April 29th, 2009

Wanaka tree


I feel really lucky to live where I do. I don't have to go too far to get to some interesting places. I'm around an hour from the south coast, less than that from the Somerset Coast, an hour and a bit away from both Exmoor and Dartmoor, only a couple of hours away from both The Cotswolds in one direction and Cornwall in the other. Bristol Airport, my favourite UK gateway to the world, is less than an hour away and I have lots of interesting and varied landscapes much closer than that. While I would still like to be half a world away in Aotearoa, I can't complain about where I find myself.

Another part of the UK that is within relatively easy reach for me in South Wales. The Celtic fringes of the UK are among my favourite places and it's good to have easy access to a couple of them. Cornwall and Wales have a lot of similarities and are both good places to explore. Last Friday, on what was likely to be the best day of my week-end from the point of view of the weather, I drove across to Porthcawl on the Welsh coast, west of Cardiff. I've been told I was taken there as a child, but I really have no memories of it at all, so it was as good as a totally new discovery for me.

It was a nice place. I know that that particular expression can be used as the epitome of 'faint praise', but I actually liked it without it being spectacularly stunning. I enjoyed being there for a few hours, and I really enjoyed the drive too. Unlike some of the coastal places I've been to recently, Porthcawl has a Victorian gentility to it that keeps it slightly off the beaten track and lends it a quiet civility.

A fisherman standing his ground on the chilly, windswept shore.

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While I'm here, I ought to just mention that I'm not going to be around much after this Friday. My Dutch friends, Gerrit and Jos, are coming over for a few days and I'll be fairly busy showing them around, taking them to places I don't think they have been before, and generally enjoying their company.  While that means an absence from me, it also means that there should be lots of photos to post afterwards.