Turned out good

With the camper being sat on its pitch for six months because of lockdown etc and Nikki’s birthday coming up, it seemed like an ideal excuse to get it out on the road. I hate it being sat for longer than a month normally. So the decision was made to go away on our three days off which also happened to include Nikki’s birthday.

The plan was to go to another club site with a pub nearby, what else did you expect. We would be walking everywhere because we weren’t going to take the car. There is a loverly site on Anglesey called Cae Mawr in a village called Marian glas. A pub just outside the entrance and a twenty minute walk to Traeth beach which also has a beach cafe The site was booked up and we were counting down the days.

The plan was to leave work Sunday at midday and jump straight in the camper and head off, the weather was looking good for the Sunday, Monday and changing on Tuesday. We would get there in an hour and a half, pitch up and chill outside the camper in the sun with a beer. The next day we would go for a walk down the beach and then on the way back go in the pub for a meal and maybe a beer or two.

All pitched up in September sun

We had a loverly chill out on Sunday afternoon. Then when the sun went down we came in for some tea, that’s tea as in a meal not a cup of tea. A great treat then looking out the window to see a red squirrel running about just outside the window. The owners of the caravan next to us came back just before we came in and I asked if they knew if the pub was any good for food. No food only on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So that buggered up our plans to go for a bite to eat on Monday.

Monday morning was bright and sunny so decided to walk down to the small beach/cove and have a lunch in the beach cafe. Saw this funeral directors on the way with an old village phone box now converted to house a defibrillator a thing a lot of villages do. I could not help wondering if the funeral directors lock the phone box so they get more business.

Is it locked or not

We got to the beach cafe and guess what, it was closed all locked up for winter. Our eating out was not going too well. Good job we can laugh about these things. But we were starving so we decided to walk around the coast path to another small village called Moelfre which, when I looked on google maps did have a pub.

The walk was spectacular and the sun was shining, all was looking good. We even had one bay all to ourselves. About 30 minutes later we reached Moelfre. A very busy cafe was looking good but too busy so headed off to find the pub. Guess what. The pub was closed……..but that was only because it opened at midday and it was 11.50am. There were benches outside so we plonked ourselves down on one facing the sea and prayed they would do food, or if not they had a lot of crisps.

The bay all to ourselves

Thirty seconds to midday I got up and walked towards the pub door praying for food and beer. The door swung open and in I strolled ordered a beer and a soft drink for Nikki and with bated breath asked if they did food. Yes we do here’s a menu the girl said. I could have kissed her if it wasn’t for the wearing of masks and keeping two metres apart. Back out into the sunshine and deciding what to have for lunch, ordered and another beer to celebrate and staring out to sea and thinking how nice this September weather is on Nikki’s birthday.

Moelfre beach /cove.

A loverly lunch was had at The Kinmel arms and now we had to walk back along the coast path. The tide had come in by now and at one point we knew we had to walk on the beach because of a landslide but all was well because it was not a very big tide and the sea was calm. The photo below is my favourite of the day, I had to stop and just look at this so many times.

Stunning walk.
The coast path

We got back to the camper and chilled in the sun again, thinking every thing turned out good. In fact it was better than it would have been if we had stuck to our original plan. The whole walk was only five miles but worth every step just for the views on the coast path. Today we have been for a small walk around the lanes and through the fields. The weather has changed and rain is forecast for later. We will leave here tomorrow morning because we have to start work at midday tomorrow. It’s been great to be out in the camper again, on the road.

You see strange things on the beach.

My play ground

Just a quick post to tell you about my playground. Only fifteen minutes drive away from here where we are working is a forest centre called Coed y Brenin. Welsh for Kings forest. It’s a huge big area, forests normally are. Plenty of parking, a cafe, toilets, bike wash, showers not for bikes but for mucky riders of bikes, information centre and a bike shop stocked with lots of goodies and a bike workshop. You can also hire bikes from them.

There are walking trails, running trails, and of course the bike trails. The bike trails are split in to different runs, blue red, black etc. Depending on your skill level and what you like. There is also a skills track which is a bit of everything to give you an insight into what to expect out on the trails. The trails are from 7-23 miles long. Below are some of the gateways to some of the trails.

