Monday, 29 September 2014

An Autumn Sunday in Snowdonia, North Wales.

First things first - lunch at the Waterloo.

Last week my lovely husband planned a day out for us on an unexpected free Sunday. In truth, he was thinking of the inner man and where we could find a good Sunday lunch to match our usual eaterie The Golden Lion, Rossett, Wrexham.

'What about Betws-y-Coed? We could go to The Waterloo Hotel and Lodge.' 
I was all for it as it was some time since we had headed down the A5 into the mountains and the gateway to Snowdonia. 
Turning off the A483 onto the A5 at Chirk, we were once again awed by the sheer beauty of the vista which opened up before us. Having traversed bridges over the Dee and Ceiriog rivers we had forgotten how high up we were and, as we turned, the whole Dee Valley to Llangollen was spread out below with the mountains in front. 
'Isn't that a wonderful view!  Aren't we lucky to live here? Do I always say that?' I ended.
'Usually' came the dry reply.
With precision planning we arrived just after 11:15am hoping for time to look around the village before lunch. Parking up at the Waterloo we went inside to check if we needed to book a table and immediately saw a familiar face.
'Hello,' Megan greeted us. 'Long time no see.' 
After catching up for a minute, we wandered off into the village. It was lovely and warm and the shops around the old railway station were busy. Actually, the trains still run through here and in one cafe, if you wander through to the back, you find yourself on the station platform. The water was still tumbling over the rocks as it flowed down from the Swallow falls.

Back at the Bridge Restaurant at the hotel, we opted for a table in the new conservatory. Although we had eaten in the 1815 bar on our last two weekday visits, we hadn't had Sunday lunch here for a while. Not since our GWOCGB regional motorbike meetings re-located to the coast. We were so impressed with the whole experience from the staff  to the beautiful newly re-furbished restaurant to the excellent food cooked to perfection. Compliments to the chef. A review is on Trip Advisor.

The Hidden Lakes - not of Italy this time - but Snowdonia.

Afterwards we continued along the A5, passing a lake on our right, into the Snowdonia National Park. The mountains reared up all around us. Clothed as they were in varying shades of vegetation, they were a colourful contrast to the blue sky and sunshine casting dappled shadows on the lakes. At Capel Curig, we turned down to Bedgellert for our favourite ice cream shop. Sitting on the wall in the warm sunshine, we chatted to biker friends who had the same idea. afterwards we continued towards Caernarfon, passing one or two more lakes on our left. At this point Mount Snowdon was on our right. Before  Caernarfon we headed down the road which would take us around the other side of Mount Snowdon, through Llanberis and the slate quarries, passing another lake on our left as we headed back to the A5 at Capel Curig. 

At Llanberis, the huge scarred mountains lay still; quiet now from the noise of quarrymen mining the slate for which Wales is famous. I often wonder how deep is the lake here and how far down into the bowels of the earth miners would have had to go as they met their master's demands for more slate. Above the lake, the many platforms blasted out of the mountain cascaded down to the water. Llanberis was busy with walkers and tourists.
Back on the A% main Holyhead-London Road, we once again passed an old coach, on display, which passengers would have journeyed on  in olden times.

Reaching Betws-y-Coed, we pulled in for a comfort stop to find the area around the craft shops and cafes overflowing with tourists, parked cars and many bikes and bikers. My husband was in his own little heaven as he drank in the sight of all the different bikes.

A wonderful day at the end of summer. One to put in the memory box of treasures.


PS. You can read more about the slate quarries around Llanberis and Caernarfon and the life and struggles of two families in The Widow Makers Trilogy by North Wales Author Jean Mead. They really do bring the area to life.

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Feeling Homesick.

The importance of family and friends.

After a spell of family gatherings and connections, for the first time in many years I am feeling a little homesick for my childhood haunts and old life. The last time was when, as a very young mother I was two weeks overdue with our second child, we were newly in North Wales, and I just wanted my Mum. I saw her [Mum] in my dreams as she [daughter] was making her way into the world and Mum arrived hot foot as soon as she could.

