Betws y Coed is a village in Snowdonia National Park with a population of around 600 people. At the village primary school children are taught Welsh until Year 2, then English is introduced. Consequently, most people speak Welsh and English or a mixture of both at once, which is fascinating to hear.
In the centre of the village is St Mary's church. We didn't go inside, one church visit per holiday is more than enough for everybody else and I desperately wanted to see St Michael's so didn't want to push my luck. It's beautiful though isn't it.
Behind this row of shops is the train station. There are gift shops, tea rooms and a fantastic fish and chip shop. I remember this definitely being here last time we visited but I don't remember it being as big or having as many shops.
They certainly like to do fancy things with their recycling in Betws y Coed. This is a Christmas tree made from empty drinks bottles.
The river Conwy runs through the village and it's hard to convey on a photo but the scenery is beautiful.
The high Street is made up of gift shops, cafes, clothes shops, hotels, B&B's and outdoor clothing and sports shops. It's the main road in and out and because of that unfortunately, it's a very busy road. Which is a shame because occasionally in between the businesses there's the odd little cottage that is somebody's home.
This is the little church of St Michael's. It's the oldest building in the village and dates from the 14th century, although is was enlarged in 1843. It's not big now, so it must have been really small to start with. Although it was declared redundant in 1996 the church has not been de-consecrated and there is a continuous programme of restoration and conservation that takes place through a Trust.
Mark managed to make out some dates on these gravestones. A lot of them had 1700's on them but the information booklet says some date from the early 1600's.
The church inside is very small and not at all ornate, but it's simplicity just adds to its beauty. The only services held now are on St Michael's Day and there is a carol service at Christmas.
I'd never have figured this out but this is a coffin carrier. It used to be stored in the vestry but they've hoisted it up into an alcove for safe keeping. Not sure I'd be happy sat on one of the pews underneath it.
Thomas decided to hold a sermon. He tried to read the Bible but it was either in Latin or Welsh so he made it up as he went along. He did pretty well actually. Sunday School obviously made an impact.
Having dropped the key back at the railway museum I popped into a little cafe and bought myself a couple of Welsh Cakes. After all what would a trip to Wales be without trying these. They were delicious and I think I'll have a go at making them myself.
This morning I spent a lovely couple of hours having coffee with friends, then I did a bit of shopping in Middleton. I wanted silly string for tonight but couldn't find any much to my disappointment. I like a bit of silly string silliness on New Years Eve.
Wendy had a bath this afternoon so she's going to start 2016 smelling a bit nicer than she did in 2015.
We're going to see Mum for an hour later on and Amy is going to a party but she wants to come home at 11.45 to see the New Year in with us. Thomas really wants to stay up. He likes the crazy Auld Lang Syne dance that we all do at midnight and I must admit I like seeing the New Year in myself these days. After having the HA it makes me feel blessed I've another year under my belt.
Anyway, party blowers, poppers, masks and monopoly, (Thomas' choice of board game|), are at the ready. I'll put a few nibbles on the table to make it feel more partyish for him as well, not that he'll eat any.
And then we'll sit and wait for it to happen.
Whatever your plans are for tonight, I hope you all enjoy yourselves.