Thursday, 6 August 2015
I woke up with small pieces of flint from yesterday's quarry attached to my legs, which was a curious sensation. Even after I'd showered, I was still finding little pieces of Flint attached to my legs, and when I pulled the covers of the bed back, there were scores of little black pieces of rock on the white sheets. That'll teach me for swimming in a quarry!
We went to St David's today, which, with a population of 1,797, is by far the smallest city in the UK. St David's is actually no bigger than a village. Its city status comes on account of its cathedral, a beautiful 13th Century building with some of the most stunning ceilings I've ever seen. Little William and I went and lay on our backs on the stone floor staring up, counting bosses, wooden panels and shields. It was perhaps a somewhat eccentric act, and a few mothers rather passive-aggressively pointedly told their children to make sure they didn't trip over on us, but we didn't care. It was great fun!
We took the kids up into a library in one of the cathedral's towers, which had books which everyone could take off the shelves and read. Despite there being plenty of books for children on the shelves, Will selected one about Medieval art and sat in a corner very happily reading it for ten minutes. The librarian, a suitably eccentric older woman, showed us a page of manuscript she'd found shoved inside a book which turned out to be 800 years old. As old as the cathedral. It felt very strange to be holding it.
We came home and spent the afternoon doing jigsaws whilst the rain lashed down outside. There was a moment... just a brief moment... when cabin fever struck and the kids got over excited. Sam retired to his room, I retired under a pair of headphones and Nathan ran knitting classes.
We made cakes and bread for tea, in honour of the first episode of this year's Great British Bake Off, which we watched en masse, the first telly any of us had seen in the cottage for the entire holiday. That's surely the sign of a great vacation!
Meriel ran a literary quiz which lasted well into the evening before a smaller group of us took ourselves down to the beach and went skinny dipping in the bible black water. It was a genuinely wonderful moment. We carried torches and lanterns down to the water's edge, which shone across the sea, casting weird, eerie reflections on the surface of the water. Periodically, a white, ghostly face would swim through a shaft of light. Great arcs of light shot up into the night sky in crazy directions and, when it started raining very lightly, it almost felt as though we were underneath a shower of sliver coins.
When we returned to our clothes, hundreds of tiny sand flies were dancing in the light from our torches which was a somewhat grotesque, yet curiously beautiful sight. We stumbled back up the hill, avoiding snails and worms and all sorts of other slimy creatures who only appear when it rains, and returned to our jigsaw whilst drinking hot toddies. It was 2.30am by the time we'd returned to our B. So late, in fact, that all the street lamps had been turned off in Newport.
Horrifyingly we'd been locked out of our lodgings. Who knows how or why that managed to happen. We simply couldn't get in, so we're forced to return to the cottage, and sleep in the games room. Not the happiest end to our final night in Newport but I guess these things happen.