Friday, 18 June 2010

Friday 18th June

Our last full day in Wales. We are a little bit sad, but at the same time a little bit glad. This is the longest holiday we have had, and it is long enough.

The day started grey and cloudy, but improved as the morning wore onto midday. We took the car to Mumbles Head and then walked down to the pier.
It almost seems as though The Mumbles is a bit embarrassed at being a seaside town. The pier is tucked into the corner and largely left to rot away. The only things it has is a lifeboat station and those mildly amusing scenes to put your head through and be photographed to make you look fatter than you actually are. Or thinner in our case!!

We had a quick play in the amusement arcade (again, tucked away like an embarrassing relative) and had a coffee from the freshly painted for the season cafe. (Which does its best to rise above its obvious greasy spoon past by offering alternatives to fish and chips on the menu)

Sitting at the waters edge, we can hear the sea lapping at the rocks and can see across the bay to Swansea with its housing estates built on the surrounding hillsides and its tower blocks of modern apartments and offices on the harbour front, the tallest of which glows red at night. With the sun beating down on the boats in the bay, you can imagine that you are in Monte Carlo . Only if you close your eyes really tightly though.

Had lunch at Casselmare Cafe Bar overlooking the bay outside in the sunshine. Fish for Sally, scampi for me - well it is Friday! They put loads of onion in the salad, so I got to eat both salads and had stinky breath for the rest of the day!!

Started packing up our things late in the afternoon in readiness of a quickish getaway in the morning. Several people arrived at the bungalow next door this afternoon bringing FIVE vehicles with them! Thank goodness there is plenty of parking space here. We haven't been able to work out if the bungalow is a holiday let too. The brochure says that the "Summer House" that we are staying in is in the grounds of the owners bungalow, but there has been no sign of life there until cleaners and gardener turned up yesterday, presumably in readiness for todays arrivals. Question is, are they the owners, friends of the owners or just holiday makers like ourselves???

We watched the fiasco of England v Algeria on TV, and barely managed to stay awake. Now I remember why I had gone off football!

Retreated to the bedroom for our last sleep here in Wales, and with that stunning view. If nothing else, that view is the thing I will miss the most when we get home. The view from our bedroom window at home really can't compete with this one.

The alarm is set for 7:30 in the hope that we will be able to get up at a sensible time and hit the road early enough for us to be home around lunch time.

What have I missed about home? Your own bed is always the most comfortable no matter what. A decent internet connection. Then again, that can be seen as a bad thing in someways. Once again, I have discovered that so many of the "things" I have at home really are not that important, and I could easily live without them. I have too many books and too many CDs. I MUST do something about this.

We really don't need a 3 bedroomed house, and once again need to seriously consider our alternative options. We also need to think through our possibilities career wise. What is the best way of achieving our ultimate aim of living on the coast? We have come up with a few ideas and have given ourselves food for thought.

Time to sleep now, and get back to the "real world" tomorrow........
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Thursday, 17 June 2010

Thursday 17th June

I had set my alarm this morning, so we managed to get up earlier than we had been recently. One of the upsides to this was that we saw a fox on the golf course just in front of us.

After breakfast we headed out to Pennard & Southgate where we parked in the NT carpark and had a little walk along the cliff top looking towards Three Cliffs Bay. Southgate is a very nice village with some fabulous houses. I can only imagine that it is a lovely place to live.

Moving on to Oxwich, and its superb beach. From here we got a proper view of Three Cliffs Bay, and it is quite a view. Oxwich beach claims to be over two miles long, and we walked quite a lot of it. We had a paddle in the sea which was quite warm, and very much enjoyed our walk across the sand and through the water.

We ate our picnic lunch there after our walk before taking back to the car and driving out through Reynoldston and across an area that looked straight out of the New Forest. It was very pretty, full of animals by the roadside.

We then headed to The Mumbles for a "proper" look around the "shops". The carpark really should charge in 5 minute stages - there really is very little there, making Kenilworth town centre seem very cosmopolitan!

As you can guess it wasn't long before we were back at the house. We both had slight headaches which a large mug of tea helped to lesson. I fell asleep listening to the football as usual, and Sally did some more crafting.

The sun disappeared behind clouds and the temperature dropped rather. Dinner tonight is macaroni cheese for Sally and pasta with spicy sausage for me, with garlic bread to share. Tomorrow is our last day here, and it feels as though we have been here for ages!

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Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Wednesday 16th June

Another beautifully sunny morning. Overnight the flag has moved again AND the green has changed colour!! It is a darker green than it has been. I wondered if they had watered it, but the colour didn't change again as the day wore on and the sun dried the ground, so I really don't know what they have done to it.

We decided to have a lazy day today, and stayed at "home". We had Radio 4 for company, I had my book and dozing to keep me busy, Sally had her book, crafting and my snoring to keep her occupied. Of course, we also had the golfers to keep us amused too.

Sally made us pizza for lunch, which was really tasty. By now the sun was all over the balcony, so she took in some more rays while I watched Spain lose to Switzerland. (Well, I slept through most if it - again!)

Nothing else to report for today really I'm afraid. We have enjoyed our lazy day but plan to get out and about again tomorrow.

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Tuesday 15th June

We awoke to another sunny day. Very few clouds in the sky, a gentle breeze to keep some of the heat at bay and that stunning view across the golf course to the sea.