A big set of front forks
A bulls nose ring.
The Bulls horns.

There are loads of UTube clips on the internet about the trails if you want to check them out. Just put Coed Y Brenin, blue, red, or black in the utube search sit back and watch.

I plan to do a few of them by the end of the season. I love the blue trail because it’s fast and flowing, divided up into four bits and the more you do it the braver you get and faster. The other day I did three loops of the four loops a total of 24 miles. The scenery is fantastic although some of it is a blur when your going fast. Derelict farm houses, waterfalls, etc.

Only needs a roof
This is stunning.
It’s that bull again.

So that’s my playground, where I go as often as I can on my days or half days off. Boys and there toys. Hopefully next year will be better because the cafe will be open so Nikki will come down there and go for a walk and then we will have lunch in the cafe afterwards. She has been for a walk down there and said it was loverly but wants to do other walking trails. So if any of you go there watch out for an old git with a beard on a blue bike, he will be right on your tail trying to pass or trying to get out the brambles where he overshot the corner.

Fast and flowing

Where’s it gone

Where has the season gone. It only seems like yesterday we were rolling up here in Snowdonia with a big list of things to do and places to see. And now we only have Seven weeks work left and we will be driving out the gate having not done many things on the list. Some have been ticked off but there is plenty more to do next year. And hopefully next year will be a better year for doing things. The four months of furlough put a stop to most things this year.

The other morning when I pulled the blind down the mountain looked so nice in a faded morning light. The sky changes so quickly and the mountain I see out my window comes and disappears. Sometimes it’s topped with white fluffy cloud other times dark cloud.

The view from my window

I have been down to the bike park and getting used to my bike, sometimes a little bit too confident. The different trails are great and all different skills are involved. It is just like a big playground for me. Yesterday I did sixteen miles of trails down there. And it’s even better now because we are working here we get free parking. It’s only a fifteen minute drive away and it has a bike shop, cafe, toilets, showers although the cafe is not open due to Covid.

Start of one of the trails

Another bike ride took me around lake Trawsfynydd and I had to stop for a photo shoot. Again such wonderful scenery.

Lake Trawsfynydd

Reliant is getting more colour on him by the day and even pops in the office now for a crumb. He is also chasing off other robins that dare to come into his territory. He knows where he is well off and can get regular food, until the beginning of November that is. After that he is on his own but I hope he remembers us when we come back next year.

Reliants latest photo.

So that’s up to date, we have just had two day’s off and go back to work today. Our next long weekend off we are going to go away in the camper to a site on Anglesey for Nikki’s birthday. A site with a pub at the entrance and a beach fifteen minutes walk away. Should be good.

You try and say it

Day off today so we had a drive out to Bangor and didn’t we have a loverly time at Bangor. That’s a song if you remember. But before we went there we turned off the A487 and went across the bridge into or onto how ever you look at it Anglesey. The reason for turning off was to go to a town called Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch the town with the longest name in Europe. Now you try to say it. The railway station sign breaks it up a bit so you have more of a chance of getting it right. It’s made up of 59 characters and 19 syllables. The English translation is The church of Mary in the hollow of the white hazel near the fierce whirlpool and the church of Tysilo by the red cave. So now you know.

You say it.

Imagine asking for a train ticket to this station, by the time you got your words out the train would have gone. Even worse if you had come out the pub, or it might sound even better.

After leaving that place with the long name name we went to Tesco, just because we knew how to pronounce that if we got lost. Nikki went shopping, I went to a bike shop just round the corner. We then decided to come back to base a different way. The scenery was fantastic. Huge big mountains dominating the skyline with deep valleys.

Fantastic scenery

I know I have said it before but I never get tired of these views. When you stop and look at the mountains you realise how big they are when you spot a farmhouse at the base of them.

Spot the farmhouse.

We only have two months work left now the bank holiday is over. We were fully booked but all was good including the weather, although the lead up to the weekend we got battered with torrential rain and 60 mph winds. But we came out of it smiling, not just because we only had a short time to go but because we are happy peaple.

Just before the bank holiday we had friends visit us here in their motorhome. Really good to see them and we all went over the pub to take advantage of the eat to save deals. I had a loverly 16 oz steak cooked to perfection and washed down with a pint or two of Guinness. The walk back from the pub is a long one and uphill. About 200 yards.

