We’ll Keep A Welcome in the Hillside

So say the opening lines of that well-known Welsh anthem, as we woke up this morning, after a nice quiet night, in Holyhead, Wales.

Holyhead is the largest town in Anglesey and is known mainly as a busy ferry port.  It therefore has a rich maritime history and some lovely beaches and coastal walks, and we were looking forward to exploring.  We hadn’t booked any excursions this time, preferring instead to do our own thing.

The weather, once again, was dry but there were a few clouds in the sky, and we couldn’t quite decide whether it was going to be sunny or whether we’d have a continuation of yesterday’s rain.

After breakfast, we disembarked the Adonia and took a gentle stroll into town to see what was on offer.  We spotted a former lifeboat station that was now serving as a maritime museum and, because I am fascinated by all things nautical, we went inside for a look around.

The lifeboat station which now houses the museum was built in 1858 and contains a fascinating look at the nautical history of Holyhead, its famous ships and shipwrecks, wartime stories (including an air-raid shelter below the museum) as well as fossils of seals and whales and even a woolly mammoth to which they’d given the good old Welsh name “Myfanwy”.

We spent about an hour and a half in the museum before deciding to walk into the town and have a look around the shops.  By this time the sun was out (hooray!) although there was still quite a sea breeze blowing.

As we wandered into the pedestrianised area towards the shops, we heard the sound of music and we soon came across its source; a music and dance display by a local dance school.  The dancers were all youngsters, from teenagers down to little kids of eight or nine, and they treated us to a display of ballet, tap, hip-hop and street dancing, as well as some traditional Welsh folk dances while wearing national costume.  It was an enjoyable bit of ad hoc entertainment.

We looked around the shops and I bought a few postcards to send; we didn’t buy anything else because, like most British seaside towns, the shops were full of holiday ‘tat’.  So we just window-shopped before deciding to go for a drink and write out the postcards.  For this purpose, the local Conservative Club was situated nearby and the drinks prices were reasonable.

We had a couple of drinks each before emerging out into the street again, where we discovered that there had been a shower of rain.  After looking in a few more shops we decided to go back to the ship for our lunch.  There wasn’t really all that much to see in Holyhead; I think it’s a ferry port to take people away from the place, although it’s pleasant in its own quiet way.   🙂

Back on the Adonia we enjoyed our lunch on the open decks at the rear of the Conservatory, then we decided to go back to our cabin for a post-luncheon nap and a potter about.

Around 3.00pm my mobile phone started ringing, and I wondered who would be calling me on my holidays.  It turned out to be the agency for whom I am currently doing contract work; I work in IT technical support and have been contracting ever since I was made redundant from my permanent job in March 2011.  Why were they calling me?

I soon found out.  During the first week we were away on holiday there had been some restructuring and a change of circumstances at the company I am working for, and the agency were calling to say that they were bringing forward my contract end date from 25th October to 25th June !!!  I had been sacked at sea!    😦

This was certainly through no fault of mine, it was just that the situation had changed in the Korean company and I, as a contractor and therefore hourly paid, was on the receiving end of a cost-cutting exercise.  I must admit I was not very happy that they’d decided to impart the news to me in the middle of my cruise!  I would have to try not to let it spoil the rest of my week.

Later that evening, in the Pacific restaurant, we enjoyed a good meal and it was nice to see that my appetite had fully returned after my stomach bug yesterday.  We wanted to finish our meal and be along in the Curzon lounge in good time for tonight’s entertainment, as we knew we were in for a treat.

The cabaret artiste tonight was Anthony Stuart Lloyd, a bass-baritone classical singer who (as I’ve previously mentioned) we’d seen on the Queen Mary 2 in 2010 and the Balmoral in 2012.  He really is very good and we enjoyed his repertoire very much; in fact I ended up buying his CD, which he signed for me.

Then we ended the evening as we usually have done this cruise; up to the Conservatory for the syndicate quiz.  As usual, Charlie and Linda joined us, and another couple (I don’t know their names) joined us too, to make up the maximum team size of six.  We won with 18/20, and cracked open a bottle of house white wine, which the other couple declined as they were off to bed.  🙂

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