But what was this? The flag on the green in front of us had moved since we went to bed! It is a good job I knew this happens and had mentioned it to Sally yesterday, otherwise we would have been freaked out by it. I would still have liked to see them do it to find out exactly how it is done mind.

After a fairly relaxed start to the morning (by which I mean "late"!) We ventured out in the car again and headed to the North part of the Gower, and ended up at the village of Portmadog, which is in the top left corner of the peninsula. We had found a walk in a leaflet in the house for there. It wasn't a particularly long walk, but did involve some steep hills, and because of the temperature, we were glad it wasn't any longer.

Part of it was through a wood right on the coastline, it was not only beautiful but so peaceful too. All you could hear was the gentle sound of the sea, the birds singing and the occasional cow moo'ing. How wonderful.

Near to the carpark is a little church dating back to the 13th century. I don't know why, but little old churches fascinate me, and I was quite happy to spend some time looking around it.

We got back to the car and decided not to eat our picnic lunch there, but move along the coast a bit and find somewhere else to stop. As we moved East along this northern coastline, we discovered that not all parts of the Gower are quite as picturesque. We stopped to eat in the village of Pen-clawdd and found a fairly grim place populated with plenty of loud car owning youths who mostly looked as though they were very familiar with the term "ASBO"!! It reminded me of St Just from our trip to Cornwall in 2007.

We scoffed our food down quickly, and then checking the map discovered that we were not too far away from the M&S food store that we had stopped at on Saturday. Also, I discovered a route back to Langlands that avoided the awful centre of Swansea. So we went to M&S and topped up with provisions for the rest of the week and headed back to the house the easy way.

Sally sat on the balcony to catch some sun, but it was too hot for me, so I crashed out on one of the sofas downstairs to watch the remainder of the Ivory Coast v Portugal game. Apart from some of the best play acting I have seen for a while it was not a good game, and I actually missed the last part of it because I fell asleep!

An odd thing I have noticed. Last week when we had no phone signal, the battery on my Blackberry was running down a LOT faster than normal. Now we have a reasonable signal it is back to normal. I can only image it was because the phone kept trying to find a signal. But, when it did find a signal, I sometimes had to turn it off and back on before it could send or receive texts and emails. Modern technology eh?

Jacket potatoes for dinner - haven't had one for ages, so that was nice. Watched Brazil v North Korea before heading up to bed for a lovely sleep in preparation for another hard day!

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Monday, 14 June 2010

Monday 14th June

Some rain overnight meant that we awoke to a slightly damp morning. Dull and overcast, it didn't start out too promising, but improved as the day went on, and ended with quite a lot of sun and fairly warm.
Today, we decided to risk it, and went out in the car. We made it to the end of the narrow lane without meeting anything coming the other way. Phew. That was the hardest part of the journey done then!

We headed West deeper into the Gower Peninsula. One of the strangest things about today's trip was that the B road was a lot wider than the A road we went on.

I also noticed that most of the small villages in Wales only have one tiny village store, a pub or two and a hairdressers. Quite why there is such a need for hair stylists remains a mystery to me.

We made our way to Rhossili, which was the first designated area of outstanding natural beauty. This is a title which gives it a lot to live up to.

It more than lived up to its title - it is fabulously stunning. A huge curved beach that is hard to get to, which means it is pretty much unspoilt. Cliffs that rise up majestically to grassy tops, and a tidal causeway to a mightily impressive rock known as "The Worms Head".

We walked to the Coast Guard Volunteer Station, which overlooks The Worms Head, and got chatting to one of the men there who told us all about their work there, and showed us around their station. He also told us about the seals and pointed some out to us through their telescope. He was very interesting and knowledgeable, and we enjoyed our time with him.

We carried on our walk further around the cliff top until we could see into the next bay, and then walked back along the same route back to the car. Moving on to Port Eynon, which is a place that we very nearly stayed at instead of Langlands, we discovered that we had made a good decision - if Rhossili was a highlight of the holiday, then Port Eynon was a low point.

On the map it seems quite big. It does have quite a few houses and cottages, but it only has one pub, one gift shop, one open cafe and one closed cafe. There were no hairdressers though. We had a bite to eat at the cafe, but decided not to linger. Partly because there was nothing else to see, and partly because off all the "Beware of the Adders" signs warning you to stick to the paths!!!

We had both imagined it being an old fashioned fishing port full of quaint little cottages. It was none of these things.

Making our way back to The Mumbles, we stopped at the Co-Op for supplies, and had a very quick look around the town, and will have to investigate it further before we leave.

Back at the house, the golfers are back bashing their little white balls into the distance before walking after them with a trolley full of clubs and doing it all over again.

I would quite like to have a go at golf, but have to confess that I don't really "get it".

It seems to me that a lot of it is competing against ones own incompetence.

You hit the ball hoping to land it where you want to. If all goes well then great. Chances are it won't end up quite where you wanted it to, and depending on how badly you played the shot, you now have to get yourself out of trouble.

Some of the people we have seen playing have given us a good laugh. Two ladies this morning were obviously not really into the game. They weren't even looking at where they were hoping to play their shots:- head down, whack, trudge trudge trudge, head down, whack....and so on.

Mark Twain described golf as a good walk spoilt. If these people are so disinterested in the game, why not save themselves a fortune and just go for a walk???