The long walk home.

Fridge update

I mentioned that our fridge was kaput a few blogs back. The story so far is like this. Fridge went pop, no good, kaput, knackered. Luckily with this job we have a fridge / freezer supplied sitting in our garage. No warm beer and wine for us. It’s an inconvenience, so Nikki tells me going out to the garage to get some butter or cheese or ingredients for tea etc so we have a bucket to put it all in instead of juggling with the ingredients and trying to open the door especially if it’s windy and raining.

I contacted a dealer about doing the fridge, this is after I did a lot of research to see if I could find one that fitted in the gap. After chasing them up because I had not got a reply they eventually said it’s not for them. This was a dealer who advertises that they do all repairs etc. Another dealer was contacted and a few emails exchanged and yet again sorry not for us. It seems all they want is easy jobs like changing a fuse or a tap washer and charge over the odds for it.

Where has customer service gone, it is so poor and frustrating. Third time lucky. Contacted Camper U.K. in Lincoln. They are a Burstner dealer and have a very good name. I started my email to them with it says on your website you can do anything because you have a good team etc. Again I had to chase them up but we got there in the end. They gave me three options of fridge which would fit. Luckily I was sat down when I read the email.

Option one would be to have the same Dometic fridge/ freezer/ oven that we have now. I was told this was no longer available. That would have to come from Germany and take 6-8 weeks and would cost £2961 just for the fridge/ freezer/ oven no fitting etc. Option two was another Dometic which was going to also come from Germany and cost £2421 + fitting. Option three was a Thetford fridge/ freezer but with no oven which would be £1545 + fitting, this is the one I found that should fit in the gap where the other one sits.

So it was option three we went for, not because it was the cheapest but after doing a lot of research it was a better unit. So the call was made, yes we will go for the Thetford credit card out and £1545 gone in ten seconds. Thank you, when the fridge arrives in about a week we will check it out and ring you to book you in. No phone call after a week, leave it a couple more days. Nikki rang them, we were just going to ring you, yes of course you were. Fridge is here and all ok. That’s good can we book in to get the job done then please. Yes some one will ring you later today, the job booking in department. Guess what no call. Nikki rang again with a firmer voice and got it sorted.

Trouble is because of Covid and them being shut for months everything is behind and they are so busy we can’t get it done until October 19th. Ok all sorted we think. I find a campsite up near them thinking go up day before, drive from campsite to camper U.K. in morning first thing back to campsite after and home the next day. If only life was that simple. Got a call the next day to say we will need the camper for 2/3 days, bloody hell your staff work slow don’t they was my response. So many departments and no one knows what the others do. So the final thing is.

We go from here to Lincoln on the Sunday, about a five hour drive for us in camper about 200 miles. We stop on the campsite down the road and get camper to them first thing Monday morning. At that point we will be homeless. We book into travel lodge in Lincoln for Monday and Tuesday nights. We spend two day’s roaming around Lincoln like hobos. Lincoln seems a nice city so should be ok. We hopefully get the camper back late on Wednesday and go back to campsite for another night and then back here on the Thursday. It means us having a bit of extra time off work but that’s ok. It has to be done. All we will have to pay for is the labour, fridge already paid for so although it will be bloody expensive it won’t seem as bad if we don’t add up all the costs like, fuel, campsite, travel lodge, Labour for fitting fridge, meals out in Lincoln wear and tear on our shoes wandering around. Pubs to go in if it’s raining etc.

On a brighter note Reliant is getting some colour and starting to look like a proper Robin. Everyday he comes around for some food and feeds off my hand or Nikki’s.

And is getting to be a right little poser.

At Last

We arrived here in Snowdonia at the beginning of March. On my to do list was to hike up Snowdon. Then with lockdown and now the mad busy part of the season it has not happened yet. At one stage we were going to go for a drive just to sea the mighty mountain. But glad we didn’t because on that weekend according to the local news there were cars parked everywhere and cars being towed away. It’s a very busy place in the weekends.

