The run of good weather has faltered and we awoke this morning to grey skies and drizzle. Nothing daunted, we started out on what is intended to be a bus day. Heading into town for breakfast, we walked along the canal, accompanied by a paddling duck. I was surprised how far he went and with such determination. His speed was less than walking pace so we stopped from time time time to let him catch up.
We were making for the Forest House, a Wetherspoon’s pub, for breakfast. Perhaps the weather will clear up while we are inside. Either way breakfast will make us feel better!
We are told that the Forest House is the surviving part of a fine Georgian mansion built for a rich citizen around 1759 by architect Sir Robert Taylor, who also has the Bank of England to his credit. Much of the extensive dwelling has been demolished but enough remains to hint at its original splendour.
After breakfast, the rain had stopped and there was blue sky and even a glimmer of sunlight. A short walk later, we boarded a bus to Wrexham and there, we chose another for Llangollen. The driver, however, steadfastly refused to acknowledge our rail and bus rover tickets even when shown the information pamphlet. These hiccups arise when information filters only slowly through the system.
Instead we boarded a bus for Denbigh. We assumed the bus would terminate in that town but it in fact changed route in the course of the journey so we nearly missed the destination. (Changing number and route is another sneaky trick of local bus services that you need to watch out for.)
We got off the bus and walked up the hill towards the town centre. The day had warmed and so when we came across the Secret Garden cafe and gift shop we went in. The name gives no indication of the nature of the place. It is really a garden furniture shop with a cafe. The chairs and benches you sit on, and everything around you, are all for sale.
Tigger was much taken by the tame rabbit that was collecting mouthfuls of grass and carrying them away to make a nest. I tried to photograph it as it raced past but it was just a blur. I’ve never seen a rabbit move as fast!
We were told that there is a 1950s museum in Denbigh and that we could get to it by a short cut. We set out up the steep Bull Lane towards the ruined castle.
It was now so hot that we decided to rest on the grass in the shade of some trees and perhaps explore the museum on another occasion.
As you might expect, the view from the castle hill was extensive, revealing a Lilliputian world stretching to the distant hills, lit by patches of sunlight between the shadows of the clouds.
Walking down the hill , we came to the 13th century Burgess Gate, once the principal entry into the town. Can you see the pigeon, trying to remain unnoticed on his ledge?
From Denbigh we took a bus to Rhyl. This was quite a long journey and there wasn’t much leg room, so we were glad to arrive. We set out to look for lunch.
We soon found that Rhyl seemed to be closed. Every cafe or restaurant we encountered displayed the word "Closed". This is odd, considering it was not yet 3 pm. Eventually, we came upon Harker’s Corner Cafe which has a play area for children. The food was simple and straightforward. Good enough.
After lunch we went for an exploratory walk. There is a funfair on the seafront and the usual seaside amusement arcades but many places were closed or not working.
The broad beach was virtually deserted despite the sunshine and the heat, perhaps because the tide was out and the sea far away.
Overall, there is a half-hearted air about the place, as if the participants have given up and are waiting for it to fall apart. It’s hard to see what could inject more life into the place.
Once more we took the bus, this time to Flint. This too was a long journey by bus. Ever and anon the bus departs from the direct route to serve towns and villages off the main track.
Flint has a ruined castle, unusually at the edge of the sea, and we went for a look. Flint also has a railway station but as this is a bus day, we will not be availing ourselves of its services. When we checked the time of the next bus, we found we had an hour to wait. We therefore set out to find somewhere where we could have supper.
Unfortunately, Flint is the sort of place that closes down at 5:30, with the exception of the odd fish and chips bar and, of course, the pubs. The pubs, though, do not serve food in the evenings, if at all. Finally, we had recourse to The Swan where a sympathetic barmaid served us a drink and a packet of crisps each. Not quite the supper I was hoping for.
Keeping a careful eye on the clock, we presented ourselves at the bus stop opposite The Swan in time for the 19:46 bus to Chester. It is always a good idea to get to the stop ahead of time as buses often arrive early and don’t wait.
The journey back to Chester was quite pleasant and it was still daylight when we arrived. Our way to the hotel took us through the centre of town and we stopped off at the Coach House for a proper supper.
Then we continued through town, stopping here and there, as interesting sights presented themselves, until we reached the canal and followed the tow path to City Road where our hotel is situated.
Today we visited Wrexham but merely to change buses. We made the acquaintance of Denbigh, Rhyl and Flint. I cannot say that any of these towns impressed me particularly but I do not want to be too negative, given that our visits were short.
Travelling and seeing the country is also an end in itself and we certainly did that today. In fact, I feel more immersed in the country this time than on previous trips to Wales. Whatever the effects of individual towns, the country as a whole has made a new and positive impression on me.