Day trip

Yesterday we’ve made a day trip to Anglesey, Wales. As hubby took a lot of pictures, I’ve decided to make 3 more posts about the places we’ve visited.

Our first stop was South Stack Cliffs, see more on my blog. This is where I though we can have a lovely morning watching the birds and the sunrise. On BBC weather I’ve seen that it should be warm at 15 degrees, good visibility and it will not rain… The visibility was rubbish, the lighthouse had the light and sound signals on at 11am, it was raining and it was cold. Even so, we had a great day. dt_01

A bird of pray was watching us from far away. Luckily, hubby saw the bird, so we could enjoy it too.
dt_02

The amazing cliffs, where the puffins and other birds are coming in a few weeks to nest. I thought they will be here, but I was wrong. The webcams from the RSPB reserve weren’t working, but hopefully they will be functioning to see when it’s the best time to see the birds.
dt_03

On the way to the lighthouse, which was closed. It will open in early April, so we’ll be able to visit it next time. The views are amazing and the trip to the lighthouse is too beautiful to miss it.
dt_04

A patch of beach on our way to the island.
dt_05

dt_06

In Holyhead is a very old Roman Fort, from the 4th century.
dt_07

The church is built within the walls of the fort.
dt_08

dt_09

dt_10

Our next stop was Beaumaris Castle, more picture & details in a dedicated post. Beaumaris is part of CADW and it’s very interesting. I would definitely recommend a visit.
dt_11

dt_12

dt_13

dt_14

Menai Suspension Brigde, we’ve passed by it on the way back. The bridge was built by Thomas Telford, the one who also built Pontcysyllte and Ironbridge. At the time when it was built, in 1826, it was the first modern suspension bridge in the world.
dt_15

dt_16

We’ve made another stop at Bangor Botanical Gardens, so Festus can play.
dt_17

Last stop was Penrhyn Castle, a 19th century castle in North Wales. I posted a special article about the castle, here.
dt_18

We’ve admired the incredible craftsmanship throughout the castle. Very beautiful and very big, we couldn’t visit all the castle in 1 hour and a half.
dt_19

dt_20

We had a great day out, very relaxing even though we’ve walked so much. Festus is very happily tired too.

Penrhyn castle

Penrhyn was the fist 19th century castle that we’ve visited. It was very interesting to see it. We’ve arrived at 3.30pm and there wasn’t enough time to visit all, so we’ll have to visit it again the future.pc_01

pc_02

The family made their fortune from sugar cane plantations and later, from slate mines in Wales. They had over 3,000 workers in the mines.
pc_03

pc_04

pc_05

pc_06

pc_07

The library is beautiful, the details of the plasterwork amazing. The furniture had the same amount of details. The craftsmanship is very impressive.
pc_08

The columns are made from oak from the estate and they are hollow. The furniture was made here or brought from India or Holland.
pc_09

pc_10

This is the state room, where Queen Victoria had slept in a number of occasions.
pc_11

The chapel is white and nice, but this time I think having a lot of patterns on the columns wasn’t a good choice.
pc_12

pc_13

pc_14

The Victorian kitchen is not as impressive as I would have imagined. I like more the older style of kitchens.
pc_15

pc_16

The ice-house was part of the castle. Here they were keeping ice used for making ice cream and conserving food. The ice gathered in Winter was for cooling purposes only. Later one they were bringing Arctic ice which was used for ice cream as well.
pc_17

pc_18

The castle is a beautiful place, huge and with a lot of things to see. In 1 hour and a half, we couldn’t see all the rooms or the walled garden.

Beaumaris Castle

Beaumaris Castle is part of CADW. Built under Edward I, as a few other castles in north Wales, including Chirk Castle, that we’ve visited this year. The story behind constructing the castle is impressive and the castle itself is beautiful.

The moat had fresh water. Also, the castle had a connection with the Menai Strait depending on the tide, so the ships could reach the castle to bring provisions. bc_01

bc_02

bc_03

bc_04

bc_05

bc_06

The castle’s walls were very thick. As I didn’t have a chance to read about the castle before going, I wasn’t aware why the walls were so thick.
bc_07

But then we’ve discovered there were tunnels in the walls, going all the way around the castle. With a lot of rooms for defense. I was impressed by the organization that must have been in place back then, with all those little rooms.
bc_08

bc_09

From the top of the castle the Snowdon mountains were visible.
bc_10

bc_11

bc_12

bc_13

bc_14

One of the old hinges from the 3 doors that were protecting the entrance in the castle.
bc_15

bc_16

bc_17

bc_18

Snow on Snowdon mountains, the best way to see snow. We plan to take some trips in Snowdonia National Park this summer, so, more pictures to come.
bc_19

