Thursday, 31 December 2015

St Michael's and Getting Ready for 2016

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.



  1. Well, the church is just beautiful and the village shops just reminds me of Grasmere. My LANs to go to bed have been scuppered by Mr 18. He announced at tea time he's going out into town with a bunch of mates. So now I'm worried sick of all the things that can go wrong and will wait up for him coming in. It's his first ever night out too. He went out without a coat. ( I know I know, old age pensioner brain ) and I have warned him about alcohol poisoning, to stay away from morons and d#%kheads and to leave enough money for the taxi home. Fret fret fret. Bloody new year, bloody young people out enjoying themselves!!!

    Have a great games night X and Happy New Year!

    1. I know what you mean. I'm sure he'll be fine but I'd be worried too if it was one of mine. And you're right, there are some right idiots out there just looking for trouble. I have an emergency £20 in the cupboard just in case Amy ever needs to get a taxi home but doesn't have any money on her. Gives me peace of mind. It's definitely emergency money though. Not just 'I think I'll get a taxi because I can't be bothered waiting for a bus' money. We've just got in from Mums. As yet Thomas hasn't mentioned monopoly but he'll probably remember at midnight! xx

  2. What a delightful place (I was reminded of Grasmere, too, when looking at your pictures) and a wonderful old church.

    Enjoy the last hours of 2015 and wishing you a very happy and healthy New Year.

    1. Thanks Liz. Today has been pretty quiet which is a perfect way to start the New Year I think! Don't think I've ever been to Grasmere, I'll have to have a look at it. xx

  3. Replies
    1. Happy New Year to you and the family, Tess. Hope it's a good one for all of you. xx

  4. such a beautiful place and church. Blimey, no, you wouldn't want to be sat beneath the coffin carrier would you? What if it fell? Death by Coffin Carrier!

    Sorry you didn't find your silly string. I bribed Violet to go to sleep at a normal time, by promising her the jar of party poppers I had in the garage! She was asleep by 9, which is really good for her. Bill and I stayed up, drinking champs and just having a lovely time :O)

    Happy New Year to you :O) xx

    1. Well I definitely wouldn't sit there, not with my luck! Even though it was a silly string-less NY we had lots of party poppers to make up for it. Violet is so good going to bed, Thomas gets away with a lot more because of Amy being older, but as you know sleep is a bit of a problem here as well so staying up til midnight was a piece of cake for him! Hope you've had a lovely NY day. xx

  5. Happy New Year! We did our traditional 'letting in the new year'. It goes back to when I was a kid. I send LH outside just before midnight with bread, salt and money. Supposed to be coal as well but we don't have any of that here. He used to take a bbq briquette with him but we have a gas bbq now so no briquettes, lol. We babysat the grand dog over night. She was good but she kept me awake a lot because she kept trying to get on our bed. Not allowed at our house! Otherwise she was very good. Will be baking a ham later, only 5 of us for supper.

    1. Happy New Year Janice. We used to let the New Year in when we were little and we had to go out the back door and come in the front. I've heard of coal but not the bread, salt and money.

      You've done right to have the 'no dog on bed rule'. Sparky is happy on the landing but Wendy likes to get on and sometimes in the bed. It's like sleeping with a child, she takes up all the room but no matter how much we try to push her off, she stays put.

      Hope you've had a lovely NY day. xx

  6. The church is beautiful! I love visiting towns and taking pictures of older churches and buildings. I also like how you captured the modern designs along with the history behind the church and the area in just a few pictures as it seems that many have forgotten the roots of where designs are from today.

    1. Another church lover here as well Carson. I could spend ages wandering around them. Don't get much chance to do so with the family though, unless one of them decides to give a sermon which buys me a bit of time. xx