Thursday 30 August 2018

Welshpool to Liverpool

Our last day in Wales was simply to be a drive to Liverpool, nothing really planned along the way.

However, you can't let a day go by without visiting a castle. This time it was Whittington Castle.  It was right by the road we were travelling along, but there wasn't a real lot of it left, mainly the gate house.  Despite that, it was rather scenic.

We took a slight detour to visit the town of Whitchurch.  We had lunch here in 2007 and stayed in the town in 2011.  As we were so near, we had to have a quick visit.  We have photos of this bakery from each visit.

As we continued on our way we came across our first thatched house.

Once we reached Liverpool we said "Bye bye" to our little Suzuki Swift car and checked into our accommodation.  We stayed here last time as it is right next to the ferry terminal.

We had been wondering if the same doorman, wearing top hat and tails, was still there.  He had been a delight last time we visited, showing us the best place to park our sidecar, as the weather was blowing a gale.  As we walked through the door we were greeted with "Welcome back. Sir, I remember your hat".  How good is that?? Our last visit was seven years ago!!  I commented that Mick's hat is looking a little second hand these days, but Frank said it added to the "Patina". How nicely put.  Frank was as lovely as last time and it appears he is a much loved member of the staff.  He and Mick decided that they should swap hats.  I think Mick's hat suits Frank rather well.

We had a general wander around Liverpool in the afternoon.

We stumbled upon The Cavern Club.

Surprisingly, there is no cover charge to enter.

No, it wasn't Paul McCartney playing live.  That would have been too good to be true.

I found a statue of Cilla Black. (no, I'm not sniffing her arm pit.)

We saw the Liver Birds on the building just over the road from our hotel.

The Beetles came wandering down the road towards us.

Last time we were here the museum was still being built.  This time we had a little wander around.

A bonus was an exhibition about John Lennon and Yoko Ono.  We finished looking at it just as the museum was closing.

The following morning we started the next leg of our trip.  

We boarded the ferry "Manannan"  to travel to the Isle of Man once again.  The main reason for our trip over here - to attend the motorcycle racing on the Isle of Man.

A colourful "Ferry Crossed the Mersey" went by while we were waiting to sail.

There was also a small cruise ship docked in Liverpool.

Bye Liverpool.  It was nice visiting.

Now for the main purpose of our holiday.  Bring it on.

August One Monthly Goal - Ta Da!

Another break in our holiday posts.  I'm having trouble getting photos to load where we are at the moment.  We'll get back to that shortly.

My stitching goal for August was to complete the stitchery on my mini quilt that has been a WIP UFO for quite a few years.  You can see where  I was up to at the start of the month here.

My plan was to stitch while we are on holidays.  Nothing happened for the first two weeks, so I was a little doubtful if I would get it done, but then it came to race time at the Isle of Man and lots of time sitting beside the road waiting for races to start.  I always get lots done during that time.  As you can see, it was rather chilly, despite being summer time.  I think I may get a few strange looks as I stitch away among all the motorcyclists.

To my delight I achieved my goal today, with a race day and one day of the month to spare.  (No chance to press it unfortunately.) I'm so pleased to make some serious progress on this project.

I'm linking up with Elm Street Quilts over here.  Thanks for the inspiration.

By the way, I found a cross stitch kit of the Isle of Man when we were out and about the other day.  Another project to add to the list of things to do.

Friday 24 August 2018

Splendid Sampler II - Favourite Notions

A brief interlude from our holiday...

I've been keeping an eye on the Splendid Sampler to see what blocks I will have to catch up on when we get home.  I was rather pleased that there is no block this week, rather the request to share your favourite notions.  I can even do that from the other side of the world, as I posted about them back in January.

I see that Jane also has the mini rotating mat as on of her favourite notions.  It is perfect for squaring up blocks.  My trusty rotary cutter was given to me by my mum when I first started showing interest in patchwork.  I find the 4 1/2 inch and 6 1/2 inch rulers really handy as well.  Everything is sitting on my great big cutting mat.  It was a great investment.

I have lots of other notions I can't live without, but as I am on the other side of the world to my sewing room, this will have to do.

Now back to our holidays....

Tuesday 21 August 2018

Aberystwyth to Welshpool

Another day, another decision to make as to where to head.  This time it was a bigger decision, as we could continue along the north west coast or veer towards the east.  As we wouldn't have time to do the west justice, we decided to veer east.  But where to?  Mick picked the name Welshpool on the map and off we set.

