Thursday, August 31, 2006

Theres Welsh for you

On Wednesday, last week, I went to Wales. Now I know south Wales like the back of my hand, my mother comes from there and I have spent many a happy 6 weeks school holidays with my 30+ cousins. I suppose at such a young age, I didn't really appreciate the beauty, but as I have got older I do now. But last week I went to North Wales. The drive is only about an hour or so from my home in Crewe and what a drive.

The scenery is stunning, as you can see from the photograph above. We drove along the A5 through the Snowdonia range of mountains. I have to say, it was the best road I have ever taken. It was far prettier than the Yorkshire Dales and they are lovely enough. We drove to Anglesey to Beaumaris castle. Beaumaris was packed with people, and my one gripe about the place was not being able to find a place that served dinner all day long. Most of the places serve meals between 12 and 2 then again at 6 till about 10. We didn't get there until 2.30 (Daughters and make-up, don't ask!!!) but found a nice little cafe serving snacks before going to poke around Beaumaris castle.

It's a lovely little castle which offers spectacular views over the Menai straits. You can walk along the ramparts and some of the spooky corridors inside. An hour should allow you enough time to see it all. I can't believe we walked out of there to be greeted by my neighbour (from Crewe) who was there on holiday with her children and grandchildren. They say the world is a small place, but I suppose with Anglesey not being that far away from Crewe it wasn't so much of a surprise!!

We took a lovely drive back along the A5 as I had booked a B & B in Trevor. Our plan was to go to Llangollen the next day.

The B & B was run by Elaine, who greeted us with a really warm welcome and was situated across the road from Trevor wharf. It also overlooked the Pontycysyllte aquaduct. I cannot praise the B & B enough. Elaine had thought of everything, unlike the B & B in Bainbridge, (3 beds 2 cups and 2 tea bags) She provided us with a fridge, microwave, toaster, T.V, Sofa and hairdryer plus plenty of cups, plates and cutlery and a WHOLE tea caddy full of tea bags, which made Kai very happy. (He does love his tea that boy)

If you ever want B & B in the area please consider this place. The breakfast was HUGE and believe me I can eat!!! The views from the garden are amazing, as you can see.

I finally got to see the Aquaduct in the flesh, and before I stood on the edge of it, even tried to convince myself I would walk over it, but to sum it up in 3 words 'No F*****g way!!!!!' My head for heights is not what it was when I was a mere slip of a thing!!! I did go for a walk beneath it though and showed the Londoner in me when I asked a local if it was safe to walk down there. (Well it was 7.30 in the morning!!) The area surrounding the Borrows rest is lovely and there are 2 pubs close by (Telfords inn and Australia arms) to get evening meals. Elaine though, at present, doesn't take credit or debit cards.

The next morning after our massive breakfast (Seriously we didn't eat until late evening) we drove to Llangollen as we wanted to take a horse drawn canal boat to the horseshoe falls. The trip lasted about 45 minutes and seemed really strange to me as it was so quiet being pulled along by a horse. Just the clipping and clopping along was very nice.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Riddles in Yorkshire

I am back from my travels. I have travelled across the country and have finally seen the Yorkshire Dales and North Wales.

Our first stop was at the Forbidden corner in Coverdale. Apart from the fact that for the AA directions I put in the wrong post code and ended up about 10 miles away, we found the place before our allotted entry time which was 3.45 pm.

It is a sort of maze set in 4 acres of gardens, which was originally developed for the personal use of the landowner and his friends, who persuaded him to open it to the public. There is a small cafe and a beautiful picnic area should you arrrive early for your entry time, in fact I would suggest arriving early on purpose so you can have a nice picnic (Weather permitting) and just take in the views. I must admit, I was rather excited at the prospect of going to this place as I had seen it on a gardening show on cable and thought it looked rather different.

We queued up for our allotted entry time and were given a leaflet with little sketches and riddles written on them, it was up to us to find them in whatever order we wanted. To be honest, we weren't too serious about finding everything, because Kai is only 3 so would have liked whatever he saw anyway.

I don't want to spoil it for you, but there are lots of little surprises, some may scare younger children. It has been well thought out, but is really unsuitable for the disabled (walking disabled) and not child buggy friendly. There are also lots of dark narrow passageways, but they are exciting and scarey together. At times I found it a bit frustrating as we would catch glimpses of something tantalising only to never find our way to it. Which I suppose is just a darn good excuse to go back again. There was one part that Kai really hated as it scared the hell out of him, but his Mum and I picked him up and made a joke out of it and managed to get him through it.

