2 humans. 2 dogs. 1 converted T5.
Man. This place is AMAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAZING! I knew as soon as we turned off a main road across the Peak District that this place was going to be very. Very! Very special indeed!
There’s a second part to this simply because if I don’t push this post out right now I will most probably never ever ever write another post ever again….so if you enjoyed the pics above then you’ve got another treat to look forward to ^_^
So. April. Memorable for being… Well. Kinda dull really ^_^
It just seemed to drag on FOREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER. With little money to spend on hobbies and not much spare time to get stuck into stuff anyway we only managed ONE day trip and one over nighter, booh!! I didn’t even get to indulge in blogging and am now waaaaaay behind. Ah well, it is what it is ^_^
On a positive: Mr B has finally been re-united with his beloved iPhone 5 which he savagely destroyed in water literally a couple of weeks after he first purchased it last December. Weighing up several (legal & illegal) options we finally decided to bite the bullet and replace the damaged one with a brand new one in the nearest Apple shop [45 minutes away by car. Good God, looks like we DO live out in the sticks]. The trip to Liverpool to exchange the phone was super exciting for me: I got to sit in the passenger seat for 45 minutes while we drove down there. I got to sit on the driver’s seat while I dropped Mr. B off at some dodgy looking corner so that he could rush to the shop before it closed 10 minutes later and so that we didn’t have to pay any parking charges. Then I got to sit on the passenger seat for another 45 minutes on the way back, brilliant!
Henry is still injured and has been on full rest for the whole of April. To break the monotony of not being able to go for walkies we took ourselves to a local tourist spot and spent a couple of hours exploring Chirk Castle.
More positives: new seats for the van, finally! They are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. So amazing in fact that I demanded we take the van out to see how van life would change. On a whim, we ended up taking it to Whitchurch/Shropshire [in England, and don't worry, passports were packed......) to a tiny simple field by the canal where we could all chill out, heaven!
On the Newsar front: Mr. B now in full training mode. Wednesdays are earmarked for *women on the remote* *boys out to play*. As he's doing really well I'm obviously v proud <3 Seems like this guy & his dog are becoming a household name for all the right reasons ^_^
Here's more pics from the home front [some blurry. let's call it *rustic*]. Happy May everyone.
Here we are then. Year 4. And what better way to spend your anniversary than go’n camp out in the rain & snow ^_^
I love how organised other vanners are. They seem to have a place for everything and everything in its place. Which reminded me of how things used to be when we took the van to France last year. This just made me giggle. If I hadn’t written it down I probably wouldn’t believe that we used to set things up like that. And check my neat instructions ^_^ Talk about telling peeps how to suck eggs!
Anyways. I digress. The plan was to pack up the van the day before. However, as it happened we decided to go to the pub instead ^_^.
I’ve had my eye on the Gwynant campsite for a while. It’s at the base of Snowdon and right next to the Gywant lake and we’ve driven past it numerous times in summer and it was always busy. Now, I’m like a little recluse and not keen on mass camping [I make an exception for Shell Island but only because I will always remember & treasure our very first camping trip which led us there and fond memories just can't be planned. They happen, regardless of where you are. Or how many people are there with you ^_^]. At this time of year though we were pretty certain there wouldn’t be too many other people about.
And we were right. In fact, it was so empty we spent about half an hour walking across the site moving the van from one place to the other trying to find somebody who could tell us that the site was actually open for business and that we weren’t trespassing.
We found a van with keys in it. Some lights left on. Open gates. And unlocked toilets; always a sure sign of life ^_^. We decided that it was probably a good idea to take the dogs for a walk and were secretly hoping that on our way back there’d be more fellow campers around; then we could relax and kick off birthday slash anniversary celebrations with a well deserved bottle of red.
Back at the
ranch van it’s good news as more campers have turned up and it’s getting dark, must be cocktail o’clock?!
My BFF is awesome. She might not like camping [we tried] or the outdoors but she DOES know how to throw a party and so she’d packed up a birthday mojito for us to enjoy Vdub stylie ^_^ We played around with the lighting and the sparklers and how to stick them in the limes for a bit, cooked some dinner, then settled down with a bottle of red and talked a bit. There’s no hook-ups. No telly. No WiFi. No reception at all. Perfect!
