Lactic Enlightenment Searching for the essence of Milk and Milk Bars

Trip Report - Wrexham  

Posted on July 23rd, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are Here

A bright an early start (and excellent breakfast) from Llangollen meant that we were up and over the Horseshoe pass and into Mold quite early. We did look around but couldn’t find an obvious ex-NMB. (when I got home, I found an email from Mold Tourist Information, explaining where they thought it was - but, alas, it wil require another visit).

Then into Wrexham to take a picture of the Photo Shop that used to be an NMB and then onto Oswestry (for another failed wander around).

Finally home, and a third place in the quiz.

Maybe I should set a quiz with an NMB-themed round :-)

Trip Report - Bangor  

Posted on July 23rd, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are Here

So, on to the last stop. I’d already visited Bangor, but it was a Sunday and it was closed. This was the last NMB that I needed to have a cup of tea in. Whilst there is still much NMB-related activity to do, it felt like this was an end.

Approaching the NMB from inside the shopping centre, we noticed that it said ‘Restaurant’ outside (contrary to the designation on the Napkin. Sure enough - it did have the NMB standard menu (the first one we’d seen today). But it wasn’t Waitress Service.

I had Tea and Scone, Jam and Butter (no cream here, unlike in Machynlleth when the chef whipped some especially for me) simon had a glass of milk.

As it was quite early (4 o’clock) I phoned up my Auntie in Harlech and arranged to have a cup of tea there too. It took a bit longer to get there than I expected - mainly due to a Swedish Volvo driver doing 22.5 MPH over the Llanberis pass. The tea was excellent, dare I say it, the best that day. The views from her house over the Lleyn Peninsula are just amazing. That’s what you get when you live in a house called ‘Bryn Mawr’ (Big Hill) I guess :-)

We set off for home.

Trip Report - Llandudno  

Posted on July 23rd, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are Here

After driving around Llandudno for what seemed lik an eternity, we squeezed the m-m sideways into a tiny space and trundled to the National Milk Bar. Again, no NMB meals menu, but this time, we found another Map on display. This one was just on an A4 sized piece of paper (and not painted on the wall or etched into glass) but it did add to the knowledge a bit.

One tea and one Hot chocolate later, we left. On the way to Bangor and the last known NMB that I hadn’t yet visited. We went via Conwy - which is very pretty.

Trip Report - Colwyn Bay  

Posted on July 23rd, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are Here

Passing through Abergele in another futile attempt to stumble across an Ex-NMB, we entered Colwyn Bay on the A55. Taking the prom exit, we drove into town and parked the m-m just around the corner from the NMB. I was a little worried that it might be closed - but everything was fine. I had a pastie with chips and gravy, simon had sausage chips and beans.

After the NMB, we had a little walk around town. I bought some books in a ‘Help the Aged’ and we made an NMB related discovery. Down near the station was a KFC which was operated by National Milk Bars.

Flushed with success - we headed off, the pretty way, to Llandudno. We stopped at the Chapel of St. Trillo, the smallest chapel in Britain. I bought a postcard for 20p in the Honesty box.

Trip Report - Rhyl  

Posted on July 22nd, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are Here

So, a quick jaunt down the road to Rhyl. Even in the short time we spent in Ellesmere Port, the road going the other way had become a nightmare, due to road works. This getting up in the morning thing sometimes pays dividends.

Passing through Prestatyn on the way - to see if there was an obvious Ex-NMB (or a KFC) , which there wasn’t, we went to Rhyl. Parking was a bit of a trauma but I squeezed the Milk-Mobile ito a tiny space and we headed to the NMB.

Rhyl looks a bit like it had seen better days - all the shops around the NMB were tourist tat shops, and it was raining. Anyway, the NMB was another Coffee Shop and followed along the lines of Ellesmere Port. No Waitresses, no NMB menu and a better selection of pies. We had tea.

Postcards were easy to come by. Next stop Colwyn Bay.