But yesterday was the day. We had a day off and decided to have a drive out to see the mountain they call Snowdon, the one I am going to hike up, probably next year now. It was forecast to be a hot day so we set of early. The drive took us on the A470 through Blaenau Ffestiniog a typical welsh village surrounded with mountains, with a slate mine on the edge of it. Onwards on the A470 and then turning left onto the A5 towards Betts y Coed.

Heading for another village called Capel Curig we take another left onto the A4086. And there in the distance is Snowdon. Our first glimpse of the mighty mountain and we have only been here for nearly six months. In all honesty I might have seen it before at some stage but didn’t know what to look for.

The road to Snowdon

But before getting a bit closer there was a great photo opportunity to be had on our left, a beautiful lake as calm as could be with great reflections. Luckily there was a lay-by to pull into and get a great shot of it.

Reflections

It was hard to pull away from that lay-by with a view like that. Onwards we come closer to Snowdon on our right. We could have gone another way onto the Llanberis pass to see Snowdon which would have taken us closer but there would have been more traffic and peaple which is why we decided to go the way we went. Another lay-by to pull into and take a photo. With Snowdon in the distance and a slight heat haze just made it look awesome. And the thought that I was one day going to be stood on top of that mountain after a hiking up it. Nikki will be up there also hopefully but she will take the train up and meet me at the top.

Snowdon

That’s it in the middle of the picture if you don’t know. I am hoping later in the season to get some photos of it with snow on top. The surrounding scenery was just as nice. North wales reminds me of New Zealand with mountains and lakes and lots of sheep. And it’s only the real tourist spots that are busy. You can find a fantastic lake or mountain and not see another person all day.

Another welsh view
And another

After staring at the mountain and scenery for what seemed like ages we carried on down the A4086 and joined the A498 towards Porthmadog to get some shopping. And then back to home for lunch and chill out the rest of the day with a BBQ and beer in the evening.

Oh I nearly forgot to tell you about the bike park. The bike park down the road, about a fifteen minute drive away called Coed Y Brenin forest park. I know I have mentioned it before but I got to go down there a couple of days ago. Again an early start, well not early early but early for Nikki as she was coming also. And no she was not going to go on all the forest tracks and rocks and jumps etc on her bike. There are some walking paths all through the woods etc. It was going to be a quick visit because we had other stuff to do. So parked up and agreed to be back at the car in an hour. Nikki strolled off, I rode off on my bike and rode the trails for an hour. First impressions are very good and there are so many trails, all of different skill levels etc. I covered nearly eight miles and again some of the views were fantastic. This bike park will be my playground and only fifteen minutes drive away. When Covid goes away the cafe there will be open. There are also toilets, showers, bike wash and a bike shop with workshop there.

A trail view

Harlech

A day off today so decision was made to go out for the day or some of it. Harlech has a wonderful beach, the town we passed through the other day without stopping. Nikki had found a wool shop on line in Harlech with a cafe / small bar. A weird combination but we are in Wales.

The weather was overcast today but we still like to get out and about. Nothing stops us we’re British you know. It’s not far and the scenery is wonderful if you could see it through the mist. Found the beach carpark and parked up. £3.30 minimum, short work to the beach and then you’re on a huge big beach which I would hate to be on if the sun was out. Today it had just a few peaple on it who have the attitude we are on holiday we are going to sit on the beach, rain or shine.

Harlech beach

After wandering around the beach and smelling the sea we decided to walk up into town to find the wool shop for Nikki and the cafe for a spot of lunch. With the castle up on the hill we knew it was going to be a slog uphill. The road sign said 25% steepness, luckily it wasn’t for too long, but long enough so Nikki says. I waited for her at the top.

A moody shot of the castle.

As you get to the top of the 25% gradient hill you come to Harlech castle, perched on top of the hill with a view out over the beach. Built so they could see all the enemies approaching. The castle only opened today after being closed because of Covid and you have to book on line. I spoke to the guy on the entrance and he said they were booked solid for a week ahead. We have plenty of time to go back and see it if we choose to. The view from it will be fantastic.

Harlech castle view from the side.

