Sunday, 20 October 2013

A trip to Betws y coed, sweetcorn fritters, ballet & chocolate shoes...

19th October, 2013.
I was feeling a bit gloomy with these shorter days setting in so decided to embrace autumn properly and make the most of it..a few hours in Betws y coed was just what I needed.It's a few miles inland from here but a total change of scene from my life on Anglesey. A short trip through the Ogwen Valley and here we were, an hour later. It was cold..it started to rain..but today there was nowhere else I wanted to be..sheltering underneath the dense trees, crunching acorns and crisp leaves underfoot, eating a tray of piping hot chips and watching the rushing water..thrilling!! (I am such a cheap date!)




This tiny house on the left of the terrace (on the town's main street) always makes me pause and wonder... about its past, the lives lived there, how they managed in such a tiny doll's house. I hope it's as cosy as it looks. 


We walked through the town,going into this shop and that and then had a warming coffee and hot chocolate..love the interesting Alpine Coffee Shop & Gallery by the station.. 




                                ...and outside I noticed these interesting sculptures..







Back home next, where annoyingly it turned out that the sun had been shining most of the day.Ha! Next time look at the local weather forecast Carol!
                        
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I've discovered that frozen sweetcorn is MUCH cheaper than the tinned variety so I bought a huge bag and to make the most of this sudden abundance  I thought I'd have a go at making fritters. Well, who knew how easy they'd be to make and how delicious they'd be! Honestly, all you do is make a thick batter from an egg, a cup of milk and a cup of flour (either self-raising or add a bit of baking powder if it's plain flour)..adjust milk amount adding more if necessary until it's a thick pancake consistency..add sweetcorn and fry in a shallow pan. Despite my daughter saying the uncooked fritters looked like pools of vomit with sweetcorn in (she has had too many late nights out in Bangor!) they turned out well and everyone liked them. Will definitely make them again.



Our local theatre is being rebuilt so I've not been out so much recently but I decided to treat my daughters and myself to an evening out at the ballet in Llandudno. A Midsummer Night's Dream is my favourite play but I had never seen it done as a ballet.(I have seen it several times in outdoor theatre events in the garden of Plas Newydd and also have seen the film many times..the one with Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania and Kevin Kline as Bottom) I was so entranced by the ballet that I forgot to take any photos and just managed to grab this blurred shot  during the final bows. So lovely to see live ballet.



Something funny happened the other day..I was having my hair cut and mentioned I'd just driven past a new shoe shop in our local town with some beautiful shoes in the window. The hairdresser asked if I'd seen the new patissier and chocolatier shop which had also opened this week...wow, two new glam shops in our tiny town. Of course it was me making a fool of myself (nothing new there)...I had in fact seen CHOCOLATE SHOES and the "shoe shop" was in fact the new patissier! Do you think they look real too? I know..but I was driving in busy traffic at the time!!




I picked the last of my tomatoes this week.The dark ones are called Black Cherry (new to me this year) and taste lovely..almost as if they have had a little sprinkle of salt. The little orange ones are Sungold..the sweetest of tomatoes and my favourites.I always grow these. Sad to see the end of the season. It's been a good one.  



The shorter days have meant some pleasure..not the least being the fact that dawn is now late enough for me to be up and about! I captured this gorgeous sunrise at 7.30 one morning this week. Happy weekend everyone. xx


Friday, 11 October 2013

12th October 2013

    I had a fab day out in Llanberis recently.. it's a town at the foot of Mount Snowdon and is famous for its slate quarry, its innovative hydro-electric power station which is hidden inside a mountain and also as a beautiful place to visit with a lovely lake and surrounding countryside. It also has the station for the little train up to the summit of Snowdon (a great trip on a clear day if you can afford it!). I've been to Llanberis countless times as it's only a 20-minute drive from my home on Anglesey but this time I was going especially to see an artist exhibiting on the "Helfagelf" trail. This is a programme of open artists' studios each September throughout North Wales...apart from Anglesey, which holds its own open arts studios event every Easter. (We like to show our independence in small ways!) I was going to see Alison Mercer, a textile artist who makes beautiful work with a theme of family history and the lives of women especially and with projects on childbirth. (I think this is so, though she may think that is a mere glossing-over of what she does!) Anyway, she was lovely to chat to and the work she was displaying was beautiful....


She was using a room in one of these four cottages which are a part of the wonderful slate museum..each cottage shows inside it relevant furniture, decoration and artifacts reflecting different periods in slate industry history..


These ladies were spinning local wool and seemed so happy and fun-loving. I'm sure I would be a real crosspatch of frustration working with those tools but they oozed relaxation and enjoyment!


I was glad to have a reason to look round the slate museum which is worth a visit if you love history. The lives of the thousands of men who had such hard working experiences in the slate quarries here are celebrated and recorded. I just find old machinery fascinating..not much "health and safety" in those days I suspect. You can listen to a talk by a former quarryman on life of the old slateworkers. I have in the past taken a group of students and watched the man splitting slates with the old tools. Most impressive seeing how the slate neatly splits though I'm sure great skill is needed to do it right. I do love slate and its subtle colours..blue, green, purple...





                          I also LOVE old tools..these were hanging by the blacksmith's forge...



This is steam crane, built before the First World War, was used down at Port Dinorwic on the Menai Strait to unload coal which was then sent by train to Llanberis for using to drive steam locomotives and also for fires and kettles in the "cabans" up on the hillside....


       A sawing table..can you imagine how dangerous this was!...





No trip to the slate quarry is complete without strolling a few yards to Vivian Quarry which has been flooded and is now used by diving clubs. Looking up at the shelves of slate you can imagine the hard life of the quarrymen. Now it's flooded it always makes the most fabulous reflections...




Back in Llanberis town next. The shops here are so colourful, including the cheap 'n' cheerful Pete's Eats cafe, always popular with climbers and locals...


BUT for me, it has to be Georgio's for the best ice cream I know..the owner makes up his own seasonal recipes and caters for special diets. My all-time-fave there is the intensely chocolatey dairy-free ice cream which is perfect and not overly-sweet...


Bizarrely, someone was on holiday in an old London bus..although it didn't look out of place in such a colourful street...



Well, all that was two or three weeks ago..summer's last fling..and now we're getting a final flush of roses, so gorgeous in the early morning dew...




Still getting a few sweet peas and greenhouse tomatoes but my runner beans have gone old and tough.I'm just leaving them to mature and am collecting seed for next year...

On a final note I have to admit to total lack of willpower. That bag I bought from the Creative Stitches show which I was supposedly saving for my birthday has, not unexpectedly, been called to duty already ;-)  ... I couldn't resist it loveliness....Happy Weekend everyone. xx