This year, for reasons too complicated to go into here, the shutdown had to happen last week. But for other reasons, equally complicated and even more boring to relate (think plumbing), it couldn’t completely get done, so I’m relying on Joseph to complete the job – and then, of course, reinstate everything in the spring. I’ll probably phone him sometime before the first frost, just to pre-empt my anxiety – an unworthy thought, but which comes first: his promise or my anxiety? I know my answer; and of course I’ll do it very diplomatically.
So that’s Pembrokeshire taken care of for yet another year. Long term followers of this blog might recall that I’ve been going there since about 1949, so can claim to be an older inhabitant than many people who were born there. But it wasn’t until relatively recently that I really got to know the county. When our parents took us to Saundersfoot and Wisemans Bridge for those family holidays, it was all about the beaches of south Pembrokeshire – Barafundle, Broadhaven, Marloes and the others. The west and north coasts were largely foreign lands.
So it was a surprise when I finally began to discover those parts, about twenty-five years ago. They’re very different. A bit more rugged, wilder, perhaps a bit more dangerous. I remember randomly driving down a ridiculously narrow winding tree-lined road to emerge at a dizzy view of the Irish Sea; and equally randomly down another to fetch up in Porthgain.
If you ever go to Pembrokeshire and don’t visit Porthgain, you have missed something unique. Is it possible to be unique in many different ways? If so, this place achieves it. I’d taken Z there a couple of times before, but we managed this time to climb up the steps at the end of the quay and wander across the cliff path, past the intriguing brick built industrial ruins and the disused slate and granite quarries, almost as far as the great low tide beach at Traith Lyffn, (about which I’ve blogged here before). We didn’t go down the steps.