Wednesday 16th August – Rhydymain and surrounds

Final day with Eirian and Dewi touring their surrounds. Love the driving in Wales where all the roads are narrow and windy and often you are going through a tunnel of very leafy green trees. Lots of low stone walls along the edges of the road and moss everywhere. An extremely damp climate here with heavy mist hanging low in the valleys even in the height of summer. Gives for a foreboding atmosphere.

When it rains, which is very often, it is not the insipid kind of rain but the thunderous rain drops that feel like they want to leave a dent in the bonnet of your car.

First order of the day was to go back to Conwy to pick up the workings of their grandfather clock which had been in for repairs. We popped in to check out the clock repair shop and it was exactly as our imagination had conjured up. The shop was predictable but the repairman was to a “T”. He was a little old man with white hair, stooped shoulders, spectacles and a calm, soft appearance about him. Just what a Time Lord should look like. It reminded us of our Dr Who experience last year when we took Maples to the vet – spooky.

We then drove up to the north coast of Wales to a great seaside town called Llandudno. It had a horse shoe shaped beach made of mostly pebbles but some sand. There was a long pier jutting out into the wild ocean which had the quintessential game arcades. On our stroll up to the pier we passed a Punch and Judy show which had been operating on that spot for the last six generations. There was a group of kids sitting on the concrete absolutely enthralled in the show with not an iPhone or iPad in sight. – so there is some hope for the younger generation after all. We were surprised that Punch and Judy were still being played as it is a fairly violent show where poor old Punch gets repeatedly physically abused by Judy – just so not PC by today’s mores.

The crescent shaped esplanade has magnificent Victorian style hotels along its entire length and due to the planning laws of the local council it has maintained its character beautifully. When you imagine these British seaside towns they always give off a feeling of tackiness and being run down. That is most definitely the case with Llandudno. This is really the only true seaside town apart from Brighton that we have ever seen and we were suitably impressed.

Time permitting tomorrow on our drive to the Lake District we are going to go via Blackpool which we are told is tackiness personified. We will let you know in tomorrow’s blog as to the comparison.

We walked to the end of the pier and had a beer and then drove up to the Great Orme . This is the nob or hill at the north end of the esplanade where we got a spectacular view of the Irish Sea. Three miles off the coast was a substantial wind farm which was working extremely hard as the wind was so strong we had to lean into it. We were most fortunate as the weather was holding off for us.








It was then back to Llandudno to the St Albert for dinner to celebrate Eirian and Dewi’s 42nd wedding anniversary with a lovely pub dinner. An hour and a half’s drive home under very dark clouds and threatening skies past a town and area of extensively mined slate. By now it was getting very dark due to the rain and it made this part of the drive depressing. It gave you an air of what it would have been like to live here during the hey day of the slate boom. Wales was built on the back of the coal mines and the slate quarries of which neither exist to any degree now but there are so many reminders around them all the time. In many areas the lush green growth has taken over, especially the coal mines but it will take hundreds of years to cover up the scars of the slate mines.

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