January. Manchester. It seems like it’s been raining forever. The local park oozes underfoot. The nearby canal is swollen and brown. Drainpipes permanently dribble.
Then an email arrives with a Youtube link and suddenly I’m back reliving those last sun-drenched days of October. The ones when the temperature nudged higher than ever before and a blood moon hung in the night sky like an interplanetary paper lantern.
When we sent off our thirty-second video clip to enter a competition for an adventure weekend in Pembrokeshire, we crossed our fingers and tried to forget about it. But things moved fast – we were told we’d won and soon after were driving out of Cheshire and across Wales, heading for its western tip: St Davids.
A village-sized city with so much nice stuff – cosy cafes, comfy pubs, craft ice cream parlours, art galleries and surf shops. The people at TYF were full of infectious energy, whisking us from activity to activity. We abseiled down sheer rock slabs to within inches of the foaming sea. We launched ourselves from boulders into the clear ocean. We felt our boards rising beneath us and thrashed like windmills to catch the wave.
This water was welcome; it made things fun. It was transparent like from the tap, but tinged a crystalline blue. To get seas like that, I thought you had to drive days to the Mediterranean.
Once the day’s activities were over, the enjoyment didn’t stop. Evening meals were provided at the nearby Bug Farm’s ‘Grub Kitchen‘ restaurant, first in the UK to offer insect-based dishes. Mealworm pate? Cricket curry? It’s tastier than you think. Local beers. Even local chocolate. After a day of gulping sea air, sleep came easy.
Raindrops tap against the window once more. I turn away from the greyness outside and play the YouTube clip again. Everyone looks so exhilarated, so full of life. So I reach for the keyboard and open another tab – it’s time to book a summer break and I know exactly where we’re going…
From guest author Chris Simms.
If you like Chris’ writing, see his latest collaborative book ‘The Starlings & other stories’, based on Pembrokeshire images by David Wilson