Scavenger photo hunt – June

The six prompts for this month’s photo hunt are – yellow, starts with ‘T’, lilac, starts with ‘G’, silver, and my own choice. Admittedly I needed to think hard about a couple of the categories, especially ‘silver’, but I got there in the end and came up with these –
Kicking things off is a wild iris (well at least that’s what I think it is), one of a large patch of flowers growing at the side of the Cefni reservoir on Anglesey, at the creek where the angling club moor their dinghies – I thought their bright yellow colour was really pretty.
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Yellow – wild iris
I must admit that apart from the obvious things like ‘tent’ and a mug of ‘tea’ my brain refused to come up with anything for ‘T’, however it was Michael who came to the rescue by suggesting something he’d just brought home from work – a packet of teacakes, although not made by him this time as he wasn’t working on that section when they were made.
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Starts with ‘T’ – teacakes
For my third photo I finally chose this one of a large patch of lilac coloured flowers growing in a small cliffside garden above Cemaes bay on Anglesey, taken while I was on my recent camping holiday there.
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Lilac – flowers in a cliffside garden
For the next category I just had to include my own photo of this one, first brought to my attention a couple of years ago by my blogging friend Eileen.  As far as I can tell, with the hedge being so high there’s no way of knowing whether this is a full-sized giraffe or just a head and neck on a long pole, but with his head gear changing with the seasons he’s certainly amusing to look at. At the moment he’s also wearing a sun hat to protect his horns!
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Starts with ‘G’ – Giraffe
I had to rack my brains to come up with the next one as I don’t wear silver jewellery and I can’t think of anything silver which I may have in the house, anyway I finally thought of this one – my International Dance Teachers Association silver President’s Award for disco dancing, which I gained in 1986. After going through bronze, silver and gold exams, gaining three gold bars, three gold stars and a couple of other medals, all of which I had percentage marks in the high 90s, getting the President’s Award was really something – I’d already previously got the bronze one and I went on to get the gold one a few months later.
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Silver – my IDTA President’s Award
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And finally, thinking back to a really long and strenuous walk I recently did while on Anglesey, and a comment made on my blog about the dogs being totally cream crackered afterwards, I couldn’t resist posting this photo of the two of them having a well-earned rest after a long walk while camping on Anglesey a couple of years ago –
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My own choice – Sophie and Poppie after a very long walk
So there you have it, my photos for this month’s challenge – I hope you like them. I’m linking up with Kate once again so I’m off now to see how others have interpreted the categories this time  🙂

“We’re all going on a…summer holiday”

