Friday, 30 September 2011

Portmeirion Gardens

Portmeirion isn't just about architecture, it has incredible gardens as well.

Well, I don't know if it would technically be more than one, the place is so small.

I had to fight Blogger to get these photos on; I think he's OD'd on photos about now.  Perhaps you have, too.  I think I could look at this a hundred times, me.

 (I'm probably half way there, I've spent so much time grouping these by post).

The bloggers I read tend to be nuts about France and especially Paris.  

They are wonderful, I agree, but I'm more in love with Italy (and Italian food), so Portmeirion pushed all my buttons.

You'd think I was starved for colour the way I responded to this place.

In fact it has been rather a grey summer, though some days were beautiful.  

Sorry, Bill, about the purple flower on your head.  You were just too quick for me!

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It's amazing how much landscaping they managed to squeeze into such a (relatively) small space.

I'm no expert, but this was definitely one of the best lily ponds I've ever seen.

This is a sneak peak at the hydrangeas, but I'll leave them for a while longer.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Weddings and Women

As one might guess, Portmeirion is a popular place to stage a wedding.  I don't mean to sound cynical, but, to me, anything that has to have a rehearsal is a staged event - with costumes even.

I don't know how many times these poor guys had to jump for the photographer.  He didn't seem to be able to capture the moment as he wished.  

I didn't have any trouble at all.   What is jumping in unison supposed to signify anyhow?

Then the other guests started to arrive and I thought I was at a fashion show.  Nude patent leather heels must just fly off the shelves since Kate & Wills marriage.

And yes, they even walk in them, though perhaps not very far.

Completely separate to the wedding, I thought this girl's dress and hat were just adorable.  Bill commented on the extremely practical pram design.

And there is the bride.  I was glad the weather improved for her special day.  

I never noticed the guy with the red hat taking a photo in my direction.  I wonder if I'm incidentally captured on his blog?

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Portmeirion Shopping

Of course there are a number of shops in Portmeirion with all sorts of interesting and attractive stuff.   I really enjoy looking in tourist shops because I know I'm not very likely to buy anything and there is a lot of pretty stuff to look at.  It's just not normally what I need to own.  For example, I had no desire to own anything to do with The Prisoner.

Though, as a fan of hats, Bill enjoyed at least considering a couple.  I was grateful he turned them down.  

One of the main things I noticed about the shops was their use of  bright colours.

They seemed to take a leaf out of the village notebook.   On looking at this again, I get why you would want to hang a coloured jar with a tea-light in it, but why would you want to hang a coloured jug with a cork in the top?

Slate is of course a major export for Wales.  This heart would just match the slate on my roof at home, but I managed to resist.

I'm still collecting shopping bags to use in place of at least some of the plastic, but I don't buy them as a rule.

Kitchen shops have the most interesting gadgets.  Everyone needs a spatula that looks like a fried egg, right?

We have a large collection of teapots from our mothers and we don't even drink that much tea, but the colour of the display made these almost tempting.  I've just spotted that basket.  Glad I missed it when we were there.  Then again, it wouldn't come close to holding my magazines.

I don't know what Bill found this so amusing.  I DO NOT SNORE!

I'd read about these from Frugal Scholar, who hates to peel potatoes.  Here in Britain, these things are called 'exfoliating gloves' and one uses them on one's body, not on the carrots.  I can see that it might sort of work, but I doubt they work well.  I couldn't see the difference between the one for 'carrots' and the one for 'potatoes'.  Can you really imagine changing gloves when you picked up a different vegetable?

And whilst I can just about see exfoliating veggies with these, what would you do with the glove after you'd scraped the skin off a fish?  This is not an idea that appeals to me at all, these gloves.

I've seen these banana bags before and the just out of photo banana transport containers; someone at work got one for a birthday gag gift.

I've never heard of bags for bread or potatoes, though.  I can tell you are are bubble-wrap covered with plastic made into a draw string bag.  I had to leave their vicinity not to pop all the bubbles!

We did have a purpose in here:  we had spotted some luscious looking blackberries on the walk up from the train station and wanted some inexpensive containers.  We found two small 'tupperware' like boxes (meant to hold cupcakes, yeah right) for 99 pence each, surely the cheapest thing in the whole place! 

The only other item that remotely interested me was these large bowls that remind me very much of one I already own that belonged to Grandma.  Aren't they lovely?  Only it turned out they were not pottery but enamelware.  Besides that I already own one or two (dozen) bowls.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

September in Retrospect

My inner clock is never quite ready for this time of year, though in the past it was my favourite:  new school year and all that. My inner clock still thinks it should be about February, so it's no good, is it?  So what have we normally done in September?