I have to say, it was a unique experience. My advise if you are visiting is to
A. Try and get an a.m or early p.m time slot. It can get very busy and in confined spaces (Of which there are quite a few) a bit claustrophobic
B. Go outside of the major school holidays
C. Take waterproof footwear/clothing if it has been raining
D. Don't rush around hoping to see everything as you probably won't
E. If you have a long way to travel, try a cheap B & B and make a short break of it as the Yorkshire Dales are extremely beautiful and worth exploring

I will be going back again, at the moment it doesn't matter to me when, as Kai is in nursery so he can have time off when we feel like it. I will be staying in Middleham next time as it is only a 10 minute drive and looked a lovely villiage to stay in. We stayed in the Rose and Crown in Bainbridge (About a 12 mile drive) which was mediocre, although the locals were friendly.

I will be blogging next time about North Wales, but not today.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Time off at last!

I am off next week, my daughter and grandson are coming up with me tomorrow and at long last I am going to explore the surroundings.

I must admit I am going a bit far afield. My first visit is to the Forbidden corner in the Yorkshire dales. Apparently it is a sort of maze/folly set in 4 acres of garden and you go and find things and get squirted with fountains on the way. I am really looking forward to that.

Then on the recommendation of my friend Sharon, we are going to Llangollen. I have found a nice little b & b set right on the canal within walking distance of the Pontycysyllte aquaduct. I doubt I will be walking it, but I am going to take Kai for a horse drawn boat ride!!! Just who is the 3 year old here?!!!

Anyway, I have joined the 21st century, bought myself a nice digital camera and on my return will try and load some pics!!!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Knowleypowley Where have you gone? :-)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Olympic towns and Eyesores

Until I bought a house in Crewe, I had always lived in Straford (east London, not upon-Avon) in fact, I still live there most of the time as I kept my job in London, so am there Monday through to Friday staying with my parents.

I have to admit, it has never been the most charming place to live. I can't really say there are any pretty places in Straford. There has always been a multicultural mish mash of people, which I liked. BUT then came the Olympics.

I came home from work last night via a different route and I couldn't believe the building work that is going on. It seems that every spare mini car park is being turned into 'luxury apartments'. Some are even selling on the basis of them being 'affordable housing'

One of these developments is being called the 'Stratford eye' It is being built slap bang along side the railway line, which must have 200+ trains thundering past per day along with the nuclear waste train pottering along at the dead of night when it is less like to kill people should an accident occur. As far as I can tell the only people who might buy a place there will be train spotters!! The view on the other side isn't much better, the Stratford one way system, 1000+ cars thundering along, so for god sake don't hang your washing out !!! It will probably get renamed the 'Stratford eyesore' by the locals. You can see this monstrosity and all the developers gush for yourself, ignore the computer generated surrounds, the area doesn't look like that at all as it is being build beside a busy road bridge.,137,AR.html

The last lot of 'affordable housing' that was build was selling for £100,000 for a 2 bed apartment for a 1/2 share, and was snapped up by landlords before they were even built! The place is now full of people who are speaking any language but English and are probably getting ripped off by their landlords, because lets face it, someone has to pay the mortgage don't they? And the locals are not silly enough to pay that kind of rent! That too has a glorious view of the railway line and Leytonstone high road.

The sad thing about all this 'development' is that every little back street pub I used to go to has gone! I can think of 5 straight away. One is a shop, one has been turned into 'luxury apartments' (Also overlooking the afore mentioned railway line) one is a community centre (useful at least) and the other 2 demolished. When will it all end?

The property market and prices have gone crazy in Stratford. And all because of the Olympics! What I want to know is this. In 6 years from now, after the Olympics have been and gone, will the property prices crash? Once the landlords can no longer rent their properties for £2000 a week due to it's proximity to the Olympic stadium, will they sell in droves? Will the developers finally stop building on postage stamp size plots? What will become of these 'luxury apartments' because believe me, Stratford will never be mistaken for Chelsea. There will always be muggings down Forest Lane and prostitutes plying their trade on the local council estate and Newham council will never have 'luxury' properties.

I don't want you to think that since I moved away I consider myself better, I am PROUD that I come from Stratford, in fact when I go to Crewe my cockney accent comes out more and I am only too glad to tell people where I come from. I suppose I am sad to see the place that I have known all my life disappear. Still we all have to move with the times, I just really hope they turn out to be great times for Stratford and it's residents.

Oh and Newham council please note. On the Carpenters road estate, next to James Riley point, there is a building going up which I can only assume will be housing that is going to be sold at over inflated prices due to is 'view' of the stinking Bow back river. It makes that tower block look a real eyesore. Do the residents proud and either paint or knock it down!! And just one other thing, please make the developers incorporate car parking, the residents are fed up with paying parking charges then not being able to find somewhere to park.