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Monthly Archives: June 2016

A meal with the dog

A meal with the dog

my mealtime view

First one pub, meals were sold out. Then another, once more sold out. A change of tact, try a restaurant, fully booked, we didn’t think it would be this hard to get Sunday tea. I remembered a restaurant (Dylan’s*) at the end of Criccieth , the place we were staying near, result we could get in.

This is the first time we have been here and with no expectations we entered. The inside was inviting and the staff welcoming, but Spot was left in the car, safe but alone, we both suffer from separation anxiety at times like these. The rain was starting to stop but the seating outside was sodden from the near constant downpour we have had all day. After the meal was chosen from the menu, a varied choice of meals and an even wider choice of prices, I went out to check how spot was doing. She was doing her usual peering out of the window and then started running up and down the car when she caught sight of me, I thought about how I could eat outside without having a sodden butt, dogs are allowed at the outside tables, they even have a bowl full of water, then it hit me, I have a thick blanket in the car that is for emergencies; I have broken down numerous times in some remote places!

So off from the carpark to the tables outside the restaurant, blanket over one chair and I was sorted. Spot looked up from the floor with her big sad eyes, pleading to share the blanket. I cannot resist, I know the whimpering is next, along with the Jack Russell shake. Another chair pulled up and the blanket shared between. Spot did the normal laps of honour before lying down with a satisfied look upon her face before falling asleep.

Truth be told I think that saying spot is the reason to eat outside is more an excuse than fact, I had the sea breaking onto the shore with the occasional bird singing as the background music and the view of the sea, castle and colourful buildings of Criccieth as the backdrop, a little rain is not a problem, even in shorts, and a low wall blocked nearly all the wind.

So this is the scene as people walk from the carpark to the restaurant. A shaven headed middle aged bloke with a fleece and jacket on, sitting under a dripping cloth patio umbrella eating a wooden boxed chicken burger and fries in the light rain wearing shorts. This got some strange looks as they walked past, even if they tried to not look it was evident they were trying not to do so. And then they rounded the corner, saw Spot and, the ladies went ahhh. From weirdo to making sense, in one footstep.

The meal was delicious and I even finished my dads’ drunken muscles, well, I had to try them, so I can say that they were worth having as well, large portions seem to be the norm. As the meal settled down with a nice cup of tea, a chocolate was spied hiding behind the cup, unusual for tea, it’s normally a coffee drinkers treat, but not one to turn down a free chocolate it was eaten. The wrapper caught my eye, it was the castle that was my meals backdrop and on the flip side the restaurants name. How many free chocolates have I eaten and not noticed this little detail? Is it common? Can you collect a full set of Welsh castles? Many a question as to the validity of advertising this way, but they are in a blog, so for them it might just be working.

Before I left I took the photo at the top, but as always the camera did not capture the colours I saw, they are so muted. I sat contemplating a painting whilst eating and the photo will help with the composition, the colours will probably be more ‘free range’.


It may seem strange to go out for a meal with family and then sit alone with the dog, but then family meals are common, a meal with a view is not. Although my family don’t quite get sitting outside on sitting inside weather, they understand it’s me, after making sure I’m ok that is.

*I have no affiliation to the restaurant and have not been bribed in any form to put them in this blog, but I would not turn down a seafood platter if you wish to try.

Etruria Canals Festival 2016


A ‘chugity, chugity’ sound of a narrow boat marine diesel engine, the smell of burning coal and food being cooking. That was the welcome on this hot summer day once we crossed the bridge from the carpark to the festival. My first impressions were good, it was bigger than I expected and although we were early the site had already got a happy atmosphere. Too many local festivals we have had a day trip out for of late have been a disappointment, this change was more than welcome.

Amongst the usual stalls of food related items were the even more familiar Tombolla style stalls, charities raising money for their cause. Lucky dip bins for the children were aplenty, complete with Christmas wrapping, Leo got a small water pistol, so his prize at least was the correct season. The children had plenty to do, a good size dedicated play area and crafty projects for tiny hands. Face painting, Spider man as usual, and a Henna tattoo were had by Leo; a tie dyed T-shirt for me, bright orange, much to my sisters dismay. Story tellers told tale of how these canals got built and one went about his story telling in a tricycle mini gypsy caravan. It just goes to show what diversity the canals draw in these days.

Birds of prey were also on show, owls to be stroked, one of which decided my nieces’ wheelchair would be a good place to roost. One owl was tiny, pocket size, but I cannot recall its breed. They to, were there for donations as they take in all the birds of prey that get handed in to vets. These would normally be put down as the cost, and time, of rehabilitation is too much for the vets to cover. These birds may never be able to be returned to the wild but they do bring the wild into contact with children who otherwise may never get to see them. Any positive interaction has got to build respect for nature as a whole, which can only be a good thing.


the stern of the boat is the living quarters and engine room

A friendly Jack Russell greeted us on the return route through the stalls, its owner selling flags and the poles to fly them atop, she wanted plenty of fuss and I was happy to provide it, until the slobber toy came into play, then it was time to carry on walking. One of the old working narrowboats was open for viewing, the huge cargo section making the living quarters look even smaller. We sat as a lady told us what each section of the living quarters was for, now, in a space that is about six foot by ten foot, they had to get creative, especially as it could hold a family of four. A drawer became babies bed, a cupboard door became the dining table another the main bed. Heating and cooking were from a tiny arguer type cooker that apparently was always running. It was not today, thankfully, as I didn’t particularly fancy sitting within arms reach of it burning wood or coal when it was at least 20 degrees to begin with. I was told that if I was to sleep on the bed, it would only be me on it. I am aware I am fat but you just don’t want to hear you take the space of two. Their life was hard and even if I was half the size I cannot imagine living in such confined space on my own let alone with a family.

I will be going to the 2017 festival that much I am sure of. I may even wear the orange tie dyed t-shirt, just for my sister.