Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Another trip to Wales.

And a lovely one it was too.
At the weekend it was time to head up to Wales and tend to the family grave, its been a while since my last trip, February was the last time if I recall correctly.
The trip was made better by having great company the whole time, so thanks to Ann for that, really made the day worth while. And certainly enjoyed the opportunity to visit some of my favourite places.

Time to hit the road.

A silly early start to the day, leaving home around 4am. Planning to head through town to the start of the M1, I soon forgot that, and headed around the M25 on auto pilot. No harm done, less traffic lights and stops, so all was well. A nice smooth journey up, stopping off at Watford Gap for a spot of breakfast, and a call of nature, we were back under way, arriving in Llandudno in what seemed like no time at all.
I must say though, by this point, a good few hours sitting was starting to take its toll on my knee.

First port of call, ASDA, cheap as it sounds, but they are excellent for fresh flowers. Tending the grave was the first thing on the list of things to do. Getting a nice selection, including a nice bunch of "Tickled Pink" flowers which is ASDA's range supporting breast cancer charities (including Breast Cancer Now). SO very fitting for the occasion. Thanks to Ann for spotting them, after I had gathered white lilies and red roses, they fitted perfectly in the middle of the colours.

Off to Colwyn Bay crem for a clean up and flower arrangement, and for once a beautiful day for it. I am used to being caught in rain when I visit, just bad luck I guess, but the gods were on my side that day. A good polish of the headstone, and weeding of the surrounding plot, and it was time to get my inner flower arranger on.

 With a great selection to work with, the transformation took no time at all. See how it was transformed.

After a moment to reflect, and take in the peace and quiet of the location, it was time to move on and relax a bit more. While at the Llandudno end of the A55, I decided it was a good time to head towards Snowdonia and Llanberis.
On arrival at Llanberis, I parked in the lake front village car park. A few more cars than usual but it is summer holidays after all. So it was expected. Paying for parking for an hour, allowing time to take wonder, and sit around soaking up the atmosphere, I was not expecting to be there all that time, but sure enough, with good company and conversation, the hour flew by, and many sights were seen.

Gorgeous day for some landscape photos.

Blue and green were the key colours of the area.

Nice to see a little wildlife reserve area

A shot which caught my eye and just needed capturing.

Llanberis lake railway.

End of the line.

The car park and seating area of the Snowdon Railway was possibly the busiest I have ever seen it. Kind of spoils the feel of the area, but glad I didn't bother pre booking tickets for it. I know I would not have enjoyed being park of a large group going up to the summit.

From Llanberis we took a quick drive up to the bottom of the Pyg Pass, but it was crazy busy up there, no parking anywhere in sight, so after gazing longfully at the hills for a few mins, down we went again. I have to give kudos to all the cyclists going up and down the road. It still remains a goal of mine, but seeing them doing it brought it home that it is no mean feat!
next up, Caernarfon, and the castle. Another place I love dearly. Especially at full tide, to see the boats bobbing around in the harbour.
Great memories of being in Caernarfon with my mum and aunts, and even a photo of them standing by the harbour wall, which I shall see if I can find.
I was also excited to see the swing bridge open for the first time I can recall, much to the amusement of Ann, pfft lol.

After a quick trip to the gift shop, we were on our way again, thundering down the A55 in the Smart Car. Destination, Colwyn Bay promenade.

Before reaching the prom, I took a detour off into the shopping centre to grab some lunch to eat on the seafront. Sandwiches, drinks and dessert purchased, off we went to do battle with the gulls, to see how much food we could eat, vs how much they would steal. Surprisingly, even though there was a whole flock of them sitting in the sea just behind us, we ate uninterrupted.
Whilst sitting there, we partook in a little people watching and mockery. my my Charlie's parents need to learn the art of a good slap across the back of the legs.

Food digested, sights taken in, next stop, Welsh Mountain Zoo.
Up the windy roads we drove, reaching the strange entrance to the zoo, which feels just like a side road with a ticket booth on it. Tickets bought, it was time for a little adventure. As luck would have it we arrived just in time for the Bird of Prey show, the Penguins walkabout, and the Sealion display/ feeding/ talk.
As we waited for the shows to begin, one sealion (the male) was adamant that he would be heard, as you can see on this short Instagram video I shot. https://www.instagram.com/p/BIxPN6XDZIO
Very entertaining indeed.

After he had had his say for about 15 mins, the shows started. I have posted a few pics of what was seen, rather than bleating on about it,

Once the excitement was over, and with my knee really starting to give me some grief, not to mention Ann getting rather tired by now, we took a slow wander around the rest of the zoo. I have been going to this zoo for about 30+ years now, and have seen many changes. I have to say though, it is probably in its best format that I can recall right now. A lovely family zoo, set into the hill tops of the North Wales coast, epic views, a lovely collection, and a fabulous layout.

Red Pandas

Squeaky little otters

Cya later (Alligator)

Proud meerkat displaying his manliness

Meerkat on guard duty

A single pink lily, the same as the one mum grew, and I have tattooed as a tribute. Very fitting for the day.

After the zoo, time was getting on a bit, and a long journey lay ahead of us. Off to pay a visit to a few old family haunts, including the poor house left by my late aunt and her husband. Empty since 2010, and tied up in a probate argument ever since, it is tragic to see a lovely little place with such a beautiful view wasting away, year after year, and with all their possessions still left inside (other than valuables). Truly tragic that some people can be so bitter and greedy, to let someones legacy waste away to nothing, because they want it ALL !!

Time to hit the road back to London, and would need fuel on the way. Had I known how disgustingly over priced motorway petrol had become I would have got some in town. But willing to pay the usual 10p a litre over the odds for the sake of a straight journey, I left.
Having filled up at ASDA on my arrival in Wales, at 105.4 per litre, I was dumbstruck when I stopped in services and saw this!!

25.5p per litre more!! Seriously. Why in gods name is this allowed to happen. I wonder how many breakdowns are caused by people refusing to fill up on the motorway because of this robbery? And of course, thats not even mentioning the prices of eating and drinking in the services too. And we wonder why people don't stop, and drive past being tired.

Anyway, financial robbery later, and a couple of hours later, home was in sight. 666 miles covered, £60 of petrol, and a great day done. Time for bed!

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