Tag Archives: Beach

A Trip To Deepest Darkest Wales

The Gower, Cornwall But Without The Crowds!,Rocking Dog

The Gower, Cornwall But Without The Crowds!

Once upon a time a long long time ago we started our married life in deepest darkest Wales. Andyman was in the RAF and we lived in a little married quarter in St Athan. As he wasn’t an officer we didn’t have the privilege of fitted carpets but a very large carpet piece. If my memory serves me correctly the lounge “mat” was orange with lime green rings. The arm chairs were equally attractive, with stretch nylon covers in purple and green camouflage pattern! Farrow & Ball had yet to be developed and the walls were RAF issue antique gold. In spite of a very challenging colour palette Andyman and I were very happy in our first home together. After qualifying as an army nurse I then spent a year showcasing Wrangler jeans and corduroy’s in a large Cardiff department store.

In time I was accepted for midwifery training at the University Hospital of Wales. Four days or so after starting my course Andyman met me from the bus stop to tell me he was being posted to Germany, perfect timing…not! There was the dilemma as to whether to go with him to Germany or to complete my 18 month midwifery course. Sensible head told me to remain in Wales. So that’s what I did. There were frequent flights, ferry crossings and even one or two hovercraft journeys over that next year and a half. Eventually I joined Andyman in Germany and that’s where my link with Wales ended.

However… a midwife who I trained with have kept in touch. We went over to see her and lovely paediatrician husband at the weekend. We always have such a wonderful time with them and enjoy yummy food, wine and chat. There is always a great walk on the cards when we visit. This time we headed out in the car on a short car journey from their house to Llanmadoc on the north west Gower peninsula.

I can see why people say that the Gower is like Cornwall….. but without the crowds. The scenery is truly spectacular with huge sweeps of white sandy coastline, sand dunes, wooded areas, craggy outcrops and a multitude of flora & fauna. We were literally the only folk on the beach on Saturday and the skies were impossibly blue. It was widely reported that Wales and the South West experienced an earthquake on Saturday. Though walking close to the epicentre of the earthquake we felt absolutely nothing!

There were shells to find, plastic flotsam and jetsam to moan about, and hills to huff and puff up! Real Live Rocking Dog loved having the beach to himself, but i’m sure in his little heart wished for a ball to play with. We stopped briefly at a bench in Hansel and Gretel style woodland to watch the skeleton. Well done Lizzy and Laura.

Five miles of walking ended with a drink and sarnie at the characterful Britannia Inn. Next time we must taste the Salt marsh lamb which the Gower is famous for. Sheep feed on samphire, sorrel, sea lavender and thrift.

It was time to say goodbye to our buddies and to promise not to leave such a big gap before the next time. It was wonderful, truly wonderful and there really isn’t anything better than sea air and good friends. Thank you xx

Rocky Climb,Rocking Dog

Rocky Climb

Seaside Treasure,Rocking Dog

Seaside Treasure

Beach To Himself,Rocking Dog

Beach To Himself

Sand Dunes & Salty Air,Rocking Dog

Sand Dunes & Salty Air

Tall Pines,Rocking Dog

Tall Pines

Hansel & Gretel,Rocking Dog

Hansel & Gretel

Skeleton Bench,Rocking Dog

Skeleton Bench

Lone Pine,Rocking Dog

Lone Pine

Dog Tired!,Rocking Dog

Dog Tired!

The Day The Sea Froze!

Lobster Anyone?, Rocking Dog

Lobster Anyone?

Well, the day the sea froze isn’t being completely truthful. I was at Weston Super Mare yesterday morning, and walking along the beach the surf had indeed frozen. The seaweed too had an uncharacteristic white sparkly shimmer. Me thinks Real Live Rocking Dog had a lovely time on the beach. It’s difficult to fathom his emotions, but i’m sure he loves a bit of sea air and the sand between his toes!

As per normal the sea was well and truly out, it could be glimpsed at on the distant horizon, so there was no paddling to be had! Weston has a huge tidal range, it can rise and fall by as much as 14.5 m (48 ft). This statistic is second only in the world to the Bay of Fundy, Eastern Canada.

In the summer the town buzzes with day trippers and holiday makers. Large stretches of sand become congested with sandcastle makers, sunbathers, picnickers, deck chair users and donkeys. This is a traditional English holiday resort, but last summer W.S.M was funky-fied by the arrival of Banksy’s Dismaland. Normality has now sadly returned to the town and no doubt the traders and hoteliers would love another Banksy pop up!

