Saturday, 11 June 2011

Being Taken Up The Orme

Here in the UK we don’t get sunshine all that often. Not proper good burn yourself sunshine like you might get in more exotic climates. We get our wishy washy sun most of the time and that is it. However, occasionally we get some really good hot sunny days and then it happens. Some animal instinct kicks in and we are aware that the concrete jungle is not where we want to be. We want the smell of the sea, the sounds of people moaning about being shat on by a seagull, and the aroma of greasy fish and chips wafting up our nostrils. This all happened to me two weeks ago when the sun starting cracking the flags and I felt the pull off the sea (well the fish & chips really) and felt a desire to visit the seaside.

Now I know most people think of Liverpool as a place where we spend our days roaming around in our shell suits, with a giro burning a hole in our pockets, telling people to calm down, whilst struggling to carry all of the hubcaps we have a compulsion to steal. While this is actually true for the minority we are actually a cultured place, famed for our music, football, comedy, and men who stop the rapture by wanking – and we are of course a costal city – and as such have some lovely beaches, with hardly any floating shit in the sea and proper sand, none of that gravelly shit they have in Tenerife!

However, I got a deeper yearning – a yearning to relive a bit of my youth – a youth where I spent my holidays in North Wales, places like Talacre, Rhyl, Betws-y-coed, Conwy and Llandudno. Now I have always been a big fan of the letter L, especially when it is next to another L (phwooaaarr) and so I decided my destination would be Llandudno. I called my mate Roz who was well up for going so I set off in the car and picked her up. Then she dropped her bombshell – she wanted us to climb The Great Orme – which in case you don’t know is a huge hill. Now I’m not really an exercise person but I’m prepared to give these things a go. Plus I knew that Fish & Chips would appear on the menu at some point during the day so I agreed we would – these words would come back to haunt me!

Anyway that was later on in the day. Firstly we got to Llandudno and I parked miles (realistically maybe a mile) away from the pier as we thought we would struggle for space so we set off on a nice leisurely walk to the pier. Two things hit us immediately – one that there were a lot of old people around (thus making me feel like a teenager) and two there is a shop somewhere that is doing a roaring trade in Beige clothing – I cannot believe how many people we saw wearing some beige clothing – in fact it became a bit of a game for us to try to take a picture of everyone we saw wearing beige. A game we had to quickly give up when Roz’s camera batteries were about to run out! There must have been hundreds of the Beige Brigade around!

Anyway after deftly avoiding some classic car show – with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in it! – and ignoring the screeching noise of Punch & Judy! We made it to the pier. Things haven’t changed on Llandudno Pier – there are still arcades, still go karts, still a fortune teller (who has inevitabley done readings for stars such as “TV’s Peggy from Hi-De-Hi, “Crossroads” Amy Turtle, “Singer” Arthur Mullard and “Comedian” Tom O’Connor) and the biggest guarantee of all – 3 shops selling lots of Country & Western cassettes/CDs who without a shadow of a doubt will have a tape playing either an obscure C&W artist or a set from an Irish Comedian you have never heard of, telling jokes your Dad would be ashamed to tell! It didn’t put us off though – we walked to the end of the pier taking in the sites – even pondering for a number of minutes why a man who was fishing off a 40ft concrete platform at the end of the pier would need to be wearing waders?!?!?!

Anyhoos we did the pier and The Great Orme was next on the agenda – now there was a problem that had developed during the course of the day – that problem was my trainers (or traineeeees if you are a fully fledged Scouser like me) - they were trying to slice my toes off. You see I had washed them in a hot wash in the machine and they had shrunk – so much so that I had lost feeling in one foot. We therefore had to do some impromptu footwear shopping. Do you know what I ended up buying the comfiest pair of pumps ever for £7 (God Bless Peacocks!) but this meant I was now ready for the challenge. There are a few ways to reach the top of the Orme – there are Cable Cars, buses, and a tram. We decided to walk. I thought it wouldn’t be a problem because as unfit as I am I can still walk for miles without any strain on me. However, this is a very steep hill (some might say [exaggerate] mountain) to climb. I was a quarter of the way up before we had to stop while I had my first heart attack. Not even halfway up when my 2nd heart attack came – though on this breathing break we were treated to a woman trying and failing to drive up the hill which caused much wheezy laughter from me. We carried on and reached the halfway point over looking the dry ski slope when I had yet another heart attack, before I was forced to carry on again. About 2/3 of the way up I needed another break as my lungs had now also ganged up on me. I was ready to give up when a family of 2 adults and 2 small children started STROLLING up the hill like it was a flat walk – I was forced to carry on. Every slope we got over I was assured we were right near the top – 5 times we crossed an horizon only to see another one up ahead.

To cut a long story short 6 heart attacks later we reached the top. What did we do while we were up there? Fuck all – had a drink, took some photos and then when I had my body back under control we headed down. Guess what – we took the tram! I thoroughly enjoyed this. Not least because there was a woman who looked the spitting image of Tubbs from The League Of Gentlemen on the tram with us.

Anyway we reached the bottom, and that meant one thing – fish & chips time! We went to a chippy that I was last in maybe 16 years ago and it was still exactly the same. It must have been a popular chippy because it was full of people…..wait a minute did I say people? I actually meant flies! But fuck it we were both starving & I had ordered the food so we took it anyway. Do you know what it tasted bloody gorgeous! We went to the beach to eat it, and apart from me threatening to punch a seagull in the face it was a bloody lovely meal.

It was nearing the end of the day & I had one ambition left! To write a rude word in stones on the beach. We set off back to the car and once we got there we set off to graffiti the ground [Note: to Dame Wincey you do not want to read this bit I promise you - look away now]. The graffiti started with a good laugh anyway as Roz fell over – me being the sympathetic man I am I of course did what any man would do. I pointed and laughed at her! Anyway she was ok so we collected our stones. I needed a word that described me – it was my day after all. I pondered it for about 30 seconds and I had it…….

I was strangely proud of my work…..for almost a minute until we saw a couple walking towards the desecrated ground. What did we do you might ask? What do you think? We ran away laughing leaving our new addition to Llandudno’s tourist attraction in tact for future generations to see!

So what about the aftermath of this brilliant day in Llandudno? Well the main thing was that I had sore Bnees for days (for those who don’t know what #Bnees are you need to look HERE) – but it was a great day –if you want to see some of the pictures of the day I suggest you look on my Facebook Page where there are a few pics of the day.

But for now I shall say Ffarwel



  1. What a lovely story. I am intrigued that you used the word "pumps" for foot wear.

  2. I'm a bit of a short-haired hippy and strictly non-violent, but when I was wheezing, panting and excessively sweating up Ben Lomond, in the Highlands, at the start of April... about 1000ft up... some guy jogged past me, also on the way up.

    I felt humiliated, but worse, when I reached about 2000ft (of 3,200ft), he jogged merrily past me again, on the way down - presumable after reaching the summit, which was my destination.

    I was very tempted to stick my foot out and help him go down a bit faster.

    I feel for you. Families and physically fit people shouldn't be allowed to go where normal people go.