Saturday, 18 December 2010

Llandudno Snow


Llandudno Snow, originally uploaded by davidrobertsphotography.

Heavy fall of snow in Llandudno today.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Snow In Rhos


Snow In Rhos, originally uploaded by SnakeCorp.

Heavy snow arrived in Rhos On Sea late this afternoon. Buses ground to a halt, hence a lot of people waiting in the bus shelter on the left-hand side of the road. Hope they got home ok!

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Santa is on his way...


Santa is on his way., originally uploaded by SnakeCorp.

Start of the Santa Fun Run at Llandudno this morning, in aid of Ty Gobaith Childrens Hospice. 400 Santas & Snowmen (& Snow-women!) ran the one mile from the Cenotaph to Bodafon Fields. The weather was great and everyone enjoyed themselves!

http://www.hopehouse.org.uk/en/fundraising/santa-fun-runs/index.php

Saturday, 11 December 2010

On the floor again...


Subway from Floor Level, originally uploaded by SnakeCorp.

A shot of the Subway in Conwy, taken using the wide angle lens and laying the camera down on the floor. Nice effect, I think.

Conwy At Dusk


Conwy At Dusk, originally uploaded by SnakeCorp.

A return to Conwy to try my hand at some night photography again. Looking across the Quay towards the Castle from the Town Walls.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Still no solution to a Sticky Problem...

Can you see the pavement for all the Chewing Gum?

The sticky subject of the mess created by chewing gum on pavements in the local area has once again raised its head, following a post or two on Oscar's blog about the subject.

It's something I've mentioned myself in the past, almost one year ago, in fact. Unfortunately, nothing whatsoever has been done to tackle the problem, in spite of representations on the matter by several local people to Cllr Mike Priestley (Cabinet Member for the Environment at Conwy Council).

After several reminders, he has finally responded to Oscar's questions on the subject.

It would appear that the Council did own a Cleaning Machine but it was damaged by a flood at Dolgarrog and had to be written off.

One wonders if an insurance claim was submitted and what happened to the proceeds?

It would also appear that someone at CCBC has told Cllr Priestley that to buy a new machine to remove chewing gum would cost £120,000. No, that's not a typing error, I did say £120,000. Now, I'm not an expert on chewing gum removal, but, by using Google, I was able to find a machine specially designed for removing Chewing gum from Pavements that cost less than £5,000. Here's the link (with the price) so you can see for yourself:
http://www.getridofgum.com/remove_chewing_gum.html

So...what's going on? Is someone at Conwy Council trying to pull the wool over Cllr Priestley's eyes in order to save themselves some work?

Whatever the reason, it's disappointing to see that, one year later, nothing has been done...

Saturday, 4 December 2010

High Street, Conwy


High Street, Conwy, originally uploaded by SnakeCorp.

The High Street in Conwy, just after Dusk.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

All around the World...

One thing I find fascinating about this blog is the amazing diversity of the people that visit it. Looking at the visitors in the last few days, here are a few of the more unusual visitors :

Location/Organisation or ISP:

Netherlands (Ziggo Consumers)
Martinique (Mediaserv C)
London (Visit Britain)
Devon (South Devon College)
Caernarfon (Gwynedd County Council)
Aberystwyth (National Library Of Wales)
Czech Republic (Finnish State Computer Centre)
New York, United States (Schlumberger Limited)
Markham, Ontario, Canada (Bishop Graphics Newkirk)
Elk Grove Village, Illinois, United States (Comcast Business Communications)
Bangor (University Of Wales)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Switchworks Technologies)
Spain (Prioritytelecom Spain, S.a.)
Milan, Lombardia, Italy (Cohn & Wolfe Srl)
Grafton, Wisconsin, United States (Sbc Internet Services)
Guernsey (Cable & Wireless Guernsey)
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada (Rogers Cable)
Llandudno (Conwy County Borough Council)
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Telekom Malaysia Berhad)
London (British Broadcasting Corporation)
Dhahran, Ash Sharqiyah, Saudi Arabia (Saudi Arabian Oil Company)
Anaheim, California, United States (Sbc Internet Services)
Colwyn Bay (Coleg Llandrillo)
San Francisco, California, United States (Comcast Cable)
Budapest, Hungary (Tvnetwork Inc.)
New York, United States (Google)
Salzgitter, Niedersachsen, Germany (Telefonica O2 Germany Gmbh)
Midlothian, Texas, United States (Aisl-11)
Poughkeepsie, New York, United States (Optimum Online)
Nixon, Texas, United States (Awesomenet)
Houston, Texas, United States (Earthlink)
Bentonville, Arkansas, United States (Cox Communications)
Manteca, California, United States (Comcast Cable)
Texarkana, Texas, United States (Windstream Communications)
Zonguldak, Bolu, Turkey (Turk Telekom)
Marshfield, Massachusetts, United States (Toyota Of Richmond)
Bangalore, Karnataka, India (Nib (national Internet Backbone))

As always, a warm 'thank you' to everyone who visits.