On the Saturday we wake up to a light dusting of snow on the mountains and new tents [bus loads of kids on a school field trip arrived over night].
Gwynant did not disappoint. Access for vans is a little restricted [as we're not allowed on the fields]. But the hardstanding area we found was good enough for us. I can imagine in summer these hardstandings are used as parking spaces for the tent people and so space could become an issue. But you can walk up Snowdon from here. Or into the village for some freshly brewed coffee. And the views are to die for! Facilities are excellent and the fee is collected by a young man who came round with a big torch and a receipt book ^_^ We paid £8/person and £1/dog. I normally whinge about having to pay extra for the dogs. But I’m female and allowed to change my mind whenever I want to. And I REALLY liked this site. So I’m overlooking the pointless dog charge.
The verdict. Easy. 5/5. Defo.
We moved on to another location on Saturday. More about that soon.
The recent freaky snow show across North Wales has certainly made this a March to remember. *Luckily* we lost the pergola due to snow in January as we definitely would have lost it this time round, with up to 60cm coming down over 2 days alone! The level of damage snow can cause to trees, farmland and animals is frightening, especially given that we are currently in lambing season.
On the van front: we finally have new seats to fit in the front, hoorah! All we need to do now is find some time for Mr. B to crack on ^_^
We’ve had 2 trips to Snowdonia, one on a gloriously sunny day taking pics of wild ponies and a weekend anniversary/birthday camping trip to probably the bestest and emptiest campsites Snowdonia has to offer [yes. more of that in a separate post. soon. ish.] We had birthday mojitos at -2C near a lake and cooked steak on an open fire while it snowed [and nearly lost our awning as well as apparently they don't fold away neatly when covered in sleet'n ice ....].
We’ve also been excited about meeting new friends. Even in different countries! The type that send you something and don’t want anything in return. Like Roman from campervancrazy. One day, while browsing the net, I came across this & couldn’t resist. And one week later I found myself listening to this young lady while reading the letter Roman had sent with my free CD. I can’t begin to tell you how much of a big smile he’s put on my face simply by being excited about his van and as I’m obviously a sucker for a great story I could not wait to schlep it to Snowdonia and share a picture of us listening to Courtney’s music while looking at Roman’s picture. And yes. Of course. In the end I forgot to pack it…ha! But the story will stay with me and every time I listen to Courtney’s music I’m in the mood for camping ^_^
We’re toying with the idea of adding a new dog to our little pack….. definitely a Collie, preferably a brown or a blue one. Perhaps a future Search & Rescue star….?
And finally: some soppyness. Mr. B has been an absolute star of a husband and treated me to a zoom lens for my birthday. That makes him now officially the bestest husband on the planet ^_^
There we have it. March in a nutshell. Some sun next please!
Last year, our anniversary was all about this: [I bet you weren't expecting to see one of these now, were you kids ^_^]
I’d heard a lot of good things about the Lobster Pot on Anglesey but we were never quite close enough to fully enjoy a great simple meal, a gorgeous glass of wine AND afternoon walkies around Church Bay. As it is also my birthday the day after our wedding anniversary [there's a story behind that which I might share one of these days, we'll see.....], last year I DEMANDED that Mr. B take me there.
He was more than happy to oblige and once we’d chucked some overnight stuff in the van we were on our very merry way to the Isle now best known for its famous Royal residents.
Kate & Wills were busy on that particular Saturday afternoon which is why we chose to stay at the Ty Newydd campsite instead. And why not – it’s an informal field right opposite the restaurant and leads almost directly onto the Wales Coastal Path. Win/win. We were not bothered about facilities [if I remember rightly they do have a single shower and a toilet which for us was more than adequate. After all - we came for lobster. Not for the loo.....]
So we parked up. Got out. And went for walkies.
We were just chillin. Enjoying life. The sea. The island. And the view.
And now to the main event. Brought to you via smartphones:
The Lobster Pot used to be an ordinary house I was told. It probably has not been updated since it was transformed into a restaurant ex number of years ago. It has an old kinda charm to it. People speak Welsh! If you want new, flash, gastro pub kinda atmosphere don’t go. This is a great place with great food in a great place. It was absolutely packed when we went. We had a couple of pints of beer, demolished a whole lobster [well. I did. Mr. B opted for other seafood] and came away feeling we’d had an experience rather than just a meal. Verdict: 5/5 ^_^
The Lobster Pot *** Church Bay *** Anglesey *** North Wales ***
Oh, and just a little teaser: here’s a picture highlighting what the weather was like when we went on this year’s anniversary adventure, can you guess where we went?
