Ever since my property had been sold back at Easter whilst I was on Orkney I had needed to get to a Lloyds bank. This problem having been compounded when, terrified the ‘virus’ which had invaded my laptop in Stornoway was in fact rougue Russians intent on getting all my passwords and emptying my bank account, I not only changed my laptop, but closed my online banking. When I had phoned the Fraud Line late one evening to stop any further transactions on any of my accounts they assured me that with a simple phone call all could be reinstated. This, of course, was not the case, and I needed to call into a branch, prove I was who I said I was, and fill in numerous forms etc etc.
Now if you have noticed most branches of any banks are in the middle of whichever town or city they serve, and getting Thebus into the middle of any city during bank opening hours plus finding a parking space is not the easiest thing to achieve. Once someone kindly took me into a nearby branch and helpfully parked on double yellow lines to wait for me, but by the time I had found a suitable person to help me and she asked me to use my debit card to prove my identity, then the machine swallowed my card as it had been withdrawn by the Fraud Department, then the keys found to open the machine, my card restored, and replaced as it had been cancelled along with my accounts being closed I was so worried about potential parking fines that I had to leave before we had got any further.
However I was now on Anglesey, which in general seemed a much quieter place, with the towns a more manegable size, so I googled and found there was one in Holyhead and one in Llangefni. The Holyhead one at first seemed favourite. It looked as though I could park nearby and if I arrived early the traffic would be quiet. Then I realised that Holyhead is the main port for commercial vehicles leaving on the ferry for Ireland, and checking the ferry arrival and departure times it seemed that getting there at a quiet time might be problematic. So I settled on Llangefni.
Phoning them they suggested I made an appointment, but with something Thebus’ size I can’t always guarantee being able to stop at the right time. They told me they had a large carpark I thought I would chance it and turn up when I could.
It was a large carpark, but the access from the rather narrow road just on a corner would have made it difficult to get in or out easily, plus I would need all of it just to turn round in and get out. Fortunately arriving early to assess the situation I noticed there was some on-street parking, and not only that but owing to the curve in the street it widened out enough to fit Thebus in without hanging out into the road. It was very sloping to one side and steep at the front, but we squeezed in, and as the various businesses opened up I apologised for blocking out their light and explained I was waiting for the bank to open, and would be out of their way as soon as possible. I also asked about any traffic warden problems as I was in a limited waiting area, but it seemed that no one had seen a warden for a couple of years, and then only one afternoon, so I thought it didn’t sound too risky
In the event Wednesday was the only day the bank delayed opening to nine thirty rather than nine, so I took the opportunity to have a look round Llangefni, I have to say I have never seen so many barbers and hairdressers shops in one place - the local inhabitants are obviously very particular about their appearance. Other than that there didn’t seem a great deal to see apart from the town clock and a rather attractive old hotel - the Bull Hotel - Gwesty’r simply meaning hotel I think, but as I felt before 9.30 in the morning was was a little too early for a drink! I just wandered on round the block.
But it was still not opening time at the bank and my knees were now feeling the strain of the unexpected walk so not wanting to stand by the door waiting for the bank to open, I cheekily went into a greetings card shop over the way and asked if I might sit down for the few minutes until half past nine. Chatting to the lovely lady who was minding the shop - mother of the owners' - it turned out she had been in Burtonwood over the weekend at Gulliver's World with her grandchildren and had actually walked past Thebus and admired him. What a coincidence!
At bank opening time I went over and was dealt with the by the charming manageress who as well as sorting out my banking problems recommended a few places to visit. The one I would have been most cross to have missed (and which I would have done without her) was Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwll-llantysiliogogogoch. It was only just up the road and on my way to Plas Newydd, which was my intended destination for the afternoon. I would have just sailed past it without realising, as on the road signs the name is shortened to Llanfairpwllgwyngyll or Llanfair PG.
Apparently it was originally named Llanfair Pwllgwyngyll meaning The Mary church by the pool near the white hazels. But when the railways were built in the middle of the 19th C and the locals were deciding how to encourage tourists to alight at their station, they hit on an incredibly good marketing idea by renaming it "St Mary's Church in the hollow of the white hazel near a rapid whirlpool and the Church of St Tysilio of the red cave” - and you already know the Welsh for that. Other than its railway station name I suspect there is not much else to see, so having seen that I moved on.
However when I arrived at Plas Newydd the carpark was totally jammed full, with coaches queuing up behind me to get in. There was absolutely no where for me to park, not helped by the fact that the section for longer vehicles was coned off for building works. So I just had to turn around and head off, even that was not easy with cars to the rear of me, and coaches to the front of me. (Feels like a line from the charge of the Light Brigade, and it felt a bit like that in the carpark also)
The next place I wanted to see was Llanddywn Beach, but I hadn’t intended to go till the evening as the approach roads looked narrow, and with the glorious late autumn sunny weather I judged it would, like Plas Newydd, be very busy and once again I might be unable to find a space big enough for Thebus.
So I deliberately avoided the afternoon by parking up for a while, though when we did finally pull in to the huge carparks by the beach I found masses of space. The approach to the beach is through a large and beautiful conifer wood, apparently home to red squirrels, though we didn't spot any, and I am sure Phoebe was looking as carefully as I was.
Having parked I struggled through the deep loose sand and made it down to the waters edge with Phoebe - this late in the season dogs are allowed on certain parts of the beach. Though the light was fading it is a lovely beach, with views out over the water to Snowdon. She had a little run about but nothing much and wouldn’t go to the waters edge, but looked out to sea sniffing the air - ears blown back in the sea breeze. Most of the folk had gone home, but a few youngsters were still trying to surf, though the waves looked pretty feeble, and one or two night fishermen were setting up their lines, though I am not sure what they were hoping to catch.
As the light finally faded and we said farewell to Anglesey, but I am sure I shall return to look at Plas Newydd another time, perhaps on my way to Ireland if we sail from Holyhead.