I went on a stroll down memory lane the other day. It is a place I spent most of my childhood free time from the beginning all the way through. It was family time – free time – exploring rocks and caves and craggy cliffs; soaking up sunshine on springy coastal grasslands watching skylarks overhead and azure waves crashing below; running on endless beaches, scrambling down cliff paths – and even if the sun didn't always shine it never stopped us. I can walk this place in my sleep and often do. Lately it had been calling me.
My father is buried in a churchyard high on the cliffs overlooking the bay. Sometimes the setting sun shines through the historic Norman chapel so that walking on the shiny beach is lit with more soul food. Was it him calling me there; was it me calling me there? Was it just a whim?
As luck would have it, a window opened, and after a long flight, and five hour drive, suddenly there I was again. Nothing had changed really. Ghosts flitted about me, in a light storm of triggered memories. I watched the new families doing beach time and felt like a ghost myself. Watching, floating, breathing it all in.
None of the old people I remember are still there in the tiny fishing village. The pubs had been modernised and one had turned Australian. It was strange but vaguely cleansing.
Hedgerows higher than elephants, bedecked in wild flowers line the narrow roads – and local drivers have right of way – which makes driving a fun and exciting experience.
At low tide I walked the beach. The wind was a 'whetted knife'. The beach wet with streams, reflecting watercolours of people, buildings and jagged cliffs. Seismic rock patterns tower and tumble, beneath their ragged green fringes spotted with flowers.My feet were freezing in the icy pools and waves but it had to be done.
As we left to drive back to London, I stopped to buy potatoes at a farm stall. Apparently Pembrokeshire potatoes are special – something to do with the soil. There was no- one in sight, just a small wooden stall with a few bags of potatoes and a jam jar in which to deposit the money. It was enormously good to know there is still one place in the world where old systems of trust prevail.