Unfortunately not me personally in spite of my recent holiday on Anglesey being all-too-brief, but Summer Holiday was the latest musical production performed at the local town centre theatre, The Octagon. At almost 51 years old the Octagon Theatre was the brainchild of a local university lecturer (whose son, coincidentally, was in my class at grammar school) and was officially opened in late November 1967 by Princess Margaret. Although the theatre management at the time had been advised that there would be no need to provide any type of ‘comfort facility’ for the royal party they went ahead anyway and installed a very lavish loo with gold plated fittings.  Having only been used by the plumbers who needed to test it, following the official opening of the theatre it was completely stripped out and turned into an office space.
Vastly different from a normal theatre the stage is actually hexagonal in shape with seating on all sides, and both the stage and the seating can be adapted to suit each individual production;  it was given the name of The Octagon to avoid confusion with an existing Hexagon Theatre in Reading. Many well-known performers have appeared at the theatre over the years including Sue Johnston and John McArdle of Brookside fame, Emmerdale regulars Emma Atkins and Jeff Hordley, Michelle Collins, Tim Healey and Matthew Kelly, and local comedian Peter Kay once worked in the ticket office there.
Back in early 1974 one of my cats, Sandy, was used as the family cat in a 4-week production of The Diary of Anne Frank. A taxi would collect me and Sandy from home and take us to the theatre for each performance then take us home again afterwards, I could have a meal in the theatre restaurant each night, I got complimentary tickets for my family to see the play and Sandy got ‘paid’ with a tin of Whiskas cat food every night – all courtesy of the theatre’s director. Fast forward several years and while Michael was at secondary school in the late 1980s he appeared at The Octagon in a school production of Jeff Wayne’s musical version of War Of The Worlds.
The production of Summer Holiday was different in that there was a lot of audience participation and it actually started off on the concourse of the local bus station where a large area had been cordoned off and some of the cast were singing and dancing, then to the tune of Summer Holiday all the audience boarded six double-decker buses where the entertainment continued while they drove round to the square in front of the town hall where another part of the show was performed. Unfortunately I missed most of the singing and dancing at the bus station but I got a couple of shots of everyone boarding the buses then walked through town to take up a convenient position by the barriers in the square.
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The guy in blue overalls is the lead actor
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There were six buses in total and once they’d all arrived the audience all got off again to watch the next part of the show. Unfortunately my view of anything at street level was rather obscured by some of the audience who had formed a semi-circle but once the actors started singing and dancing on the town hall steps I was able to get a few shots, although I couldn’t hear what they were actually saying or singing. With that part of the show over the audience all walked to the theatre, which was just round the corner from the town hall, for the rest of the show which finished at 4.30pm.
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The first bus arrives
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The red Mini was part of the show
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One more bus to come
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Although I’ve watched and enjoyed the Cliff Richard film several times over the years I have to admit that this show isn’t one I would have particularly wanted to go to, although it’s had lots of rave reviews in the press. Personally I think a red Routemaster bus would have added a bit more authenticity to the proceedings but then I don’t suppose those things are easy to come by outside of London now.
Tonight’s performance will be the last at The Octagon for quite a while as the theatre is now closing for major expansion and refurbishment and won’t reopen until autumn 2019, though the theatre company will still be performing various shows and plays at other venues within the town. Although I wouldn’t have wanted to see the whole of the Summer Holiday show I’m glad I was able to get photos of the bits I did see – it certainly brightened up a very ordinary Saturday afternoon.

 

A short holiday away

On Tuesday evening this week I arrived back home after a short almost-six-days holiday on Anglesey. I’d actually booked seven days off work and with two weekends I should have had eleven days starting on the first Saturday of the month, but circumstances beyond my control kept me at home for the first few days. I finally set off for Anglesey late last Thursday morning, with the recent good weather staying with me all the way from home, and once at the site, which was very quiet, I was able to set up camp in near enough the same place as last year. Having had no opportunity to open out and dry my new tent, which had been packed away very damp at Easter, I was dreading what I might find so I’d packed my spare green one ‘just in case’ and set up the van to sleep in but I needn’t have worried – although quite a bit of moisture had got trapped between the plastic windows and the blinds the rest of the tent was fine and surprisingly there wasn’t a mark on it anywhere. After a quick wipe over the moisture on the windows soon disappeared in the hot sunshine and the tent served me well over the next few days.
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All dried out
Day 2 arrived sunny and warm again so I decided to have my ‘big day out’ off the island and set off late morning for Llanberis, just over 18 miles away on the mainland. Ages ago a cafe in Llanberis had been recommended to me as a good place to get a meal so I decided to try it and I wasn’t disappointed – I opted for a cheese and onion toastie and it came absolutely oozing with filling and with a salad garnish, and Sophie and Poppie even got a treat of a sausage each. Unfortunately not long afterwards the sky clouded over and the sun played a good game of hide-and-seek but it didn’t spoil the afternoon too much and I still walked right along the lake side to the slate museum and back. When I got back to Anglesey I found the sun and blue sky were just as bright as when I left so with hindsight maybe I should have stayed on the island.
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The cafe where I had lunch
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Llanberis lake side
Day 3 was another hot and sunny one and after starting off at the car boot sale just outside the village I made a return visit to Portobello beach in Dulas Bay, which I first went to last year. This time though I went when the tide was going out and almost at its lowest so there was no danger of getting cut off on the riverside like I did before. From the beach I drove into Llangefni and parked up at Asda then took the dogs for a walk through The Dingle nature reserve and up to Cefni reservoir and back, and it was when I was approaching Asda from the entrance to The Dingle that I noticed an old windmill with a strange top, on a rocky outcrop above and just beyond the store. Of all the times I’ve been to Llangefni I’ve never noticed that before so I just had to find it and photograph it.
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Portobello beach
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Afon Goch (Red River) estuary flowing across the beach
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Bridge over Afon Cefni, The Dingle
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Cefni reservoir
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Llangefni windmill
Day 4 started off at the big car boot sale on the Anglesey show ground then from there I went over to Rhosneigr in search of Sausage Castle. Not actually a castle but a large house with castellated walls – real name Surf Point Villa – it was built next to the beach in the early 1900s by Charles Palethorpe, a member of the famous pork butchery family, and soon became known as Sausage Castle. A short walk along the beach soon found it and from there I continued along the sand to where the Afon Crigyll flowed out across the beach.
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Sausage Castle (Surf Point Villa) from the beach

