Portmerion Bay

Visiting Wales and the mystery revealed!


Here’s hoping you’re having a fabulous Friday, and will enjoy the weekend ahead. Thank you Soooooo much for all the responses and imaginative guesses for my ‘seasonal sound’. I realise it was a pretty tough call, even with the additional clue about insects, although the most popular answer has proven to be particularly apt this week.

I would love to have replied to all of you, but having been away for a few days in the Welsh mountains with my sister, I honestly didn’t have the opportunity.  Very many thanks though to just a few of you who suggested rain/raindrops:

Miserable Me1, David Prince, Kasia Lewandowska, Stephanie tsang, Sarah Goodman, Claire Chapman, Tom, Sue Masterson, Karys Jones, Danielle Goddard, Janet King, Adam , Julie feathers, Christine Dodd, Caroline Pritchard, Justine Hughes, Alexa Cesaretto, Gillian Holmes, Lisa Collins, Joanne Mapp, Catherine Plant, Elaine, Linda Bilsom, Terence, Sheila McLean, Lucy Walker, Carole, Rosieomie, Sally Lea, Nicci, Jo Dunthorne, Janice Ox,main Blue, Cairlin, Lesley, Kathryn Proto, Debbie Timms,Kerry, Kathleen Marsden, Jan Beale, Claire, Brigitte Prince, Paula, Irene Bolton, Claire Jeffreys, Leanne Easedown, Verity, Elllie Fletcher, Amelia, Adele, Emma Pike, Elaine Hodgkinson, Trish, Sandra B, Mary Bell, Julie Henderson, Rebecca Muncastser, Clare White, Alison, Velma Stokes, Lorna Kennedy, Louise Dawson, Karen Delaney, Emma Louise Hogan, Kelly Curtis, Claire Simms, Gilly, Laura, Helen Swales, Vicky S, Bakhida, Bonita Sefton, Rebecca, Lynn Lewer, Naomi Harrison, pJ Bates, Rachel Bartlett, Sarah Jane Laycock, Laura Site, Janet E, Helen Lloyd.

Portmerion1Also, Danika Lloyd, Alan Chung, Jacki Hamer, Corrin Davies, Rachel M, Charlotte T, Rich Tyler, Jane Lethbridge, Cher!, K Beer, Luisa Lauren, Sarah Donaldon, Emma Jeffery, Sharon, Danielle Vedmore, Katie Prentice, Suzanne Brown, Gillian, Angela, Sarah Morris, Rachael G, Vivien Baird, Elodie, Tara Clover, Pauline, Gemma, Lucy Winter, Kathleen Kerr, Mary Judge, Jan Mooney, Karen Slight, Laura C Martin, Kazza Ham, Jo Carrol, Emma Heath, Debbie Davis, Pauline Hill, Jim Milligan, Laren, C. Kennedy, Angela and Loraine…..

As you’ve probably surmised that wasn’t the right answer, and neither was “food frying on a BBQ”, but bless you for trying 🙂 Thanks also to Nigel Hollingsworth for thinking it might be ‘twinkly little stars pinging off a window’, and Steve Fairbairn who thought it might be ‘the sound of Rhubarb growing’ – brilliant! 🙂

As it was so difficult, and genuinely sounded like rain or food cooking, there were very few correct answers, but thanks so much for getting into the spirit of the competition and making it such a success. The sound was, in fact, wasps creating a nest in our loft!

I heard it one night just inside the bathroom wall and was so convinced we had a water leak that I had Colin get the ladder out to investigate the tank in the loft. However, as soon as he opened the hatch we realised we had a problem. There was a second nest – much larger – in the little porch roof over our back door and so I had to ring the local council and get the wasp exterminator in!!

I was expecting a white clad chap in a big hat, but Eric was in jeans and carried a small case containing something that looked like talcum powder. He told us to stay inside and keep all windows and doors shut for at least four hours after he’d done his work, as the wasps would be “none too happy”…! They weren’t but, as he’d promised, our infestation was no more.

VERY MANY CONGRATULATIONS therefore to Wendy Gordon whose name was pulled out of the hat, and was one of several folk suggesting the sound was ‘a wasp chewing wood’. Apparently they ingest wood, which is then secreted as pulp to make their nests!