Icicles


Icicles, originally uploaded by SnakeCorp.

Icicles on the rocks at the side of the Marine Drive, Great Orme, Llandudno.

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Coffee Illy, Conwy


Coffee Illy, Conwy (Photo Credit)

Probably my favourite place to call in for a coffee in Conwy is Coffee Illy. Tucked down the side street that links the High Street to the Quay (at the side of the Civic Hall), this small coffee ship is a treasure - friendly staff, pleasant surroundings, good service...and a great cup of coffee. Food selection is limited but they do Paninis, Cakes & Sandwiches, so fine if you're just looking for a snack.

When walking around Conwy, it's easy to overlook this place, but you'll be missing out on a treat if you do.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Once more into the night...

Practising again with my Night Photography, so a brisk walk up to the top of Pen Y Dinas overlooking Llandudno and a bit of a wait for dusk to fall. It was very cold! Still, some nice pics resulted, here's one of the town just after dusk. It looks much more impressive at full size but it wouldn't fit on the blog, unfortunately, so a much smaller version is all I can show you. I was using the Nikon D700 with Sigma 15-30mm wide angle lens:

Looking down at Llandudno from Pen Y Dinas (Photo Credit)

Llandudno Bay from Pen Y Dinas (Photo Credit)

Conwy Castle & Quay (Photo Credit)

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Save Conwy Civic Hall

Conwy Civic Hall (Photo Credit)

I'm really pleased to see the local community organising itself to defend Conwy Civic Hall (currently threatened with closure by Conwy Council). As the cutbacks bite, we have to be ready to make a stand to protect these facilities and if that means the community taking over the running of a facility like the Civic Hall directly, then so be it.

They have a Blog up and running:

..and a Facebook Group:

Please give them your support.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Deserted

Looking down a deserted Llandudno Pier on a wet & windy Autumn afternoon:

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Manor Fine Foods


What a pleasure it was to see a new independent shop opening in Llandudno's Upper Mostyn Street. Manor Fine Foods & Wares has opened in the old Motorworld premises and have taken the time and trouble to fit out their shop in a very professional manner. It's also great to see someone aiming for the higher end of the market, rather than just the bargain basement 'pound market'. Llandudno's Mostyn Street used to be renowned for the high quality of its independent shops, let's hope that this is the first step towards re-establishing that reputation. I wish them the best of luck.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Autumn is here.....

There's a chill in the air, the leaves are flying around, the first high tide of the Winter has arrived...Autumn is definitely here!




Friday, 3 September 2010

Launch of new Discussion Forum

After much feverish activity from both Ian and myself this week, we are pleased to launch a new discussion forum for the three towns area of Llandudno, Colwyn Bay & Conwy. The Three Towns Forum is designed to be a fresh start for discussion forums locally, free of the nonsense and problems that have plagued previous attempts.

The Three Towns Forum

Why those three towns...? Because most of us in that local area have either lived, worked or socialised in all three of the towns during our lifetime and, so, have an interest in all of them.

The Forum was born out of the old Llandudno Local forum but offers an expanded geographic coverage, together with a fresh, new design and added functionality. Everyone; whether local, visitor or just someone with an interest in Llandudno, Colwyn Bay or Conwy is welcome to read the posts and join in with their own thoughts & comments.

Signing up as a Member is free and simple - just go to www.threetownsforum.co.uk click on 'Register' at the top of the screen, enter your desired Username, Password, Email Address and your account will be created for you to start posting immediately.

We look forward to having you on board!

Monday, 30 August 2010

Bank Holiday Monday

The August Bank Holiday was probably the busiest day of the Season here in Llandudno, the town centre, promenade and pier were absolutely jam packed with people. Good to see everyone enjoying themselves and all the town's traders doing well.


