Far From Home

Wales is not everyone’s dream destination; it’s a bit too soggy for that. It does have a wonderful coastal path that goes from one end of the country to the other (1400km). This path is treacherous in parts, definitely not adhering to health and safety standards that are so prevalent in this nanny state. We bumped into Bob, who was slip-sliding his way along the path and his only concession to health and safety was his neon green reflector jacket. Bob made us guess his age (he was born when Winston Churchill first became Prime Minister was our clue). We asked where he was headed and he said Mwnft, or something like that. The language is also a bit odd, with a strng lck f vwls (strange lack of vowels).

We stayed in a restored stable. The farm is owned by a young couple who have possibly watched too many episodes of Grand Designs and hoped to restore the farm while commuting from the city and raising several children. The challenges are numerous and fortunately not mine. I could relate to the pioneering spirit of their venture, the underfloor heating and dream bathroom, the windows looking on to the four fields and the wild sea; my kind of place. The plan was to walk on the coastal path to Fishguard, a tiny fishing harbour. It was actually raining when we set off, so I (being African) thought we should retreat to the underfloor heating and half metre thick walls. My sister (being anglicised) felt it was a lovely day. We crossed the four fields of the farm, waded through grass (again, a mixture of Viridian Green and Lemon Yellow) and clambered over lichen encrusted walls. As we got closer to the glassy, Paynes Grey sea, we froze. I knew that sound, a primal explosion of bubbles and wailing that echoed in the caves below…hippos! Peering gingerly over the edge of the cliff we spied the giant Atlantic Seals and their snow white babies (they looked like squirming maggots from up there).

Bravely, we stuck to the plan, stopping for sustenance at a formerly grand seaside hotel - a blend of the Durban Country Club and something out of Dirty Dancing. We ate cream, with scones and tea, surrounded by content elderly people and a disapproving barman who doubled as the waiter. Next stop was Fishguard, where we hung around the town square hoping to work out which bus to take. Because she spent too long living in London, anglicised sister was nervous to ask the bus drivers. Plucking up the courage we hopped onto a bus. The bus driver was strong-looking with lots of piercings and she scowled at us. We explained our plight, gesturing in the general direction of where we had come from. She broke into a broad smile and said “Oh that will be near Buv nd Juff’s (Bev and Jeff) place”. I couldn’t have felt further from home and more at home all at once.