Thursday, August 24, 2006

The Curious Incident of the Mole on the Beach

How on earth does a mole get on a beach? I’ve never heard of this phenomenon before and yet, that is what we saw. A black velvety mole with large pink paws scurrying blindly along at the side of the cliff face in a sort of scuffed out runnel. No time to set up the camera, we must have announced our presence long before we realised it was there; just the chance for a couple of quick sightings as it disappeared behind soft sand and then into a curious, crumbling, sand filled hole. We waited silently for a short while but it did not return to take the sea air.

As we wandered back along Nefyn beach towards the strange huts on stilts and the pale yellow painted ice cream parlour we could only surmise how the poor mole had ended up there. A landslide of earth from the cliff top perhaps? If so, how did it survive such a fall? How long had it been there? Would it survive? What did it eat? Was it the only one? Who knows? Some people may add who cares? Strangely, somehow I do care.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Joy of Popping Balsam

This year the Himalayan Balsam, which grows at the side of the Cauldon Canal, seems to be taller and more prolific than ever. I’m assuming that this is because of the very hot weather we had last month. This plant is not native to this country and although it looks wonderful at the side of the canal it is a problem because it will eventually wipe out other native plants that grow there and, because it dies back completely in the winter, can cause erosion of the canal banks.

It does have one redeeming feature though. At this time of year the seed pods are full of seeds and if you so much as touch one they burst forth with such power as to make you jump even though you expect the force of it. Popping these seed pods gives even more enjoyment than popping bubble wrap.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I was sitting in the car at Sainsbury’s petrol station in Hanley whilst P was putting petrol in, whiling away the time watching other people, as you do. No? Just me then. Anyway, this man, fortyish, shorts, t-shirt, cap from under which sprouted bleached blond hair, had filled up his car and was wandering over to the payment kiosk. He stopped near the dispenser for the local newspaper - The Sentinel - (well you may want to know the fine details), he opened the dispenser, took out a paper, closed the dispenser, placed the paper on the lid and flicked through a few pages. Then he wandered into the kiosk, both cashiers were free, looked around the walls and the displays, eventually picked up a chocolate bar (sorry, I wasn’t close enough to read which kind) then finally went up to the cash desk to pay. As P was being served at the second till, the man took a phone call, chatted for a few moments, then moved outside to talk on the phone. This call over he proceeded to dial another number. In the meantime other people were beginning to go into the kiosk to pay for their petrol. P, when he came back to the car, confirmed that the man had walked away from the cashier, left his newspaper, sweets and bank card on the counter, left a half completed transaction so that no one else could use that till and a growng queue for the remaining cashier to cope with.

Many words and phrases spring to mind which I won’t use here, but suffice to say what an incredibly, rude, thoughtless, selfish and stupid person I thought he was.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Just a few photos from last week's holiday -

St Davids Cathedral ............ Fishguard Harbour

Castell Henllys ................. Dinas Head

Dunlin on NewportBeach ,,,,,,,..,,,,,,, Pentre Ifans

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Traveller Returns

We've just returned home from a wonderful holiday in Pembrokeshire. We had a lovely cottage up in the Preseli Hills, where buzzards whirled above fields of sheep grazing by ancient standing stones. We were about four miles from Newport with its lovely sweeping beaches and curving coastal paths. My mind is still full of the impressions of the places we have seen, little rocky bays occupied only by sea birds, vast sweeping beaches, ancient burial chambers, replica iron age houses, harbours and jetties with little boats bobbing up and down on the blue ocean, red and white ferries bound for Rosslare. Tudor Houses, Castles, Museums and the gloriously beautiful cathedral at St Davids.

On our way back we stopped off at Bristol. Our second floor room at the Holiday Express was overwhelmingly hot and felt oppressive after being able to sit out late at night at the cottage. We spent a whole day in the centre where there was a harbour festival taking place. Brunel's SS Great Britain took a whole morning to explore, then we made for the Museums and the cathedral. Next morning before leaving for home we walked around Clifton Village and over Brunel's suspension bridge.

So many happy memories. I'm sure there will be photos later.