Llandudno Bay Today (Photo Credit)


A very busy Pier (Photo Credit)

Llandudno Promenade (Photo Credit)

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Llandudno Local Forum

As many have noticed, the Llandudno Local forum has been offline for the last three days. According to Kindways, this is due to a fire at the U.S Hosting Company that hosts the forum. Kindways are working on the problem but, as yet, we have no information as to when the forum will be up and running again.

Update: The Forum is now up and running again but the posts appear to be several months out of date. Whether the more recent posts can be retrieved or not is in the hands of Kindways.

Monday, 23 August 2010

Pier Pavilion Saga Rumbles On...

Another front page story in the North Wales Weekly News last week, about the continued failure of, well, anything to be done about the derelict site of the former Pier Pavilion Theatre on the front in Llandudno.



In case we need reminding, it is now sixteen years since the devastating fire that destroyed the iconic Grade II Listed Building. In that period, how many times have we heard of a breakthrough in progress with redeveloping the festering eyesore of a site - yet nothing has ever happened! At one point, the Welsh Development Agency (WDA) offered to use their Compulsory Purchase Powers but Conwy Council declined their offer!

Make no mistake, this is a landmark site in the resort of Llandudno and the only site of any size on the Promenade that would be suitable for the mixed use, all-weather leisure development that the town really needs (yes, it does rain in Wales occasionally!). The current owner, the ever elusive David Taylor of Worcester, seems to be dreaming of a 10 storey high apartment block on the site, netting him many millions of pounds profit. Sorry, Mr. Taylor, but it's never going to happen!


Unless Mr. Taylor accepts that residential development will never happen and sells the site to a Leisure Developer, then the only way forward is for CCBC/Welsh Assembly Government to carry out a Compulsory Purchase of the site and then pass it on to a Developer in order to recoup their money. As a Compulsory Purchase is carried out at a 'fair value', the price would reflect its current planning status as a leisure site and not some 'pie in the sky' residential site value. Thus, it would be a viable (not to say attractive) site for developers.

In conclusion, Llandudno would gain the all-weather attraction(s) that it desperately needs, jobs would be created for locals, taxes would be generated. for the Government...best of all, a sixteen year old embarrassment to the town removed once and for all!


The Glory Days... (Photo Credit)

Sixteen years of a derelict eyesore! (Photo Credit)

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Foresters Arms, Gyffin

Foresters Arms, Gyffin in 1901

A reader of the blog contacted me after seeing my post about the Pubs of Conwy and kindly supplied an old photo of the Foresters Arms on Llanrwst Road in Gyffin, Conwy which, back in 1901, was run by her Grandparents, William and Charlotte Olive (nee Davies) Roberts, they also had a daughter called Olive. If anyone has any more information about the Roberts family at the Foresters Arms, in the early 1900s, please do leave a comment or email me and I will pass it on.

Writing this post reminded me of a story in a local guidebook about the Foresters Arms, namely that it was permanently shut down as a result of being the only Pub in Britain to open on the day of Queen Victoria's funeral in 1901. However, this appears to be nothing more than an 'old wives tale', as it stayed open until 1903.

I also remembered that I had taken a photo of a gravestone in the Churchyard at Gyffin, so I dug that out and it read that Elizabeth Williams, of the Foresters Arms, Gyffin, had died in 1899 at the age of 73. Could the Roberts family have taken over the pub then?

Nowadays, the Foresters Arms is a private house. Have a StreetView look at it if you like by clicking here.

Update - November 2010: Here is the Foresters Arms in 2010. The lady in the 2010 photo is the Grand daughter of the Couple in the 1901 photo:

Foresters Arms in 2010

Monday, 9 August 2010

Pleased as Punch!

I received a very unusual Wedding Invitation the other day:

"Britain's oldest Punch and Judy celebrate 150 years this year and despite their ups and downs and trials and tribulations, love has finally conquered all. Punch has finally declared his intent to marry his one true love, Judy on Thursday 5 August 2010 at 10am. To celebrate 150 years as Britain’s most loved and outrageous couple, Visit Llandudno is hosting the wedding of the century at the smallest church in the UK, St. Trillo’s Chapel in Rhos-On-Sea.

Professor Codman’s Punch and Judy show has been performed on Llandudno pier since 1860 by the Codman family and to this day, creator Richard Codman’s great great grandson, Jason performs the show daily from March to September. Four generations of Codmans have performed the show to Royalty including Queen Victoria, Queen Alexandra, King Edward VII and the Prince of Wales, who would later become King George V as well as millions of visitors to North Wales."

