I love the views in Tenby. Every time I visit I enjoy looking across the harbour to see the sea and the beautifully coloured buildings on the sea front. I love the beaches too and have happy memories of playing on the beach, building sandcastles and paddling with my daughter, mum and sisters.
Digging in the sand on castle beach. hearing the lifeboat flares go up at night. Watching the lighthouse on Caldy island from my grandparents house. Seeing Lundy island appear and reappear mysteriously. Ice creams at Mr Fettichis. Shops seeling buckets and spades so exciting. Rock pools. My gradnfather joining the Boxing day swim on North Beach eveyr year. Walking round the back streets of Tenby to find the potter and his wheel and the other craft shops. The view from the very top of the hight street across North Beach.
1) When I was at school I was one of the last in my year class to learn how to swim independently. By the time I was 10 years old I was beginning to get really frustrated that I couldn’t overcome the fear of letting go of the floatation aid etc. At that time my family took me on a half-term holiday to mid Wales, and we spent a day in Aber. We played on the beach and in the sea, and for some reason I remember thinking ‘What the heck, just swim’. So I did: just swim, in the sea, at Aberystwyth. You should have seen the look on the face of my swimming teacher at school the next week.
2) In February 2008, my wife and I went to visit my sister at Aberystwyth Uni for the day. The weather was freakishly warm for February, and I remember driving down the hill along Penglais Rd past droves of student in shorts and T-shirts. We spent the afternoon walking through the town and along the New Promenade taking photos of everything and anything in order to make novel Valentines cards.
And then came the perfect sunset. In that last 30 minutes before we lost the sun behind the horizon, the starlings came out from beneath the pier and gave an incredible show under a deep orange sky. After this we went onto the beach beneath the castle grounds and found an abundance of flat pebbles perfect for skimming across the rock pools. All-in-all a great day. The only downside is Aberystwyth has perhaps the worst takeout food in the whole of the country. I don’t know how the students put up with it.
I remember hearing someone relate the history of Aberystwyth beach some years ago. I was told that the beach used to be one of the most popular in the country. One day it was decided that the wooden boat ramp should be replaced with a stone ramp. After it was replaced, the stone poisoned the sand, changing it’s colour, putting many people off visiting. I don’t know how accurate the story is, but it’s always stuck in my head.
The excitement of seeing different coloured street signs that meant that we were nearing the seaside is still vivid; my brother and I would compete to be the first one to ‘see the sea’. In the 1970s Margate was brash and Cliftonville quite posh, and as children we enjoyed this mix – we even sometimes played at the Cliftonville bowles club along side the retired bank managers and their wives. During the day we would sometimes explore Kent, visiting castles, gardens, preserved railways (mainly for my brother, which always annoyed me), but often spend the day on the beach, regardless of cold winds and seagulls. When I was about six my Great Aunt gave me and my brother shrimping nets, and we spent hours trawling for the poor creatures. The hovercraft came ashore just down the coast, and we loved going to watch it swoosh up onto the beach. As a teenager I visited Margate with friends on day trips from London, and discovered the arcades and funfair (and pubs which turned a blind eye to underage drinking!). I have always loved the sea, but although I now generally visit genteel and picturesque seaside towns, even the names Margate and Cliftonville bring back a wave of nostalgia. Frequent visits to Reculver and other historic costal sites also sparked a life-long passion for history.
I have vivid memories of being a child in the 1950s and travelling by train, on the Sunday School trip to Tenby. The excitement we all felt (about 200 of us) was electric. Carrying cake tins filled with sandwiches and with each child carrying a bucket and spade or beach ball we would pile onto the train on Carmarthen station and begin our journey by steam train..all stuffed into the GWR carriages. The anticipation of the walk from Tenby Station to Town was almost too much to bear. We would all split up and go to to the North or South Beaches and the adults who wanted peace went to the harbour. Then we would hurtle down to the beach for the best day of the year..no matter what the weather was…bathing and building sandcastles. At the end of the day there was the long walk back uphill from the beach with a stop in the Penny Arcade on the way. We all asleep on the train on the way home and for many of us it was only visit to the seaside in the whole year .