Yeah, I thought that might get your attention, and I will explain fully a bit later.
At time of typing we are currently on the Caravan Club site by the coast at Freshwater East in deepest Pembrokeshire. It is a lovely site in a beautiful location with all the facilities you would expect of club sites. We’ve been to two Caravan Club sites(including this one) so we are obviously experts. The site is down quite a steep hill, just two minutes walk away from the beach and sits in a bit of valley. There is no mobile phone reception and tv is only available through the in house loop with sockets at the mains hook up points. A long aerial lead is required and the shop will happily sell you an overpriced one. We decided to hang on and try and find one cheaper somewhere. Wifi is available though and that’s why you’ve got this.
Anyway, to get you up to date. Little of note happened on our last day In Cardiff until about midnight when I was awakened by a loud hissing sound just outside the van. We got up to have a look and found a spent fire extinguisher lying at the side. Some fellow campers in a tent opposite also appeared. They had observed what appeared to be a large and extremely drunk ‘bunny rabbit’ shaped object staggering down the site road with said fire extinguisher, letting it off then lurching vaguely in the direction of the exit. Or perhaps that should be hopping. Anyway, satisfied that that was the end of the evenings entertainment we all went back to bed.
The one hundred mile or so journey from Cardiff over here to Freshwater East couldn’t have been easier. The traffic was light, the directions supplied by the Caravan Club book were excellent and we were sited and recharged with tea by just after midday. The repairs to Patsy – the jockey wheel by us and the lights by the second coming from Green Flag had lasted. All was well.
With tannin levels restored it was time to try out the awning. We unpacked all the poles and laid them out as advised by the manufacturer. The awning was unfolded and fed into the channel on the caravan. It was stiff and stubborn but yielded eventually (Hmm, I know someone like that). We stood back and admired our handy work - we had an erection! All good will evaporated however when we started positioning some of the poles. We had put the bloody thing on inside out! Much swearing and blaming ensued but eventually, with the instruction video consulted for the hundredth time and threats (or should that be promises) of divorce abated we stood back and admired our handiwork. It was standing upright of it’s own accord and was reasonably level but disappointment returned when we tried the tension pegs. The supplied ones were plastic and whilst ironically would have been fine for the sodden grass of Cardiff, were not meaty enough for the hard standing which were on now. With yet another item on the shopping list of caravanning essentials we packed it away again.
All this erecting had brought on a thirst for a pint or two so we fired up Jessie and headed out of the site in search of a nice Welsh boozer. Just opposite the beach and only two minutes walk away was a holiday park, the centre of which was a bar which proudly proclaimed that it was welcoming of non-residents. Thinking that it would neither be a traditional pub, or more importantly have a decent pint we carried on. Three days or so later, and it seemed with half of Pembrokeshire's windy country roads traversed we had done a full circle. The only two likely looking boozers we passed were both shut so we trudged in to the holiday park bar. Well, the beer was nice and the barman friendly, although we had not got a true taste of Wales – the barman was from Yorkshire and the beer from Suffolk – Abbot Ale too – lovely.
Tuesday, and another nice day beckoned although the forecast for the coming days was not good. Sightseeing mode was selected and Tenby was first on the list. What a pretty place it was too. Quite empty now that the school holidays were over it was very pleasant to stroll around. We even spotted the backside of a Brighton & Hove coach protruding from behind a hotel. Our walk took us around past the two lifeboat stations, one of which was now a private residence. The lifeboat station proper was open and we went and had a look. The boat itself was at the top of the ramp ready for action. I stood reading the facts and figures on the boat. It holds over a thousand gallons of fuel and returns something like three gallons to the mile. Ouch! We think we’ve got problems!
Next up was Saundersfoot and another though smaller picture postcard seaside resort. Heading inland then and across to Pembroke and it’s neighbour Pembroke Dock. Now, if Tenby and it’s neighbours looked to be doing well, less could be said of these two places. Closed shops and boarded up pubs told a different story. I did manage to procure some aerial cable cheap though, and we topped up with what has been the cheapest fuel of the trip so far. Oh, and a skipping rope. One thing doing them bloody parcels were good for was keeping the weight off. With no regular exercise (well, ok, not quite none!) something had to be done. Another spare tyre was not required.
Another late afternoon and our second attempt at finding a true Welsh pub. We were a little luckier this time – a choice of three local real ales was on offer and we picked one. It was delicious, but we were going to have to hunt a bit further – the governor was from Hertfordshire and he said most of his regulars were English too – either holiday makers or neighbours.
‘They’ had said the weather was going to turn nasty and it did. It was raining when we left the pub and during the evening the wind got worse. We had an early night but by midnight we were both awake again as the wind and rain lashed poor old Patsy. It was bloody noisy and a little unsettling too as Pasty seemed to shift on her haunches. We had a cuppa at about three having had virtually no sleep in between. It was gone four before the noise had subsided enough for us to fall asleep again.
We woke this morning to bright sunshine although the wind was still heavy. Rain was promised for later (how unusual) so we headed out again, this time west, to St Davids which bears the honour of being Britain's smallest city. Eschewing the tourist priced coffee in St Davids we climbed aboard Jessie again and pointed her nose in the direction of Whitesands. What appeared before us was a beautiful if empty expanse of beach. I have no idea of the price of coffee here as they wanted the national debt for the privilege of parking in the one and only place to park. We turned tail and carried on.
We paused at Trevine for a lovely pot of tea and toasted tea cake then called into Fishguard from where, weather permitting, we will be catching the ferry to Ireland tomorrow. We had considered calling in to Pembroke castle on the way back but were conscious that with another rough night forecast we ought to try and get some shut eye. And I had a blog to write.
So, there we are. Our time in South Wales is nearly at and end but have really enjoyed it. There is so much more we could have done of course; the Mumbles and Gower Peninsula to name but two. But there will always be another time. Stand by for Part 4 from Ireland – where hopefully we’ll have a more successful er, erection.