Wednesday, 13 July 2011

June - mid July 2011

I have a good excuse for being late with my blog entry this time! Alan and I went on a cruise around the Baltic Sea throughout the first half of June. We had been on a river cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow about six years ago, but we particularly wanted to visit Tallinn in Estonia. Estonia is about one-third the size of England and includes 800 islands and twice as many lakes. It lies in the Gulf of Finland, some 50 miles from Helsinki and less than 500 miles from the Arctic Circle, as the crow flies. Luckily, the weather was sunny every day and we even a heat wave in Finland.
In Tallinn, there is a castle on top of a 150 ft hill, built as a defensive fortress in 1229. The picture is of Tall Hermann, a 150 foot tower, standing on the edge of a high ravine. The walls are 10 ft. thick and the top floors were even heated so that they could be used as a sanctuary in case of attack, while prisoners were kept in the dungeons at the lowest levels.

As Estonia is surrounded on all sides by different powers, it is only since August 1991 that it has gained its independence for the first time! In spite of huge apartments being built by the Russians to house their military there, they managed to make sure that their culture and language survived. Proof of this was seen this week with their beautifully dressed choir competing at our National music Festival at Llangollen. Countries from all over the world travel here during the first week of July each year

Our young guide told us about how their previous president, Arnold Ruutel, who was quite elderly, refused to speak only Estonian. However, as George Bush was coming on a visit, he agreed to learn a few pleasantry greetings in English like “How do you do”. As he stepped forward to shake George Bush’s hand, he said “How do you do, who are you”!

We were invited to a very nice evening at the Valley Hotel which Menter Mon had arranged, with Tudur Owen, our local popular comedian as entertainment. This event was to show Menter Môn’s appreciation to lots of us who have done voluntary work over the last few years in conjunction with the Anglesey Walking Festival. Over 1,500 people took part in the various organised walks, many of them from outside Wales. Not only do local people get to see and learn about our island, but also tourists, some arranging their holiday specifically to coincide with the festival. This festival contributes a lot to our tourism trade therefore. All of us sincerely hope, that in spite of the cut backs, funding can found to organise as usual the walking festival again next year.

Our local Welsh Literary Society had arranged a coach trip to Llangollen. We visited the Heritage Centre in the village and had lunch there. A lady gave us an excellent talk on the centre and then we were shown around the small museum they had on the first floor.
Alan and I were surprised to see the door knocker from the surgery of Hugh Owen Thomas, the orthopaedic surgery in Liverpool. He was descendant from the well- known family of gifted bonesetters from Anglesey. In the 18th century, a shipwreck occurred on the coast of Llanfairynghornwy. The only survivor was a young Spanish boy. He was taken in and adopted by a childless farming couple with the surname of Thomas, so he was given the same surname. It became obvious, that he had a gift for re-setting dislocated bones on animals. Then farmers in the area started coming to him for treatment. His descendants became renowned as orthopedic surgeons in Liverpool. Many from Anglesey would specifically ask to be referred to them for a consultation.

My cousin, Dr. Ken Roberts, has researched their history in depth, having been doing orthopedic consultations himself at Ysbyty Gwynedd before he retired as a G.P. He has a most created a most interesting presentation on their history, which he gives to various societies around Anglesey. The photograph is of me and Ken taken in near Corwen, by the site reputed to be Owain Glyndwr’s residence. This was another interesting history day I enjoyed.

I had a lovely surprise during this month. I had been e-mailing Arwel Evans, the Public Rights of Way Officer for Ynys Môn to ask him for a flat resting stone to be placed by the footpat on the Llanfaelog side of Llyn Maelog. I sent him a picture of the stone I’d like and a suggested site to place it on. Mrs. Rosemary Phillipedes, had already kindly given me her permission to have such a stone placed on her land. It was such a pleasant surprise therefore, to see such a stone having been placed where I’d suggested. Thank you Arwel!
Older people like me are encouraged to walk as much as we can, but we do need resting points. Thankfully, we can now sit and admire the beautiful view that is to be had across Llyn Maelog towards Rhosneigr.