On The Island, Day 5. We Were Giants

Today we were giants as we returned to something that we have both enjoyed as young children, a model village. Not villiage as I wrote on a postcard.

Said village is also on the island, and offers a minature view of many of its landmarks.

Beaumaris Castle was impressive.

A Giants View Of The Castle

A Giants View Of The Castle

Llynnon Windmill lovely (of course).

There was even a charming depiction of St Mary’s Chapel (Menai Bridge).

Two trains ran around the grounds and there was singing from the churches.

So much craft giving such simple pleasures. Later we discussed who we knew that would enjoy a visit, and struggled to choose likely candidates. Actually, there are a couple. Our mothers. They would see past the lack of technology or interactive experiences and just enjoy it for what it is. Perhaps because they of an age where they have not been blighted by technology, and have not chosen to take a leap into the silver surf. But more likely because they just see the good. As mothers do.

Lunch was a picnic in the car close to the straits, where the temperature reached a heady 23c. Too hot for both of us, especially given the lack of breeze.

As we were taking it easy, we behaved like an old couple on holiday and visited a garden centre. Actually we had already planned to do this (to buy a citronella candle), but I still felt a little old, restricted by bad weather and cirumstances. We spent quite a bit on not very much, including a journal decorated with a hot-air balloon design which I think I bought mainly because it was half price.

After the usual mid-week food top up (this time at Waitrose – very nice!), we made our way back via Bull Bay.

Bull Bay is one of those places which is always lovely. Today a strong breeze took away the heat and we were happy to rest a while, mildly amused by a well meaning couple badgering a cyclist for facts about the island and its beaches. We were not chosen as suspects for interrogation. Shame, they might have learned something.

Great excitement as we neared the cottage! The windmill sails were turning, which I captured on the 1020. Marvellous. Went to the shop. Had a lovely chat with the assistant and spent more money. This time on more permanent momentoes. Watched the sails being stopped and stripped of their sail-cloths.

Still Shot of Lynnon

Still Shot of Lynnon

Again, simple pleasures, but I did note the holiday budget took a hit.

Hope himself gets his walking legs back soon – this is proving expensive!



On The Island, Day 3. Could I Have My Rock Medium-Rare, Please?

Today was our first day without the crowds. When it really starts to feel like a holiday for us, and not the world, his wife, children, campervan, dogs and canoe.

After a fairly leisurely start we set off towards one of the prime target from our holiday research, Llanddwyn Island. An island off the island.

To be accurate, it is a tidal island, but only at high tide.

After yesterday’s Watergate, we had packed fourbottles in the picnic bag; two to take with us and two to quench our thirst after the walk.

With nervous excitement we drove through the forest, paid the road toll, discussed whether I was sending us the correct way and arrived at spacious and well organised car park, complete with toilets, which would be very welcome after our planned water in-take.

We booted up and realised that we had created Watergate Two as we had left the picnic bag back at the cottage.

Undeterred, and given the cloudy skies, we set off. Initialy across soft sand which is a workout all of its own. Then through the edge of the forest, where my navigation was again called into question. There were not many other walkers about and we enjoyed our stroll towards a geocache, chatting about nothing in particular except failing memories.

The cache was tucked away, a little off a marked path, its position being (we both agreed) in an ideal caching location. Much Beloved’s opinion was probably based upon being near to a path, so with the illusion of remoteness but without the trek, and having good muggle visibility. I just thought it looked like several of the drawings used by groundspeak.

After leaving the forest and heading across another sand-gym, we were on the beach proper. Despite the haziness, the views were wonderful, from the outline of Snowden to the mountains behind Aberdesach. We soon reached the island and started a gentle ascent. Even the cattle notice didn’t phase MB, although my attempts to convince him that sheep were cattle failed. He’s an expert on his phobias.

Llanddwyn Island is a little gem. It offers good panoramas and a variety of wildlife, including choughs, ravens, oystercatchers, ponies and little birds. There are also many cormorants, but I prefer to point at one and ask “shag?”.

It is also has an interesting geological history, much of which I have forgotten, but which resulted in some very interesting rocks. This is where the beauty of the earth cache comes in. Had we not been in possesion of a GPS loaded with caches, we would not have known to head towards a particular beach.

And had we both not started to embrace the “lets just go and see” approach to apparently pointless paths, we might have decided that we could not reach said earth cache, because we thought that we had to walk along a thin high wall.

