Monday, 14 July 2014

Cat sitting :the best job ever.

Family holidays in my childhood were often spent in North Wales in my Auntie's caravan. Abergele, then Conway were the places we returned to. It often rained. We sat on benches on the great Orme and ate sausage rolls and cream doughnuts with our macs on. Many a time we packed up and went home early.
 But I enjoyed these holidays though, visiting the 'Jubilee pass' and the 'druids circle' somewhere near Conway;  paddling in the sea and generally doing the things we did on holidays in the 50s and 60s, including going to the cinema to watch 'South Pacific.'

Then came the year when, on a recommendation from a family friend, we went to Nefyn.
This time in a B&B, not the best, but it was OK for two visits.

We arrived on a bright sunny Saturday in 1964 , walked down the steep road to the beach gasping at the bright blue stripe in front of us which revealed itself to be the sea, above a beautiful long sandy beach. We hired a little tiny beach hut for the week for ten shillings, and that was it.
 For the next 10 or more years the family holiday was in Nefyn. My cousin and her family camped nearby and they joined us by the tiny beach hut every day. Even if it rained (which it hardly ever did) we went on the beach!

We eventually found a lovely Guest house to stay in, not far from the beach. In those days almost every large house on the main road was a B&B.
We lay on the sand all day and walked along the cliffs after dinner in the evenings, glowing and burning from the sun.
I cried every year when we had to go home.
I loved it.

When I met my husband I tried to get him to love it but somehow we never seemed to get the same feeling. We went a few times, camping and then renting a cottage but it didn't really do it for him.

Fast forward to 2014.
Last week we were in Nefyn again.

This time we were cat sitting for a friend who moved there about 10 years ago.
I was thrilled when she asked me, but my husband was too busy to stay for two weeks so we did one week.

We had amazing weather.
Sue's house is a small cottage on the road leading down to the sea, that road we know so well.
we didn't even have to go to the beach, it was there in front of us all day.

All we had to do was feed and look after three cats. That was no chore, they were gorgeous.

Mr Chips the timid 'he probably won't come near you' cat, handsome with a black nose and chin and the loudest purr you ever heard.

Mr Chips wonders....

...and decides Brian looks like a comfy seat.

Tom a beautiful friendly Marmalade boy with a penchant for the dried food, and little Zeussy, no pictures, sorry, a 'mini me' of Mr Chips, vocal and cute but less often seen.

So what did we do?
We relaxed.
Brian went in the Summer house 'Ty Haf' and played his concertina, and no-one could hear him.

 but sometimes he had an audience.

I read my book in there in the evenings.

And sometimes I just looked.
All our meals were eaten outside.

Waves in the wind

We visited Whistling Sands,

 and Plas Glyn-y-Weddw, a lovely Gallery  at Llanbedrog.
Nice cafe!
Crab salad.
Beach road Llanbedrog

 I had a hare-brained scheme to walk a long section of coastal path  to a beach called Porth Widlin we'd visited about 12 years ago. After two hours of walking we found we would have needed a very long ladder to get down to it! The path we used last time had disappeared.
Inaccessible Porth Widlin.

I made Brian promise not to take any notice of my bright ideas in future!

We walked the cliff paths to Porthdinllaen and the Ty Coch, a pub on the beach.

The cliff path is part of the Llyn coastal path.
 Its beautiful.
High banks of wild flowers line the part near Nefyn and Morfa Nefyn.
 Sometimes you have to leave the edge and walk along little roads past houses that make you wonder who has the money to own them, and wish for a lottery win!

Looking down onto the harbour at Nefyn.

Cliff path.


A burnet moth on wild thyme

In the distance Yr Eifel, the mountains also known as 'The Rivals'.

work in progress..apparently this has been like this for about 15 years!

A huge extension very much in progress on this house.

Harebells line the narrow road.

Sheep grazed on the other side of the fence and one evening we saw, on the far side of the field, two foxes playing in the sunshine.

We met other walkers with dogs ( we missed Hetty) and every now and then sat on one of the many benches overlooking the sea.

The 'buttery' smell of the bracken took me back almost 50 years. was it really so long ago?
In those days  I couldn't swim..and I was determined this time to swim in the sea at Nefyn.

This didn't happen for many reasons, the cool breeze on the beach on one day, the very rough sea another, and what I now know to be a haar on another,  until the last day when we'd cleaned the house and packed everything.
Not quite everything...I still had my cozzy and a towel and a wrap (to get me down the water without exposure!) and one hour before we left I did it!

And this is me on the left!!

There was no breathtaking shivery cold, or slimy seaweed, or pebbles, it was a perfect seaside swim.

Silver silky water, gently rolling as I swam and chatted,  to a couple who were trying to teach their Great Dane to swim with the aid of a life jacket, and when they'd gone, to two girls who paddled a big inflatable canoe right past my eyeline,  they looked as if they were floating on nothingness, the sea was so smooth and silver.

I was  reluctant to get out of the water.
I knew we had to leave and just as I got dry and dressed the 'relief shift' arrived for the second week of cat sitting. The week we should have said 'yes' to!!