Found the wool shop and cafe so we decided to have a spot of lunch. And that is where we got disappointed. Looking at the menu it looked loverly. We opted for a sandwich on granary bread with coleslaw, salad and crisps. Now I was expecting a nice thick bread sandwich with plenty of filling, bowl of salad and some crisps. What I got was a sandwich made with just normal sliced bread, hardly any filling, enough salad for one mouthful and a couple of crisps, well there might have been six. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. Not just because of the food but because for me and Nikki to have this and a soft drink each was £20.75p Bloody rip off. I was going to complain but thought better of it as I was fuming so could have turned out nasty. I will not be recommending it to anyone.

The rest of the small town was nice including other nice cafes, we know for next time and a nice ice cream shop.

That was our day out. We still enjoyed ourselves but you live and learn. I think because it’s mad season, August and all the cafes etc have only just been allowed to open they are desperate for business so charging top dollar and skimping on the food knowing next week will be another lot of peaple on holiday.

When we got back I was busy setting my bike rack up on the car ready to go off down the bike park next week when we’re off and Reliant wanted his photo taken next to the bike.

Poser Reliant

A day out

Now the site is open it’s good to see peaple again and hear their different opinions on COVID-19 . We are all set up for it here with one person in reception at a time, big Perspex screen on the counter, card machine wiped down after every customer etc. Outside the service points are wiped down three times a day and peaple generally keep their distance. Some peaple wear masks, others gloves and masks. But at the end of the day we are not their keepers so it’s down to the individual to be sensible and stay safe.

The site is busy with us being so close to Snowdon so there are motorhomes coming and going all the time. Two weekends ago there were about 800 cars all parked on the roadways by Snowdon according to the local news. All illegally parked so many would have got tickets. The police put a warning out that they would be towing vehicles away. The next weekend they turned away 80 vehicles before before 8am on the Saturday and were there with a tow truck. I want to hike up Snowdon myself but am not going near it now until after the mad season is over, I might even wait until next year now.

Gerry the other warden found a dead grass snake by the gas tank, it was only a young one. A bit of google research found they if they eat and can’t digest their food and then get cold they die so it looks like that is what happened to this poor little snake. I was worried because for a couple of days after finding all this info out Reliant Robin was not about but he has now returned which is good news.

Yesterday Nikki and I went out for the day, the weather was not great but we just wanted to have a drive about and get off site on our day off. We looked on the map and headed out on the highway the A487 towards Barmouth. The drive was nice with fantastic scenery and as you come into Barmouth winding down the hill you have the estuary on your left and little cafes open on your right. The tide was out so the boats were just on the sand waiting for the tide to come back in so they could bob about again on the sea. . There were a lot of peaple about and lots of kids now the schools have broken up.

We had a walk up into the town but it was not our sort of place. Too many peaple, shops all selling the same sort of tat, bucket and spades hanging up everywhere, closed up shops, sea gulls shitting everywhere and squawking near anyone with food, arcades and even a small fairground, fish and chip shops and two closed and run down pubs. There was only one shop front I liked which looked so calm in amongst all the mayhem.

Nice looking shop front.

We walked the long way round back to the car which was parked facing the beach and sat there eating our sandwiches watching the peaple go about their business outside. There was even donkeys on the beach. Can’t remember the last time I saw donkey rides on a beach. Probably because I never go to this sort of beach, but we have been there done that now, had a look, some nice bits but we won’t rush back.

Back on the road and heading towards Harlech which we drove through without even stopping. Nothing to see here. There was a beautiful beach though. The loop we were doing took us back into Porthmadog and we knew of a small cove called Borth y Gest which someone on site had told us about. It’s a small village with a couple of tea shops and a nice outlook over the estuary. Parked up we then had a very expensive ice cream sat overlooking the estuary and mountains in the background.

Borth-y-Gest

We walked along the coast path then and passed a couple of small coves with only a handful of peaple on them. This was our sort of place.

The coast path

We went down onto the beach and sat in the sun watching the tide come in. We were completely sheltered from the wind and with the mountains the other side of the estuary it looked fantastic.

One of the coves
The tides coming in

After an hour it was time to head home. I was getting hungry and the beach was shrinking with the tide coming in which would make everyone leave the beach. We didn’t want to get caught up in the rush of about six peaple leaving the cove. Passed this loverly little church on the way back overlooking the sea.