Watching the Italy v Paraguay game on the TV, but it is so cold downstairs that I am seriously considering moving upstairs and listening to the second half on the radio! The difference in temperature between the two floors is surprising and very noticeable.

Hopefully I will put some more photos on here taken on the phone. If so, they are from Rhossili. They don't do it justice.

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Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sunday 13th June

A wonderful nights sleep in a very comfortable bed. Another plus point for the house - I thought the bed at the flat was good, but this one is almost as good as ours at home. We left the curtains at the huge balcony window open to admire the view when we went to bed, only closing them as it was starting to get light at around 4am. In the distance last night we could see the light of what we assume is the Swansea / Port Talbot area, and the blinking of a lighthouse.

This morning, the weather started off looking very cloudy and dull, but still reasonably warm, and we decided to go for a walk. We put our boots on and headed off across the golf course in what I hoped was roughly the right direction to get down to the bay. It is probably about half a mile or so across one of the fairways, past the club house and down a narrow lane before you reach the bay. There were plenty of people walking their dogs along the coastal path, and some people on the beach already.
We sat and watched the sea for a while and a group of surfers who were having a lesson, before deciding to take the coastal path East towards The Mumbles itself. The path is mostly tarmac, so is easy to walk on , but itr rises and falls, sometimes quite steeply, along the cliff tops. We walked as far as Mumbles Pier, which appears to be 2 miles or so, having the odd rest here and there along the way to enjoy the spectacular views. We came back the same route, and by now the sun had come out and it was quite hot again.

When we got back to the house, we had a bite to eat and a drink of squash before chilling out for the rest of the afternoon. Sally has brought some of her craft things with her and spent some time doing that. I listened to the football on the radio. Well, that isn't totally true, I started off listening to the footy, and fell asleep for a couple of hours!!

We had a bit of rain this afternoon - it started off as drizzle but got heavier and the wind made it worse and lashed it at those daft enough to be playing golf in it.

The evening was spent watching Germany give Australia a lesson in how to play football. Dinner was an M&S special - a fish pie with herby potatoes followed by lemon tart.

Still can't get a good internet connection on the laptop, so am having to carry on typing this on the Blackberry. This also means no photos at the moment. Sorry. I wonder if I can send any from the phone? If this works, below will be the view from the balcony across the golf course.

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Saturday, 12 June 2010

Saturday 12th June

I had set the alarm for 7:15, and was woken with a start by the darned bleeping. Got up straight away and hit the shower, had some cereal and a mug of tea, and then set to finishing the packing. There wasn't too much left to do really, and it didn't take long. Got the car packed and we still had an hour left before we had to be out of the flat. Or so we thought.....

We were sitting in the living room with the patio door open enjoying the sun and the view for the last time when someone opened the front door. It was the cleaners. It was only 9:20!!! We grabbed the last of our things, took a few quick pictures and that was that. Week one of the holiday over.

We took a gentle drive East, took a slight detour through Pendine Sands and eventually got to Carmarthen. Had a look at my phone and saw something strange. Something that I haven't seen for a week. A 3G signal!!! Wow, I didn't know they had 3G in Wales! Up to now, most of the time the display has either said "No Signal" or "SOS only", with the occasional "GSM" or if you are really lucky "GPRS". It has been during those rare moments that I have been sending the blog entries.

We had a wonder around Carmathen for a couple of hours. It has a new shopping precinct with some nice shops (mostly multiples) as well as plenty of the old narrow streets with the independants. The town has obviously had a lot of modernisation and work done to it over the last few years. It has a nice feel to it, and we could have spent longer there.

Moving on towards our destination, the roads were mostly dual carriageway and even a short stretch of the M4. On the outskirts of Swansea we found a retail park that has a Marks & Spencer Simply Food store, and we did a bit of stocking up there.

The roads signs in and through Swansea were, quite frankly, truly awful! We found our way more by luck than judgement, and by the time we were through the city I was a bit on the grumpy side. We then reached the village called "The Mumbles" where the office is that we have to get the keys to the house from.

Keys picked up, we followed the cryptic clues on how to get to the house. Again, more by luck than judgement we turned into the correct road. At the end of the road there is a narrow opening, no I mean a REALLY narrow opening, which leads onto an unmade track!! You go along this for about half a mile, praying that you don't meet anything coming the other way as it is single track with NO passing places.

Seeing a golf course on the left hand side made me think that this was correct, and eventually you go through two gate posts with no gate (not the four bar one that is mentioned in the instructions) up a steep drive, around a bend and...........

.........WOW!!! A bungalow appears in front of you - nothing special, but to the right is a small two story detached house that is to be our home for the next seven days.

Ouside there is a table and chairs in front of the house on a patio area. To the right of the house is room for two cars, and behind is a small "yard" with a clothes airer. The front door is on the left hand side of the house and leads into the kitchen, beyond which is the huge living/dining room complete with dining table, 2 sofas, wood burner and TV.

The stairs are in the corner of the kitchen and lead up to the one massive bedroom with queen sized bed, wardrobe, drawers etc, coffee table, 2 chairs and a sofabed. These are in front of a patio door which leads out to a balcony which runs the full width of the house, and offers a stunning view over the golf course and the sea beyond.

