The blog of BaggieAggie, designer of bags, gadget cases and other fabulous accessories handmade in Wales. Sprinkled with recipes, gardening chat, the odd piece of short fiction, and anything else that inspires (or annoys!) me. So pull up a comfy chair and stay a while.


Monday, 16 July 2012

The Prettiest Fish and Chip Shop Ever... (plus Usk Castle and Giant Hogweed)

Possibly the prettiest fish & chips shop and restaurant in the world, situated in Usk, Monmouthshire, South Wales.
Adorned with gorgeous and colourful hanging baskets and planters, this fish and chip shop in Usk, Monmouthshire, South Wales is without doubt the prettiest I've ever seen.  Not only that, the food is apparently excellent, whether you take out or eat in.  OH and I have yet to taste its delights, but with fish like red mullet on the menu, it won't be long before we do!

Usk is a very attractive market town, but we visited last week because we discovered that privately-owned Usk castle is now open to the public.  It was a(nother) wet day in Wales, but we managed to have a good old explore (accompanied by the owners' friendly dogs for part of the way!) and to take some photos before rain set in with a vengeance.

The Great Keep, c.1170, Usk Castle, Usk, Monmouthshire,South Wales.
The Great Keep, originally the Gate House, built c.1170.  (See one of the owners' aforementioned dogs bottom right.)

The Castle Keep, c.1170, Usk Castle, Monmouthshire, Gwent, South Wales.
The Great Keep again, with OH grinning maniacally down at me.
Or perhaps laughing hysterically at my hair, which in damp conditions swells to enormous proportions and resembles a windswept haystack crossed with a well-used Brillo-pad.  Why on earth did I move to the wettest place in mainland UK...?  And before you ask - no, I'm not posting a pic!

The Garrison Tower, c.1209, Usk Castle, Monmouthshire, South Wales.
 The Garrison Tower, built c.1209.

The Garrison Tower at Usk Castle, and Giant Hogweed plants.
The Garrison Tower again, with Giant Hogweed and OH (still laughing at my hair, no doubt!). 
The plants have been fenced off, and for good reason.  The notice attached to the fence states Giant Hogweed contains toxic sap that causes severe burns and blistering which may last many months.  Even when the burns have died down, skin can apparently remain sensitive to light for years.  The notice goes on to advise that affected skin should be thoroughly rinsed with cold water, and sunscreen of at least factor 35 applied.  All this was news to me and sounds horrendous, so I'll be avoiding Giant Hogweed like the proverbial plague!

Chickens in the Town Gaol at Usk Castle, Monmouthshire, South Wales.
Chickens in the Town Gaol.  I wonder what he(i)n-ous crimes they committed...?!

The Gatehouse, Usk Castle, South Wales, photographed from inside the Outer Ward.
The Gatehouse (photographed from inside the Outer Ward).  
Out of the picture to the left is a large marquee, used for weddings and other functions.  I imagine it's a very popular venue, as the view across the valley (out of the picture and to the right) is fantastic.  I couldn't get a decent shot, sadly, due to worsening rain, so you'll have to take my word for it. :)

So, despite the weather and my nightmare hair, we had a great time.  Even if you're not into history, Usk Castle is well worth a visit.  The views, as I've mention above, are spectacular, and the castle grounds, which have long been part of the prestigious National Gardens Scheme, are a gardener's delight.  Next time we go (in sunshine!) it's the plants I'll be photographing, so watch this space. :)


  1. Usk Castle looks like a fab place to visit, as does the fish and chip shop - yum! It sounds like you and I have very similar weather-related hair issues, and the warning about staying away from Giant Hogweed is one I will definitely take heed of!

    Debbie x

  2. Nice pictures and I guess so green because of all the rain. What a gorgeous fish and chip shop - so beautiful. Are you like Monica from friends in the wet then? All frizz and hair.

  3. Thanks so much for taking time to read and comment, girls. :)

    Monica from 'Friends' has a way to go - unfortunately for her, lol!

    Rosie. x