Today saw us leave for the first trip of the year in the motorhome. Although I tested the new Yamaha for both fit and weight before I committed to buy it last year, it proved remarkably easy to load and unload ourselves, as the salesman did it for us at the motorcycle dealership last time.
The weather here today is as good as you would get anywhere in Europe, and once we had set up - all of 20 minutes, we set off to explore the Island of Anglesey, somewhere we have not spent significant time at since I was aged about seven. I can report that it is just as beautiful as ever - unspoilt by arcades and slot machines, and still a place of outstanding natural beauty, just as I remember it all those years ago.
Margaret didn't want to travel far on her first outing as a pillion passenger on the scoot. The last time I persuaded her to try this mode of transport was on a Honda VFR 750 circa 1989. I have to say I wasn't gentle, and she said " never again". This time I hope I was able to demonstrate that there is much more to 2-wheel motorised transport than the exhilarating speed of a large sports motorcycle, particularly in such beautiful weather. We chose to visit the coastal village of Moelfre, the scene of so many of my childhood memories.
As a child we visited the lifeboat station, always a place of excitement for any youngster. Moelfre has the benefit of being the recipient of a brand new vessel, not yet formally named until early June, when it will receive the name "Kiwi", as a very big thanks to its major benefactor, Reginald Clarke, originally from New Zealand, who bequeathed £2.3 million of the £2.7 million required to build such a high tech lifeboat. I do believe his surviving family made up the shortfall, and they will be in attendance as guests of honour at the naming ceremony. Reginald was apparently torpedoed three times during WW2, and owed his life on more than one occasion to the brave crews of the RNLI.
An older lifeboat, more in line with the class of boat that I remember from the 1960's is on display in another shed just up the coastal path. This is called Birds Eye from the 1970's, which was originally paid for by the fund raising efforts of the staff of the frozen food company it was named after.
Currently Birds Eye is displaying the Kiwi mascot of the new boat on her bow.
Above is a shop that I commented to Margaret was the location of a wool shop, where in circa 1963 my mother treated the three of us to new woolly bob hats. To our amazement, as we approached, it remains a wool shop today, and looks pretty much the same as I remember it all those years ago.
The beach at Moelfre is pebble with a fairly deep shelf into crystal clear water. As a child we would be taken for trips to Puffin Island in a skiff powered by an old British Seagull outboard, operated by a local fisherman, and member of the lifeboat crew. Having no lifejackets or other safety equipment as I remember, would render this activity impossible today.
There have been many shipwrecks in this area over the years, and we used to gaze at the remains of one such vessel, The Hindlea, which floundered in 1959. A much more famous wreck here is the Royal Charter, returning to Liverpool from Australia in the 19th Century. She was caught up in a storm, and decided to take shelter here, but a series of bad decisions on the part of her Captain, along with a good chunk of bad luck, meant that she never made it with a huge loss of life.
Wales remains a fantastic place to visit as a tourist.