Off the bedroom is a large bathroom, but as this has a sloping ceiling due to the roof, it feels smaller than it is. It has a large bath with shower over, washbasin and toilet.

The house generally feels nice and airy and we have really taken to it. I feel a bit bad really, I was fond of the flat and almost feel a bit unfaithful to it to like this house so much already!!

We unloaded the car, had a cup of tea and then went for a walk across the golf course to the cliff top overlooking the bay. The views are certainly impressive and we look forward to exploring them during the week.

Back at thew house we sat looking out over the balcony watching the golfers. There is a green just the other side of the hedge, and it is quite amusing watching the golfers try to hit the green and then sink their putts. I feel that they may well give us some funny moments over the next week!

After dinner of salad, cheese and garlic bread, we watched the England v USA game. After a good start, the predictable happened and it ended up as a draw. Yawn.

We have moved to the upstairs room now as it is warmer than downstairs. I can't get an internet connection on either laptop, so you may have to wait for photos I'm sorry to say.

It is quite misty out to sea, and you can't see too far out which is a shame. All the golfers seem to have gone home too, and the only sound is the birds singing.

Here's hoping for a good nights sleep and another lovely day tomorrow.

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Friday 11th June

A cloudy start to our last full day in Freshwater East with the odd sunny spell between the clouds. Can't believe that we have been here for almost a week. The time has flown past, but it also feels like we have been here for ages if that makes sense.

Once again it proves just how quickly one can adapt, and that so much of the stuff one has at home is totally superfluous to your needs. We have already redesigned the layout of this place in our minds to make it perfectly suitable for our requirements. The more space you have, the more junk you fill it with.

The plan today is to go to Manorbier Castle which is a few miles up the coast towards Tenby. From the brochure it is only a small castle but steeped in history. We shall see.

On the beach at Manorbier. The weather is still cloudy, but the breeze is warm, and it is quite pleasant. The beech is a mixture of sand and stones, there is the smell of damp seaweed and the rocks at the edge of the bay are scared by the elements and covered with lichen. It is a very peaceful place - all you can hear is the sound of the waves and the birds singing. This is a very out of the way bay and not at all busy, nicely hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the real world.

There was a young golden labrador on the beach, playing happily and retrieving the hoop his owner was throwing for him. On their way back to the car park, the dog decided to duck his head into the stream and pick out large stones. This would have been great if his owner had wanted to build a rockery, but as she seemed unkeen, we can only imagine that she already has one back home.

Two horses have appeared on the beach now, and their riders are heading down towards the sea. It is not a very big beach so I can't imagine that the horses are going to get much of a run.

We went to the castle and had a look around. It dates back to the 13th century, and is in fairly good condition. It was certainly interesting enough, and was a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, finishing up with tea and cake. We were helped by a robin that was tame enough to sit on the edge of our table in the hopes of getting some crumbs. He/she was a cheeky thing and you had to eat with one hand protecting your food just in case.

We then moved on to Saundersfoot, and just like on our first visit there, the sun came back out and the weather was glorious. We had a long walk on the beach and paddled in the sea, which was surprisingly warm.

Had the best fish & chips of the holiday at the Marina fish bar. They were really good, and even better than the ones in Tenby. Full marks!!

Sat on the harbour front watching the world go by and the tide come in. This is the life - can't remember when I last felt quite so chilled out. The time seems to be going so slowly today, and considering such a late start to the day we seem to have packed in such a lot and it is still only 5pm.

Headed back to the flat, opened the patio doors and enjoyed the view and gentle breeze with a lovely mug of tea.

Watched Uruguay v France in the World Cup. What a snooze fest that turned out to be! Discovered that I have managed to get sunburnt. Head and forearms being the worst. Put some cream on, and its not too bad. When will I learn?

Started packing up to save a bit of time in the morning. Really can't believe that this will be our last night here. I'm going to miss this place that is for sure - especially that view! This time tomorrow we will be at our second venue, so we will see what the view from there is like.....

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Friday, 11 June 2010

Thursday 10th June

The weather forecast for today is cloudy, windy and rain showers. So far the only bit they have right is windy. The sun is shining and it looks as though it could be another glorious day. (Or do I speak too soon?)

The fact that I dozed for a couple of hours yesterday evening meant that I didn't sleep as well as normal during the night. Doh!

Yes, I speak too soon, as when we ready to go out it had clouded over. It was still pleasantly warm though. We headed out through Tenby towards Kilgetty. On the way we spotted a market cum car boot just outside of Tenby, so we stopped and had a look around. It was my first experience of a car boot sale, so I didn't really know what to expect. It was a right old mish mash of old stuff and new items. Don't quite know what I thought to it at the moment!

Carried on to Kilgetty where there is a glass blowing workshop. It was more like a large tin shed in someones garden, and despite the "open" signs, appeared to be deserted.

We then made our way to Colby Woodland Garden, which is a National Trust site. The weather was still cloudy, but pleasant enough for a walk. We started with a cup of tea at the cafe before walking the half a mile or so to the beach at Amroth. The walk was along a track through a wood and came out on the road through Amroth. You cross the road and you are on the beach. It is a pebbly beach leading down to a narrow strip of sand and then the sea itself. It reminded me a bit of Newgale from last year, but the road through this village is most definately NOT an A road. You would not get here by accident that's for sure.

