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.


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Ah, thanks for taking me along, Gretel. Such a wonderful look at your holiday. Wandering alone is so much fun, isn't it? You know, I always feel a bit cheated whenever I'm in the UK and it doesn't rain. Weird, but there you go.

menopausalmusing said...

I am still going to "ooh" and "ah" over your sketches.... they capture the essence of your holiday. What a lovely seaside place it looks too..........

Anonymous said...

Your sketches are wonderful!! You just can't beat fish and chips at the seaside. I'm glad that you enjoyed your break - and had good weather (we did too, for our weekend in Wales)

Gerry Snape said...

lovely post...lovely llandudno...lovely day!

Yarrow said...

What an amazing day and your sketches are such a delight :D I especially loved the couple in their deck chairs at the waters edge, fantastic :D

Take care and I wouldn't have shared my lunch either, haha!

Janet Metzger, Artist said...

Hello Gretel,

What a pleasant surprise to find a lovely postcard in my mailbox yesterday!

Thank you for thinking of me. It looks like you had a wonderful little holiday...I'm so happy about that.

Sounds like Andy had a fun time also.

Loved your photos of the town and boardwalk.

Welcome home!

Janet xox

Erica-Jane Waters said...

Aunty Gretel,

you should have told me you were off to Llandudno, you and Andy would have been welcome for soup, sandwiches and cake at my folks' house :0)
(I had to check that couple in your photo weren't my nutty parents!)

Claire said...

Hey Gretel, a seaside pier on a damp grey day, sounds just about perfick to me.

Love all the photos and despite the grey day the bright colours of the bunting, shops and even peoples jackets add a splash of colour to it.

Fish and chips by the seaside makes then even yummier and I hope Andy had a lovely time yomping over mountain-y things. Never heard that word before love it........

It's cold, grey and wet here today just the way Winter should be.

Claire :}

Crafty Green Poet said...

Lovely series of photos and drawings! I love Llandudno.

Tonia said...

Absolutely nothing better than an old-style seaside town, unless it's an old fashioned seaside down with fish and chips for tea!

Trailshome said...

What a nice day you had! Thank you for sharing it with us. I could just imagine the smells of the fish, salty air, and the sounds of the seagulls. I almost felt like I was there. Very nice.

The Time Sculptor said...

Hello Gretel, it's easy to see that all these people have been really inspired by your holiday pics and sketches... me too! Llandudno was where my grandparents always used to go, and it makes me think of proper British seaside holidays. You summed up the whole atmosphere so well, thanks for taking us on holiday with you!
Jane Gray

Anonymous said...

Love those little sketches, they bring the place to life!

Caroline B said...

Sometimes you just can't beat a good old fashioned British seaside holiday! Love the picture of Mr. & Mrs. Canute.
I love sketching the wealth of humanity at the beach too, although half the time the sketches are in the back of my holiday novel!

Karen said...

There really is no better place to eat fish and chips than at a seaside. Thanks for sharing your lovely day Gretel I enjoyed it. I visited Llandudno a few years ago. Do they still have the Alice in Wonderland sideshow/exhibition there I wonder? Love your sketches too! xx

Lyn said...

Ive never been but it looks just like my sort of place.Thanks for sharing.

Frances said...

Gretel, I am now longing for fish and chips by a seaside whose main feature is ... the seaside. I really enjoyed this post, and thank you for allowing us to experience some of your holiday.

Might I also say that your sketchbook is now definitely anointed with your wonderful drawing. I know that strange feeling of actually putting those first markings on the initial pages. Heck, I also know the feeling of wondering why some of the other pages of the sketchbook still seem a bit empty!


salty pebble said...

wonderful, enchanting blog ;0)
love your seaside post and your sweet drawings ;0)

Jackie said...

That brings back memories.We used to Caravan in North Wales when I was little. It usually rained. We used to eat a sausage roll and a cream cake on the benches at the bottom of the great Orme.

The BUTT'RY and BOOK'RY said...

Oh How fun it is over here at your Blog!
All of these wonderful pretty pictures that "happy up' the sences
I shall fallow along with you!! (I came over from the Corgncomb)

many Blessings Linnie

rossichka said...

What a fantastic day you both had! Llandudno seems to be a fantastic place for having a rest and for spending some days or even hours in a different way - full of new sensations and oppprtunities for having fun! I like the atmosphere in the photos, in your lovely sketches and words. You are a good storyteller, Gretel! Thanks for sharing your impressions! Thanks also for the very interesting information about the "Punch and Judy" show, as well as the links! What a family - dedicated to keep the tradition!! The stage and puppets look so picturesque under the grey, cloudy sky!
Thank you once again for the beautiful postcard, too!x

ellen said...

What a beautiful way to spend a day.
I'm loving your sketches too..especially the ones of people.
Sigh, I'd love to be there right now.