South Stack Cliffs

South Stack Cliffs is one of the RSPB’s nature reserves. I’ve seen pictures of the cliffs and I’ve wanted to visit the reserve and to spot puffins. It was windy, but we’ve expected that.ssc_01

The view is amazing and the cliffs are beautiful.
ssc_02

Hubby spotted a bird of prey on a cliff. I was under the impression it is a hawk, but I can be wrong.
ssc_03

Sorry for the quality of the picture, the lens is not very suitable for taking pictures of wildlife.
ssc_04

Ellin’s Tower is part of RSPB’s reserve and it’s open during the summer.
ssc_05

We’ve visited the tower. The RSPB member told us about the puffins and other birds. There are some binoculars there and they can be used for free (of course they told us about joining and the staff was a little pushy, maybe it would be better to let visitors enjoy their day and have an entrance fee).
ssc_06

I was impressed to see many people at the reserve. The car park was full at 10.30 in the morning and there were a lot of people prepared to go on walks on a windy, wet, cold day.
ssc_07

ssc_08

ssc_11

The isle with the lighthouse wasn’t open to the public, it will open at the beginning of April. The South Stack lighthouse is still functioning. We were able to reach the bridge to the isle. There are lovely views of the cliffs, so it was worth it.
ssc_12

ssc_13

ssc_14

ssc_15

ssc_16

ssc_17

Hubby, I am so happy he was paying attention, spotted puffins!!! A breeding pair of puffins, who came to see if there are others. The small dots of the rock, I’ve put a larger image of them.
ssc_18

At first, even with the binoculars, I thought the birds hubby saw where another species. But, when I saw the photo at home I was sure they are puffins!! The orange feet are not lying.
ssc_19

I believe many people would prefer a sunny beach with blue clear water. I don’t. I love the cliffs, the roughness is my favourite part of nature. It’s so beautiful and wild. It’s not comfortable, it’s windy and cold, but at the same time it is powerful and magnetic. I can’t wait to go back in 2 months time to see the bird colonies nesting and the lighthouse.
ssc_20

Gardening

Update, 24/03. After 15 days, the herb garden looks like this:
updategardening

As I’ve already disclosed in an older post, I’m a serial plant killer. But now, I am so happy with my attempts on gardening.

Last year we’ve bought the bushes, that already had ~50cm in height. They are doing great so far and I’m sure this year they will grow bigger. So far they are still alive!!

In the winter I’ve sowed bulbs of snowdrops, hyacinth and tulips. Until recently I’ve kept them in the back yard. But there isn’t enough sun for them and we couldn’t enjoy them, as it was too cold to stay outside. Anyway, it’s not like I could have done something bad to them… I’ve sowed the bulbs and they grew by themselves. I’ve decided to let nature take the course and I didn’t pour any water on them. I think was better like that and not my usual approach: no water for 10 days – gallons of water after that.
g_01

This is my soon-to-be herb garden. I’ve sowed the seeds a few days ago and now I wait for them to germinate. Hubby helped me and put a small plastic bag on top of each to make a greehouse-ish effect.

I hope they will grow. Unlike with the flowers, I’m very careful with the plants that I eat and I still have a basil from last year! I would love to have new 10 herbs and cook with them.
g_02

Port Sunlight

Port Sunlight is one of my favourite places. I love the tranquility of the village, the truly inspirational story behind it and the beautiful Victorian buildings and parks.

Last year the Port Sunlight Museum was refurbished. We’ve visited today and we’ve enjoyed it very much. William Lever was such an amazing man. He was a real visionary and his legacy lives even today.

This building, Lever House, is one of the Unilever’s offices. Unilever was created in 1927, a few years after W. Lever’s death, by merging Lever with a dutch company. The story of the merger looks very interesting, I have a small booklet from the Unilever offices about the history of the company.
s_16

s_13

This is the coat of arms, in the entrance hall.
s_17

s_20

Lever had issues with his old factory in Warrington and bankers, only a few miles away from Port Sunlight. So, he found this place in Wirral with a great strategic location. He built a factory in less than 1 year, he also built his own port and train rails to get the raw materials.

For the workers he wanted special homes, as he said in 1988, at the inaugural banquet at the “Sunlight Works”:

“…it is my hope, and my brother’s hope, some day to build houses in which our work-people will be able to live and be comfortable. Semi-detached houses, with gardens back and front, in which they will be able to know more about the science of life than they can in a back slum, and in which they will learn that there is more enjoyment in life than the mere going to and returning from work, and looking forward to Saturday night to draw their wages.”

