Keeping it local – a shopping trip to Pwllheli

Tonnau Gallery, Pwllheli

Following on from last month’s confession and my pledge to shop locally at least once a month, my next shopping trip was to Pwllheli.

It was the end of January and a special anniversary was looming, so my shopping list this time around included an anniversary gift and groceries and wine for our celebratory meal. I also had some money left over from the cash gift my mum had given me for Christmas, so a little treat just for me was high up on my list!

It was a Wednesday; market day in Pwllheli, I knew, and Pwllheli’s market takes place on the ‘maes’ – the town square – which is the town’s largest car park when it’s not being used for a market. With this in mind, and not wanting to waste time driving around looking for a parking space, I decided to take the bus into town instead of driving.

After a short while on the bus, alternating between reading my book and admiring the view through the window, I reminded myself to take the bus more often. When you’re driving you’re so fixated on the road, looking out for potential dangers, that the scenery has a tendency to whizz past before you’ve had a chance to appreciate it. The scenery on this route (the A499) is pretty special and not something you’d want to miss. The purple hue of the mountains, turning to a reddish hint where the low winter sun hits their slopes, was mesmerising.

When I arrived at Pwllheli I decided to start at the market and make my way through the town from there.

There was a fantastic stall selling homewares – everything from bleach and scourers to mugs and airtight plastic containers. That was a stroke of luck, actually; hubby needed a new lunchbox and I found an excellent one at this stall – for only £2, too; what a bargain!

Spar next, to buy food for our special dinner. Now, I know you’re going to protest that Spar is a national chain and therefore can’t be considered ‘shopping locally’, but actually each Spar is an individual local business. As it happens, Spar in Pwllheli is widely recognised as a fantastic local business, thanks in part to the extensive range of locally-produced foods it stocks. I knew I wanted some Plas Farm coleslaw (it really is delicious – give it a try) and I knew that Spar in Pwllheli stocked it, so that was the first thing in my basket. They also have an excellent selection of fresh fruit and veg, so I stocked up on those too.

A few doors away was Pysgod Llyn, Pwllheli’s celebrated fishmonger. I know they’re famous for their excellent ready meals, but on this occasion I was shopping for fresh fish, so I had a good look around and after some cooking suggestions from Kathryn I bought some beautiful cod.

Wine next, and it was only a walk of a few metres to the off licence – Gwin Llyn – so I popped in and after a few minutes emerged with a delicious bottle of white.

Meal now sorted, it was now time to look for an anniversary gift, so I went to Tonnau to look at the artwork and choose something special. I chose a cheerful, colourful print with a nautical theme – ideal for my sea-obsessed husband!

Finally, I nipped into Oriel Pwlldefaid for a treat or two for myself. My eye was instantly drawn to some gorgeous earrings, so into the basket they went. And then I discovered their craft supplies section, and stocked up on lots of bits and pieces to replenish my dwindling stocks.

Before I knew it, it was time to get the bus home again. Laden with goodies I sank into my seat for the return journey, already wondering where I should go for my next local shopping trip. Hmm, so many options! Where would you choose?


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