Some photos (not taken by myself) of the happy event:


Of course, there is a also a video of their big day available:



Let's hope that the happy Couple have many more years of perfect bliss together....

The Wedding of Punch & Judy was arranged on behalf of Visit Llandudno by WeberShandwick .

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Bodlondeb Castle

Bodlondeb Castle in June 2006 (Photo Credit)

Bodlondeb Castle
(situated next to the Tram Station on Church Walks) is one of Llandudno's more ornate buildings,
being a castellated building built in the Scottish Baronial style. Its interior contains several fine stained glass windows, together with many examples of Italian craftsmanship reflecting the baroque period including a baronial hall, translucent marble pillars and a magnificent staircase together with gothic masonry.

Work started on its construction in 1898 (the site formerly housed the Victoria Gardens) but the story behind its construction is somewhat unusual....

In 1897 , a very wealthy guest at the St. George's Hotel (who wished to remain anonymous) was so taken with the delights of Llandudno that he instructed the Hotel's Manager, Mr. Thomas Davies, to build a residence for him in the town. The guest's only wish was that the finest materials be used in its construction. Mr. Davies was happy to comply with this and, besides engaging the local builders, Jones & Son, also arranged for Italian craftsmen to come over to work on the decorative elements such as the marble columns in the main hallway. The stained glass windows in the main rooms represented the coats of arms of the heads of the fifteen tribes of North Wales.


Main Hallway & Lounge after Restoration in 2006 (Photo Credit)

Mr. Davies was very pleased with the standard of the construction and felt that his client would be too. The day came when the wealthy client returned to Llandudno to view his new residence. The client viewed the exterior of the property, then looked around and asked 'where is the land?' Upon being told that there was no land associated with the property other than a very small garden, he declared that he was no longer interested, turned around and left, never to return!

Local rumour once had it that the wealthy guest was none other than Edward the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII).

The property then remained in the Davies family until 1931, when they sold it to the Methodist Holiday Homes Ltd, who opened it as a Methodist hotel and it remained as such for many years. The Chapel building (now cottages) at the rear of the Bodlondeb Castle, Caer Salem, closed in 1934 and was purchased by the Methodist Holiday Homes to form an annexe to the hotel. During World War II, around 30-40 Civil Servants were billeted in the hotel, although it also managed to remain open for guests. In 1954, a set of modern garages were built and a Games Room was added above the garages in 1967.

Sadly, business began to decline sharply during the early years of the 21st century, with the occupancy rate for the 20 bedrooms falling to 32%. It closed in 2005 after being on the market with a firm of specialist commercial agents for 18 months, but no firm offers approaching the £650,000 asking price were received. It was purchased by Norwest Developments/Beck Homes, who announced plans to restore the building and convert it into 8 luxury apartments. Work started in late 2005 and great care was taken to restore the original features of the building, whilst removing later additions, such as the garages and games room.


Renovation work begins - June 2005 (Photo Credit)

Work on the renovation/conversion was complete by Summer 2006 and the first residents began to move in. I imagine they were somewhat happier with their new residence than that original wealthy hotel guest who refused point blank to accept his new home...


August 2006 - Work is complete! (Photo Credit)


Looking up at Bodlondeb Castle - November 2006 (Photo Credit)

Friday, 23 July 2010

Flash Floods

Flash Floods in Rhos On Sea in July 2009 (Photo Credit)

Almost exactly a year after the local area was hit by flash flooding, we received another torrential deluge yesterday, with several homes and businesses being inundated by the water. There's a Daily Post report about it here.

What I found interesting was this comment from Darren Jones at the North Wales Fire & Rescue Service:

"The incidents yesterday and today are prime examples of changes to the environment, heavy rainfall causes flash flooding, this is due to the large volume of surface water rendering the drains incapable of coping.

...which is very true, of course. However, there's a little more to it than that, I feel. The fact is that we are actively working against nature with the use of so much concrete and tarmac surfacing in our towns & villages - this prevents large volumes of rainwater from soaking away naturally into the ground and means they are instead channelled into antiquated drainage systems that cannot cope with the large flows. The trend of concreting over front gardens to form parking areas has also not helped.