It is wonderful to meet up  and make new, and renew, connections with family and friends and hear about one from the other. It made me pause and reflect on what we left behind when we moved, with hope in our hearts and a small baby, from Lancashire to North Wales all those years ago.

Social Media this last week has played a part in this as I have connected on Facebook with distant family across the globe.Through one connection on holiday from the US to Ireland, a whole new conversation opened up resulting in a multi-way conversation between Ireland, North Wales, and America. In the process, I established the relationship more clearly between two FB 'friends', discovered a possible new cousin in Ireland and made a new connection with more distant member of the family tree.

Nearer to home, when I find that family on both sides and friends all know each other, well I have a few pangs of homesickness. Especially when I saw a photo which included my childhood home and reflected how it all used to be.

But, what a wonderful place we live in now. What a good life, through had work, we have had. And what wonderful new friends we have made over the years - latterly through our GWOCGB family. Friendships which have endured. So we have a lot to be thankful for as we look forward.

We saw on BBC Cymru Wales this week how you could fly through the air on a Zip Wire off the mountain near Bethesda (Bangor, North Wales). 
The website says,
'These adrenalin fuelled attractions are a first for the UK, and are located in the most dramatic of settings – Zip World Velocity located at Penrhyn Quarry, Bethesda, and Zip World Titan located at Llechwedd Slate Caverns, Blaenau Ffestiniog, both nestled amongst the mountains of Snowdonia, North Wales.'

My husband was as enthralled as I was. He turned to me, 'How about us next year?'
'For my birthday?' I responded hopefully and eagerly. Well, he is not happy about me my birthday treat being a Balloon ride!

I might hold him to that. What a way to start another decade. Mind you, all subject to doctor's orders I expect.

Rosalie xx

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A Most Romantic Celebration of Love.

A close family member was married on Sunday at the Rhinewood County Hotel in Cheshire. We hadn't been to a wedding in a hotel before and I have to say how seamless it all was.

The room decked out for the actual ceremony was a vision. The main 'aisle' had an arrangement of gold petals arranged in a heart shape with a long trailing stem.
Malcolm Kindon- Toastmaster and Master of ceremonies, impressed on us the importance of not walking on these as we found our seats - the bride would go berserk!

Malcolm made it all work, as he liaised with all parties as to timings and things happening when they should.
The bride - a vision in a flowing cream gown looked like a princess.She arrived on her father's arm to the tune of a favourite love song. This set the tone of this happy and relaxed day. It was a celebration among chosen family and friends. Mind you - the petals were soon dispersed as her gown trailed over them but it didn't matter now.
The wedding vows were taken in front of a huge white gauzy backdrop, lit by tiny lights. The chairs were cream with a gold sash.

The registrar was very conscious that some may not understand the format of the ceremony or the legal implications and went to great pains to explain each part of the ceremony and the reasons,tradition, and legalities behind each part. He even explained that the marriage certificate belonged to the bride - not the groom! 

Malcolm Kindon (click on the link for full details- Tel 07756 017503) worked hard throughout the interim when photographs were taken and the room prepared for the wedding breakfast, the reception itself where he explained what was to happen at each part, the changeover for the evening disco and was still on hand well into the evening.
At the reception, he explained some of the traditions behind such things as 'wedding breakfast'. Did you know that? Even if the meal is later in the day and not an egg and bacon style of breakfast, it is named as such as it is the first meal the bride and groom take together after the wedding. (Breaking their fast so to speak.) I think I have that right. If you are reading this Michael, feel free to remind me.
Throughout the meal, pianist Dave Antrobus (07847 113906) treated us to a medley of love songs which carried on the romantic theme.

All in all, a wonderful experience and lets face it - if you are not being married in church then a hotel event is better than a sometimes cold and cheerless registry office from where you have to find your way to the reception afterwards.

