Seizing The Opportunity
Taking up residence in a new area during a pandemic and lockdown was never going to be an easy proposition. I want to explore, discover, and generally scout around. But of course, this isn’t allowed during these constrained times.
My one respite…
Getting Out For Provisions
As someone who lives alone in an area where supermarket delivery slots get booked the second they’re released — I swear people must sit waiting until the stroke after midnight to snap them up — I have little choice but to venture out once a week searching for groceries.
I’ve always liked to support small local trades. Doing this usually involves making a few stops, so I’ve been seizing the opportunity and taking the most circuitous route to get to them all. This way, I can see some of the local countryside so new to me.
Add to the mix my ethnic background, which necessitates ingredients not easily found, and my need for different suppliers increases. Even then, I am struggling to track down some of the fresh vegetables and spices I’m used to. I fear I may have to ask friends down south to send me food parcels now and then in the future (fresh Guava has become a thing of dreams).
It was hunting for these more specialist shops that took me into Bangor. All I knew of it beforehand was that it is a university city and, for some reason, featured in the song Day Trip to Bangor by Fiddlers Dram. (See, I have just planted an annoying earworm for you:))
I was pleasantly surprised. It reminded me somewhat of Bath (or Rome, if you want to be more imaginative), in that all roads seem to run downhill to meet at the city centre in the basin.
It was a dry day with a bitter wind that cut right through me, despite being wrapped up snug in three layers of clothing, including thermals and North Face outerwear. Dosed up to the eyeballs with my painkillers and helped by my walking stick, I happily meandered slowly around. As I searched for the specialist food stores that I had found online, I enjoyed this brief time of freedom.
The place was almost deserted.
Bumbling past the cathedral, I couldn’t help but smile at its stature. The unbidden thought came that it is a cathedral with aspirations to be grander. It is rather quaint and tiny in comparison to others. It is probably lovely inside, but, of course, its doors are closed for now.
If, like me, you enjoy history, here is what I found out later:
“The origins of the city date back to the founding of a monastic establishment on the site of Bangor Cathedral by the Celtic saint Deiniol in the early 6th century AD. Bangor is an old Welsh word for a wattled enclosure, such as the one that originally surrounded the cathedral site. The present cathedral is a somewhat more recent building and has been extensively modified throughout the centuries. While the building itself is not the oldest, and certainly not the biggest, the bishopric of Bangor is one of the oldest in the UK.”
I continued and wandered past the university that sits atop a rocky crown of a hill. Very gothic looking and impressive with its gatehouse arch at the bottom of the hill. It is interestingly cut across the midriff by the new modern looking complex. My thoughts wandered to how drafty it might be in winter for the students. Surprisingly, having been built in 1884, the university is not that old in comparison to its style.
Finally, having found at least a proportion of the ingredients I was looking for, I had little option but to head back home. The next task was to be a long hot soak in the bath to get warm and ease my aching joints.
(I really could do with buying some earmuffs!)
Where do you recommend I go?
If you have any recommendations of speciality food shops and places to visit (once we’re allowed) in North Wales or on Anglesey, please let me know in the comments section below!
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