Wednesday, July 13, 2016

ABC Wednesday: A is for Andy Pearce

On the evening before the start of the annual Victorian Extravaganza Weekend, the lifeboat "Andy Pearce" was towed onto the slipway where it remained for the whole weekend. The Mersey class "Andy Pearce 12-006" arrived at Llandudno on 15th November, 1990 and after a week of intensive crew training, she was placed 'on station' on 23rd November. It is capable of operating at up to 17 knots (31 km/h) and can be launched from a carriage but can also lie afloat or be slipway launched when required. Its propellers are fully protected from damage when launching or in shallow water by partial tunnels and two bilge keels. Its low height can be further reduced by collapsing its mast and aerials which then allows it to be stored in a boathouse. A sealed cabin gives it a self-righting ability. Power comes from two Caterpillar 285hp turbo-charged engines. It carries 1,110 litres (290 US gal) of fuel to give it a range of 240 nautical miles (440 km). It has a crew of six and can carry a X Boat inflatable which it can deploy at sea. Its survivor compartment can carry 43 people, but more than 21 prevents self-righting should the boat capsize.

The All-weather Lifeboat 'Andy Pearce' cost approximately £455,000.00 to build and was provided out of a legacy from Mr Andrew Pearce, plus other gifts and legacies. Andy Pearce successfully carried out her first rescue on 17th April 1991 when she was launched in early darkness to rescue two men in difficulties off the Rhos-on-Sea breakwater. The two men, in a 25' converted ships lifeboat, had been in trouble at the boat's mooring because of a strong north westerly wind (more than 40 mph) and a four foot swell. Both men were taken abroad the lifeboat unharmed and landed safely at Deganwy.

After use the lifeboat is towed back through town to the lifeboat station. Llandudno Lifeboat Station is the only lifeboat station in the UK to have its boathouse located in the middle of town. Whereas most lifeboat stations are situated next to the sea for obvious reasons, Llandudno Lifeboat Station is situated in Lloyd Street, almost equidistant from both of Llandudno's shores. The reason for this unique situation goes back to 1861 when the boathouse was positioned so that the boat could be towed equally quickly to either North Shore or West Shore.

The current boathouse was constructed in 1903. A new lifeboat station is currently being built at Craig-y-Don where a larger boat can be accomodated.

For more information visit the lifeboat website.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

ABC Wednesday:
Y is for Ynys Gored Goch

Ynys Gored Goch (Red Weir Island) also known as Whitebait Island sits in the Menai Strait between the two bridges that link Ynys Môn (Anglesey) to the mainland. The stretch of water is known as "The Swellies" due to whirlpools formed by the string tidal flow.

In 1590 the island belonged to the Diocese of Bangor who leased the island to Thomas Fletcher of Treborth who paid three pounds plus one barell full of herring. The island was used as a fishing trap. During high tides fish would swim into traps set near the island.

In the early 20th century, it was fashionable for visitors to cross to the island to enjoy whitebait teas. They would walk down to the shore by a footpath through the Coed Môr woods, ring a bell placed on the shore for the purpose, and a boat would put out from the island to collect them. The Gorad Whitebait Tea consisted of a pot of tea, brown bread and butter, and whitebait "fried in a basket", priced one shilling. During very high tides in the spring and autumn, the water sometimes reaches the outside of the houses on the front and west sides.

In more recent times the island has been privately owned and according to the details on the Wales Directory the two houses on the island are available for use as holiday accomodation, although this information may not be current.

Information sources:
Anglesey Today;
Anglesy Hidden Gems.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday and Wednesday Waters.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

Kashmir Goat sculpture on the Great Orme

The Shah of Persia gave a herd of Kashmir goats to Queen Victoria who passed them on to Lord Mostyn the local landowner in Llandudno and their descendants now roam the Great Orme. I posted photos of a black goat at West Shore in a post dated 2nd August 2014. A fuller account of the goats can be found on the Visit Wales website.

This sculpture was unveiled in 2002 at the opening of the refurbished Great Orme Visitor Centre next to Summit Tram Station. It wasn't until I tried to find more information about the sculpture that I discovered it was by Graham High, the same Graham High whose fourth poetry collection Wolf on the Third Floor I published in 2000.

For more information on his work in various creative fields please visit Graham High's website.

The coloured version of this photograph can be found on Geograph.

A contribution to
The Weekend in Black and White;
Weekend Reflections;
Shadow Shot Sunday.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

ABC Wednesday:
T is for Tombola

Tombolo (BF6303) is a Foden steam traction engine built in 1911.