LandscapeI will make sure your box of Liz Earle goodies is sent out to you on Monday. I thought you might like to have a chance to hear the sound again, so my lovely editor Mark has re posted it for you. I also thought you might like to see a couple of photos taken at Portmerion and Cricceith in Wales where I had a splendid time with my sister Jenny, Linda and Colin … and so, for now, Hywl Fawr am nawr!! Goodbye for now 😀

Have a wonderful weekend, and I’ll be in touch again soon. Do check the previous blogs as I am still writing back to those of you who are keeping in touch.

With my love, Ali xx


  1. Julie August 15, 2014 at 6:22 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    Glad you had a nice break-can’t beat Wales can you??
    Liked your Welsh words but can you say them!?
    Did you receive the photo’s? Have spent the afternoon with the girls and loving it.
    Speak soon, Take care
    Julie x The Girls xxx

  2. loraine plumb August 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm -  Reply

    Hello alison so sorry I got mixed up thinking the other boys in the photo with Sam were yours silly me lovely scenery from your visit to wales hope the weather was not to bad it’s definitely a tad more chilly than of late, of on hols Wednesday bye for now take care Loraine x

  3. Mary Morphy August 18, 2014 at 7:42 am -  Reply

    Well well..what an amazing sound and what a keen sense of hearing you have. Wales looks beautiful..I went to Barry Island with the school in year 7, as an 11/12 year old and it didn’t look like that!! Mum recovering slowly but tge virus has certainly knocked her for 6!. Thank you for your best wishes for Jack on his results day on Thursday..his birthday isn’t until 5th September..his first day back at school for 6th form. We’ve had torrents of rain over the last few days but managed to dodge the showers and continue with the cricket..Only three weeks until the end of the outdoor season. Have a great week. Mary.x

  4. Wendy Gordon August 19, 2014 at 2:32 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    Hope you see my message. I had an email yesterday to say I had won your “sound” competition. It was a total surprise. The prize has already arrived, how’s that for service?. Thank you so much, I will enjoy using all the products. Still can’t believe I won.

  5. Elaine sallis August 19, 2014 at 3:17 pm -  Reply

    Hi Ali
    I love Portmerion. Such an escape from the real world. I hope you are all ok. Geoff and I went to chepstow on Thursday, had a lovely day and then went to the races in the evening. Had fun but it poured with rain! On Friday we went to stratford saw Two Gentlemen of Verona at the RSC and stayed overnight at a lovely hotel. I have been unwell for the last couple of weeks, had a nasty stomach bug which the dr thinks has left me with an intolerance to lactose. Hopefully only temporary. End of moan. Now some wonderful news Jodie is pregnant and the baby is due in February. A new brother or sister for Molly.
    Iove Elaine

  6. Mrs Janet Jones August 19, 2014 at 6:20 pm -  Reply

    My Dear Ali, I am so sorry I haven’t been in touch for a while I don’t know were the time has gone! In a nutshell we have been to Lake Maggiore for a week in July lovely but it rained for 3 days, a beautiful part of the world. We have been to the Lake District for a weekend, weather lovely. We have had Alfie for quite a few weekends with and without his mum and dad, can you believe he is now 19 months old.His eyes have settled for while but we know there are more operations to come. The doctors are concerned about his growth and speech, but he seems perfect to me!!! He has had a nasty tummy bug that lasted for about a week the whole family got it and unfortunately so did I, it aggravated my diverticulitis, so I was out of action for about a week. Now I am back at work (hours still all over the place) and we have had a massive sort out of the garage and my little potting shed, it is amazing how much stuff you acquire!! Well I think that’s enough about me, your holiday sounded wonderful and you did so much, whatever you’re on I want some as you have so much energy you put the rest of us to shame!!!. I saw you on Mally the other day you are looking really well. Have you set a date for the wedding yet or are you still looking for a venue? Exciting times for you Ali and you will make a beautiful bride. Hope all your family are well and of course the lovely Colin.
    Hope the rest of Ali’s army are doing okay, I do think about how you are all getting on.
    Well I think that’s it for now, apologies for it going on a bit!!
    Again I am sorry I left it for so long, promise I won’t be so tardy next time. Take care Ali speak soon Janet xx