A fan I am not of Weston Super Mare in the summer, but off season I love a bracing walk along the sand to blow away the cobwebs! Yesterday’s walk took me along the beach to the blandish rejuvenated Grand Pier to another older pier, Birnbeck Pier. In a very sorry delapidated state, there are plans afoot to bring the listed pier back to its former days of glory. As a child I remember going there with my parents to a very peculiar all year round market affair. Naff carpet, carpet tiles and rolls of cellophane inexplicably come to mind. More vivid are the memories of the gaps between the decking to get to the pier buildings. Even in the 1970’s the structure was in a perilous state. I was absolutely petrified walking along the seemingly endless planked walkway. I really hope work begins soon for this West Country treasure, for I love piers. They hark back to an age of Victorian cast iron, the Great Exhibition, bathing machines, the realisation of the benefits of taking in the sea air, promenading ladies, straw boaters and children in sailor suit attire. One pier of which I am particularly fond is the little pagoda’d jewel at Clevedon. Its claim to fame is of having been used as a backdrop for the series Broadchurch and in a One Direction pop video.

I found a sunny little cove to enjoy a coffee and bask in the frosty sunshine. It became obvious that this was a meeting place for the Weston ex-pat community! There were conversations about nursing homes, coughs, colds, ablutions and local authority care. Thoroughly depressing, and it was time to move on!

It was lovely to have a bracing blow about, and I hope there’ll be another opportunity or two before dogs are relegated from the beach and the bucket wielding day-trippers return.

Frozen Surf, Rocking Dog

Frozen Surf

Happy RLRD, Yes Really!, Rocking Dog

Happy RLRD, Yes Really!

Waiting For The Boat To Come In, Rocking Dog

Waiting For The Boat To Come In

Forlorn Pier, Rocking Dog

Forlorn Pier

Revitalised Pier, Rocking Dog

Revitalised Pier

Heavy Metal, Rocking Dog

Heavy Metal

Rocking Dog Christmas Cake Quick Fix!

snow dome cake, rocking dog

Snow Dome Cake

Good morning! Hope everyone is feeling cool, calm and collected. I hope presents are deliciously wrapped, fridge decadently stashed, Christmas frock selected, and coiffure and manicure booked! Yes it does sound as if i’m stuck in a 1950’s Hollywood time warp and no no no, apart from the wrapped presents I haven’t scored highly on any of the other counts!

However, I did manage to get cakes made a little while ago. We try to get down to the beach for a barbecue (Sand Bay near Weston Super Mare) between Christmas and New Year to blow away the cobwebs and to be generally very silly. We usually take salmon and good sausages to burn on the disposable barbecues, a freshly made Greek salad some French stick, homemade soup and nibbles. Pudding is usually a hunk of Christmas cake which we eat through chattering teeth! When the BBQ’s have done the business we fill them with sand and use them as foot warmers. Some of us go in search of the sea (a rare sight) whilst others play with Real Life Rocking Dog and other doggy friends. Like Zac Efron who incidentally still hasn’t been found, the beach barbecue is fast becoming a Ferguson tradition.

Back to the cakes! for a good last minute cake Nigella Lawson’s Easy Action Cake is foolproof. The majority of the ingredients are heated up in a pan, fruits don’t need days of soaking and the baking time is pretty respectable. Pictured is the way I cook my cakes – tips from my lovely Mum. So it’s lining the tin with baking parchment and then with the mixture poured in, wrap the cake in a double layer of brown paper, held in place by non-plastic string. The top of the cake also has a layer of brown paper stapled in place with a hole to let steam escape. Finally I put the cake into the oven with a thinnish layer of newspaper under it. All these papery tricks ensure the cakes do not burn or dry out. To me the smell of baking newspaper really makes me feel Christmassy. Admittedly a candle from Jo Malone is a more attractive proposition … but the newspaper reminds me of home and my mum.

To decorate or not to decorate that is the question. I like my cake served nude of almond paste and icing, personally I love it with some Farmhouse Cheddar. My snow dome cake was executed VERY quickly. I am ashamed to say I bought ready rolled almond paste and icing, gummed onto the cake with apricot glaze. Decoration… crudely piped “Oh Christmas Tree”, Indian blingy braid and some bottle brush Christmas trees….Simple!

Oh well just to get through Christmas Day to get the much loved day on the beach and the wedge of cake! PS. the nude cake is safely stashed in a tin ready to be paired with some yummy cheese.

beach cake, rocking dog

Beach Cake

brown paper packages tied  up with string , rocking dog

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up With String

snow domed, rocking dog

Snow Domed