Friday 11th August – Rhydymain, Cymru (Wales)

So the modus operandi today involved stately home, seaside town and castles.

Our first port of call was to Penrhyn Castle which was completed in 1840 by a wealthy Slate/Sugar industrialist. The castle only remained in the family 100 years as after that death duties ruined the family. The UK is the only country in the world that apparently has death duties and they can be as much as 50% depending on your wealth. The government is even capturing the average person in the death taxes net. If you have a combined wealth of (£650,000) which includes you own home you are eligible for the tax. It just seems so very unfair to us.

Due to the castle being very new in relative terms it is very modern inside. When they gave them home to the National Trust to avoid paying the death duties, they also left behind a lot of the original furniture. They did keep the odd Rembrandt though.

Having said that, they sold the Rembrandt last year for £36 million but once again to pay further death duties. They also handed almost all the rest of the furniture to the National Trust so reduce the tax amount.

Apparently Queen Victoria stayed here during one of her many grand country tours. Found this bit of information interesting as the house was built by an industrialist, so it was created by new money. We always thought the royals were not that fond of new money and only in stuffy old money. So that was something out of the blue for us.
Then it was to Caenarfon (correct spelling) for a quick spin around the castle. Missed a photo as we were right below the wall so couldn’t get a good angle. Caenarfon Castle where they had the investiture of the Prince of Wales back in the 70’s we think.

There is still a lot of animosity between the English and the Welsh after all these years. The castles we are seeing were all built by the English to suppress the Welsh. It didn’t appear to be for a particularly long period but enough to leave a bad taste in the mouth of the Welsh.

Of course it didn’t help that Maggie Thatcher came along and desecrated the mining industry and a lot of other industry in Wales n the 80’s. It feels a little like stepping back in time as the buildings have not changed and are not likely to as they are all made of very solid stone and slate.

We then went to a great little seaside town called Conwy where we firstly saw the smallest house in Great Britain.

We walked around the wall of the town which was remarkably well preserved.

It is extremely picturesque and as per Welsh countryside very green – well known for its wet weather.

Eirian and Dewi took us into a couple of other National Trust places which we found thoroughly enjoyable as many of you know, we are not big history buffs or Castle/Cathedral people.

We then had a wander around the town of Conwy and went down to the foreshore where there were lots of holiday families with buckets and fishing lines catching crabs. It was great to see kids doing this kind of thing rather than stuck in front of the iPad. For £3 you got the bucket, tackle and bait – very small price for hours of enjoyment.

Conwy is quite a touristy little town but more for the Welsh. We were finding some people talking Welsh as does Eirian and Dewi and it is one of those languages where it is impossible to pick out any words that you understand. It sounds quite guttural – a lot like English and German.

It was then time for returning home as we had had a big day of being Tommy the Tourists.

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