Saturday November 1st Tenby
It’s unusually warm for November so I decide to make the most of it and visit near-by coastal town Tenby. I’m at the end of the line in Pembroke Dock. Tenby is only half an hour away and the train journey is always relaxing. I pass incredibly lush and green fields with the standard sheep (yes we’re in Wales!) steadfast cows, a family with a small boy waving at the passing train and a shabby looking horse grazing on his lonesome in the middle of a field. It sounds like a touristy spiel but that’s how it is in Pembrokeshire.
I visit Tenby on the odd occasion. It’s my old stomping ground where I went to school (mid 90’s) and it really hasn’t changed that much. The surf shops, Dales Music (he can find you any piece of music), gift shops galore, cobbled narrow streets with colourful houses grand and small, 3 beautiful beaches, plenty of nooks and spaces to chill, some good pubs and realms of local cafés and restaurants. The latest being Cadwaladers. I’m relieved it’s not Starbucks or Café Nero. Not that I don’t venture into these it’s just that part of Tenby’s charm is its innocence and slow emergence to change.
It was particularly busy today, not what you would expect on November 1st. Tenby went through a phase of being dead, through the recession of course but trade has picked up in the last few years. And this week it’s half term so there’s another influx of visitors. I suspect they hail mainly from up the train line from the likes of Llanelli, Burry Port or Swansea. All just an hour or so away. But I may be wrong, Tenby attracts all sorts. It’s just a charming, calming seaside town.
A beach walk to the town
I do what is now becoming my usual thing of getting off a stop early in Penally. I walk over the train tracks, onto a grassy path then through the white and wavy dunes onto the beach. I’m now at the far end of Tenby’s South beach, it’s about a half a mile walk along the beach into town. One day I will walk in the opposite direction on the coastal path towards Manorbier, but for now I just stop for a moment to take in the spectacular view and breathe in the sea air.
I don’t stop for long, my recent stint of London living disabled my ability to stand still for more than about 2 minutes. So I start walking towards Tenby South beach. There are a bunch of people milling about, you know the usual dog walkers carrying their poo bags and couples just staring at the sea. Surprisingly I spot a windsurfer. I follow him (or it could have been a her) as I walk down the beach thinking he must be strong, it’s windy and bracing and he hasn’t fallen once. But thanks to global warming temperatures have reached the 70’s (f) in recent days so I guess he’s not absolutely freezing.
You could if you wanted to stop off at the newly built South Beach Bar Grill for a hot drink, but I head up towards the town. At this point I’m pretty knackered. It’s a trudging walk through the sand so I stop and sit on an aptly placed bench on the small hill leading up to the town and stare at the choppy sea until my energy returns.
I wonder round, gawp at the usual few people in just their shorts and t-shirt (it only takes a hint of warm weather) and I pick up a chick lit book from a charity shop. I also ogle at the vintage jewellery in Audrey Bull Antiques on Upper Frog Street. I always notice their fine display as I walk through the Town Wall Arcade (a walkway through the old castle walls).
Lots of people collecting for charity today, mostly for the poppy appeal but there’s also a crazy, colourfully dressed Rhys Evans lookalike cycling like mad outside the Cancer Research shop. I pass him by, not giving him any money but admiring him nonetheless.
By now I’m longing for a cup of tea so I choose the latest caff on the block Cadwaladers. I indulge with a scoop of their very light and smooth vanilla ice-cream and a pot of loose leaf green and peach tea. I chat with a lady on the opposite sofa. We discuss how nice Tenby is. She’s been here around 15 years now and is growing fonder of the area all the time. It’s a common story. We broach the subject of local transport issues. I shamefully admit I don’t drive which is a necessity down here, but I discover there’s a new night shuttle bus service going to different parts of the Shire.
An hour and a half and another pot of tea and a Welsh cake later, I’m suitably calmed and re-energised. I head across the road to Equinox the mother of all hippy, quality gifts, clothes, jewellery and quirky present shops. I come away with the obligatory candle. Asian Poppy blended with red currents, berries, hints of sugared apple and a touch of white gardenia. It’s lit now as I write and it does indeed fill the room with a fruity earthy scent.
Nearing the end of my day I head back up town towards the train station. I pass the same guy cycling for charity! In awe I give him some change. By now it’s even windier and it has started to rain, but he’s still there cycling away not looking like he’s about to stop any time soon.
A last look around town, I don’t venture into my favourite new shop The Chocolate Froglet (I’ll no doubt rave on about them in future blogs), instead I walk through the indoor market. I stare wide-eyed at the freshly caught stuffed crabs, I can’t indulge in buying them I’m skint at the moment (well my current job is freelance writing) so I walk on by, pass the stack full of local jams and cold meats and head back towards the train station.
An end to a pleasing day
Normally by this time I’m freezing, wet cold and at the point of wondering why I came into Tenby at all. But the tide has turned, it’s kind of nice now. The friendly and enticing vibe that defined Tenby has returned and my mood is high.
I have around half an hour to kill. Again at this point I usually despair at having to hang around in the cold and depressing ancient looking train station, but I’m saved by Marian Keyes, the author of my chick lit book. I was engrossed and the time flew by.
A good day. Tenby is as always a calm and refreshing retreat. It helps to realign my sense of being and cue Odyssey…. it bring me back to my roots.
I’m a freelance writer with a background in marketing. If you would like me to write for your website, print marketing or for your publication then please do get in touch.