We walked back to the cafe and had lunch. Sally had the 3 cheese platter, and I had the grilled goats cheese with toasted pine nuts on a bed of salad drizzled with balsamic vinegar. I have to say - it was fabulous!! I think we both agree that they were the best meals of the holiday so far.

We made our way back to Tenby and had another wonder around the shops - treated ourselves to a couple of mugs. We had a quick hot chocolate at a cafe. Sally had a bit of a headache, and the hope was that a drink and fresh air would help.

We picked up a brochure in Tenby full of properties to rent for holidays. Sally is busy planning our next trip here already!!

I drove back to the flat from Tenby. It was the first time that I have driven the Seat Leon that is Sallys current company car. It is a diesel, so that was pretty new to me too. I did drive one of her Focus diesels a while back, but this was only my second time driving one. It all went well, I did manage to stall it a couple of times, but Sally manages that too. It seems that you have to rev to doo-dahs off it when you pull away. No namby pamby gentle acceleration when you pull away. Hit the rev limiter and dump the clutch!! (Well, not quite, but you get the idea)

Back as base, I read for a while and Sally played boggle, but not before we had christened our new mugs with tea. Dinner was Ryvitas with tuna followed by cherry scones and strawberries. The scones were from a bakery stall on the market and the strawberries were from a farm shop just outside of Tenby.

It is still cloudy and a little hazy in the distance, but has stayed dry. The day has been pretty good really, and the woodland garden was great, even though we only scratched the surface of what was there. I suspect a trip back on a lovely day will be in order.

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Thursday, 10 June 2010

Wednesday 9th June

Another grey and dull start to the day, but at least it is dry. Toast and tea for breakfast.

While I'm waiting for Sally to get ready I thought I would try to describe the flat for you. The block is part way down quite a steep hill, and is a three storey building with eight flats per storey, so 24 in total. Judging by the number of them that still have their new Yellow Pages outside, quite a few must be second homes rather than lived in or holiday lets.

Because the block is built into the hill to a degree, instead of steps to get to the upper floors, they have put in ramps from paths built into the hill. This means that all floors have easy access. Mind you, I would not call them wheelchair friendly, as the doors inside are so narrow. As previously mentioned, the block is quite bland looking, being a cross between council style and prison block! It could do with a lick of paint to brighten it up, but thankfully once you get inside, it is a pleasant surprise that awaits you. It appears to have been decorated fairly recently, in light neutral colours and the carpet is also neutral and light. The furniture is all modern, the bed very comfortable and all in all gets a thumbs up from us.

Our flat is at the far end of the top floor. It isn't too much of a walk from the carpark, but when it's raining it's far enough!! The carpark has a numbered bay for each flat, although we have seen so few cars there so far that it wouldn't be a problem to find a spot anyway.

The front door opens outwards, and really should be hinged on the other side as you basically pull it open into your face the first time you use it. You quickly learn to go beyond the door right to the end of the walkway before you open it.

Straight in front of you there is a short, narrow hallway. A door to the right (narrower than a normal one) leads into a good sized bathroom. There is a full sized bath with a shower over it along the left hand side, a wash basin on the right just inside the door, and the toilet at the far end. The basin being just inside the door is a bit strange, but there is plenty of room to move around in there. (Wish our bathroom at home was as big!)

Problems: the room steams up very badly, even with the window open and really needs an extractor fan. The toilet is a pig to flush, needs an adjustment I think. For some reason they have put up 2 shower curtains, one as normal, plus one against the wall. It is a fully tiled wall, so this seems very odd, and it also makes it seem very narrow in there while you are in the shower. There is also a glass shower screen half way along the bath which is totally superfluous.

Coming out of the bathroom and back into the hallway, just beyond the bathroom door is another narrow door which contains the water tank and could be used as an airing cupboard.

Straight in front of you is a door which leads into the living room, which also has the kitchen in it. It is a good sized room, probably around 20 feet by 15 feet. The kitchen part is on your right, into the corner and along the wall that has the bath on the other side of it. The "L" shaped kitchen has a fridge with a microwave on top of it and a large cupboard above with saucepans, baking trays etc. To the left of that is an electric 4 ring hob with an oven below. Above is a cooker hood and a small cupboard. Moving to the left again is a worktop with cupboards above and below, and as you come around the corner this continues, but the worktop has the sink unit in it. There isn't a huge amount of workspace, but there is plenty of storage with the cupboards above and below.

The living room part of the room has a two seater sofa, two armchairs, a coffee table and a small unit with the TV on it. The TV also has a video and DVD player built into it and there is a Freeview digi box underneath. In the drawer at the bottom of this unit are a few videos, DVDs and CDs.

There is a tall built in storage cupboard which has an ironing board, vacuum etc in it, and a small built in bookcase which has a few ornaments and books.

The patio door leads out to a balcony looking out towards the sea. The patio door itself is a devil to use. It may be down to a poor design or possibly misuse over the years, but there is an art to closing it successfully which involves getting on your hands and knees to make sure a small peg goes back into a guide runner. It seems from the comments in the visitors book that this has been the main bugbear about the flat for some time. It took me about 5 minutes to suss it out, but obviously not everyone has the patience to do this. (Well, to be honest, I thought we'd broken it to begin with, and only found out about other peoples troubles with it later!!)

