I was brought up in Pembrokeshire. Having retired after thirty years in Her Majesty’s Court Service, Hertfordshire, I decided I needed some “me time”. The new identity of “retiree” was alien. I needed to become grounded, in a welcoming, peaceful, environment. Where better, to build up strength and vitality than my old home county. This is a five hour journey from Hertfordshire but an early start guarantees more time in this fabulous locale. The roads are good and there is no longer a toll at the Severn Bridge. I am old enough to remember the journey via the A40 which took all day.
I opted to stay at The Glebe House, Nolton Stables, near Haverfordwest. This is reached by quiet, country lanes. Glebe House dates back to at least 1352 when it was a rectory. Lime based mortars and paints have been used to stunning effect. The rooms are tasteful and comfortable. The elegant sitting room even boasts the Alexander McQueen exhibition book from the V & A. As a member and devotee I could still get a culture fix! Penny provides a solid, first class breakfast in readiness for a ride.
The stables are just up the road. The more adventurous can opt for Zorbing, which is rolling downhill in a big, inflatable ball and Segway, which is a two wheeled, self-balancing battery powered, electric vehicle . Not for me I’m afraid! The indefatigable Lawson assisted me onto my ride, the chunky “Babybel” . The stables cater for the nervous novice up to the experienced rider. No one is made to feel inadequate. There are various hacks through woodland, road and beach. I felt quite safe as Babybel lurched down to Nolton Haven. The vista was stunning with blue sky, golden sand, a warm breeze and insects buzzing. It was a long way from the frenetic courtroom. If I had dropped the reins Babybel would simply have played follow my leader. The sea lapped at the horses’ hooves. The scene was cinematic. The image of horses trotting through the surf was idyllic.
Adjacent is Newgale beach where Pete Bounds of Masterclass Surfing teaches. My previous attempts with an eighteen-year-old surfing champion were not successful! Pete has taught for over thirty years and was a Welsh team coach. Despite spending much time under the surf board rather than on it, Pete’s patient words began to filter through. “Push up but stay squatting, focus on a point when popping” the surfing term for getting on one’s feet, is the mantra of the day. Make sure it is not a car which then drives away! All abilities are catered for. Pete is also doing specific courses for older “Silver-Surfers” which can be accessed through his web page. I can now “pop” which I never achieved when younger
Doing gym workouts, to keep fit for surfing, I discovered amazing Vibram Fivefingers trainers, which have thin soles and individual pockets for the toes. Aqua pairs with drainage holes are also available. Thicker pairs are available for running.
Evening culture and dining is catered for at the Torch Theatre and Café in Milford Haven. As well as screening films on general release, live performances by such luminaries as Michael Palin are staged. The Welsh Chamber Orchestra and Welsh National Opera are included in the theatre’s programme this year.
Novel nourishment is obtainable at Dr Sarah Beynon’s Bug Farm near St Davids. Live insects can be viewed in a vivarium. Bug burgers which include grasshoppers and mealworms feature on the restaurant menu. They are quite delicious and I lived to tell the tale! For the less venturesome, delicious Pembrokeshire fare such as lamb and fish, imaginatively prepared is also available. This is probably not a destination for archanophobes
Towards the end of the break, some peaceful time in St David’s Cathedral and a walk in the grounds, is balm to the stressed and weary. This pensioner is certainly planning a return to “Pembrokeshire Paradise”.