Visted neat places, like Featherstone Castle, Las Vegas, Australia, New Lanark, Glasgow, Burradon Pele Tower, Corbridge (twice), and the Literary & Philosophical library (ladies' room).

Celebrated family events such as weddings*, met cousins, and remembered the birthdays of those who have passed

Gardened, uncluttered (I'm still scanning and no, I've not ditched any cookbooks; but neither have I obtained any more!), cooked, crafted (experimented), dealt with renters/managers (new ones moving in soon, after only one year). 

Written about things I really liked from the telly, like Trains in India, The Guinea Pigs' Drinking Club, How to Sleep Better.

Enjoyed my photo collections

Written about my early travel experiences and what I like about living here with Bill.  *Here I will make a confession.   Today Bill and I celebrate our first wedding anniversary.  This being my third marriage and me being completely petrified about what the heavy chains of the state's legal arrangements might do to my practically perfect relationship of 13 years, I did my best to pretend nothing happened.  Almost no one but Bill begins to understand my behaviour, but that's OK; they didn't get married.  But we did and ... so far so good, in fact just the same only a little better and I'm endlessly pleased to be able to say that.  I plan to continue to largely ignore the legal stuff and just enjoy being with Bill like always.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Portmeirion Woods

Beyond the village, beyond the hotel, is a woodland trail.  There were two options and we chose the short, not being dressed for all-weather walking. 

I love, love, love forest trails.  Surely one of my previous lives found me living in a woodland cottage or maybe I was a faerie; or maybe it's just human nature to be drawn to such places.   I don't actually believe in faeries or multiple lives, but I can tell you that all my senses were fizzing.

It seemed to me that the walk had something special to experience about every 100 metres. 

Bill thought I was slightly crackers but I was overwhelmed by this place. 

Even he was a bit surprised when I found the 'wishing trees'.  

Then there was this make-believe light house.

Every now and then there was a glimpse of the beach, but I'm not showing you that just yet.

There weren't just trees and moss, but also loads and loads of hydrangeas, but I'm not going there now either.

Looking back, I sort of which we'd taken the longer walk, but at the time we had yet to fully explore the magic of Portmeirion village.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Portmeirion in Colour

Did you ever watch the TV series, The Prisoner?  It was filmed in a small village called Portmeirion in Wales.

I remember seeing it as a child and I remember what Patrick McGoohan looked like, but for some reason I remember it in black and white, even though I know we had a colour TV by 1967. 

Aside from the beach scenes with the big chewing gum balloon, I only remember him being indoors. 

Even the trash bins are painted pretty.

So all the weirdness and wonders of Portmeirion were lost on me. 

 Well, not any more. 

This is an old fashioned petrol pump!

 I took nearly 200 photos of the place. 

We couldn't decide what this was about...

You have no idea how much I've dithered over which ones to show you. 

Another lamp for my collection!

So I'm just going to show you them all (just kidding, sort of.)

The first thing I did upon arriving was find a shop that sold batteries for my camera. 

It was as though I had to make up for lost time! 

That and, I think you will agree, it is a place made to be photographed. 

Kodak will have made a fortune off this place.  I'm really glad I didn't see it before digital technology or I might have gone bankrupt. 

I found the place both beautiful and a little unsettling.  Unsettling because of its beauty and surprises, but also I think because the scale of things is wrong.  Very grand architecture has been shrunk to a more human scale which both gives it a cozier but also a very dollhouse feeling.   Part of the slight creepiness might be down to the association with The Prisoner, but I'm wondering if the place lent itself to the eeriness of the show. 

It is very Italian in design, Mediterranean in the colours, surreal in the use of tromp-l'oeil.    Things aren't really quite what they seem at first.  After a while you begin to look at things a little harder.

Seen straight on, this looks like a statue.  Instead, it is a flat piece of painted metal.

See this nice cottage - probably available to rent?  Nice windows, eh?

Except those two on the right aren't really windows,
they're just painted to look like windows.

It will be ages before I see anything turquoise without remembering turquoise wrought iron. 

I found they way they used the vivid purple quite surprising.  Pity we couldn't do that here at home.

Orange was everywhere.

Not to mention pink

or yellow.

See what I mean?

It's not very big.  We went through the whole place before we stopped for lunch.  Then the sun came out and everything was even more beautiful so I had to go back and take more photos of it all in sunshine. 

I think Bill was happier when my camera batteries were dead.

You can see much of the place for yourself here:,31.96,70.0