Perhaps we need to take a step back and start looking at how we could work with nature to control the effects of flash flooding by using soakaways and attenuation tanks, instead of assuming (falsely, it would seem) that we can control it? I believe Planning Policy has already made strides in this direction when dealing with new developments but perhaps a wider strategy in the community is needed if we are to prevent the flash flood becoming a yearly occurrence?

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Not Alicia Keys...again

Following on from the excellent 'North Wales' parody of the Alicia Keys/Jay Z track 'Empire State Of Mind', there comes another version - this one based on Newport in South Wales. Professionally done, with a nice little video:

Monday, 19 July 2010

A Hidden Gem


I noticed in the Daily Post a week or two back that a new Cafe-Bistro had opened in Llanddulas, next to the Thornley Caravan park on the beach. It's called Tides and I thought I would pop in to see what it was like, primarily because I had heard it had been set up by Bryn from the very successful Planters Cafe at Tal Goed Nurseries in Glan Conwy.

Well, it certainly didn't disappoint. It was obvious that a lot of money had been spent in fitting out and furnishing the premises to a very high standard. Not the largest of cafes inside (probably less than 30 covers) but it also had a large outside dining area. Tides boasts an extensive Menu and lots of Specials on blackboards as well. As you'd expect from Bryn, food and drink was both excellent and the service was both pleasant and efficient. Recommended.

How do I get there? You just turn off the A55 at Llanddulas and take the old main road (A547) heading for Abergele. Once you've passed through the main part of Llanddulas village, you go over a series of traffic calming humps. Take a left turn at the crossroads after these humps and follow the road down under the A55 to arrive outside the front door of Tides. Plenty of free parking across the road from the cafe.




Monday, 12 July 2010

Out & About...again

Another great day on Sunday, so no excuse for not venturing once more into the Conwy Valley for a walk.

We started out from the car park in the centre of Trefriw, then a very sharp pull up the steep minor road to Llanrhychwyn that tested our leg muscles to the full. Good excuse, therefore, to stop off to have look inside the ancient Church there, then we carried on over the hills heading for Geirionydd, stopping only at the highest point to admire the views over towards Mole Siabod and Snowdon.

Then turning down onto the road that runs along he side of Geirionydd but, just past the lake, turning off onto the footpath that runs down on the path of the old Tramway into the Crafnant Valley, so I could brave the famous plank across the stream and explore the old Klondyke lead mine and processing mill. After a look round and a few photos, it was time to head down the old mine road onto the minor Crafnant Road, which led back straight into Trefriw and a refreshing drink (not to mention a chance to rest weary legs) at Yr Hen Llong pub.


1km of steep road heading up to Llanrhychwyn

Llanrhychwyn Church, dates from 11th Century

Interior of Llanrhychwyn Church

Looking over Snowdonia, Moel Siabod to the right

Looking over Snowdonia, Snowdon at the back

Contaminated Land at one of the many Lead Mines in the area

Llyn Geirionydd

Klondyke Mine Processing Mill

Wonky Bridge in the Crafnant Valley


A well earned drink!

Sunday, 4 July 2010

The Aquarium that never was...

When looking back in history, it's always interesting to see the ambitious plans for new buildings that never became reality due to problems of one sort or another.

Back in March 1877, plans were announced in the Building News for a Llandudno Gardens & Aquarium, to be built roughly where the Arcadia Theatre used to be (left hand section of what is now VenueCymru on the Promenade).

Architect's impression of Llandudno Gardens & Aquarium

Costing £25,000 and designed by Driver & Rew, of London, the building contained a Winter garden constructed of iron and glass on its upper floor, with a large Aquarium constructed of brick and slate in the basement below. At the centre of the building was a 60ft high Dome, that would certainly soon have become a Llandudno landmark. Surrounding the building was to be a small park, surrounded by railings. It was also planned that thirty or forty mansions 'of a suitable character' were to be built to either side of the Winter Gardens and the land had already been reserved.

Plan of Basement Aquarium

So why was it never built? History doesn't record the reason, but a seaside resort can only support so many attractions and projects of this nature. Could it be that the Llandudno Pier Company's plans for the Pier Pavilion (eventually built 1884-1886) scuppered this project?

It's also interesting to speculate as to what would have happened to it if it had been built all those years ago. Possibly a devastating fire in the 1960s or 70s would have finished it off? Maybe it would have limped on into the 1980s with the aquarium being rebranded a SeaLife Centre and the Winter Gardens themselves being used for roller skating or similar, then it would have been demolished in the 1990s after the local Council deemed the structure unsafe...

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