Caught by the River

Brighter Later

Brian David Stevens | 13th March 2013


10. Conway

Brighter Later is a journey around Britain looking out to sea from each coastal county

Today Brighter Later is visiting The Great Orme in Llandudno, Conway. The Great Orme is a limestone headland of a couple of square miles on the west side of Llandudno Bay. There is a Little Orme on the other side of the Bay but sadly we won’t have time to have a look at that. It is believed word ‘Orme’ come from the Norse for ‘sea serpent’ (and also lead to our word ‘worm’) sadly the Vikings were too busy raping and pillaging to write anything down properly so this can’t be proved.

The Orme is a haven to wildlife, I see my first Choughs here. They are basically posh crows respeldent in red corduroy trousers; fabulous intelligent birds. There are also two hundred feral Kashmir goats on the Orme which were originally acquired from Queen Victoria, sadly they take one look at me and run away. I make a a mental note to add ‘goat scarer’ to my CV.

Llandudno is named after Saint Tudno, a saint that sadly no-one seems to know much about, maybe he could become patron saint of punch and judy shows, as Llandudno has a particualy fine one in Professor Codman’s Punch and Judy show. Established in 1860 it purveys the finest scenes of wife beating and crocodile bothering in North Wales. Interestingly it still uses the traditional hanging scene rarely seen in modern Punch and Judy shows and uses the original wooden puppets carved from driftwood found on Llandudno beach more than 150 years ago by the shows founder Richard Codman. After Richard’s death the show was taken over by his son Bert, he introduced a live dog into the act, a hound called Toby. Toby took his duties seriously snapping at Mr Punch on cue to the delight of the children, when he was not involved in snapping activities the dog would relax and often pose wearing sunglasses and smoking cigarettes. The show is still in the family and I recommend it thoroughly.

The town is also home to Wales’ longest pier at 2,295 fun-filled feet long, unlike most piers I’ve stood on (or have been asked to leave) this one is in really good nick, and today it’s attracting the masses, appealing to an ‘mature and still up for it crowd'(pensioners). In fact the whole town feels positive and alive and it’s a shame to leave.
That’s the way to do it.