Thank you to the bride and groom for a sharing a truly wonderful celebration with us.
No photographs as we didn't take any. OH forgot to bring the camera in and this is personal anyway. It was wonderful to catch up with scattered family.

Rosalie xx

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Is the pace of life increasing?

Another week flies by as summer draws to a close.

It doesn't seem two minutes since my last post ans here we are, almost a week later.
After a hectic two week as with meetings and events, this week heralded a return to manuscript scrutinising and workshop preparation for October deadlines.
The Long Leg of Italy has been putting its toe in the water with a cover reveal on social media.Twitter @JustUsTwoTravel.
We settled on using red lettering for visibility against the blue skies and other colours in
the photographs.
Just a point about our travels in this latest adventure. They actually span twenty-five years - long before we started jaunting on our beloved motorbike. They started when we had only been abroad twice in our lives and that in an organised party. We travelled independently to the unknown territory of Italy and made our own way to railway stations and transfer by vaporetto and taxi to hotels. Our second trip, in reverse, took us onward to Sorrento further south, but as there was no direct train from Rome, Citalia arranged for us to join another coach they had going there. Our second visit to Sorrento was a stay      and relax and explore one, where again we were completely independent but with the comfort of a holiday representative in the hotel. When you read the book, you will understand how thankful we were for that 'cushion'.

Just a bit about the jacket photographs.

Left. Madonna di Campiglio in the Brenta Dolomites, north east Italy. 2012
Right. View of the Basilica of Santa Maria Della Salute as you come under the Accademia Bridge on the Grand Canal, Venice. 1989 or 2004.
Trulli houses in Alberobello, Puglia, (the heel of Italy) 2011

So our story truly does take you down The Long Leg of Italy. The gap in time is when we were jaunting across Europe on our Honda Gold Wing motorbike, including around the Gulf of Genoa to lake Garda and beyond. (Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery. 
eBook on Kindle or Kindle apps at £2.05.

Print £8.43 on Amazon

Photographs in the eBook are in full colour and it has a different jacket to the paperback.

At £2.05 can you afford not to download this wealth of funny stories and travel information/routes etc.?

Rosalie xx

Friday, 5 September 2014

Happy First Birthday for The Regent Offices and Business Centre, Wrexham

The state-of-the-art and stylish offices and conference centre, The Regent, celebrated its first birthday this week.

The special  networking event to mark the occasion was held by the West Cheshire and North Wales  Chamber of Commerce at The Regent, 67 Regent Street, Wrexham.
Click on the link above for the full report by Debbie Stokes of the Chamber who talked to Jane Harrad-Roberts of Marketing PRojects in a 'Person Behind the Business' interview. 
The Regent. 67 Regent Street, Wrexham
As someone who has carefully followed the emergence of The Regent from a dilapidated, derelict and smelly unloved building in the heart of Wrexham to the stylish, light and airy, state-of-the-art, welcoming and much loved office and conference centre that it is today, I was pleased and proud to be at the birthday party on Wednesday. I reflected on the transformation and the road which Joanna has travelled to reach her goal.

Photo 2014 by Mako Creative Solutions Ltd.
Of course you could say that I am biased - I am Joanna's mother after all - but no-one can deny that it took Joanna's vision, creativity and tenacity to design the building layout, manage, source and procure every item  - from the kettles, wall art, colourful and modern  toilets cubicles, decor, and furniture, to digital facilities; the list goes on - and bring to fruition, this wonderful 'Space to Thrive' as Joanna has termed it.
In addition, the wonderful Victorian features have been lovingly restored, such as the leaded lights in the vestibule entrance and the tiled hallway, which marry well with the modern features.
Lets take a look now at 

Opening 2013

The Mayor and Mayoress 2013 with Ralph and Joanna Kinch of The Regent. 
Last August, the Mayor of Wrexham opened the building. In the last year the centre has played host to a variety of events with the meeting rooms - the Wilberforce and Gladstone suites -  laid out individually or opened up as one room to suit the event's individual needs.