That was our day out over, a mixture of good and not so good. Today we are back at work and my old bike goes to its new owner. He is coming here to pick it up. I have to make a phone call to arrange for our fridge to replaced later in the year, that’s another story for another day and don’t even get me started on the price. Stay safe out there.

Open the gates

On the 13th of July I opened the gates and swung them open wide and bolted them open. We were open for business. Our peace and quiet for the last four months was going to be shattered. The first day of opening worked out well for me and Nikki as that was our day off on the rota. The peaple rolled in and the sound of laughter filled the air. Got to admit it was nice to see peaple out and about on site.

The next day, Tuesday was also our day off so we had a chilled out day and then went over the pub for a drink and a bite to eat. The pubs in wales also opened on the Monday 13th but only if they had a garden. It was nice to go to a pub again I must admit. Just to support the local after lockdown you do understand. This is us doing what we do best.

Cheers

You may remember a couple of post back Robbie the robin. Well now he has offspring and one of the youngsters has become attached to me, he follows me, sits waiting for me outside our garage. He knows where the food is kept. I was talking to someone on site and he was sat down by my feet as I told them all about him. They said he has become reliant on me. So that’s his new name Reliant Robin. He feeds from my hand just like Robbie.

Reliant Robin

My new bike is fantastic and I have been out around the lake on it. Getting used to it for a couple of weeks before I go off down the bike park. I even got it muddy and dirty the other day. But I had to clean it the next day.

Out where it belongs

Our fish supply is still ongoing and we had a delivery the other day of two beautiful trout. We have just had one for tea tonight. Very nice it was too with plenty left over for a sandwich at lunchtime tomorrow.

Trout for tea

So that’s us up to date again. The site’s open, the pub’s open, we are getting back to normal slowly. Hard to think in three and a half months I will be closing the gate after the last caravan or motorhome drives out and the season will be over. Until then we will continue to welcome the customers, support the local pub and enjoy life under the sun, and we still enjoy life when it rains, we just prefer the sun. Stay safe everybody.

Life’s good

Out to play

The flag was lifted yesterday by Mr Mark Drakeford the welsh minister. As of yesterday we are allowed out to play, we can travel more than five miles, which is weird because it’s ten miles for us to go shopping which Nikki has been doing every week since lockdown.

We are not allowed out to the pub yet though, that comes on Monday 13th and then only allowed in the beer garden so we better have some good weather otherwise the pubs will be losing more income. The site is opening on Monday 13th also. And guess what, that Monday and the Tuesday are our days off. How good is that.

We have been working hard to get the site up to standard since the beginning of this month, lots of grass cutting , making it as COVID 19 proof as we can. Just hope the members use some kind of common sense and stay safe and respect we want to stay safe.

So what do you do when the flags raised after being in lockdown since March and having a new mountain bike on order and not see the sea for months. I will tell you. You get up on the morning of the 6th at 5.30 am, you have a cup of tea and wait for Nikki to wake up then keep saying are you ready yet, are you ready yet. We did say we were going to leave at 7am. At 6.45am we were pulling out the site and on our way to Bury, 110 miles away to a bike shop. It was so nice to be out and about. Found the bike shop, got the bike all set up suspension etc for me. Paid for it and loaded it into the car. Credit card smouldering away. Now I know you want to see it so here you go, feast your eyes on this thing of beauty.

My new toy.

We left the shop and went to the nearest Tesco, just round the corner. Nikki went in shopping while I bonded with my bike. An hour later we are on our way home. 220mile round trip with a grin from ear to ear. It was a long day and was glad to climb into bed at the end of the day. And no the bike never came to bed, although it was suggested.

Today we had off also so decided to go and see the sea. We had not seen the sea since January and being sea loving peaple we were itching to see it. We didn’t get up so early for this trip. Weather was not so good today but we decided we really needed to see the sea. We left the site got onto the main road and turned left heading for Criccieth, a small town with a castle on the headland. The beach was deserted. We then headed further along the coast to Pwllheli which is a bigger town. We parked along side the beach and walked along the deserted beach.

Leave only footprints
Criccieth castle on the beach.

The rest of today I have been pottering about in the garage with my bike. And tomorrow we go back to work. One last photo. This was on one of the ways onto the beach. It’s in welsh and translated it says leave only your footprints.