Returned from a break over the border in North Wales. Against the odds it barely rained (for Wales, at least). While Andy went off yomping and scrambling over mountain-y things, I amused myself. This day I was dropped off at the pretty seaside town of Llandudno, where I had a very passable time pottering about and taking photos. Firstly I quickly sketched the beach from the pier, as I had a new Moleskine sketchbook to break in.
I am very much at home in old-fashioned seaside resorts, having spent much of my childhood living by them or day-tripping at them in Devon and Somerset. And I like what other people sometimes regard as 'tacky'.
And I do love a nice pier, even on a damp, grey Welsh morning.
It did rain a little. I retreated to the town and found the charity shops. When it stopped raining, I was just in time to catch the end of this traditional Punch and Judy show, run by the Codman family, which has been performing here since 1860. The original Codman, a circus traveller called Richard, carved the first set of figures from driftwood gathered on Llanduno beach. It was extremely funny and stuck to the proper story (no PC nonsense here). Punch outwitted the hangman and did his best to outwit the Devil himself. Hurrah!
Smiling broadly as I popped my coins into the collecting cup, I realised I was now very hungry and headed back to the pier for fish and chips.
I took my feast over to the beautiful wide promenade where people were strolling and sitting, a happy atmosphere of people on holiday, the elderly enjoying the sea air and invalids being wheeled about - very gentle and relaxing. I even heard a local group of lads decide not to play football on the beach as there were too many people around. How refreshingly considerate.
I had to eat swiftly and economically as the seagulls are always on the prowl for food and are quite fearless, striding up and squawking in a bullying tone, demanding titbits with menace. They got nothing from me - fish and chips is a rare treat and one of my favourite meals. Afterwards, I spent a couple of hours drawing thumbnails - not 'pretty' sketches to be ooo'd and aah'd over, but little observational exercises to keep me amused and to register details in my mind.
Llandudno pier looked magnificent in the distance - actually, much of the Llandudno sea front houses are quite lovely, beautifully maintained hotels and bed and breakfasts, painted in ice cream colours and with their names painted above the entrance in Welsh and English.
I think perhaps the happiest people that day, apart from the children, were this elderly couple who had their chairs right at the sea's edge; I am sure their feet were in the waves.