Saturday, 20 June 2009

Tenby, Dinbych yr Pysgod

Tenby in Pembrokeshire will always have a special place in my heart. I have so many very happy memories of relatives, events and family holidays there. We used to visit Uncle John Cilyn Davies and Aunty Dilys Davies, who lived at Crosgar (on the corner of Queen's Parade and Trafalgar Road in Tenby. Their bedroom had a magnificent view across to Caldey Island. Uncle John, who for many years was the bank manager at Barclay's in Narbeth, bought Crosgar for his retirement. Dilys loved playing golf at the links nearby. (She was a county tennis player, and something of a gymnast when she was a schoolgirl at Tasker's School in Haverfordwest.) My sons loved the seaside and playground by the South Beach area. We would often eat at Candy's Restaurant, with the magnificent view of the harbour and North Beach. Uncle John liked a drink, well a few pints, at The Mariners.

He would come back to Crosgar and enjoy a whisky night cap. Dilys liked a drop of Valpolicella and enjoyed adventurous cooking; well it was adventurous in those days, helped by a lovely Rayburn cooker in the kitchen. My elder son liked to talk to the seagulls that visited the backyard, and made friends with one of them that he called Joey. He liked to go on the nearby swings that were there in the 1980s, and we played putting and boules on the green across the road. I loved to look across the sea to Caldey Island by the flight of steps that go down to the beach carpark; at one time there was a "fundrome", which is now a distant memory.

Boat trips to Caldey were always a most enjoyable experience; we loved to visit the Abbey, hear the monks talk about the Cistercian way of life and give informative guided tours to men only. One year I remember Roscoe Howells giving the talk and guided tour, shortly after his conversion to Roman Catholicism. While I respect the monastic way, I don't really think of it as a positive witness and best way of living the Christian life. There seems to be too much restrictive practice which inhibits spiritual activity, such as evangelism and sharing the Gospel with others, perhaps over an evening drink. Going to bed before 9 p.m. in the middle of summer seems to be a form of stupidity. What a waste of such lovely sunny daylight hours and balmy Summer evenings with beautiful sunsets.

Sunset at Whitesands Bay
I also rejoice in my happy marriage and love for my sons. The monastic life is definitely not for me. To love, to think and to engage in good conversation, that's the life. No vow of silence and celibacy for me!

Caldey Island from South Beach, Tenby

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