I wandered along the main street from my room towards the castle. The town thrives on visitors, and has many shops and eateries. I stopped in a few shops and looked at the souvenirs, and had a quick snack at a pleasant coffee shop. The waitress was running around trying to serve everyone, and what she lacked in manners she easily made up for in friendliness.
When I finally reached Beaumaris Castle, I realized that it actually stood in the water. It was closing for the night, so I had to wait for the next day to explore it. Rather than walk back along the beach, I decided to explore a little deeper into the town, and walk back to my room that way. A couple of blocks from the beach, I discovered a local bakery and decided to sample their wares.
When I entered, the woman behind the counter was engaged in conversation with another woman. I could not understand a word. After a few moments, the woman asked me what I wanted, first in Welsh, and then, seeing that I didn't understand her, again in English. Being new to the country I took a few moments to look at the treats on display before choosing some, along with a loaf of bread, for my supper. Once she heard my accent, the woman became very friendly and helpful. I suspect she initially took me for an Englishman, and has seen too many of those.
I returned to my room with my treats and my supper. As the sun began to go down, I sat by the window and watched the waves, which were getting bigger as the wind picked up and the storm approached. Rain started to come down, and soon the shore was deserted.
Then I saw a boat in the harbour. It looked like it was tugging at its moorings, but I was sure it had not been there before. A moment later two men emerged from a building on the pier and stared at the boat. There was some hurried discussion, and then one of them went back inside and the other came down the pier and onto the shore. A few minutes later, other people started to appear.
Over the next ten or fifteen minutes, people came from everywhere. Most came on foot and a few by car. I had no idea what was going on until one of the men came running from the pier carrying a large rope. He gave one end to some of the men who had gathered, and ran onto the beach carrying the other end. He and two other men from the pier ran out into the water, and with some difficulty managed to climb up onto the boat. They tied the rope and signalled the men on shore to pull.
More people kept arriving, and there were more hands all the time to grab at the rope. The boat was difficult to control, and it was all they could do to hold it in place. I gradually understood that the boat had slipped its moorings, and that the entire town was out there helping the lifeguards to prevent it from smashing itself against the pier.
Encouraged by this great display of togetherness, I decided to go out and help them. I almost changed my mind once I was out in the howling storm. The wind whipped the sand from the beach into my face, far worse than any hail I had ever experienced. It was like being sandblasted. I could not face into the storm. Salt water ran down and stung the little cuts the sand was making.
The men were shouting in Welsh, but "Pull on this rope" doesn't need a lot of explanation. It was hard, wet work, fighting the wind and rain. Eventually someone brought a tractor down onto the shore, and we tied the rope to the tractor and let it do the heavy work. After more than an hour, we had managed to get two mooring lines onto the boat, turn it, and tie it safely away from the pier. Exhausted, I headed for bed. Before I could sleep, though, I had to take a bath. I was soaked to the skin and covered in sand from head to foot; there was sand in my hair and in every fold of my clothing, and under my clothes as well.
Before I slept, I looked out the window again. It was very dark now, but I could still see some activity down on the beach. I was far too tired to find out what was going on.
In the morning, after a good rest, I saw that another boat must have come loose after I had left, for two boats were safely beached beside the pier. I walked out on the pier, both to get a better look at the boats and to find out more about the men who had saved them. The boats seemed in very good shape considering the ordeal they had been through, and I discovered that the men were part of the Volunteer Lifeguards.
Well rested from my adventure, I decided to grab some breakfast and then go off to explore Beaumaris Castle...
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