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Some days at the seaside

An ever popular session when we were able to muster a fair number of people to meet in person for Dementia Conversations, was one sharing memories of summer holidays by the sea.

Last week we spent some days in a rented cottage at Rhos on Sea. This has been ‘the seaside’ for me since I was toddler high. But these days proved to be more surprising and meaningful than we had anticipated.

Set only about a quarter of a mile above the seafront, the cottage is one of a line of well-presented homes set as a line on the sea side of a road which runs parallel to the sea but quite high up. The garden falls away steeply and is approached only via steps from the ground floor of the cottage. The garden is quite extensive, probably more than a hundred feet. It has been thoughtfully planted with lawns, shrubs, a pond and fruit trees. There is a frame to grow runner beans. It has been gently neglected for a season or more so that every plant is growing with vigour at this end of spring and start of summer. The leaves are delicate variants of green and there is blossom on the apple trees and pear tree. The space is alive with the movement and song of birds.

Along the road, St Trillo’s Community Rooms are massive, but impressively neglected for several decades. They speak of a time which has been lost. Their surrounding garden, and parts of the building, is home to more enthusiastic small birds – peeping out confidently at passing strangers, shouting and singing their messages.

On the corner of the road, birds and bushes have laid claim to a graceful garden and building which carries a ‘SOLD’ notice – It was, until recently a care home. Covid 19 has taken many prisoners.

Across the way, a Methodist church also boasts a ‘SOLD’ notice.

We see the passing of times. Endings give way reluctantly to give space for new beginnings.

But in the local paper shop, the lady at the counter takes time to listen and gossip with local people of all ages, and is helpful and friendly to we ‘passing trade’. No automated check-out as in Marks and Spencer back home – but she can do plastic.

The staff of the café on the front in the morning and the fish and chip shop in the evening, all give you time and a feeling of welcome. A riotous shop just by the sea is crammed with goodies of all sorts to delight children and older humans of any age – It is run as a charity raising funds for disadvantaged children – and fronted by two joyous and eccentric ladies who are of uncertain age – but glowing with undoubted love and generosity.

St Trillo’s tiny chapel, crouch beside the beach around the headland, and dated from the 6th century, makes a statement for peace and endurance.

Amongst the changes – the essence of modest good living is having its way.

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