Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Ceredigion Calling: Welsh beaches in Winter - and a distinct lack of chips at The Ship Inn, Tresaith

We don't eat out very often, and it's usually somewhere local so the issue of who's driving doesn't arise. We're very lucky where we live to have a couple of decent curry houses and a reasonable 'gastropub'. There's also a new restaurant just opened which is proving popular and the Husband and I had a very nice lunch there a few weeks' ago. This is all very convenient for a village, but occasionally the opportunity arises to eat out elsewhere.

The last couple of weeks have seen us in a whirlwind of travelling, firstly up to the area of Wales we are due to move to after Christmas. This was a familiarisation visit, chiefly designed to get the kids, Blue in particular, engaged and on board. While Pink, recognising that she is going to miss her friends, is approaching it all as a huge adventure, and has already started picking up Welsh from her friend's mother, who is a Welsh speaker, Blue has taken it all rather hard. So a couple of Fridays ago, we arrived in the small village of Llangrannog, in the dark, in a howling gale to spend the weekend. After a directions fail, we found the cottage we had booked, which was everything a seaside holiday cottage should be, and settled in. 

The storm blew out over night and Saturday dawned clear and bright - a great day for exploring the coast between Llangrannog and Aberaeron. We did pay a visit to the estate agents, but mainly it was about running on the beach, looking for dolphins, and having fun with the kids.


Sunday was less hopeful weather-wise, but a dead porpoise on the beach lifted the mood (we were sad it was dead, but you don't often get to see such interesting stuff on your average Sunday morning) and after a short walk along the coastal path round to the next beach with the dog - who is in total heaven - and then back on the shore, we headed off to the village of Tresaith, which is further south. The kids and I spent a bonus holiday day here in the summer: the move was not on the cards at that point, but the Husband's work took him to the site so we tagged a day on to our North Wales trip earlier this year, and came along for the ride.

It's a beautiful little village huddled into the hill that rises steeply up from the shore. When we came in September, it was already pretty quiet, and when we visited in early December, it was empty of holiday makers. A local Scout group was making merry in the village hall, and a group of fishermen were laying nets - herring? - on the beach.

I know I'm not the only person to go somewhere on holiday, fall in love and spend the week gazing wistfully in estate agent windows. And whenever you express that desire to move there, there is always the voice of common sense that suggests how different a place will be in the winter - the connotation being that it will be different in a bad way. The thing is, though, that I love the sea. Being on a beach in winter time is one of my absolute all time favourite things to do. The sense of being on the edge, and looking out to sea is something that stirs my soul in a way that I cannot adequately do justice to in words. And this is true whether it's a beautiful crisp clear day, when a storm is raging (the awesome power of the waves!) or when it's just a bit murky. I appreciate that the recent storms have done a huge amount of damage, and hope I'm not being entirely insensitive when I say these things, but the thought that we're going to be living with easy access to this beautiful coastline makes me unbelievably excited.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, Tresaith. One of the reasons we came to Tresaith was to go for lunch at The Ship. It's quite a well known pub, with a busy restaurant, and because we hadn't booked, we missed out on a table with a sea view, but we could live with that. I'm not going to do a full blown review because that's not really my thing, but it was cosy and comfortable, and exactly the sort of place you want to go for lunch on a wintery seaside day.

There was a small but good choice of meals available for Sunday lunch - nothing particularly exciting, or unusual, and 3 of us had haddock & chips, one had roast beef. Haddock and chips - delicious. Creamy fish, crisp batter which wasn't too greasy. Tartare sauce that was, well, tart (in a good way), lovely mushy peas. But look closely at the picture. Is there anything that strikes you as slightly odd?

Now I don't normally count the number of chips on my plate, believe me, I am not that kind of person. But 8 chips? Does that strike anyone as decent? Yes they were good and chunky, but 8??  The Husband faired slightly better with 11. Surprisingly, it wasn't an issue for the child's portion that Pink chose.

We were so gobsmacked that we mentioned it to the waitress. Perhaps our meals had been plated up at a moment of extreme stress or distraction and a second scoopful was missing? Or perhaps the pub dog had snuck them off the plates? No. Apparently not. She disappeared off and returned with more chips. Chip portions are fixed by Head Office, you see, but the chef had made us some more.

We had puddings - a lovely pear and almond tart for me, some ice cream for Pink, I can't remember what Blue had, and the Husband had an apple pie which was a bit too sweet, but all in all a decent meal (once the extra chips came along). The Husband enjoyed his pint of ale, and I had some tomato juice with all the proper spices in it.

We paid the bill and gathered our things. As we were leaving I couldn't help overhearing a conversation that was going on on the next table "Er, excuse me, I'm not complaining or anything, but do you think we could have a few more chips?" "Ah, yes, Sir, Head Office tells us how many chips to put on the plates, but I'll go and see if I can get some more"...


  1. How lovely - I too love beaches in winter and absolutely adore Wales. I hope the move goes well and you are all happy in your new home!

    1. Thanks Sarah, I'm sure once we find a home, we will be very happy... :-)

  2. I am jealous of the fish and chips. 8 chips or not! You look like you are moving to a beautiful part of the world! :)

    1. Thanks Emma - honestly, it's glorious, and yes the fish & chips were delicious, even with a shortage of chips

  3. It's going to be great. Living by the sea is the best. I love waking up to the sound of the seagulls and I never tire of it. I love it when we hear the sea crashing. We are two street back but I can see the sea fro the top bedroom on our house and mentally I always say "I can see the sea!". Elinor x

  4. Looks glorious and stunning big skies - there's something so magical about the sea, and the Welsh coast is hard to beat. You've got such an exciting adventure ahead of you xxx


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