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Afon Crigyll estuary
From Rhosneigr I drove up to Penrhos Coastal Park and enjoyed a coffee and cheeseburger from Pete’s Burger Bar overlooking Beddmanarch Bay, then went to Breakwater Country Park on the far side of Holyhead. After a walk round the lake I tackled the steep path up Holyhead Mountain but only went up far enough to get a couple of photos overlooking the park and the rest of Holyhead;  it was getting on for 6pm by then so time to make my way back to the camp site.
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The lake at Breakwater Country Park
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View overlooking the park
Day 5 was hot and sunny once again and this time I was on a quest to find and photograph the old abandoned brickworks at Porth Wen, a place I’d been told was very difficult to find and get to, so difficult in fact that many of the locals didn’t even know how to get there. I was put on the right track by a lovely old gentleman I got talking to while wandering round Cemaes harbour but it still proved to be quite a long and challenging walk along part of the Anglesey Coastal Path, with a couple of rather hairy places where the path was within inches of a very steep and unprotected drop down the cliff into the sea. I found the place eventually though and also had the added bonus on the way there of unexpectedly finding the old Llanlleiana Porcelain Works.
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Cemaes harbour
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Difficult to photograph through the hedge but I couldn’t resist this one
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Llanlleiana old porcelain works
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Porth Wen
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Porth Wen old brick works
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Porth Wen stone arch
Day 6 was going home day but it was still hot and sunny so I decided to prolong the day as much as I could. I took my time packing everything away and left the site just before 1pm, but as is my usual custom I took the dogs for a final walk along the beach; it was so nice down there that I decided to stay a while longer and as it was lunch time I made myself a couple of sandwiches from some chicken I had in the cool box and got a takeaway coffee from the nearby kiosk, then sat in the van and had a leisurely lunch with a great view of the beach.
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Benllech beach
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It was getting on for 3pm before I finally managed to tear myself away and set off for home, though I did make three more stops on my way along the coast. The first was at Llanfairfechan, a lovely little place I hadn’t been to for several years, and the second was at Penmaenmawr, smaller than Llanfairfechan and maybe not quite as pretty but still very pleasant. My third and final stop further up the coast was an impromptu visit to my blogging friend Eileen, and we spent a very nice couple of hours having a good natter over a mug of coffee. It was nearly 7.30pm when I finally set off on the last leg of my journey and after a very quick stop at Chester services, where I briefly saw a squirrel near the van, I arrived home at 9.15pm.
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Llanfairfechan
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Penmaenmawr promenade
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Admittedly the holiday hadn’t been near enough as long as I’d originally intended but I’d made the most of the few days I did have and packed as much into each day as I could so I hadn’t missed out on too much. At least I’d found out that the tent was okay after its Easter collapse and subsequent soaking, I’d found and photographed a couple of out-of-the-way places, the weather had been great all the way through and I’d gained a near-enough Mediterranean tan just by walking about and exploring so I can’t complain too much. Now all I have to do is update my camping blog with more details and photos from the last few days – that should keep me occupied for a while!