The first town we saw was the market town of Machynlleth.  The markets were even on.  The down side was that as soon as we hopped out of the car it started to rain quite heavily, so we didn't linger very long.

As we continued on our way the landscape changed dramatically, being more reminiscent of Scotland and northern England.

Next was Dolgellau, a pretty little town with a few antique shops to explore.

We had morning tea at a coffee shop with an interesting history.  It was built in 1606.

And was originally the gaol house downstairs with Courthouse upstairs.

As we travelled further inland the road became quite steep.  We love the way they display the gradient of the road over here.  Notice also, in Wales all signs are written in Welsh before English.  We find it confusing at times and wonder how people who don't speak English cope.

The weather was rather bleak again.

We discovered that there was a famous castle just outside Welshpool - Powis Castle and Gardens.  It is owned by the National Trust so no photos inside.

The gardens were spectacular, being terraced down the side of the hill.

There were four rows of apple trees.  I'd love to know how old they are, but they looked ancient and the trunks were really thick and gnarled.

Powis Castle had a much more modern feel to it compared to the previous ones we had visited, with their separate sections.  It was built in the 13th century.  We asked if it had ever been attacked, and yes, in the first Civil War it was.  However, they surrendered very quickly, as they weren't in any position to resist. This proved to be their saving grace, as any castles that put up much resistance, such as Montgomery Castle, just down the road, were demolished by order of the Parliament.

Powis Castle has been continuously occupied and modernised along the way.  The National Trust took ownership in the late 1950s.

We even saw some deer as we were returning to our car.

There was next to no accommodation in Welshpool, so we found a B & B in the nearby village of Guilsfield.  It turned out to be a lovely bonus.  Our hostess, Eve, was delightful, as was the accommodation and breakfast.

We went for a walk around the village and there were some very pretty gardens.

The church, St Aelhaiarn, dated from the 13th century.

Don't you love the inscription on the clock face.

The graveyard had some interesting headstones.

We finished off the day with a delicious meal at the local pub.  A nice way spend our last night in Wales.

Friday 17 August 2018

St David's to Aberystwyth

After leaving St David's we followed the coast north.  Our first brief stop was at Fishguard, where we saw a small lighthouse.  They have been few and far between so far.

It had a nice little harbour.  It was high tide and the water was lapping into the car park.  I wouldn't like to be there in bad weather.

Our next stop was the town of Cardigan.  There was a castle in the middle of town, but we didn't visit.

The main street was really nice and we enjoyed exploring.

There were a few antique shops and we found a little treasure that is wrapped safely until we get home.

Our lunch stop was at Aberaeron.  This seaside town was different as it wasn't crammed into a narrow valley, but more open.  There were rows of colourful, well kept cottages.

We found a lovely little cafe up a side street for lunch.  

How do you like our table?  It is a Singer sewing machine.

I had to try the "Cawl Caws Bara" for lunch.  I had no idea what it was, so had to ask.  "Cawl" (pronounce Cowell, as in Simon Cowell) is Welsh broth, "Caws" (pronounce like cows, but with an S sound at the end) is cheese, and "Bara", (pronounce Barra) is bread.  It was broth with lamb and lots of root veges.  Rather tasty.

We kept on our way to Aberystwyth.  Try pronouncing that one!   It takes a bit of practice.  We were able to get accommodation on the esplanade, our room being on the ground floor overlooking the sea.  We were rather happy with that.  Ours is the window next to the "Atlantic" sign.

There are the ruins of the castle to explore.

Ancient university buildings.

We had a quick look in St Michaels Church as well.

I think the water front would look better at high tide. 

The old pier is rather lovely.

There is a Victorian Cliff Railway, so of course we had to go for a ride.  

It used to be powered by water, but has been converted to electricity. 

There is a wonderful view from the top of the hill.

Once we returned to sea level we required afternoon tea. Welsh Cakes were the obvious choice.

We found a pub for dinner and tried Blue Moon beer.  It is Belgiun and served with a slice of orange.  Something different, but rather nice.

After dinner we were wandering back to our hotel when we heard a band playing.  The Aberystwyth Silver Band play every Tuesday and Thursday evening.  They really were good, playing a variety of tunes, even getting the audience singing and dancing along.  It was a nice way to end the day.