Author of The Christmas Village and Return to Canterbury

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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

M is for Menai Strait

When Mom evacuated with her school to Wales in 1939, she was sent to the town of Beaumaris. This is a lovely little town on the Isle of Angelsley, situated on the Menai Strait, which separates Wales from England.

In an essay she wrote in 1940, Mom describes looking across the Menai Strait from the home where she was billeted for 10 months. Here is an excerpt:

"I should now like to tell you something about my life in the very small town of Beaumaris. In the summer time we used to play games on the stretch of green grass before my home. We would take long walks through the beautiful Welsh countryside. In the morning, we would rise early enough to swim in the icy waters of the Strait, or pick blackberries while the dew was still upon them.

Winter time for us, and throughout England, was long, cold and dismal. We did our homework by the light of a paraffin oil lamp. Fortunately for us, our home possessed a large library. In that room, we spent many winter hours reading famous old novels and plays. At night we used to sit by the dining room window and see the silvery moon crested on the snow-capped mountains, or see them reflected in the calm still waters beneath."

In 2012, my husband and I visited Beaumaris. Here are a few pictures of the Menai Strait from our time there:

The view from Beaumaris across the strait to the mountains my mother spoke of.

Along the strait on the Beaumaris side. My mother's home was in the further set of townhomes on the left.

That's me, filling my pockets with shells on the small beach near the pier. My mother likely walked this beach in 1939-1940 as well.


Annalisa Crawford said...

Winter is Wales must have been very harsh. It's lovely that you've got such a permanent piece of her. That beach looks perfect for shell-collecting.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

I was surprised by that. Probably just very raw due to the proximity to the water? And it's the Irish Sea out at the end, I believe. I loved this little town - it's a delight. Maybe some day I'll come back over and we can walk a beach together :)