I was tucked up in my sleeping bag in my tent behind the Lodge for just after 10pm following the meeting, I was very grateful that there was no hanging around in the bar, I needed sleep. There wasn't a ceremony but as a Past Masters Lodge, there was a very interesting talk about the origins of the book of Constitutions so as a Lodge Secretary, I found it very informative, a daily advancement in Masonic knowledge for everyone present. That said, it was very warm in there so after a 12 mile walk following a late night with a few too many pints, I struggled a few times with a nodding head.
Walking along the edge of the river Dee, I could see the shape of a large ship looming in the distance but couldn't work it out, there was no ferry terminal on my map. Getting closer I could see that this boat hadn't shifted for a long time and reading the information board proved very interesting. The Duke of Lancaster was purchased in 1979 by a Liverpool Company and was beached on the Flintshire coast to be used as a 'Fun Ship'. There were very strict rules in Wales regarding Sunday Trading Laws but maritime vessels were exempt from these laws.
The new owners tried but failed to take advantage of this loophole and tried to trade on Sundays but local resistance resulting in continuous legal battles forced the owners to give up in 2004 and walk away. Apparently, to stabilise the ship, tons of concrete was pumped into the bilges which I'm guessing now makes it very difficult to do anything with it, it looks like it's just sitting there rotting...
I had plans to stop in and pay a visit to my uncle and auntie while passing through Flint. My dads brother Peter and his wife Linda have lived in the area for many years after moving away from Wallasey. I needed directions but I got to their house late that afternoon, we went out for a lovely meal and I slept at their place for the night. Thank you for putting me up, feeding me and for your kind donation Peter, hopefully we will see you both in Lincolnshire when you get that Jaguar back on the road. 😉
It was a fairly non eventful walk from Flint to Rhyl where I jumped on a train to Llandudno, I'd requested permission to attend a Royal Arch Chapter meeting that night so I booked into a cheap guest house, there was nowhere near the town centre for me to camp. I met Paul, the North Wales Comms Officer, at the Masonic Hall who had very kindly booked me in and paid for my dinner, it was a little embarrassing though as I'm not carrying any Royal Arch regalia so after a search of the building failed to find an Apron, I was told to wear my Craft Apron, back to front... I felt very uncomfortable dressed without a jacket, my pinny on back to front and it was clear that the stares I was receiving, nobody knew what I was doing there and why I was dressed so improperly... It was a fascinating meeting however as a substantial Provincial Team were present to dedicate a new set of banners, a very rare occurrence, there was then a trip across town to the Golf Club for the festive board and when the Deputy Provincial Grand Master kindly mentioned my challenge during his response, I didn't feel quite so out of place not knowing anyone and being the only person in a gathering of over 60 Freemasons, not wearing a jacket. Until this meeting I've always felt comfortable not wearing a jacket because I always approach the Master to request permission to not wear one and usually someone mentions to those gathered as to why. I had requested permission but because nobody had a clue, I felt really uncomfortable being stared at, I felt like a naughty boy that had turned up badly prepared !!! 😩
I was grateful to Paul for dropping me back in town near to my guesthouse on his way home and to thank him I asked him to take the bottle of red wine I'd won in the raffle, I didn't need to be carrying the full bottle of wine any more than I needed to be sitting in my room on own drinking it...
I caught an early train the next morning back to Rhyl and continued walking around the coast towards Colwyn Bay.
It was chucking it down for the last hour and I reached Colwyn in the dark and soaked so I dropped into the first bar to dry off and work out where I could camp. The bar was dead so I had one pint and move further along the coast and dropped into another bar which was actually now in Rhos on Sea but it was also dead. I moved on after a pint to find something to eat but as it was still chucking it down I didn't venture far and shot into the Mexican Wave takeaway across the street. I've tried Mexican food a number of times and even having holidayed there I've never been a big fan. However, after having a chat with Alice and following her recommendation, I thoroughly enjoyed a fantastic burrito, rammed full of meat and salad, made all the better that Alice kindly let me stand in the takeaway out of the rain to eat it and as both of her parents are Freemasons, she refused to accept any payment.
Thank you Alice for my tea, it was delicious and I didn't have to go far to pitch up, the corner of the play park was elevated enough that the grass wasn't completely swamped and it was perfectly shaded so I was almost invisble to anyone passing on the coast road.