On our second anniversary we feel like playing with the big boys and dancing the Pan y Fan Dance ^_^ [Disclaimer: no Babs'es were hurt in the dancing of the Fan Dance. We only walked up once and we did it slowly. There was no schlepping 18 kg Bergens and no time limit. If you wanna do the real thing - like Mr B - look here. Or here. No sueing vanplusfour if you end up crying like a baby though! ^_^]
I don’t know the story behind the plane crash [but if YOU do - spill!] and although it all looks pretty harmless when you get started I know one thing for sure: I’d hate to do the Fan Dance for real! But I loved every second of our leisurely walk up! You kinda feel awed. And inspired. These super brave fit men. And you’re on their playground. Wondering if you could do it. If you had to?
We’ve got a bit of a tradition going on with wedding anniversaries. They must be memorable, cold & preferably spent outdoors.
For our first one we attempted the 3 Peak Challenge.
We kicked off proceedings on a Wednesday & goofed around on Snowdon…..
…BUT WAIT!!! Let’s see that picture in all its original glorious goofiness……
Anyway……on the Thursday we hiked half way up Scarfell Pike…..
….before noticing that Henry had suffered a blister on Snowdon and the whole trip was now off…..
We’d also forgotten the memory card in our camera (yes. really.) but managed to capture some moments on smart phones [think *memories*. not *quality* ^_^]. The van hadn’t been converted and so we were allowed to sleep in proper beds, have nice warm showers and could go to the toilet any time we wanted to #bonus.
On the Friday we carried on to Scotland but only managed to see Ben Nevis from a distance and had to come up with some alternative sight seeing trips that didn’t involve lots of walking with sore paws on ice’n snow #bummer. We picked Loch Shiel, the Glenfinnan Monument and the Harry Potter bridge.
So there we have it. First anniversary. Done.
Who knows. Maybe one of these days [with a fresh batch of dogs, ha!] we’ll have another go.
Disclaimer: these priceless memories/low quality photographs were taken in 2010 with mobile phones. They’re never ever gonna win awards but will always remind me of our first wedding anniversary. Awwwww ^_^
In the absence of van pictures we’ve all had to do a spot of modelling for this post. Some more successfully than others…. The dogs are obviously naturals at this and even Mr. B. is almost a pro [coyly demanding I stop taking his pictures while secretly positioning himself in a most flattering manner. I see what you're doing Mr. B., busted!]. But me, I am definitely a behind the scenes kinda girl and prefer pulling the strings in the background rather than flaunting myself in front of the camera. [Nobody needs to see my crooked teeth. And pale complexion. Or split ends. And don't even get me started on those spots. I left puberty behind DECADES ago???!!! ^_^] But I’m also a trooper when necessary and if it’s gotta be done then you might as well use oversized glasses & flattering black & white filters. Thank God I’m the one editing all pics as I’m not too sure Mr. B. always gets the beauty of *filter over reality*, ha!
Here we are then in Minera, once upon a time a lead & zinc mine. Wikepedia tells me that the mine was closed down in 1914 and some buildings now serve as a visitor centre. I’m clearly not yet as Welsh as I’d like to be as although we’ve been to Minera countless times we’ve never actually set foot inside the centre. Oops! Last year we ventured up onto Minera to avoid the fireworks being let off (and unsettling the dogs) on Guy Fawkes night which was a bit of a surreal experience as a) despite the panoramic view from up there we did not actually see any soundless fireworks (boo) b) it was so dark we could not see where we were going and almost missed the path (cringe) and c) it rained [of course!]. So this year we might try Talacre Beach [lighthouse as featured in the recent Dulux ad] and freeze in the van over a midnight picnic or something ^_^
So there we have it. North Wales. Dogs. Crooked teeth. Oversized shades and glorious sunshine = happy days.
We’ve already had 2 day trips in the van and our first weekender is happening mid March. On a scale of 1 – 10 on the excitement level I’m probably already a 12 ^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^_^