Saturday, 21 July 2012
How We Came to be in Wales (7) - "It's like being on holiday all the time"
Years ago I met someone who had moved to Devon from London and she said to me she was still pinching herself and hoping she didn't wake up as "it's just like being on holiday all the time." I think I can fairly say that about living here. I was reminded of it this morning as on our way back from the car boot sale we had visited (laden with bargains), I suggested to my OH that we dropped down into Ferryside, and got the papers there, and I fancied a stroll along the beach . . .
I got my stroll and relaxed completely and utterly. I just wandered quietly up the beach, watching the tide quickly receding, leaving tangled rolags of seaweed stumps and fronds mixed with binder twine, dead crabs, large feathers and plastic bottles. Beyond Scotts Bay, I could see the deserted strip of beach which borders the MoD land at Pendine, and beyond that, misty in the early morning heat haze, Caldy Island, with the white monastery of the Cistercian monks gleaming in the sunlight.
I looked at Llansteffan Castle, guarding the entrance to the River Towy as it has done for hundreds of years. As I can't find my photos from Ferryside, this one taken inside Llansteffan castle will have to suffice.
The little village of Llansteffan seeps right down to the edge of the estuary, with its pastel colour-washed cottages, church and a huge white mansion overlooking it all. HERE is a link to tell you some of its history. I like to imagine it in its holiday heyday, as once the railway reached the village in Victorian times, it became a magnet for holidaymakers from the Welsh coalmining valleys during "miners' fortnight" and every spare room in the village was divided and divided again with old sheets or blankets to make up small rooms with put-you-up beds and a "po" in the corner.
It is our nearest "seaside" and is where our children grew up playing in its sands, scrambling up to see what was in the rock pools, and exploring the castle. We have so many happy memories of Llansteffan, as have most of our neighbours and we often saw people we knew from school or our vicinity. Oh gosh, if I had a pound for every time we'd climbed up from the beach to the castle, I'd be a rich woman now.
And of course, there's Pendine, further West along the coast, and approached through Laugharne, the village made famous by Dylan Thomas. Pendine made famous by Parry-Thomas's fatal land speed record attempt back in 1927. There is now a small (and extremely atmospheric) Museum of Speed where Babs (once buried at Pendine) is now restored and on display.
It has been perhaps our favourite place for a seaside outing over the years, and as you can see from the above photo, even grown-up smalls still love it there (daughter T with her father).