It’s absolutely crazy that Tenby is less than two hours away by car from Cardiff (…a little less if the roads aren’t bad around Carmarthen and you don’t get stuck behind any coach-trippers), and yet, the last time I went down there was on a Brownie Pack Holiday (as a Brownie, I might add – it was that long ago). We stayed in this massive guest house around Castle Rock, wore jelly shoes to explore rock pools on South Beach, and made kites out of plastic bags from the local spar and a couple of sticks (these were the days before Pinterest, you know). They didn’t work – surprise, surprise.
A few weeks ago, Sunny and I did a bit of a road trip out west to Pembrokeshire to see the puffins on Skomer Island and decided to make a little pit-stop in Tenby. I totally forgot how pretty Tenby is! From the painted Georgian Townhouses, massive harbour and beautiful sandy beach – it’s no wonder it’s been the favourite seaside holiday haunt of people like George Eliot and Roald Dahl, and it’s kind of criminal that I don’t head down there more often to be honest! 🙂
The Red Kite is Wales’ favourite bird. Every Easter when we travel up to Talley keeping an eye out for their forked tails and rusty plumage circling over the fields is something we always do. Apparently they used to steal clothes from washing lines to make their nests, referenced by Shakespeare in King Lear; “When the Kite builds, look to your lesser linen”. They had a tough time surviving in most of the UK, but in Wales they reign supreme 🙂
Anyway, up in the fields near Llanddeusant there’s a Red Kite Feeding Centre where every day at 3pm (in summer, 2pm in winter) you can watch them eat. It only costs £4 for adults (£2 for kids) and is worth every penny, even if you’re not much of a bird watcher!
If you’re up in the Brecon Beacons, or around Llandeilo or Sennybridge then it’s absolutely worth taking a detour to visit the Feeding Station.
At the end of a narrow country road that could easily compete with Alton Towers for twists, turns and sudden dips, is a quiet village that I visit once a year when the hedges are full of Daffs and the fields are full of lambs. In my last post I mentioned that it’s traditional in Wales to visit the graves of lost loved ones in the days preceding Palm Sunday and lay flowers. Of course there’s an underlying religious point to it, but growing up it felt more like a huge adventure (and still does); a family quest into the Wilds of Wales (*ahem* Camarthenshire) to find the graves of great grandparents, discover lost houses and crumbling mansions hidden deep within the forest and to stumble around ruins in wellies. As a kid, I looked forward to it all year. With my Mamgu at the helm (in spirit – she couldn’t drive), three generations of us would travel in convoy to the countryside where she was born and where my grandfather is buried.
We still head up there every year – dwindled in numbers. Now that Mamgu’s gone, it’s a trip to visit her too.
Driving along winding roads past far-off fields full of sheep, overtaking tractors and travelling through quiet Welsh villages full of pastel-coloured terraced houses, car conversation always seems to steer in the same direction and to the same question. “Could you live in the middle of nowhere? Isolated, like this?”
Before London I’d have scoffed and said no way. After London? You know what? Yeah. I think I could. Especially if it was a little pink house with sash windows on the edge of Llandeilo. 🙂