Trip Report - Ellesmere Port  

Posted on July 22nd, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are Here

So, here we are, on the brink of the final push. There is a slight problem in that the last few to visit are the furthest away and are not open on Sunday. (esp Ellesmere Port and Bangor - the end-points). To fix this, the plan was to stay at a hotel/pub near Ellesmere Port on Friday night and then make a dash, West to East, covering the last five NMBs.

Which saw the big cheese and simon booked into the ‘Gateway to Wales’ hotel on Friday night. A quiet jar in the bar and then off for a stroll around the local area. Which appears to be called ‘Sealand’ or ‘Garden City’, depending on how you feel, I guess. We walked down a long road to a pub (the “Queen’s Ferry”) which was nice enough for an estate pub, very lively. There appeared to be a birthday party happening. It was clearly a locals pub, but we were made to feel very welcome. We had a little look at the magnificent blue bridge (apparently known locally as “the Blue Bridge”) and then wandered back to the hotel via a fantastic chippy and a pub that was having a charity auction.

Bright and early on Saturday, we set off (in the pouring rain) Northwards for the short hop to Ellesmere Port. Arriving in town, we spotted what looked like an NMB building just on the main road. It was now called ‘Roots and Boots’ but was clearly a cafe/coffee shop in the NMB style. Without employing too much thought (we hadn’t had breakfast at the hotel) we decided to have a bacon butty there.

Once inside, simon noticed that the address wasn’t the same as the address we had for the NMB, so we guesed we had the wrong place. Never mind, it was nice enough.

After finishing our repast, we then went in search of the real NMB and found it inside the shopping centre. This was the first ‘Coffee Shop’ and we noticed the following differences:

  • No NMB Menu
  • No Waitress service
  • Bakery in shop

Then we had a problem. Trying to get a postcard of Ellesmere Port. Newsagents, post offices, library - none of them could oblige. Finally, I bought a postcard of Chester from the Newsagents next to Roots N Boots.

Off to Rhyl.

Completion  

Posted on July 19th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Just a quickie.

All 10 NMBs now visited, photographed and had a cup of tea in.

Detailed reports to follow.

Discovery  

Posted on July 13th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

So, I’ve emailed three Tourist Information Centres in towns that used to have NMBs. Wrexham, Mold and Oswestry (the three that I could find email addresses for).

I had a very nice reply from Annette in Wrexham who informed me that the NMB closed down over 20 years ago and is now a Photo Shop next to M&S.

If the technology works for the other two places - I’ll update here,

Trip Report - Denbigh  

Posted on June 30th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

So, feeling a bit down about Colwyn Bay, I park up the m-m in Denbigh and wander into the town. Only to find that this NMB is very shut. And clearly has been for a long time.

To liven up my spirits, I go back through Shrewsbury and take a picture of a second Hat Shop (the other one is opposite the NMB.)

So, why does Shrewsbury have so many Hat Shops ? In the words of the great poet and Telly-Tubby narrator, Toyah Wilcox, “It’s a Mystery”

Weary and a little deflated, I returned home. Even stumping up two quid for a drive on a bit of road. Spirits were re-vitalised by good conversation and Quiz Winning.

Trip Report - Colwyn Bay  

Posted on June 30th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

Not visit Colwyn Bay, yeah right. So, I’m on the A55 and just gravitate towards the Colwyn Bay exit as if drawn by a powerful, invisible force. So, I drive to our old house and take a couple of pictures of it (I’m sure I looked really suspicious - but who cares). Then I get a little confused by the one-way system and end up driving past my fist school. Which appears to now be closed and up for sale. A bit depressing, but life moves on I guess.

Find the NMB and it is up for let too. It does seem to still be an NMB, just closed on a Sunday. So I’ll need to go back there too for a cup of tea. If it’s still operating.

Not the most uplifting trip to Colwyn Bay that I could imagine. So, back on the road to Denbigh.

Trip Report - Conwy  

Posted on June 30th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

So, leaving Bangor, I pass the end of the Menai Bridge. Well - it would be rude not to. So a quick blast over the old bridge and then I’m on Anglesey (Mon). Now, once on the island, there’s one place you just have to visit. Llanfair PG. Back over the new bridge and I’m soon rolling into Conwy.