So all in all I am now as in love with Nefyn as I was way back.
I felt like crying again when we left.
I want to go again.
I miss the beautiful light, the fabulous sunsets, the glittering sea.

I miss it.


jinxxxygirl said...

I know the sea calls to me.... We live in the central valley, California... the mountains are east and the sea is west... equal distance from us... I love them both.. the mountains and the sea..yet when asked i almost always pick the sea.. almost without thought.. I miss the sea too..... Hugs! deb

Jane S. said...

I know just what you mean! I'm at the coast right now on holiday. It's only 45 minutes from home but it seems a world away. Cool fresh salty air, the sound of the water and the sea birds. I'll drag my heels going back home, for certain.

Virginia said...

Oh, I'm so glad Brian enjoyed it too! Now you will be able to offer to house sit ... regularly! The water looked delicious. That butterfly really surprised me - I was sure it was a child's attempt - what crazy spots!

Fuzzie Fingers said...

Sounds and looks idyllic. How lovely to recapture those happy childhood memories.

Irene Donovan said...

brilliant blog, brought back memories of taking my children, so beautiful around there

Heather said...

What a fantastic post - beautiful pictures, lovely memories, and I am green with envy. Your friend's house is my idea of paradise.
We lived in Cheshire about 50 years ago and had lovely holidays in North Wales when our children were small. Glad you got your swim in the end.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post to read. It sounds like a wonderful place and the cats look adorable :)

Magic Bean said...

You captured the week so well that I can smell the sea, feel the sand and breeze and taste the salt. Wowsers. And what and amazing seagull photo. And that moth!
Hope your tears have dried up, you'll just have to go back again soon, Ax

Gina said...

If ever you are not available to cat sit I'll put my name on the list. It looks glorious.

Rachel said...

I'm not at all surprised you were longing to stay - it looks wonderful!

Julie said...

Perfect, perfect, perfect! You look wonderful!

Thimble Fingers said...

It looks absolutely idyllic Jackie, so glad you enjoyed it and brought back such lovely memories. Thats what holidays are all about.

Thimble Fingers said...

It looks absolutely idyllic Jackie, so glad you enjoyed it and brought back such lovely memories. Thats what holidays are all about.

Susan Christensen said...

Oh, Jackie I enjoyed this post so very much. I too, have summer childhood memories of camping, out in the wilds of Colorado in our case. How wonderful for you to reclaim that absolutely beautiful place. (Too bad about Hettie not getting to come along - I am sure she could have been a great help with the cats)!
best wishes, sus

Kitty said...

Well, you've sold it to me. I want to go. Now! I hope your husband is now a total convert too. Thanks for sharing the loveliness - beautiful photos. x

ferinn said...

What a lovely spot.I remember holidays in North and Mid Wales too.You look to have had a really relaxing time.

Estella Star of the East said...

This looks so beautiful, a whole different England, for sure.

Terri said...

There are still places on earth like that - good to know. You had me spell bound. I'm usually not one to like beachy stuff, I'm more a trees and mountains girl, but you had me there. You should write a book. You have such a lovely cadence, a comfortable style that can be read for a long while. Do think about it...

Sandies' Patch said...

Brings back memories!
In 1976, got sunburnt after falling asleep by the harbour, listening to the mast wires on the yachts/dinghies clinking away.
we had travelled overnight to get there to miss the worst of the holiday traffic and were shattered.
We stayed in a cottage owned by friends of my then boyfirnds' parents, with his brother and parents.
I fell in love with it too but, never been back........maybe one day. xxx

Magpie's Mumblings said...

I think I would have cried too - it looks absolutely idyllic.

Chris H said...

It looks utterly gorgeous there.

Miriam Weaver said...

A lovely post Jackie, glad you got to swim in the sea in the end. The things we could do if we won the lottery , I don't think we'd be saying 'it won't change my life' do you?

Rustic Vintage Country said...

What a fabulous post, I've been totally lost in it. I now want to go there. Off to google in a mo to check it out! x

Kenneth Masheter said...

It was a real pleasure to look after Jewels and Hetty. When you go back, please leave them with us again.

Helen said...

Thank you for such a lovely post - I was living it all with you and your memories of seaside holidays match mine in the 50s and 60s when I was little.
What a smashing week - we have been so lucky with the weather this year - best summer for about 10 years I would say... and I don't even care that it is raining today :-)
Happy days!

Maggi said...

Wonderful post and what a lovely place to be able to spend quality time in.

Aileen Clarke Crafts said...

Hi Jackie. Just caught up with this lovely post about your visit to Nefyn. What a stunning spot to stay in! Funny how we both went back to a place we have loved so much this year and got accommodation with fabulous views! We also visited a beach that the path had worn away on although where there's a will there's a way and we made it down to ours. I cried when I left Dingle this year too. I hope your husband is now converted and will take you back there soon.

My name is Cindy said...

Oh boy. I really want to go there after reading your post and seeing those pictures!! Sounds idyllic - did your OH 'feel it' this time?

st of my pictures can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Dear Anonymous.....

....don't waste your time...I have a spam filter.