It was taking part in a parade during the 30th Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza Weekend.

The Llandudno Victorian Extravaganza was founded in 1986. It is staged on the town centre streets, each May Day Bank Holiday. The Llandudno Transport Festival is a sister event on Bodafon Fields run by local transport enthusiasts.

Many more of the photographs I took of the weekend can be viewed on Geograph.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

ABC Wednesday:S is for Surf Snowdonia

Surf Snowdonia, opened in August 2015, as a brand-new artificial wave facility at Dolgarrog in the Conwy Valley, North Wales. Privately funded, it cost £12m to build, on the site of a former aluminium factory – though it has been decontaminated since, and approved by Welsh environmental regulators. It is the first in the world. Surf Snowdonia uses WaveGarden technology, pioneered by a group of surfer-engineers in San Sebastián, Spain, and which is being rolled out globally from Spring 2016. The waves are created once a minute by a snow plough-like weight that moves underwater along a central pier.

The attraction is 300 metres (985ft) long and 110 metres (360ft) wide (around the size of six football pitches) containing six million gallons of water with three wave heights offering waves that are up to six feet high if you ride the whole way of 150 metres. The pool is filled with rainwater collected from Snowdonia reservoirs including Llyn Cowlyd. This water passes through the adjacent hydro-power station, originally built to power the former aluminium plant, before being pumped from the tail-race into the surfing pool.

For further information see the Surf Snowdonia website.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

ABC Wednesday: O is for Ogofs below the Great Orme

Ogof is the Welsh word for cave. This is Ogof Colomennod one of several found in the Great Orme. Otherwise known as "Pigeons' Cave" it is found in Porth yr Helyg where a quarry was established to produce stone for the construction of Telford's Conwy Bridge and delivered by boat c1820. The wide limestone shelf is easily accessible and is a favourite location for sea angling. Still within Porth yr Helyg are features known as Frog's Head (a natural rock resemblance to a frog seen only from the sea) and Austen's Rock. The latter is a submerged limestone shelf named after the first keeper of Llandudno lighthouse who drew attention to this dangerous underwater feature that can only be seen at low tide.

Leftmost here is Ogof Pen Trwyn which is probably a sea cave and is only visible from the sea.

To the right of that is Ogof Haner Dydd (The Midday Cave). At 12 noon on the 21st March and the 21st September the sun shines directly into the mouth of the cave. It stretches 30m and is thought by some to be part of the Elephant Cave system.

More information on Caves of the Llandudno Area can be found on the Caves of North Wales site.

A contribution to ABC Wednesday and Wednesday Waters.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Bottle Garden on a Wall at Glossop

This bottle garden on a wall is not a conventional mural but nonetheless an effective way of decorating the stonework. Plastic bottles have been used as planters.

It was originally created in 2014 by Wendy Kirby of Glossop Craft Centre on Smithy Fold off High Street East. Some photographs of it in all its colourful glory can be found on the Craft Centre's Facebook Group pages.

The wall is opposite the centre on Smithy Fold which leads to the Old Stables Photographic Studio. In the background is the Howard Town Mill development.

A contribution to Monday Murals.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Callander Haiku

Cover photo © Angela Topping

One of the latest publications from diehard press is CALLANDER HAIKU edited by Sally Evans. No it isn't a monthly calender but an anthology of haiku based on the Scottish town of Callander.

photograph © Gerald England

Many of the haiku are by poets who have attended the annual Callander Poetry Weekends hosted in September each year at the King's Bookshop.

Light in the bookshop
Sets each gilded spine aglow
against jewelled colours of hide

Angela Topping

L-R: Margaret Gillies Brown, Ian Blake, Andy Robson, Elizabeth Rimmer, Gerry Singh and his wife, Sally Evans, Colin Will, Christine England, Maureen Weldon, Sally James.
Photo © Gerald England

My own contributions are from the 2005 weekend and were published alongside reports of the event on the Poetry Scotland website. Although no longer live it can be accessed via the Internet Wayback Machine archives.

photograph © Gerald England

clack clack of hens
breeze through the garden
a poet speaks

Charlie Gracie

photograph © Gerald England

level bowling green
a perfect square -
too hot to play

Colin Will

the pavement
is at war with the trees
roots are winning

Christine England

photograph © Gerald England

ISBN 978-0946230-93-8
Price £5 (including postage) from
diehard at the Callander Press
Kings Bookshop
91-93 Main Street
FK17 8BQ