Double folding doors on the left lead into the second bedroom, which has a pull down double bed in it, a folding dining table and chairs, built in wardrobe and a chest of drawers. Some people have used it as the main bedroom as it is the bigger of the two bedrooms and has a huge window looking out to sea. We have chosen to use it as our storage/dressing room.

Moving back to the entrance to the living room from the hallway, on the left is the door to the "main" bedroom. This has the very comfy double bed, a built in wardrobe and two small bedside cabinets.

The heating in the flat is by electric storage heaters, but the whole place is so cozy that I doubt these ever see much use.

That's about all there is to it. Compact but pretty much everything you could need. If one of the bedrooms was made into a kitchen (probably the rear one - as that is big enough to be a kitchen diner) and fitted with a washer-dryer and dishwasher, it would be perfect.

The sun came out and we headed out down the narrow country lanes past Stackpole towards Castle Martin, where we hit upon a slight snag. The main road was closed as the army base was having live firing practice!! It would seem that it is a tank training base or something, and they sometimes have to close off the main road which runs through their artillary range.

The detour took us down some even narrower lanes, but we finally got to our destination of West Angle Bay which overlooks the entrance to Milford Haven. The information board in the carpark says that Milford Haven has one of the deepest natural harbours and entrance in the world, which is probably why it was chosen as a place for supertankers to come into.

It had started to spot with rain, so we sat in the car and read (and I dozed for a while). There are not many people to be seen compared to the number of cars here. I can only imagine that most are doing the walk around the peninsular from one side of Angle Bay to the other and back again. There is a pub about two thirds of the way around the walk, and I bet it has a fair few ramblers in it right now!!

A scenic drive back along the same route, and stopped to watch some surfers for a few minutes. Stopped for lunch in Bosherton at the St Govans Inn. This is an olde worlde type pub, wooden beams and all. It was very busy - they seemed to be catering after a funeral judging by the number of black ties being worn.

Sally had a ploughmans and I had scampi chips and salad. Both were very nice indeed. We followed this up with dessert, chocolate fudge cake for Sally and banoffee pie for me. While we were eating, we could here the occasional "boom" of the guns, and even some heavy machine gun fire. All slightly surreal.

We moved on to Stackpole Quay and Barafundle Bay. The one National Trust car park serving both. The walk to Barafundle was a bit strenuous in places, especially just after a large meal!! We didn't go all the way down to the Bay, but sat at the clifftop admiring the view of the beach and cliffs beyond.
The weather has been a bit cloudy today with lovely sunny intervals, only the odd spot of rain, and has remained fairly warm. We are now back at the flat, mug of tea at the ready. The patio door is open and the sound of the waves crashing onto the beach is one I will never tire of.

Dinner was baguettes with the remains of the chicken from last night in one, and tuna with green pepper in the other. Simple but tasty.

As the light begins to fade, the view is still excellent out to sea, and it is very clear, being able to see for miles. A lovely end to a lovely day.
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Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Tuesday 8th June

We awoke to a bright and dry morning. Quite contrary to the weather forecast. However, by the time we had showered and had breakfast, the cloud and mist had come back and it was drizzling slightly. This has somewhat made us alter our plans for the day. When we woke up and saw that it looked pretty good we had decided to investigate the Stackpole Estate and that part of the sticky outy bit of the peninsular. Now we are thinking more along the lines of Tenby and Saundersfoot. I quite fancy the museum of speed at Pendine Sands too.

First of all we tried to find the mythical bakery that is mentioned in the handbook in the flat. Some previous occupants have even mentioned it in the visitors book, but we still cannot find it despite having looked for it every day now.

Took a scenic route to Tenby down some very narrow country lanes in the pouring rain. Yes, by now it was hammering it down. As we got to Tenby it started to ease off a bit, and we decided to go to Saundersfoot first instead.

It was only a few miles up the coast from Tenby, but because of the roads it took a little while to get there. In fact, when we did get there, the sun was shining and the rain had moved on. It was lovely!!

We had been led to believe that Saundersfoot was a dump - a typical seaside tourist town. I can see why some people would perceive it like that, but we really liked it!

Spent a couple of pounds in the amusement arcade, and had a look in some of the gift shops including the "Famous £1.20" one (well, inflation hits even the pound shops I guess!) and picked up a few bargains.

Had a wonder around the rest of the town, which was pretty much just tourist, beach and gift shops. (We like that sort of tackiness though!). We had a cream tea (first one of the holiday) at a very nice cafe which had a terrace overlooking the beach. All very civilised, and quite lovely in the sun. What a change in the weather from first thing and even from yesterday.

Wondered around a bit more before heading back to the car and swapping shoes for flip flops for a walk on the beach. The sand was golden and soft, and the sea was quite warm. (Yes, we had a quick paddle!)

We sat in the shade of a wall and watched the world go by and listened to the waves crash onto the beach. The highlight (from a pure amusement point of view) was watching 2 late-teenage lads trying to put up a net on the beach to play volleyball. They seemed to have very little grasp of the laws of physics, and could not understand why the two poles (which looked about as thin as garden canes) kept pulling in towards each other with the weight of the net. It didn't matter how far they pushed them into the sand or if the put stones against the bottom of the poles, they just would not keep straight. When they started digging two holes to plant them in I thought we were going to wet ourselves. The rest of their mates finally turned up and kicked the ball around, totally failing to offer any help at all. In the end they just did their best with the poles and marked out the court with their heels in the sand. Finally the game started and none of them could hit the ball back over the net, and we just had to move on as by now we were in bits.

