September 25th: Bore da Cymru!

I never did get all those jobs I mentioned back in June finished. Some were never started but Riley Blue was fitted with its sump guard and we did manage get away in it. Not to Scotland but to Wales, to Tenby to be precise, where we spent a relaxing week in a cliff-top, sea-view, self-catering apartment doing…. well, doing as little as possible.

We spent much of our time wandering round the town, walking along the beaches, going on boat trips and eating Fecci’s delectable ice cream. We visited the National Botanic Garden of Wales near Carmarthen a couple of times, driving back through the village of Laugharne (home of Dylan Thomas) and Pendine (where land speed record were contested and set on the beach) and we went to Pembroke Dock to have a look round the Heritage Centre’s maritime, military and social history exhibition; it’s well worth a visit.

We drove the 220 miles to Tenby in more or less a straight line from Chesterfield across Wales, breaking the journey at the excellent Pwllgwilym B&B near Builth Wells. Set in 60 acres of farmland, it is wonderfully quiet with spacious, comfortable rooms. Jane and Richard Davis were the most welcoming and friendly of hosts and our breakfast (brought to our room due to Covid restrictions) was the best we’ve had in a very long while, the black pudding is really special; thank you Richard.

By stopping overnight en route we had plenty of time to visit places on the second day so called in to the National Botanic Garden of Wales near Carmarthen. Unfortunately rain cut our visit short but with tickets being valid for a week we agreed to return later to finish exploring.

Nearing the coast we took a detour to Laugharne. Ever since a travelling theatre company performed ‘Under Milk Wood’ at my school I’ve wanted to go there – it’s only taken me 54 years. We walked up the hill to Thomas’s writing shed, visited his grave, gazed across the Taf estuary and snatched a few photos. We also enjoyed the first of many ice creams.

On to Pendine, now a bustling holiday village with static caravans stretching up the hillside. Just as we were leaving Riley Blue’s engine cut out and refused to re-start. The problem, I suspected, was electrical and though I carry a box of spares, a back injury means I’m sometimes unable to bend sufficiently to reach into the engine bay to fit them; this was one of those times. Fortunately Britannia Rescue’s local recovery agent carried us the final few miles and we off-loaded Riley Blue to await a mechanic the following day. Mechanic Pete fitted the spare rotor arm from my parts box and we had a working engine once more (thanks Pete).

I’d been to Tenby before, in the summer of 1966, when World Cup fever was at its height and remember strolling along South Beach with the Germany / England final blaring out from hundreds of radios; it made a change from ‘Yellow Submarine’.

Tenby 2020 was rather different but we thoroughly enjoyed our time there, recharging our batteries before the uncertainty of the approaching winter.

After a blissful week we set off for home, not the way you might expect by reversing our route, that would have been far too easy and boring. We drove to St. David’s Head then turned around and headed east to Ness Point, Lowestoft; driving from the most westerly point of Wales to the most easterly point of England by B-roads and navigating using tulip diagrams, just as we had last year from Land’s End to John O’Groats. You can read all about it under ‘On The Road’.

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