The wild waves on Newborough Beach may look alarming, but this dog was having the time of its life – as dogs usually do. Nothing like a spot of unfettered enthusiasm.
January Light #11 Pop over to Becky’s to join in her January Light challenge: square format, words ending in ‘-light’ (fudging allowed).
Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Moving Water Cee always has great challenges: join her
The reason we were on bleak and windswept Newborough Beach on the last Sunday of December (being unexpectedly wowed by intrepid kiteboarders) was because we thought we should work up an appetite before lunch. And no ordinary lunch either. Sister Jo had booked it weeks before – at the Marram Grass – a little beach shack eatery that has become a legend not only on the island of Anglesey, but far beyond.
To say the premises are unassuming is an understatement. It truly is a large shed – and that’s how it began. Nine years ago, when two young men – Liam (newly graduated surveyor) and Ellis (self-taught chef) Barrie came to help their parents set up a small caravan park, it was an old potting shed. And from it grew a thriving enterprise whose raison d’etre is to serve freshly made food that highlights local and seasonal produce, much of it home-grown.
They’ve won awards. And so they should. We stepped out of the freezing wind and into an all-round glow. We sat in our cosy booth as the afternoon grew darker, ‘50s tracks on the sound system, low hum of chatter beyond, and a complete unknowing of what we would eat. There was no menu. All depended on what the chef had decided to cook, and so instead of feeling like run-of-the-mill clients, we became guests. And it made me think that there was nothing more blissful on a dreary winter’s afternoon than a long, slow Sunday lunch, impeccably created and presented with love.
January Light #7
The last Sunday of 2019 and a piercing wind is blowing on Anglesey’s Newborough Beach – the sort that knifes through all clothing defences and finds every millimetre of exposed flesh. Brrrr. By lunchtime it is growing dark too, or perhaps day never quite dawned properly. It’s anyway a big change after the entrancing blue of Christmas Day. But we are not put off: Newborough Beach is a favourite winter walk so we trundle through the high dunes to the shore, as ever joining a mass of promenading families and dogs, and face the elements. The wind takes our breath away.
But down above the tide-line there is much activity – lines laid out and out across the sand as paragliding wings are prepared by dive-suited individuals. Much clicking on of harnesses, clapping on of helmets and multi-coloured kite-fluttering. And then they are off, skimming the bay at astonishing speeds, now and then shooting high above the surf – aerial ski-jumping. It is exhilarating to behold – or it is when one can focus through eyes filled with wind-tears. But then that’s one of the things we love about this beach – you just never know what you will see there.
On the other hand I’m rather wondering at the reactions of legendary St. Dwynwen, she whose religious retreat this place was in early Saxon times. Or maybe her spirit is out there embracing it, flying with the wings – engaging in extreme sports, closer to the heavens.
January Light #6
And another Christmas Day snap taken from Penmon Point, Anglesey.
January Light #5
Christmas Day on Anglesey. For once I didn’t mind when he who builds sheds and binds broken books walked straight into my prospective shot. (It’s a common occurrence). Two moments earlier I was wondering if a shot of the backlit rocks would work. Then out stepped Graham. So I caught him instead. He doesn’t know!
January Squares #4
Six Word Saturday
Morning in Henllys woods, Beaumaris, a magical place where red squirrels now have a refuge.
January Light #3
Early morning sky over Menai Strait looking towards the mountains of the Welsh mainland from Beaumaris, Anglesey, 27 December 2019.
January Light #2
On Christmas Day we went to Penmon Point in Anglesey, North Wales – fair weather and good winter light on the lighthouse.
Happy New Year Everyone
January Light #1 This month Becky says ‘let there be light’, however we choose to conjure it so long as it’s squared. Please pay her a visit. Better still, join in. We cannot have too much light in 2020: lots of issues requiring full-beam illumination.
These few massive stones are all that remains of a 5,500 year old chambered tomb. Originally it extended some 120 feet (36 metres), the whole structure covered by an earth mound. It must have looked spectacular, dominating the uplands above Cardigan Bay. When I took this photo I was also taken with the rather searching stance of the man at the fence. I spoke to him later. He told me he had been so keen to reach the monument after parking his car, he had dived across the nearest farm field instead of discovering the official footpath, and thus found himself on the wrong side of a barbed wire fence. He was trying to see if he could climb over. We both decided it looked too risky. And then he told me about his awe-inspiring visit to the Great Pyramid. A man clearly much moved by ancient places.
For more photos: Scenes from the realms of ancestors
Cee’s Black & White Challenge: stones or bricks
Mist, mountain, dune grass, sand – with a touch more abstraction it might have the makings of a seaside Rothko. Artworks apart though, it wasn’t a very promising start to our short break in Newport. A Monday morning feeling made manifest by land, sky and sea.
But there again if you have taken the trouble to get yourself to the beach in the face of unpromising conditions, and have the trusty little camera to hand, there’s usually something to spot. So I had a happy half hour scrambling around in misty sand dunes. And the camera enjoyed itself too, taking some of the below on its own mysterious potluck settings. Carpe diem and all that.
Line Squares #15
* Latin tag: ‘seize the day’