We got some crackers with cheese and pickle from the Spa shop and ate those in the sun. We wondered around the few shops that we had missed earlier and then made our way back to the car.

Instead of coming straight back to the flat we went to a tiny place called Wisemans Bridge, which basically just has a pub. However, it also has a carpark which is not only free but is right on the seafront. We sat on the wall taking in the sun, sea and sand while reading our books.

Eventually we made it back to the flat for tea and cake. Sally is playing "Boggle" on my ipod and I'm telling you about our day. The patio door to the balcony is wide open, the sun is still shining, we can hear the sea and feel the breeze, the view is spectacular and just at this moment, life seems perfect. (Well, apart from no signal on the phone!!!)

Dinner was chicken, potatoes and mixed veg with gravy. The chicken was really tasty. Washing up done, we are now playing head to head Boggle, and Sally is winning so far.

The sea is changing colour to a lighter blue as the sun goes down. We can still see further than at any other time since we got here, and fingers are crossed for another lovely day tomorrow.
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Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Monday 7th June

Woke to the sound of rain on the windows. More like heavy drizzle than full blown rain, but the grey skies did not look promising.

A shower, tea and cereal later, and still the day remained murky. We decided to head to Pembroke again for a look around the shops. Once again we found the road signs there rather confusing and missed the car park first time. Once more around the town and we managed to find our way into it. 4 hours for 50p was a worry - usually the cheaper it is to park, the less there is to see, so we left the car park expecting the worst.

It actually turned out to be a pretty good little town. Not a huge number of shops, but most of them quite interesting. We found a Lloyds Chemist and were very happy to discover that they still have their blood pressure monitors at half price, so for £15 we got ourselves set up with one. Sally also got herself a thin hooded top at a shop that was full of bargain clothes. I didn't get anything. Sniff.

The rain was settling in a bit more now, and as tempting as it was to have a wonder around the castle, we felt it better to move on. Pete at work had suggested that Narberth was well worth a visit, so we headed towards there.

The A roads around here are little more than the countryside B roads back home, so even a short journey can take quite a while. The roadworks didn't help either, so it took a fair while to get to Narberth, but it was well worth the effort.

Again the parking was worryingly cheap, but proved to be excellent value for money. There is a good range of shops in the town, mostly independents, and most of them interesting in one way or another. By now the rain was coming down quite heavily, and we were glad of interesting shops to look around and shelter in.

One gift shop we found had a superb selection of Crocs, and finally I have got a new pair to replace my virtually worn out ones. Well, they are 3 years old now and have seen use pretty much every day since I got them, so they have done very well. Sally got herself a new pair too, and we also got a driftwood ornament for the house.

Once again the estate agents showed a huge variation in prices for property here, though we did spot rather a nice cottage bungalow on the outskirts of Pembroke for a reasonable price.

We had a spot of lunch while in Narberth, at "Sospan Fach". (I imagine that the first word is Welsh for saucepan, but dread to think what the second one might be). Sally had a brie and cranberry baguette, and I had my usual burger. They were very nice, and good value.

It was still throwing it down with rain as we left the town, and the trip back took just over an hour even though it was only 21 miles, partly because of the weather/roads but mostly because of pesky roadworks.

By the time we got back to the flat, not only was it still chucking it down, but it was very foggy too. Can only just about make out the sea. It is very windy too. We are so glad that we are not camping in this!!

The flat is dry and surprisingly warm though, and it is nice to be back here with a mug of hot tea.

I forgot to mention yesterday that during our walk down to the beach we met a man with 5 or 6 dogs. One of them was HUGE. He told us that it was only 8 months old and still not fully grown. It was a "Leonburgher" (not sure about the spelling - sounds like a special at McDonalds to me) and when we stroked it its fur was SO soft that your hand just fell into it. It was amazing.

Sally watched a program about food on the TV while I cooked us mushroom risotto for dinner, which was very nice even if I do say so myself. Later on was a program about a bakers in London, so we had a cake during that one! I finished typing up my journal for our Norfolk holiday, so once we can get a decent signal I will put those on the blog.

Quite late to bed (11pm) and "still falls the rain" (a bonus point to anyone who can say where that quote comes from. A clue - an album cover from the late 60s)

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Monday, 7 June 2010

Sunday 6th

Both had a good nights sleep. The bed is comfy though rather smaller than what we are used to at home.

The morning started very grey but just about dry. Cereal and tea for breakfast followed by a nice hot shower - if only we had that water pressure at home!

The flat is growing on me, and despite its small size is perfectly adequate. We have already re-organised it in our minds to set it out how we would prefer it.

Still no mobile phone signal, so yesterdays blog entry remains on the blackberry.

Left the flat at about 10:30 and headed to Tenby. It is only 8 miles but the road is narrow and twisty and took an age to get there. Once in the car park, found a mobile signal, so fired off yesterdays entry.

Tenby is a very pleasant town, with an old walled section where the majority of the shops are. The usual plethora of gift shops is supplemented by small multiples and independants selling most things one could want. A quick look in a couple of estate agents windows showed a huge variation in prices depending on the area. Even within the same town/village the prices vary tremendously. There must be some well dodgy areas!!

