Mountain, just inland from Amlwch, north-east Anglesey, which is a huge old copper mining area, both open cast and deep mines. Doesn’t sound appealing, but it was very interesting, the wild scenery of brightly coloured acidic rock, equally bright lichens and acid tolerant purple heather growing in abundance, the ruined mining buildings, rusting machinery, even an old windmill and vast open cast holes in the ground. It’s really ‘other worldly’ and, apparently an episode of Dr Who was filmed here, depicting him landing on an alien planet, as long as you get the angles right and keep out the blue sea, green rolling hills and modern wind turbines in the distance we can quite see it!
|One of the old open cast mines at Parys Mountain|
|The bay near Pentraeth|
Had a quick chat with a couple who turned up in a campervan of the type we envisage buying at some point and quizzed them about their van and their experiences and then we headed off east along the coast to a place called Pentraeth to follow part of a published circular walk to the coast and back. Met more friendly local people who told us about an excellent 12 mile coastal walk from Amlwch to Cemaes that we should do (have to leave it until a future visit), before returning to get sleeping dogs excited for their walk!
|Coastal walk at Pentraeth|
|The WI building in LlanfairPG, formed on 16th September 1915|
We had seen the building where the first Womens Institute in the UK meet, but never actually stopped to take a photo, decided we would, just as Steve Wright on Radio2 announced it was the 100th anniversary of the first meeting today, just as we were passing, so it seemed only right to pop in for a chat and a look at their museum. Was disappointed not to be offered tea and biscuits despite the plate of biscuits on the table! Perhaps we are just not the right sort!
|Some old WI memorabilia in their museum|
|Waiting for our boat (in the distance) at Beaumaris quay|
For yesterday we had planned a visit to Beaumaris castle and a drive and walk out to Trwyn Du, the point in the north east of the island overlooking Puffin Island, but when we got to Beaumaris our plans changed. Instead we took a 1.5 hour boat trip on the Island Princess boat to and round Puffin Island after speaking to someone in a kiosk at the harbour. Jackie got me another senior citizen discount while I parked the car and we joined quite a few others at the quayside for a great trip with two very knowledgeable and able guides. We managed to see seals, shags, cormorants and many other birds (but no puffins) on Puffin Island, now a bird sanctuary, plus a couple of porpoises swimming around the Perch Rock lighthouse.
|Seals on the beach of Puffin Island|
Instead of visiting Beaumaris castle (once you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all – but it did look really good) we visited the old courthouse and the old gaol on recommendation of the guy in the kiosk (that was after going for hot chocolate in a tea shop and bumping into the couple with the campervan we’d seen the day before), both really interesting and well worthwhile. We’ve come a long way since the mid 1800’s, life was pretty cruel and hard in those days!
|Perch Rock lighthouse|
Today is a day in with all the animals to catch up with things, write the blog and start packing and cleaning ready for our trip out of here tomorrow. See you in Redmarley D’Abitot…
|That there is a porpoise swimming close to the lighthouse|
|Jackie listening to the audio commentary in the old courthouse at Beaumaris|
|Sionyn and Tomas sharing a moment, showing dogs and cats can get on|
|Minnie sitting on Sionyn, who doesn't mind a bit|
|'Old girl' Cassie showing that she can still act like a puppy!|
|Tomas decided the new towels provided for us were much more comfortable than his bed. We used different towels! By the way, that's not a real duck!|