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This morning I was down on the hotel terrace before 6am, photographing the estuary as the light gradually increased, and listening to the competing conversations of the owls in the wood and the wading birds out on the mud flats. Because I was lazy and shot hand-held with no filters, it’s going to take me a while to work up those photos, but I’ve posted a later view of the estuary from the end of the estate to my Facebook page; I took it when R and I went for a walk before our (delicious, freshly-cooked) breakfast, and my only sadness was that we didn’t have time to go down onto the sand, or for me to do some rock-pool rummaging.

After breakfast and another walk around the village we said goodbye (for now, at least), to Portmeirion, and set off for Liverpool. R’s satnav was in an adventurous mood, and took us along a quite exciting road that runs between Ffestiniog and Ysbyty Ifan, across what felt at times like the top of the world. I certainly wouldn’t want to drive this road in my car in the winter, but the weather this morning was beautiful and Snowdonia looked utterly gorgeous.

I can’t tell you exactly where we were when R (possibly tiring of all my “Oooh!”s and “WOW!!!”s) pulled into a layby to let me out, and I took the photo I’ve added as an extra; but about ten minutes later we were on the descent towards Ysbyty Ifan when we came up behind the farmer in my main image, rounding up and moving a flock of sheep with a quad bike and a pair of sheepdogs. I took several shots through the car windscreen, and I like this one because it gives you a sense of the landscape; I’m not naive enough to envy the life of a Welsh hill farmer, which is probably tougher than I can even imagine, but I am a little jealous of the stunning environment he gets to work in every day.

By the time we reached Merseyside the weather had turned, but our first port of call was the Lady Lever Art Gallery in Port Sunlight on the Wirral Peninsula, and by the time we emerged the rain had passed and the afternoon was brightening up again. The Lady Lever was recommended to me by a Facebook friend after our last trip to Liverpool, and I’m glad that we visited it on this trip: it has an interesting and eclectic collection of paintings and objects in the permanent collection, and is currently running a special exhibition on etching (Whistler and Pennell: Etching the City), which R and I really loved. It also has a decent shop, and the cake is good – both extra points in its favour!

Then on to Liverpool, where we checked into the Nadler Hotel before going off in search of a spare battery for my camera. The one that came with it turned out to be a dud (the second time this has happened to me), and will have to be returned for exchange, and therefore I’ve been using my spare since Sunday; but travelling with only one battery makes me nervous (and travelling with a nervous me makes R equally edgy), so it was good to get hold of an extra one. We finished the day with dinner at Cowshed, which I thoroughly recommend to any carnivores in the area.