More photos from the 2013 opening ceremony.
Stylish tea room for office tenants
Stylish tea room for office tenants.
The entrance showing a conference room.

With Simon O'Rourke - Tree Carving in the outside area.


 Today, The Regent is the location of choice for some prestigious tenants.
Full details of what The Regent has to offer with room rates etc. here.  
Also do visit The Regent Facebook page.

The website  (extract below) has full details of this state-of-the-art facility.  

Business and Conference Venue in Wrexham

Come and enjoy high quality facilities in a unique location in the historic heart of Wrexham, right on the North Wales border.
  • • Meetings, Training Events, Networking & Conferences
  • • Great acoustics and digital TV screens
  • • FREE Wireless broadband access
  • • Versatile space to suit your occasion
  • • Flexible tailored delegate packages to suit
  • • Easy access by car, rail and bus
  • • Integrated Whiteboards
  • • Refreshments and catering on request
Whether 4 or 40 people, we can cater for your meeting and conferencing needs, right here in the heart of Wrexham.

Monday, 1 September 2014

The Long Leg of Italy - Coming Soon - Coming Closer!

ISBN 978-1-908302-39-7 Paperback 15th Jan.2015
Also Kindle (15.Oct.2014),PDF,ePub.
The last week has been a busy 'design' sort of week. We finally decided - taking all comments into account - on the layout for the jacket of The Long Leg of Italy.
It will be out in paperback in January but hope to have it on Kindle by the end of October.
About the Book.

ISBN 978-1-908302-39-7
"If you have read the first in the Just Us Two series, you will know of my husband’s aversion to parties.
As our Silver Wedding Anniversary approached, he was adamant that he wasn't having a party.
“We will have a little trip,” himself decreed.
That is what he thought! He meant a little trip in the UK, not too  far from home. I, on the other hand, had
bigger fish to fry. Our wedding had been a small family affair and, being poor, we did not  go-away on honeymoon.  So, himself wanted a little trip did he?" <End>

Read on. . .
Having only travelled abroad twice in their lives, and that as part of an organised group, did not daunt Rosie. She wanted to see the world. She had dreams. Rome, Florence, Venice . . . and beyond. But was this possible? A little voice nagged at the back of her mind. With growing excitement, she plotted and planned and then went  into action. 

And so began their love affair with Italy. This intrepid couple set off on their own, Just Us Two, as they negotiated their luggage onto aeroplanes, crossed Italy by rail and enjoyed the romance of arriving in Venice by train; finding their water bus waiting to transport them the whole length Grand Canal to their hotel.  Well what is Venice but surrounded by water? Unbeknown to them, disaster awaited them at home.
They were so entranced by their adventures that they did it all again! In later years ‘Just Us Two’ seized opportunities to explore the many beautiful lakes, Alps, and Dolomites of Lombardia and the Alto-Adige of Northern Italy - venturing into Switzerland; the contrasting experiences of Adriatic villages and the rugged interior of Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria in southern Italy; the awe and wonder of standing high in Altomonte between the Ionian and Tyrrhenian seas in the foot of that very long leg of Italy. . .

Coming soon on Kindle. 
And in January 2015 available in print ISBN 978-1-908302-39-7 
and ePub ISBN 978-1-908302-42-7
(Images l-r Madonna di Campiglio,Dolomites; Venice; Trulli houses in Alberobello, Puglia.) 

To end the week - or started this one -  we mosied up the motorway to Lancashire and our Gold Wing biker meeting with the Lancs and Lakes region. An excellent and lively meeting followed by lunch in the bar of the Hartwood Hall Hotel. Chorley. Lots of info for me as food for my monthly write up for the Gold Wing Owner's Club magazine. It has been a busy summer so far. Just how we like it.

Rosalie xx 

All Rosalie's titles have worldwide distribution, both on-line or from your favourite local bookseller.
eBooks are also distributed worldwide for multiple devices in:
Kindle      *pdf for Adobe Digital Editions,    and EPub formats.