Marley and I just had a quick 48 hour trip to Anglesey to sort out some building work. We always manage to squeeze in some other stuff too though and although the weather forecast was poor it turned out to be wrong – in our favour and we had glorious sunshine for most of the time.
Poor Marley missed out on the last two trips for different reasons so he hasn’t been to the sea for nine months. He does love it so and although he quite often goes on short trips with me when I’m going somewhere in the car – he just likes coming along for the ride – he sort of knew it was a extra-special trip just minutes after leaving home. As I turned right out of the village he did a small bounce on his pile of bedding on the back seat and did an excited small “wuff!” before settling down happily to sleep – he knows by now that the journey takes almost 3 hours.
We did stop for coffee halfway and stretched our legs.
And then a bit further on from that we popped in to see some friends of mine and Marley got to play with their dog – I was a bit apprehensive about this as Marley is deeply suspicious of black and white dogs having been bitten a few times in recent months by collies but happily Drew is very relaxed and they had a nice playdate whilst I caught up with my friends over delicious soup!
On the way up I wanted to detour via a few places so we stopped in Beaumaris (or Biwmares in Welsh) and he nearly got his ears blown off when he put his paws up on the seawall! Marley’s ears lean somewhat to his Golden Retriever ancestry, they’re very silky and long and flop all over the place when a strong wind blows. I find this hilarious but Marley doesn’t care even if I sing “Do your ears hang low?” at him as they whirl madly around his head like a bouffant hairdo fresh from the salon…
The scenery is no laughing matter though, for me I think this stretch of coast looking back off the island over the sea at Menai Straits towards the mountains of Snowdonia on the mainland of North Wales is so utterly and heart stoppingly beautiful it can make me cry with the sheer wonder of it. Normally I’m driving when I see this view from a different angle further west – it was great to stop and drink it in for a while.
Marley gets slightly bored with me taking photos – he can only take so much before he vocalises his opinion on the matter so I put him back on his bed in the car for a few minutes where I knew he was safe. When I came back I found he’d commandeered my seat and that he can still convey his dim view of my need to stop and admire scenery and take photos – I think he was telling me if I didn’t get a wiggle on he’d drive off and leave me there!!
We meandered back past Menai to pick up the A55 again, me stopping in each lay-by to get out and take photos closely followed by a German couple who were doing exactly the same! We exchanged sheepish grins as we met several times!! Marley groaned and went to sleep…
I did stop in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwryndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch briefly – almost for less time than it takes to say the name! I got all overexcited by the word “weavers” (not realising it is basically Edinburgh Woollen Mill! I’m so ignorant!) which to mind suggested all kinds of Welsh textiles but I was bitterly disappointed by the mass produced very non-welsh, not-woven goods and shot out almost as quickly as I scooted in.
As soon as we got to the end of our journey he was off out of the car and exploring sniffs and if you could see a dog’s worries roll off his shoulders it was then. The past couple of weeks he’s been one wired doggy because of all the lambs bleating in the fields around home – I’m constantly watching him because he has a strong chase instinct and he’s desperate to run and get the endorphin high so natural to predator animals such as utility breeds of dog. He’s been tormented and I worry more than usual. Both of us end up edgy and irritable with each other with the stress of it. But at the seaside he has space to run around on, kicking up sand, swimming till he’s tired and chasing seagulls is completely legal because they just take off when they get fed up with him.
Minutes after arriving and before we’d unloaded our bags (he has his own little overnight bag!) we went down onto the beach for a quick paddle after sharing the yummy fish and chips I’d bought from Enoch’s on the way past.
Fishing for seaweed and stones – labrador-style.
And finding all sorts of alien life forms abandoned on the sand … although apparently even on holiday you’re not allowed to roll in/eat things…
The next day we had meetings and things to do but managed to fit in walks and swims around this too – in the afternoon we did a little bit of exploring by car on other parts of the island. I was quite tickled to find this mini island is called East Mouse. Marley couldn’t find the mouse I was yelping about, not even under the map I was holding…
We stopped at different places to take photos (cue doggy sigh from the back seat) and even pulled up at the windmill I’d meant to visit but no dogs permitted (aw!!) and it was too warm to leave dogs in the car so this will wait for another day.
Talking of maps, I got hopelessly lost navigating my way back via tiny lanes across the interior which I chose rather than retracing our steps back along the coast road – thanks to some eejit who’d removed the signs from the sign post at a crucial point. Luckily it was late on and the sun was low in the sky which made it easy to navigate by the direction of the sun and various landmarks such as recognisable mountains and between that and the aforementioned map I backed us out of the pickle we’d got into and got home without too much hassle and with a large ice cream. Who says women can’t read maps? Marley hastily said he said nothing of the sort… (and please can I share your ice cream?)
I just had a few things to do on the second morning before we packed up for home so the walks were a bit shorter although we did a bit of beach combing / swimming.
Marley has now discovered that chasing a seagull in water is always going to end in disappointment and also invented a new kind of retrieving. This involves swimming out to the stick I’ve thrown for him, fetching it, doggy paddling furiously further out into the bay and leaving it there bobbing helpless on the receding tide before swimming back to shore empty-mouthed. I spent some time carefully explaining the pitfalls of this kind of game (i.e. you run out of driftwood quite quickly) but he was unmoved by my logic and wasn’t going back in to get it. Apparently he thinks I can not only magic dog food out of cold boxes with lights inside each morning (always exciting, that trick!) but also magic new sticks out of the shoreline too. And anyway by then Stick was slowly drifting out of the North West Passage on its way to Ireland… I told him it was very lucky I wasn’t especially fond of that particular stick.
Spring at the coast is just beautiful with flowers starting to appear everywhere on the headland, both those planted by humans and the prettier more delicate wild flowers more in keeping with the landscape. Lying on your tummy taking photos in the sunshine is sheer joy. Possibly only beaten by lying on your back waving your paws in the air.
What are you laughing at?…
Whaaaat!? Why you laughing at meeeee?!!!
Hey!!! Stop laaaaaaaafing at me!! Wufff!!!
We got to say goodbye to our friends next-door whom we almost missed seeing this trip. Marley’s special friends as he likes me to be aware. People who don’t laugh at him but lie on the floor just to tickle his ears, play with him and tell him he’s a lovely boy.
We had one last mad snorty, wuffy dash around on the golden sand as the tide was out and headed back off through the mountains of North Wales to home. We stopped briefly to watch crazy humans do crazy things in a slate quarry – Marley was very perplexed by the creatures whizzing overhead. And why, pray, would you go to the trouble of putting a leash and collar on if you can fly like that anyway?!
We discovered that Spring is everywhere in Wales just now and that we’re so lucky to be able to live in such a beautiful and varied place.
It might have been short and very busy – but it was a good trip. We both feel better for it. Marley sums it up pretty well here…