A cream tea and a castle

Yesterday was my second outting of the weekend, and I took my friend to Ruthin Castle in Clwyd. Usually when we go into Wales we go along the coast, visiting Llandudno, Conwy and more recently Anglesey. I was a little concerned that Ruthin wouldn’t have the natural beauty that we love. Boy was I mistaken.

Ruthin is in an area of outstanding natural beauty: you are surrounded by hills and vales and woodland. The town, although we didn’t visit it as such, is quaint and picturesque.

Ruthin Castle Hotel stands at the edge of the town and you enter under an impressive arched gateway. As you drive up, the medieval ruins of the castle are on your righthand side, tempting you to walk around the hotel’s extensive grounds.

The hotel itself, although more modern, still retains an air of grandeur and certain parts of it still look like a castle with their beautiful red brick. Inside, the hotel is luxuriously decorated and befitting it’s description: unfortunately on this occasion, we were not staying the night.

We were taken to Bertie’s restaurant and whilst I was initially dismayed as I booked the library bar, we were not disappointed. We were sat near a beautiful window, draped with heavy rich curtains. The window was open, allowing a delightful breeze to enter and a chance to see the pretty gardens below. The restaurant itself was tastefully decorated and had some stunning chandeliers.

View from Bertie’s Restaurant, courtesy of my friend
Courtesy of my friend

The afternoon tea consisted of four tasty finger sandwiches each, a warm scone with jam and cream and a selection of four mini cakes. We had a raspberry delice cube, a mini peanut butter eclair, coffee cake and bakewell tart.

The sandwiches were delicious. The scone, perhaps not as light as I would I have liked, was served with ample jam and cream. By this point, we were pretty full so were pleased that the remaining cakes were just bigger than bitesize. The peanut butter eclair was surprisingly tasty and sweet: unfortunately the choux pastry was quite dense and perhaps had been made a little while. The bakewell was nice, the delice was amazing despite looking a little like thick pate on toast. The coffee cake was dry and tasteless apart from the little piping of coffee flavoured buttercream.

We could have as much tea and coffee as we wanted and you could not fault the service and the setting. At £17.50 each though, I think that this is what we were paying for rather than the food itself. It was nice but not excessively so – I’ve paid less for better.

After eating we changed our footwear and had a walk around the grounds. The hotel is beautifully situated and the gardens are pretty.

We particularly liked the Italian garden built in the ruins of the old castle. There were some truly stunning views, perfect for a summer’s day.

Ruthin Castle Hotel is definitely worth a visit and my friend and I plan to come again and stay. I don’t think we would have the afternoon tea again as we didn’t think it was worth the price but I have high hopes that other food there would be delicious.

Puppy. Walking. 

Nope, I haven’t made a typo. Today’s post is about two different things. 

Yesterday was another fantastic day out with my friend, this time to Wales (yes, this holiday we have done the Lake District, Yorkshire Dales, Liverpool and Wales!). 

Admittedly, and very very wrongly, I thought that Llandudno was the sort of seaside resort that I try to avoid – tacky shops etc. It is a beautiful place. 

We got there early and the drizzly rain had chased us south. We made our way to the team station that was to take us up, up, up to the Great Orme. The views across the bay are stunning and although the cold wind caught my breath on a number of occasions it is worth every cold second of it. 

The Llandudno tram

At the very top of the Orme is a car park for those who trust their driving and handbrake enough to drive. There is also a café and gift shop and a cable car which takes you to the outdoor sports centre. And after that there is beautiful hills and slopes, heather and broom and miles of glorious views to enjoy. 

View from the Great Orme towards Conwy

We carefully walked down one slope and sat with our backs against a dry stone wall eating sandwiches in the drizzly rain. My friend was apologetic about the weather – I loved every second of it. I loved watching the rain clouds drift in from the sea, gently dissolving the mountains in its mists. I loved watching the sunlight peak out from the clouds and twinkle on the sea. I loved the delicious cheese and ham sandwich in crusty bread and a hot coffee from the cafe. 

Once we had eaten and laughed at the damp seats of our trousers from the wet grass, we went off to explore. Every new uphill slope seemed to give a new view and although my legs were aching and I was alarmingly out of breath, I struggled on not wanting to miss any of it. 

Eventually, we saw a little church and cemetery below us, a place even my friend had not visited before. The way down did not seem too arduous so off we went. 

The church of St Tudno is gorgeous.  We said a silent prayer for our loved ones and gave a donation in thanks to those who choose to leave this beautiful and historic building open for intrigued visitors like us. 

The way back was tough. I am not fit and had to stop numerous times but I wasn’t the only one and it was worth it. We (I) rested at the top of the Orme and I contemplated another wonderful morning. 

The tram back down was still bitterly cold but the sun had come out which gave us news views to admire. The tram driver was pretty cute too (sorry, but had to be said). We walked through the town with its myriad of shops and architecture that I wasn’t expecting. 

The pier is pretty, full of tourists and what you would expect from a seaside resort. I admired the views – as always – but the busy pier is not my cup of tea. We left soon after and made a short drive to Conwy. 

I love Conwy. The castle is stunning – my favourite – and the town is pretty. 

As with all our other road trips, the success of the day came from the beautiful places, the opportunity to exercise and stop and admire, and the chance to chat. Very therapeutic and I highly recommend it. 

We naturally talked about our love lives – or lack of them – and my separation. 

I haven’t mentioned the outcome of my conversations with Jay mentioned in my previous posts. There has certainly been a pattern of him disappearing and reappearing periodically. I still enjoy speaking to him and am disappointed to report that the promised phone call over the weekend has once again not transpired.  My friend and I talked about the need to not pin hopes (not matter how small they are) and excitement on one bloke. My analogy is that it’s like when you have an old dog – you buy a puppy to help with the pain of your loss. I know it’s not quite the same but for the past week or so I have been puppy shopping. 

I’ve not had a great deal of luck. One promising chat soon turned to naked pictures on Kik and I said my thanks and goodbyes and quickly blocked. Another, who was pretty cute and single, also turned into a monologue sexual fantasy of what he would do if I was with him.  I again, quickly stopped that in its tracks and blocked. 

I’d hoped that during the day yesterday that Jay would be in contact. When he didn’t, I decided to give the chat site one last chance. 

Better luck last night, of a sort anyway. Three men who seemed really nice. Two turned out to be married, unfortunately, which is disappointing. It is scary how many married men are on those sites.  Some are definitely after hook-up whilst others just want flirty and sexual chat.  I think that most wives would agree with me that neither is acceptable so I regrettably move on regardless of their intentions. 

The last one didn’t ask for my photo, didn’t ask what I looked like and we just chatted. He ended the chat early evening saying he was tired but at this point my attention was still taken with the what would turn out to be husbands. 

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when he text me and asked if I had slept well. We had a little Kik chat and it turns out that he is single, has two teenage girls and a job. His conversation is honest and interesting. He hasn’t asked for a photo yet and I was the one who broached the marital status, not him. Interesting. I think I may have found my next puppy. 

Please understand, I have no intention of stringing a number of men along unfairly. I’m just enjoying chatting to different people whilst getting to know them and trying to understand their intentions and situations. It’s fun though. 

What wasn’t fun is the one man I was chatting to earlier in the evening. It was going well until he asked what I liked like. As always, I gave an honest description. He then decided to tell me that ‘to be honest, most men only like slim women’. How rude!!!! I told him that women, slim or not, don’t like shallow idiots and blocked him.  Definitely not a puppy – more a confidence eating wolf.