That is exactly what he built. Lovely homes, in the great Victorian style. The workers had hot water in the house and their own privy. They could stay in the house as long as they were working at the factory. Also, there were allotments if they wanted to grow their own veggies.
s_14

s_15

s_09

Lever also built a school, an inn, a hospital, shops, the church. The Port Sunlight Museum is in the old Girls Club.
s_01

The Museum is not big, but it’s lovely and the movie about the workers life is very interesting. They had so many things to do beside work. There were book clubs, dances, fancy costumes parties. The workers were happy, clean, healthy. Lever was encouraging them to put their earnings in bank deposits, to have savings.

The rules were strict, but all of them were made with careful consideration, to protect the life of the workers and the society.
s_02

A diorama of the village. There are so many green spaces and almost all the houses have gardens. It’s lovely.
s_03

Lady Lever, W. Lever and their only son.
s_04

s_06

s_07

s_08

The Church Lever built for the community. He believed in God, but he wasn’t associated with any religion. He wanted a place where all his workers could feel at ease, regardless of their convictions.
s_10

s_11

s_12

I am not sure what I like more about Port Sunlight. The village looks great, the community feel is still there after all these years and it’s so nice just to take a stroll. The old inn is a nice pub and the Garden Centre is huge. The tea rooms at the Port Sunlight Museum is great, the chocolate cake is yummy.

Lever’s story is fascinating, born a middle class family and achieving so much, even getting the title of Baronet. I love his vision regarding branding and marketing. What he did for the workers from that period is impressive. He also was part of the Parliament and he urged the House of Commons to adopt a national old age pension and he succeeded. Lever was impressive as a business man, making an wide infrastructure for raw materials and distribution.

Attingham park

Last weekend we’ve been to Attingham Park, same day as we’ve visited the Alpaca farm. ap_01

As the lady from the ticket office told us is the feeding time for the deers, we’ve started with the walled garden, the woodland walk and the deer park walk.

The walled garden wasn’t that impressive, but it was as expected, considering it’s only March. The orchard looks nice and I’m sure it’s a treat to have a picnic in the summer.
ap_02

In the greenhouse we saw delicious produces. As we left late, there weren’t any salads at the shop, but in the morning there are. Next time we’ll shop before the visit.
ap_03

The woodland walk is great during this time of the year too, as there are so many snowdrops.
ap_04

This is the bird watching shed. Inside there are some information about the birds that can be seen there.
ap_05

ap_06

Finally we arrived at the end of the deer park walk and we’ve seen the deers. The fallow deers looked lovely and they weren’t afraid of people.
ap_07

ap_08

ap_09 (1)

Next stop: the house. It was built in the late 18th century, so it has the characteristic of a house from that period. We arrived late for the guided tour, so we had to ask the staff for details.
ap_09 (2)

The ceiling rose was amazing. The flower looked very realistic, with a lot of details.
ap_10

Here there are 3 very important pictures. The 1st Lord Berwick is the one that started the building of the house and the 2nd Lord Berwick, the one who employed John Nash to expend the house. Thomas became Lord when he was only 18 and he went into bankruptcy due to his disregard about the expenses.

John Nash was a renowned architect, as he was involved in transforming Buckingham House into Buckingham Palace, another very controversial subject.
ap_11

This rooms are from the first building, the ladies rooms.
ap_12

ap_13

ap_14

Here we were in the gentleman’s rooms.
ap_15

ap_16

ap_17

The dinning room has lovely details everywhere. The curtains are closed as the sun will damage the rug. The room looks as it would have looked during the heyday of the house.
ap_18

ap_19

ap_20

The new part of the house is very impressive. Thomas Berwick built a Picture Gallery, that is under renovation, as there were issues with the roof. The new roof was funded by the estate from the entry fees, the sale of the vegetables from the greenhouse and the income from the coffee shop.
ap_21

ap_22

ap_23

The kitchen looks great. There are a lot of moulds for desserts on those shelves. I’ve asked about them, they are from that period, even if they are not from Attingham, as the original moulds were sold when the estate went into bankruptcy.

The irony is that the family motto was: “Let wealth be his who knows its use”.

Anyway, the 8th and last Lord Berwick succeeded in saving the estate. He and his wife were keen in preserving their legacy after their death, as they had no children, so they donated the estate to National Trust.

It’s such a beautiful story. I’ve admired their involvement, working long hours, side by side with maids to restore and preserve 100 years old curtains and tapestry. I also love the fact that there is NT and they are doing everything in their power to keep the estate as it should.
ap_24

ap_25

ap_26

ap_27

The new roof will be finished next year.
ap_28

ap_29

ap_30