Park up the m-m and set off with the same plan as for Caernarfon. Spot a shop that looks like an ex-NMB and go into the St David’s Charity shop opposite. My suspicions were wrong and it turns out that the NMB is now a Curry House in Lancaster Square.

Picture Taken - Back on the road to Denbigh. I’m heading home via Denbigh. I’ll leave the North Welsh coast for another trip.

Trip Report - Bangor  

Posted on June 30th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

So a quick whizz up to Bangor. The city of Bangor. Parked the m-m and wandered into town. Bangor was much more shut than Caernarfon had been, so it was lucky I stumbled across the NMB quite quickly. It was closed. I’ll need to re-visit. Never mind.

Opposite is a Bookmakers. The Welsh for ‘Bookie’ appears to be ‘Bwci’ - both pronounced the same. My fave Welsh spelling of an English phrase is the Welsh for “Snooker Club” - “Clwb Snwcr” As seen in Beddgelert.

Next stop Conwy.

Trip Report - Caernarfon  

Posted on June 30th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

Another magnificent drive through the fantastic scenery from Porthmadog to Caernarfon. Heading for the town centre, I went to the ’shoppers’ car park. The plan was to find the main street and look for one of the following

  • An NMB (not likely)
  • A coffee shop that had obviously been an NMB
  • A KFC
  • Tourist Information
  • A Charity shop with a suitably wise helper
  • Errr, that’s the plan

Luckily, the first shop I saw was a Cancer Research shop, so I went in, bought a couple of books to be polite, and asked if the lady knew where the National Milk Bar used to be. Yes, she said, it’s now the KFC opposite.

Sure enough - opposite the Charity Shop was a very ex-NMB-looking KFC.

Picture taken, job done - off to Bangor.

Trip Report - Porthmadog  

Posted on June 30th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

Well, the day got off to a very strange start. In fact, I’m a bit worried that I may have broken one of the fundamental laws of Physics. I had breakfast in a hotel without a hangover.

I’ll just let that sink in.

So, up before 9:00 and on the road, bright as a button, heading for Porthmadog. And what a road. The scenery is fantastic. The weather was brilliant. Bright sunshine and fluffy clouds providing a magnificent display of light and shadow on the green valleys and grey mountains. It was a lovely moment. “Keepin’ it real” - Rock On. (This is where the Nuclear Power Station is, BTW)

I came into Porthmadog across the isthmus and the Tourist Information was just there. I pulled in and made a bit of a meal of parking the m-m which caused some bloke to have an apolplectic fit waiting for me. Turns out he and his three kids were late for the 7th Day Adventists service. I’ve never seen so many coffee flasks for so few people - is there some coffee sub-cult involved? I think we should be told.

Anyway, I went into the Tourist Info and asked where the National Milk Bar was, or used to be. Turns out it was about 50 yards away and was called “Jenny’s”. The woman in the Tourist Info said it was “Part of the Franchise”. I don’t think so.

So, approaching “Jenny’s Eating House” it was pretty obvious that this was, indeed, an ex-NMB. The signage was NMB with a new board stuck over it. Clearly we had hit another gold mine. How little did I know.

I had a cup of tea and waited for the old fella who was sitting in front of the map to go, took a picture and, thoroughly uplifted, left. Heading North.

Trip Report - Dolgellau, Barmouth and …  

Posted on June 29th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

So, arrived in Dolgellau at around about 5pm and decided that I couldn’t face a long drive home. I went to the Tourist Information and they suggested the Royal Ship Hotel just across the street (the ex-NMB is next door but one to the Barclays bank at the left of the picture). It looked nice enough and was not too pricey, so I checked in. Ran across the street to Boots to buy some necessities and to the camping shop to get a clean T-shirt. ‘Wierd Fish’ is what I now appear to be.

My room (113) Overlooked the Dolgellau ex-NMB. How cool is that.