  7. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv August 20, 2014 at 6:31 pm -  Reply

    hope you alison and your sister had alovely time in wales
    i am well

  8. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv August 24, 2014 at 1:32 pm -  Reply

    hi alison are you doing the xmas shows on monday at all

  9. Jilly August 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm -  Reply

    Happy holiday weekend Ali – Like Janet it just seems an age since I have been able to send a message – not sure where the time has gone but have been delighted to spend some time today reading your wonderful blogs and catching up on what you and your family and everyone has been doing. We have had many a holiday in Wales (camping – when we were younger) and loved them all so can imagine that your stay with your sister was super.
    I have tuned in when able these last few weeks and delighted to see you looking as fab as usual – you are one of those lucky people who can look equally glam with your hair up or down – and it only seems five minutes ago that you had short hair.
    Just wondering if Lucy has got married – loved the birthday cake she made – she takes after her mother of course!!! very talented – I have said before my ideas are in my head but something happens when the ideas get to my hands!!!!
    I am afraid Annie’s husband it not well – hence not blogging – before we went to the Lakes he was ill and it turned out he had two brain tumours – small ones – but still there. He had two weeks of zapping and they seem to have shrunk. By how much we will know next week but he has also been in hospital with another very bad bout of pneumonia. It is all quite a worry and more so when he was given the all clear from the lung cancer….. but we have to go onwards and upwards and deal with what is thrown at us in the best way we can. Annie is wonderful and takes it all with her usual strength but it has been a big blow to them both when they had thought what a horrid last two years they have had but they are out the other end. Hopefully better news next week.
    Delighted to hear how little Alfie is doing Janet – cannot believe he is now 19 months – where has that time gone – and how great you have seen so much of him – a treat indeed. Just brilliant for you all.
    As the weather getting worse I think I shall get my crafting stuff out and have a play but am looking forward to more delights of your family Ali. Love Jilly X

  10. Mrs Janet Jones August 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jilly I am so sorry to hear about Annie’s husbands health, they really are having a rough time of it.I pray that they get better news next week. I hope your time in the Lakes helped in some small way, as it really is a little piece of heaven on earth.
    Thank you for asking after Alfie, we can see him changing from a baby to a little boy, he is a constant source of joy to us and we are so lucky to have him in our lives.
    Do let us know how Annie’s husband gets on next week, you will be in my thoughts love Janet x

  11. Alpa August 27, 2014 at 12:18 pm -  Reply

    Dear Ali,
    I’m so sorry I’ve not been in touch recently. I’ve not been well and the ME is much worse than when I last wrote. There is nothing I can do about it. Getting my medical records amended will be impossible until this government changes its policy and recognizes the disease. It’s been like this here for almost 30 years and nothing has changed. The tests I need can not be ordered and medical treatment that is available for other diseases does not exist here. There are cases where doctors who have tried to help patients have either been struck off or disciplined. Even if I find a doctor who recognizes the illness, there is nothing they could do even if they wanted to. That’s how bad things are here. Any challenge to government policy is simply not tolerated!
    I had a follow up letter after my appointment at the pain clinic. Once again, the doctor simply ignored what I told her and decided to make up information instead. I can ask for this to be corrected but I can not force her to do it. The referral letter from my own doctor was the same. I don’t feel depressed or down, just very angry that doctors can do things like this.
    A family ‘friend’ recently turned up out of the blue. She was very angry and upset and shouting at me because she hadn’t heard from me for a few months. This is someone who makes absolutely no effort with me. She was also kind enough to tell me last summer that, ‘there was nothing wrong with me, that I was having a breakdown and all I needed to do was to get out more!’ This is one reason I don’t have anything to do with the people I know.
    Wales looks beautiful. I hope you enjoyed your break there. Look forward to hearing about the wedding venue and your wedding plans.
    Take care,
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  12. Alpa August 27, 2014 at 12:25 pm -  Reply

    Dear Jilly,
    I am so sorry to learn about Annie’s husband. I hope next week may bring better news for you all. Keeping you in my thoughts.
    Take care
    Lots of Love, Alpa xxx

