Thursday, 6 August 2015

Coastal paths

We slept in the garage at the cottage last night on account of having been locked out of our digs. I say garage: We were actually in a dusty old games room attached to the garage, which, luckily, had a couple of zed-beds in it. Thank God nobody had thought to lock it, so we didn't have to wake anyone up to get the key.

We slept rather badly; the beds were a bit springy, I'm not very good at sleeping in a sleeping bag, and, because the morgue-like room had given me the heeby-jeebies when we first entered it at the start of the week, I felt rather uneasy throughout the night. To make matters a little worse, we kept hearing the garage door rattling as though someone were trying to get in. At one stage we actually both called out, utterly convinced that there was someone there. I can only assume it was the wind. Whatever it was freaked me out royally!

Anyway, the morning eventually arrived and Iain woke us up with a lovely cup of tea, and news that there were plans to go for a long walk. He knew it was our last day in Wales, had read in my blog that we weren't at the lodgings and wanted to know if we were joining the group for the day before heading back to London. The weather was expected to be fine and dry. It was a no-brainier. We leapt out of bed...

We drove back to the lodgings to collect suitcases from our room and were met by a hugely apologetic proprietress, who quite rightly waived the cost of the room for the night and offered us a free breakfast, which we thought was a rather sweet gesture despite declining. Her abject horror at what had happened was enough for us not to want to give her a hard time, so we had a quick bath and went on our merry way.

We took the coastal footpath from the cottage and walked around Dinas Head. It was a seven mile round trip which introduced us to views so beautiful they almost made me weep. Pembrokeshire is uniquely green; a product of a warm, wet climate, one assumes. The footpaths, which snake up and down the cliffs, are sometimes enclosed entirely by hedgerows of gorse and then, a few meters later, become entirely open to the elements with vertigo-inducing drops to the rocks below which make ones legs feel all fizzy and ones testicles ascend into ones stomach!

We stopped off at a beautiful cove where a tiny ruined chapel sits within an ancient graveyard, beside a smattering of houses and a little sandy beach. A few entrepreneurial locals had set up little trestle tables in the graveyard selling buckets and spades and refreshments, which I later realised was something to do with some kind of sea race or regatta. As we passed the cove on the way back, we could hear a bloke on a tannoy system sounding a little like one of those people who only exist on this planet to speak incoherently into PA systems at village fetes! I was somewhat disappointed to conclude that the trestle tables were probably not a permanent part of that particular cove on sunny days. I reckon if I lived somewhere like that - just like the man we met in LA who lives under the Hollywood sign and sells cans of drinks to grateful passing hikers - I might be tempted to set up a little refreshment stall in my front garden!

We walked up onto the headland, passing over black streams which gushed through dark green gullies, with the vaguely sulphurous smell of fern never far from our nostrils. The sea, a tapestry of aquamarine, ice blues, mint greens and indigos glistened in the brilliant sunlight. The sky was never anything but pure cornflower blue. We could have been walking above the Mediterranean...

Our ramble took us to a second beach at the other end of Dinas Head, where we sat in a pub and ate tomato soup on picnic benches so weather-worn and knackered that the slats which formed the table part kept coming loose, shooting up and knocking huge quantities of food into the air! The poor old duffer on the bench behind was deposited onto the floor when the seat of his bench snapped in two as he sat down on it. His mate was unsympathetic in a typically Welsh manner as he rolled around like a giant beetle on its back: "you fat old bugger!"

We walked back to the cottage. Little Lily requested ABBA songs, so we ambled along, singing every song she could think of by the band. This occupied a good half an hour.

We got back to the cottage, had a quick cup of tea, and, well that was that, really. Our last view of the cottage was of Little Lily and Tanya waving us away, silhouetted by the late afternoon sunshine, whilst the rest of our friends, in bathing and wet suits, disappeared through the garden gate on their way down to the beach. Their holiday will continue for another day or so, but we return to London with heavy, yet hugely relaxed hearts, terribly grateful to Sam for sharing the knowledge of this house with us all and finding us a very specific location for a very special holiday...

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