A quarry walk with a difference

With the continuing glorious weather I’ve been getting out and about a lot with the camera and the dogs, although just recently I’ve not been going too far because of my damaged foot. The day after my walk to Smithills Hall I decided to revisit a local place I’d been to back in mid April – the old quarry just a mile or so up the road from home. Just like last time I parked in a convenient place just off the main road and took the path leading into the quarry but unlike the last time things were vastly different – the water running down the middle of the rocky path had been reduced to a trickle in the continuing dry weather, the path itself was looking rather overgrown and the bare and rather desolate quarry had sprung into life with green everywhere I looked, interspersed with colourful rhododendron bushes here and there.
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The path into the quarry
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As I walked along the bottom of the quarry I could see someone slowly climbing up the sheer rock face ahead – it seemed a bit of a dangerous thing to do but when I got closer I could see it was a girl and she was safely attached to a rope with someone at the top guiding her – definitely not the sort of thing I would do though, even with  a rope and harness! Close to where the climbers were the path started to go steeply upwards and on the next level I came across what I assumed to be a bit of a picnic place probably made by and for various climbers – a three-sided seating area with a large flat-topped ‘table’ in the centre, all cobbled together out of various fallen quarry stones.
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Climbing up ‘The Prow’
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Climbers’ picnic place
The higher I went the better the views became, in one direction looking down the quarry with the countryside north east of the town in the distance and in the other direction overlooking the countryside and moorland to the north. The path was rather overgrown in places and at one point I just managed to miss a clump of prickly thistles in the undergrowth, although the dark blue flowers looked quite nice. A bit higher still and the path eventually brought me out on Scout Road near the top of the very bad bend,  and walking along I saw that where there had been clumps of daffodils in the fields only a few weeks before the grass was now dotted with fluffy-looking clumps of pink flowers. I don’t know what they were – knowing my luck they would be weeds – but they looked quite pretty anyway.
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Looking down the quarry
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Looking north
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As I reached the car park where I would turn onto the path across the fields I decided on the spur of the moment to walk a bit further and see if there was still a lake across the road. Bryan Hey is a large private fishing lake, set back from the road behind a high bank and I remember going with my mum to pick blackberries there when I was 14 years old. The blackberry bushes ran between the roadside and the wall at the bottom of the bank, and while my mum picked the fruit from the roadside I went up on the bank and picked the berries from the top of the bushes. All went well until I put one foot too far over the edge of the wall and fell off the bank right into the middle of the bush – all my mum could see was my feet at the bottom and my head sticking out at the top, the rest of me was in the bush! Once I’d got over my surprise and we’d both finished laughing she somehow managed to get me out, though how I survived without being scratched to ribbons I’ll never know, and the event was a source of amusement for many years.
It turned out that the lake is  still there and so are the blackberry bushes, though I kept myself and the dogs well away from them. A few people were fishing over on the far side of the lake but there was no-one on my side and it was very pleasant walking along on the tree-shaded lakeside path. When I got back down to the roadside I noticed something else which was obviously very new – set inside a private entrance with a colourfully decorated board proclaiming it was NOW OPEN was Skip-a-doo’s dog training area, a large securely-fenced exercise and training field with various items of agility equipment. Backing onto the moorland and with large colourful rhododendron bushes behind it looked like a nice place to train a dog.
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Bryan Hey fishing lake
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Skip-a-doo’s dog training field
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Back across the road I retraced my steps to the car park and took the path across the fields abundant with large patches of the fluffy pink flowers. Following the path past the line of pine trees the grass became dotted with buttercups and in amongst them all I found just one small clump of rather sorry-looking bluebells. A bit further on was the pyramid-shaped stone which had been surrounded by a circle of daffodils just a few weeks before; now the daffodils were gone and the grass and weeds had grown up round the stone so much that I almost walked past it without seeing it. Compared to a few weeks ago it looked a mess and it certainly wasn’t worth taking another photo of it.
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From there I went through the farm yard and onto the tarmac lane by the hamlet of houses, though where I turned right last time I went left instead and just round the bend, set back in the angle of a garden wall, was what presumably had, at some time, been a water spout with a small pool underneath it. It was completely dry and obviously had been for a long while but it was such an unexpected thing to see in that location that it was worth taking a photo of it. As I got to the bottom of the lane I was rewarded with a view of the countryside in front of me;  it’s a view I’ve seen many times before when I’ve been out with the dogs but I never tire of it.
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That was to be my last shot of the afternoon, and I returned to the van which was parked close by and drove back down the hill to home. It had been a good walk and my foot had held up well, fortunately with no real pain in spite of it being so damaged, but now it was time for the three of us to have a long cool drink and a good rest while I contemplated where to go for my next walk.