Eschewing the hotel bar and local hostelries, I opted for a whistle-stop visit to Barmouth to visit their Milk Bar (not an NMB, alas) and get some fish (well, meat and potato pie) and chips from the chippy with the plastic dolphin outside - class.

Returning to the hotel saw me strangely tired, so an early night - punctuated only by the boy racers practicing their skills on the tiny streets outside. The skills in question being the ability to behave like complete tw@ts, of course.

Trip Report - Machynlleth - revisited  

Posted on June 29th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

A quick trip up the road to Machynlleth to get a picture of the map which somehow failed to get taken last time I was there.

Had a nice cup of tea and a cream scone with jam (the cream was freshly whipped just for me) which was lovely.

As I drove past the NMB a space had opened up in the car parking just outside, so I took the opportunity to take a picture of the milk-mobile outside a National Milk Bar. Sweet.

A jaunt to Dolgellau to get a GPS fix and then I could go home happy. Yeah, right.

Trip Report - Aberystwyth - (re-)Visited  

Posted on June 29th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

Fantastic as NMB reports-by-proxy are, I do feel that I need to visit each and every open NMB personally. To this end I left Corporate HQ in Welshpool and struck West to the metropolis of Aberystwyth.

After an uneventful journey and a brief stroll in ‘Aber’ I located the NMB and had a pot of tea, sitting on the ‘Billy No Mates’ table. (A small table by the door with only one seat).

There is an interesting picture of an old Milk Bar on the wall by the front window. I’m not sure which NMB it is showing. It doesn’t seem to be the Aberystwyth one, as the building is all wrong. I could only stare at it from afar, as there were scary people sitting in the table underneath it.

It would be nice to get a good quality picture of that photo. If anybody’s in there with a digital camera - can you do the honours please?

Back to the m-m via a bookshop (for a postcard) and off to Machynlleth

Trip Report - Welshpool - re-revisited  2

Posted on June 29th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Pictures are here

Saturday morning and I decided to go on a day trip to tidy up some loose ends. I reckoned I could fit a few things into one journey and then get back in time for tea. The plan was:

  • Go to Aberystwyth for a personal visit
  • Go to Machynlleth to take a picture of the Map
  • Go to Dolgellau to get the GPS coords of the ex-NMB

So, set off in the milk-mobile on my own. Stopped off and bought a Guardian, which came with a free CD. The free CD turned out to be pretty good and became the soundtrack for the journey. (Best moment on CD is the lyric “Keepin it real, we’re ready to rock” from track 7 - genius.)

It was tipping it down, but, as if to prove the rule, just as I passed into Wales, the rain abated and the sun shone weakly. This set the tone for the rest of the trip; mostly fine and cloudy, patches of rain. Well done Wales - England was getting a soaking.

By the time I was passing Welshpool it was time for a little smackerel of something: NMB visited; Tea and ‘Supreme Burger’ ordered and consumed; Belly filled; Job done.

This time I parked in the Pay and Display car park by the Tourist Information Centre. I forgot to pay (or display) and I guess my luck must be a-changin’ because I didn’t get a ticket. Yippee.

Onwards with the quest …

Still Going  

Posted on June 28th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Well, detailed reports will follow, but a quick summary of the weekend.

5 NMB visits: 2 of which were closed on Sunday, so need a re-visit; 2 of which were re-visits and the fifth was a personal visit after a visit-by-proxy.
5 ex-NMB visits: 1 KFC; 1 Indian Restaurant; 1 dead NMB and 2 exNMB but still a cafe
1 non NMB Milk Bar
1 Nuclear power station passed
1 Old house photographed
1 Old school (now closed and up for sale) photographed
1 Station with a long name visited
2 bridges over the Menai Straits crossed
1 (more) Hat shop in Shrewsbury photographed
1 night spent in Dolgellau
Many cups of tea drunk

450 miles driven

Information Sources  

Posted on June 20th, 2004. About InSearchOfMilk.

Well, no NMB visits this weekend. Life intervened.

Anyway - did get a few moments to create a table showing the various NMB location information sources. Bit of a cock-up with the camera in Machynlleth, means I’ll have to go back.

Anyway Here is the info

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