  13. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:25 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Julie and apologies for the delay in replying but from Wales I found myself whisked away to Corfu for a fab week of sunshine and some cracking times with my pal Kathy Tayler – very last minute but great fun. Took my Jack with us, and spent a great deal of time exploring the bays and swimming in clear waters.. my idea of heaven 🙂 Had no wifi whatsoever, and so have only just managed to access my e mails, but will check for the photos – thanking you in advance! And no I couldn’t possibly pronounce those words in Welsh – will ask my lovely friend Welsh Julie to help me – take care, and love to the girls, from me xxx

  14. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:26 pm -  Reply

    Loraine, please think nothing of it. I don’t think I explained myself very well! The weather was pretty amazing considering the forecast, and we had such a good time – I will be blogging about that and my impromptu Greek Island trip too! Do hope you will have had a good holiday too. With love, Ali xx

  15. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:29 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Mary,and thank you for updating me re your mum… not 100% sure what the tge virus is, but am guessing it’s pretty awful, so wishing her well, and hoping that by the time you get this reply she will be on the mend. So strange that your Jack’s birthday is on the 5th September, as my friend Ros’s stepson Jack has his 21st on the 4th! Party on the 6th – and I’m invited – woo hoo! I’ve never been to Barry Island, but if it’s anything like Portmerion, then I know I’d love it 🙂 You take care, and I hope you have a relaxing weekend planned before your return to work on Monday. Love Ali xx

  16. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:32 pm -  Reply

    YAY! WELL DONE WENDY! 🙂 Thanks for your message, and I am SO glad that you have already received the Liz Earle prize and are enjoying the products.. I will be trying to find another secret sound and a prize over the next few weeks, so do keep in touch. Thanks again, love Ali xx

  17. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:34 pm -  Reply

    Dear Elaine, Firstly CONGRATULATIONS! Wonderful news about Jodie, and I am sure that the whole family including Molly is thrilled. So sorry tho’ to hear that you’ve been unwell, and am hoping very much that it’s only a temporary problem and not one associated with lactose intolerance.. do keep me in touch. I was pleased though to read that you and Geoff had had a great time at the Races, and then again in Stratford at the RSC! Very envious 🙂 You take care, and keep in touch, love Ali xx

  18. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:42 pm -  Reply

    My dear Janet, it was so good to hear from you, as I have been thinking about you and Alfie and the whole family, and although they say no news is good news, I tend to be a bit of a worrier! I am glad that you are over your tummy bug – seems quite a few folk have been struggling – but lovely to know though that you enjoyed your time at Lake Maggiore. Rotten that you had 3 days of rain, but even tho the weather wasn’t too kind I’m glad you enjoyed this beautiful part of the world. The Lake District is another stunning location so it must have been a bonus to have sunshine! Thank you for your kind comments.. I think it’s guests like Mally that give me my energy, and make the shows fun. Loved getting the makeover too! We are thinking July for the wedding, and are pretty much settled for a venue, so I will let you know I promise. Family are all well – Lucy starts her new job as head of Media on Monday, and we’ve just got back from an impromptu Greek Island trip with Jack to meet up with Kathy Tayler which was fun! Watch this space for my next blog 😀 xxxx Love Ali x

  19. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:44 pm -  Reply

    Dear All, having just glanced back over the myriad of replies to the competition entries there may well have been some additional comments that I missed, so please to re post them here now, and I will answer – apologies! Been filling my face with Feta on Corfu and had no wifi! Love ALi xx

  20. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:45 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Martin, always good to hear from you and yes, Jenny and I did have a lovely time in Wales – we were lucky with weather and the scenery was breathtaking! Glad you are well, and as you probably gathered, no I wasn’t doing any of the Christmas shows on Monday! away with Kathy Tayler in Greece! love Ali x

  21. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:51 pm -  Reply

    My dear Jilly, I have to say I have struggled to know how to reply to your latest comment, but am relieved that you got in touch, as have been thinking about you… I was very sorry to hear about Annie’s husband, and can only imagine what terribly worrying times you are all going through… I have great faith and hope as you know, but I do find it difficult sometimes when families like yours have SO much to content with.. I admire your stoic approach, and think we are kindred spirits when it comes to being positive.. I strongly believe that we are never given anything more in our lives than we can cope with.. it may be difficult, and lead you to question, but you will find the strength and support from each other… Please let me know as the week’s progress how things are and do give your Annie a big hug from me… and one for you too, you are a brave, strong soul.. I am sending you sunshine – we had a surfeit of it in Corfu this last week, and it healed my soul! Time with my son Jack was special too, and we met up with Kathy Tayler and her family so that was a bonus. Take care and please keep in touch – you are all in my thoughts. With love, Ali xxx

