Irresistible draw to our county.
85% of first-time visitors come back to Pembrokeshire – usually again and again. I visited 45 times in 22 years before I finally managed to move here in 2014 and have never regretted that decision. Here is the first in our series of stories behind those of us who were not lucky enough to be born here….Editor.
Moving to Pembrokeshire?
Well, it happened like this………………
You know how you just keep going…modern life….so much to do…so little time?
Well that was me. A job I loved but was very high pressure…social services…people in distress…always another crisis to replace the last one. Ageing parents, single parenthood……busy busy busy.
Looking back I started to get sick well over ten years ago but I ignored the signs. Then about eighteen months ago, I tried to get out of bed and I couldn’t walk.
Yes. It was that crazy. I just couldn’t walk across the room. Eventually I managed to get myself to the Osteopath and she sent me to casualty. I was in a side ward from 11 in the morning until 11 that night when a very tired doctor explained to me that my ankle was f*****d and he sent me away in a big black boot .
Well he didn’t use that term exactly but you get the gist of it.
I can only say that it seemed to set in motion a complete collapse. Looking back, it was like my body just stopped coping with all I expected of it and I fell into exhaustion and pain that just took away all my vitality and my strength.
Well what do you do when your body won’t work, you can’t walk, you can’t sleep and you have pain all over your body in places you hadn’t realised could hurt so much?
What? Rest and take it easy? Take the drugs that you are offered ?
Nah…..I decided to move house and not a little move …but all the way from the West Country to this corner of heaven that is Pembrokeshire.
I had been here a few times. I had had friends here, but when a friend treated me to a weekend away to celebrate my birthday and I found a place I could afford with a sea view, I threw caution to the winds.
It was a bold move. I was in the process of discussing with my employers whether I would be able to work again,( I couldn’t) and I was so exhausted I could barely get out of bed. I know it sounds dramatic but I thought I must be dying and I wanted to die by the sea.
Thanks to amazing friends, my belongings were packed up and transported the 4 hours to my new home. Friends followed on and installed me in my little paper house in Goodwick. Not only that but they kept coming back to make sure I was fed and watered and my walls were painted and my pictures on display. I couldn’t have done it without them. I feel really blessed to have them in my life…even at a distance
But…here I am. I have been here for over two years now. I didn’t die. Neither did I regain my health to the point of stomping around this gorgeous countryside. I need the sticks to walk and I still get exhausted but I swim. All summer long, from May to when I cannot cope with the cold any longer I swim in the sea and I love it.
My favourite place is Cwm Yr Eglws. I love the calm of the bay and the bright clear water.
For encounters with seals on a full tide, Abercastle is a joy.
Abereiddy delights me on a stormy day when the waves come rolling in and I love it when people build great cairns out of the slate that covers the beach.
Newgale is the place for the late in the day swims where I imagine I am bathing in starlight as the sun sheds its last rays upon the water.
I cannot get down to many of the beaches because walking is difficult, but I never tire of searching out new places to add to my favourites.
Living in Goodwick, I have Theatr Gwaun on my doorstep. What a pleasure that is. I know it struggles to keep going but it would be such a shame if it closes because it offers so much in the way of entertainment. It’s a venue for local performances, streamed live plays, arts , comedy…Oh you name it…it happens there.
I even got involved with a group that are working to bring some Syrian families out of the horror of their war torn circumstances to settle here , I hope in the peace and beauty of this lovely county.
I love Pembrokeshire. It’s a bit like stepping back into the 1970’s in some ways. It can be very grey in winter and no one could complain that we don’t get enough rain, but it has the kind of golden light I have only ever seen before in Mexico at dawn. No wonder we have so many great painters and photographers here.
And not just visual artists. Pembrokeshire is alive with poets and writers, storytellers, and performers, visionaries and artisans.
So….that’s it really. Very much a newcomer, very much still enjoying exploring , a trifle chilly and unwilling to abandon my fleece now that winter is here …..but undoubtedly at home in Pembrokeshire.