Monday, July 28, 2008

Entertaining Children when you live in Anglesey

As with the last blog I have to report that we now have our two youngest grandchildren with us. They are Isabel ( years) and Emelia (6 years). Being younger children than our other grandchildren they need to be found interesting things to do instead of watching TV which Isabel will do indefinitely. As I was forcd to be at home during the replacement of our garage door which gave up the ghost during the bathroom upgrade the girls went swimming with Pauline. They were taken to the Amlwch Leisure Centre pool and they had a marvellous time for several hours. How anyone can still be enjoying a swimming pool after 2 or 3 hours is beyond me. However, the trick worked because Pauline was in the water with them. Involvement is the key.

On Saturday I received a request/suggestion that we take the Welsh Highland Railway from Caernarfon to Rhyd Ddu (pronounced Rid Thee). We drove over, purchased tickets and boarded the train. On board, I asked one of the staff which locomotive was on the train. I was fascinated to learn that it was one of the very first Garratt locos, built in Gorton, Manchester. On the other train that we would pass later along the line was one of the last Beyer Garratt locos to be built. As a railway watcher all my life I became very interested in the line. The ride was excellent. We soon started climbing up through the Snowdonia National Park. Eventually the scenery was nothing short of excellent.

Having driven in Snowdonia over the last 3/4 years I considered it just rocks and scree. But the WHR route takes one through some very beautiful scenery. By Easter 2009 it is planned that the railway will continue through Beddgelert and down into Porthmadog to join the Ffestiniog Railway at Harbour Station. There is already plenty of evidence of the tramway that will pass through Porthmadog to link with the Ffestiniog Railway. When the link is opened it will mark the coming together of two great narrow gauge railways.

My task on Sunday, after travelling over to Rivertown URC to lead worship, was to take the girls to Caernarfon Castle. As I did so I was reminded of the day and a half when I did jury service at the Crown Court by the castle wall. The girls dashed into the castle and immediately started exploring all the passages which run through the great protective walls. Eventually, after visiting two souvenir shops and having their photos taken at strategic points they followed me out through the postern gate of the main gateway which had closed for the day.

Today, Pauline and I had to wait for the fitters to arrive to set up the new window blinds before we could take the girls out again. We eventually drove them over to Hen Blas Country Park near Bodorgan on the island where they could see all the interesting elements of farming. After talking to some of the livestock they found a bouncy castle and that was that for some time. Next they wanted to play crazy golf so Pauline went with them and I wandered off in the opposite direction. My luck was in as the owner came round to tell everyone that he was about to walk the ducks.

This took the form of 3 sheep dogs running round and herding a group of Runner Ducks in the farmyard. They were taken through the face painting room and then out through the mold painting area. Then they were taken up a walkway from which they slid down into a tray of water. This they did several times and then they were driven through a number of coloured hoops held by the visiting children. The finale was to be driven back to their pond where they climbed a ramp and slid into the pond. Next we witnessed the dogs working with a group of 8 sheep. The shepherd explained how the dogs were trained to respond to specific commands and then showed how each animal worked with the sheep. It was fascinating.

Having rejoined my family I was called on to take a ride round the farm on a tractor and trailer. This completed, we got in the car and came home for a well deserved evening mealcooked on the barbecue and eaten in the house as it was threatening rain.

All this effort and no visit to a beach!


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