After exploring the town for a couple of hours we got fish & chips from "the runner up best chip shop in Wales", and have to confess that they were very good. I would love to find out who won and try theirs!

While you are waiting to be served in the chip shop, they have a little game you can play. There is a small bucket on the counter filled with water with a whole lemon floating in it. The challenge is to put a 10p piece on the lemon and make it balance. If it falls off the lemon you lose the 10p. If you can make it stay on the lemon your fish and chips are free. Looks easy, but its not. We lost our 10p, and a lady behind us lost quite a few while she was waiting! I asked the chap behind the counter if many people won, and he confessed that no one had ever won. The money was for their Christmas party, and why else did we think that so many of their prices were something and ninety pence!!

Sitting on the cliff top overlooking the sea as I type this. The weather is sunny with cloudy moments. Sometimes you need your coat, sometimes you don't. At least the rain shower we had as we got here was very brief.

The view is very good from where we are sitting. With Caldey Island very close by, and The Gower Peninsular just about visible in the hazy distance.

Went back to the flat and got our walking boots on for a bit of a jaunt. Wondered down onto the beach at the bottom of the steep slope the flats are built on. It started off ok, but as we got onto the sand dunes the going got a bit tougher. Sand is suprisingly difficult to walk on when you are sinking in a bit with each step.

It was wonderfully sunny on the beach, and we sat and watched the waves for a while before braving the long ascent back up the hill. The sand was absolutely knackering to walk up, but we made it in the end. Once back at the flat, we opened the door to the balcony and enjoyed the sunshine and fresh air with the sound of the waves in the distance.

We both read for a while, and I fell asleep in the chair for a bit too. (What a surprise!) before moving to the sofa and falling asleep again!

Dinner tonight was just sandwiches, to be followed by ice cream.....yummy!!

Nothing worth watching on the telly, so I started to type up my journal from our trip to Norfolk in 2008. Sally did her best to decipher my scribbles and dictated them to me to type up on the Mac. Still no signal on the phone or on the 3G dongle.

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Sunday, 6 June 2010

Sat 5th.

Day 1 of the holiday. Despite the weather forecast being for rain, we woke up to glorious sunshine and a hot day. Unusually for us, we were not very well organised and only really started packing this morning. The car seemed absolutely rammed by the time we had finished - it looked as full as when we go camping - can't quite understand how, but there we are.

The journey started out with a traffic jam less than 5 miles from home. It took over half an hour to get to the end of the A46. After that, it wasn't too bad, the M5 was fairly busy but was moving steadily.

We elected to take the scenic route across the centre of Wales and via Brecon. This was pretty much the same route that we took last year, and we stopped at the same parking spot as last time and had our lunch.

It seemed to take forever to get here, and in fact was almost 5 hours including the stop for lunch.

The apartment block was a bit of a shock when we first saw it. Both of us thought "Prisoner Cell Block H"!!! It is quite run down looking from the outside, and when we got inside it was smaller than I had expected. When I got past my initial thoughts, it is actually very nice inside. It is clean, nicely decorated and furnished and has just about everything you could want.

One major snag is that there is no mobile phone signal. At all. Neither is there one anywhere from here to Pembrook. We ended up having to phone parents from a phone box!!!

We did a bit of food shopping at Asda and headed back to the flat for a lovely cup of tea. Then we headed to the beach to check it out briefly. It is very sandy and pleasant, and we look forward to spending more time on it.

Back to the flat to cook dinner and watch "Britain thinks it has a bit of talent" final. Some of the comments in the guest book have been that the TV picture is not very good. We thought the picture was fine and settled down to "enjoy" the show.

Half an hour in and the signal vanished. Ten minutes of playing around got the picture back but with no sound. We have discovered that if you press the volume up button on the remote for the digi box the sound comes back (even though the level is fully up). Snag is that after about ten seconds it goes off again. We are taking it in turns to keep pressing the button!!!

We managed to get to the end of the program, and in fact the darn thing ended up working properly after totally loosing the signal for a few minutes just before they announced the winner!!

Dinner was chicken and mexican rice followed by ice cream. Lovely it was too.
Time for bed - no spectacular sunset tonight as it is too cloudy. The rabbits are still hopping around munching the grass happily. Apparantly we might even see foxes.....

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Wednesday, 2 June 2010

It's that time again :-)

It's holiday time again.......yeah!!!!!!!

Yes, on Saturday we go off to Wales for two weeks, and we can't wait.

The first week will be spent in a two bedroomed apartment in Freshwater East just down the coast from Tenby, and the second week in a one bedroomed detached house out at Langland on the Gower Peninsular. Both are within sight of the sea, and the second is overlooking a golf course.

If you want to see more details, check out their websites:-

The details we have been sent about the first week mentions that the mobile phone signal is not great, so it remains to be seen if i will be able to get on the net at the apartment, so the blogging may be a bit limited - we will have to see, but bear with me - i will do my best!

I am also hoping to finally type up the journal from our trip to Norfolk 2 years ago. Have just finished the Cornwall one from 2007.......

The weather forecast is not looking too promising, but you know how little you can believe those things. Don't worry - we will take coats with us.

Have fun - I'm sure that we will!!