We checked in with no problems and made our way to the departure gate. We were flying Ryan Air again with priority boarding which as mentioned before was well worth the extra 3 pound. It was another full plane, we found seats at the front of the plane and settled in while the rest of the passengers fought over who sat where down the back. There were about 3 rows of seats behind us and across the plane that had their trays down and temporary paper signs saying “reserved”. I lost count of how many people tried to sit in them before an attendant came and told them to move right along. I’m not sure why the seats were like that but no one sat in them for the flight and I wonder if in fact they were a sort of “barrier” between the priority boarding people who obviously grabbed the front seats, and the rest of the passengers, a sort of class distinction. Who knows.
I took this photo for my nephew Leighton as we took off, he loves anything to do with maps, roads, roundabouts, flyovers and interchanges. I can’t see that they’ll have one like this in Napier any time soon.
The flight to Manchester was only 55 minutes, a very short flight for us in the whole scheme of things. Oh how great it would be to live in the UK and/or Europe and know that so many wonderful places are but a short plane flight away. Out over the Irish Sea somewhere and in between the broken cloud I spotted hundreds of what looked like power poles in the water running in dozens of straight lines, I kept seeing them and it wasn’t until we had dropped height a little bit that I realised they were wind turbines. I suppose they are less of a blot on the landscape being out at sea but still it’s such a shame to have this visual pollution out in the middle of nowhere.
Peter was waiting to collect us at Manchester and then we only had about an hour’s drive before we were back in the tiny familiar Welsh village of Sychdyn, tucked up in the warmth of their house reacquainting ourselves with Maddie and having a nice cup of tea! We were looking forward to the next few days, especially being able to sleep in a little and not have to rush to get anywhere. Being on the move all the time has certainly taken its toll this trip. In fact we didn’t leave the house much at all for the first four or five days except to visit the weekend market in Mold and a car boot sale in a local carpark. The rest of the time we relaxed, took Lollie(the dog) for walks around the village, played with Maddie and caught up with all that had been happening over the last few months with Peter and the bike business.
Mold’s Saturday market- your typical range of crappy junk in amongst the veges and flowers.
I managed to get rid of a whole lot of shrapnel on this stall- 50p a bag. David was in 7th heaven for awhile reminiscing about all the sweets that he used to buy when he was a boy and that weren’t available in NZ.
A cold and crisp early morning boot sale near the village, not much to buy, it had been well picked over by the time Peter & I got there. Sophie had already been down to it, on the look out for children’s books and toys. She had picked up some great bargains over the months and can’t get over how good the condition of things are that people are selling and how little they want for them. Both Pete and Soph commented on how it’s like people are a little embarrassed to be selling like this. They don’t quite know how much they should be asking and are a little reluctant to push things, and they tend to accept whatever you offer. Mum you would have a ball, us Kiwis are definitely not boot sale virgins!!
I thought I’d better buy something to remind me of our time with Pete & Sophie and I spotted this on a small table. Now I know it’s not Welsh, it’s Corso de’ Fiori from Italy, which as some of you know is what I have collected over many years. It was perfect and it matches my main pattern at home. I’m guessing it was purchased as a souvenir from the Corso factory, it’s only about 5 inches high so you can’t use it, more for decorative purposes only. I asked how much they wanted for it and the lady said “Oh, I don’t know……what do you think?......50p, would that be OK?” I see what Pete and Sophie mean! So I got it for 50p and I was very pleased, small enough to wrap and take home safely too.
There are plenty of public walkways and bridle paths all around the village and across the countryside.
A lot pass through private land and I always feel a little like I’m trespassing when I’m walking across someone’s field especially when some of the crop rows have been flattened by the many feet that must pass by. It's worse when you also have a dog in tow, especially a big dog with big feet! They build some great Bailey bridges to cross streams though. We had to be careful to not lose our bearings when out walking which is actually quite easy to do when there are so many paths criss-crossing here and there.
The entrance to Soughton Hall which is just a couple of miles down the road, we came here for lunch in late winter when we first delivered Pete and Soph to their new home. These trees were bare with an interesting jumble of tangled branches towards the base. They were beautiful then and I’d have to say they looked great in their autumn colours too.
I hadn't done any serious shopping at all during the weeks away and time was fast running out. I had a request from home to get some children’s clothing from Primark so Sophie, Maddie & I made a trip to Wrexham (Wales) one afternoon. Whenever I hear the name Wrexham it makes me smile, I want to say “wrexham, bloody near kills him” . It always takes forever to make your way around a Primark store especially some of the bigger city ones, checking all and sundry especially when you're buying for 7 children of varying ages but in the end I got some good bargains and managed to spend equally on everyone Maddie is such a good wee girl, she sleeps in her pushchair or car seat so it’s no problem having her along and fitting into her routine of eat, sleep, poop, eat, sleep, poop. We had lunch and a nappy change at a pub in town and then made our way back to the car.
Wrexham high street-
Now all I had to do was fit all this extra clothing in our luggage...........along with Sophie's purchases, she had bought Christmas presents for family back home. No problem............I hope!