What we found was more views and this…

Or Is That Well Marbled Steak

Or Is That Well Marbled Steak

… who would have thought it? Betroot coloured rocks. And in such interesting formations. We could see where hot lava had pushed its way though and where two types of rocks had been pushed together.

The range of colours were amazing from lilac to near blood red – one rock looked like well marbled steak.

There was also bluey grey.

Almost a Tri-Colour

Almost a Tri-Colour

Incredible. We have a little research to carry out before claiming the cache, but we’ve left an on-line note to do this.

The beach was busying up as we left Llanddwyn.

Before returning to the car, Simon broke the prime directive and possibly
gave a cockle motion sickness when returning it to the sea.

As is often the case, when your mind knows that it is completing the final stretch of a walk, your legs pick up the message and yet another sand-gym had to be crossed to reach tarmac. Plus the clouds had cleared which didn’t please MB. Fortunately water was available from a burger van in the car park, so good humour was returned and we continued on our way.


On The Island, Day 2. Lights On. Lights Off.

Well, it is our first full day in the wilderness.

I don’t want to go on about the automatic lights but the list of points against are increasing.

I’m generally an early riser, which means that for at least six months of the year it is dark when I wake. When I walk around the house I like to decide which lights I turn on; sometimes I choose none until I reach the kitchen. What I do not want is to be blinded into being full awake in one fell swoop as I step into the danger zone, sorry dining room.

And in the kitchen, I will usually choose a Hopper-esque low level light from the kitchen hood, until I am fully ready to join the day. More so on holiday, when I feel I have the right to move gently to wakefulness.

Not a chance here. “GOOD MORNING” the kitchen lights shout, one set slightly out of time with the other, and, as I am currently sitting quite still, I am suddenly plunged into semi-darkness. It could be a form of torture.

Don’t get me started on self closing drawers and cupboards.

Today we made a couple of outings. The first at one of our favourite beaches. We chose to walk to the headland and round to the next beach to avoid the crowds. Sea air is good for the soul, but selfishy, we would like it pretty much to ourselves. We are more sociable than we used to be, and I made the mistake of smiling at the man in the day-van parked next to us. Every time I turned in his direction he was grinning back while we had lunch in the car.

Our second outing was to be a walk along a reservoir, hopefully enjoying a light breeze and views of wildfowl in their adopted environment. What we were treated to was a trek in an airless tunnel of trees. There was tentative promise of water shimmering one on side, and hopefully it will be presented just around the next turn….

Eventually we reached the end of the reservoir. Much beloved was hot and tetchy, and we had forgotten our water bottle. Ironic, when you consider the view.

Water, water everywhere….. Dam. Damn.

It think that what annoyed us more was that this was not a circular walk, and we would have to suffer the same route in reverse to quench our thirst.

Back at the cottage, at the end of the garden is a chicken run with four or five hens and a rather fine looking cockerel. We had expected that we would be woken by one of nature’s alarm clocks, but no. In fact we haven’t heard him at yet at any hour. Poor chap. Perhaps he is mesmerised by the amazing flashing house.


On The Island, Day 1. The Power of Broccoli.

On the island. It sounds exotic and remote, cut off from life’s little luxuries and ever-present techno-babble.

Ironic to be using WordPress then, isn’t it? Perhaps not as there is no wifi (“No wifi?), so any uploads will have to be facilitated by parking in the nearest McDonald’s.

Or I may end up posting each day’s rambles a week later after we return (I did).

Not so remote then? Well, as I step outside, all I can hear is birdsong, the wind in the trees and the exchange of calls between nearby cattle.

No luxuries? Actually, our lodgings are spacious, clean and, with the exception mentioned above, very well equipped. Too well equipped in one area, in my opinion.

I am referring to what has become known as the “broccoli-activated” lights in the kitchen and dining room. These are motion and light sensitive, so turn themselves on when it is dark enough and you enter the room. Excellent idea? Nope. At twilight, we had to fool them into thinking it was darker, by partially blocking out the light from the sensor and at the same time presenting it with motion. I chose to wave a small handful of tender stem broccoli. Seemed to do the trick.

Some people may like automatic lights as they no longer need to worry about switching them off when they leave a room possibly saving energy and therefore doing their bit to save the planet. I don’t like the abdication of responsibility. Call me a Luddite, but is it really that much effort to reach for the switch? Like so many gadgets, we are discouraged from thinking about our actions, planning our schedule, cleaning up after ourselves.

And besides, we’ve eaten the broccoli now. How will we drag ourselves from the darkness tomorrow?