  22. alison keenan August 27, 2014 at 11:52 pm -  Reply

    Dear Janet, your response to Jilly’s message made me realise that I hadn’t mentioned Alfie, or how pleased I am for you that he brings such joy into your lives. Also how positive things appear to be looking for him. Wonderful news. With love, Ali xx

  23. Tina S. August 28, 2014 at 12:14 am -  Reply

    Hi Ali,
    I hope you enjoyed your visit to Port Meirion. My husband and I visited there a couple of times a few years back. We live in West Glamorgan and decided to go there for the day.It is quite a drive from where we live. I think we arrived just after mid-day. We did’nt have long really to look around before we had to head back to South Wales. It would be nice to go and stay there for a few days. It is really beautiful. I could spend a fortune there as I collect Port Meirion Pottery. There are so many nice places to visit around that area. When I was a child we used to go to Aberystwyth neally every year. I have such fond memories of the place that I neally did my nurse training there but I decided to stay near home. The most vivid recollection of our stay in Aber is one of my mother paddling in the sea. She turned her back to the waves. Next thing the wave caught her and sent her false teeth flying! I can still see my father searching beneath the water to no avail. We never did find her teeth. My poor mother,she spent the rest of the holiday stuck in their room as she would’nt come out without her teeth! My father. ever the joker, told everyone, “if you see a fish swimming around with a set of teeth they’re Betty’s!!” My mother was not amused.
    We had wasps that took over our bird nesting box one year. My brilliant husband decided to knock the bird box down from where it was sending swarms of wasps everywhere. He then went outside and sprayed wasp killer !
    Well time has caught up with me.
    All the best, Tina S. (S.Wales)

  24. martin forbes bucksburn aberdeen watching via sky tv August 30, 2014 at 10:02 am -  Reply

    hope you enjoyed your hols with kathy taylor in greece

  25. alison keenan September 1, 2014 at 6:54 pm -  Reply

    Dear Alpa, I was so sorry to read your message and to realise that things were no better than the last time you wrote. I always pray that if I haven’t heard from you it’s because things have improved, but am so sad this is not the case. At the risk of repeating myself, is there another Surgery/GP close by that you could visit and explain your situation to? Sometimes someone new is a little more sympathetic – I do hope this is the case. Wales was beautiful thank you, and it was great to have extended time with my sister too. We are currently working on the wedding guest list, and that will ultimately determine where we have the special day, but I will of course keep you in touch. Take care Alpa, love Ali xx

  26. alison keenan September 1, 2014 at 6:57 pm -  Reply

    My dear Tina I am still laughing out loud at the scenario you so brilliantly brought to life in your message. Your poor mum! What a way to lose her teeth, and I did feel sorry for her feeling that she couldn’t enjoy the rest of the holiday without them! I broke one of my front teeth at Gatwick Airport, just prior to a romantic weekend away in Paris! Nightmare 🙂 I hope all is good with you and I would highly recommend you return to Portmerion and visit their Factory shop as the reductions in price on their pottery there are brilliant! Take care and thanks as always for writing, love Ali x

  27. alison keenan September 1, 2014 at 6:59 pm -  Reply

    Hello there Martin, and yes I did indeed enjoy my time in Corfu, and the evenings we spent with Kathy and her family. It’s a beautiful island and the weather was fabulous. It also gave me the chance to spend some time with my son Jack too which was very special. Hope all good with you? Love Ali x

  28. Alison keenan September 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm -  Reply

    Have just spent two hours writing my next blog only to have apparently deleted it! Am searching everywhere but to no avail so will have to rewrite tomorrow! Hospital first thing, with continuation of my ear acupuncture in the hope it will help my hot Flushes, then meeting Sam for lunch before three hour Diamonique finale with Charlie at 9pm. Don’t miss it – we have the most incredible line up of designs, prices and special offers. Hope to hear fro you then. Love Ali xx

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