“Why do people talk of the horrors of old age? It’s great. I feel like a fine old car with the parts gradually wearing out, but I’m not complaining,… Those who find growing old terrible are people who haven’t done what they wanted with their lives.” Martha Gellhorn
The actual reason I took a trip to Tenby was to celebrate my 35th Birthday! Thats right 35 years on this planet and it doesn’t feel like a day less then 65 years!
Of course it would be a rubbish birthday without cake! Lots and lots of cake!
I arrived at castle beach super early (while the tide was out) to explore the base of St Catherine’s island, I believe you used to be able to go up onto the island but it is now closed to visitors. Although I sat on the beach and read all about the island and it’s legend…….
The story begins in a violent storm that blew up without warning one summer early in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Many Tenby fishing vessels had left port that morning, and as the skies darkened and the waves began to rise, their crews hauled in their nets and headed back for the shelter of the harbour. Their families had gathered on Castle Hill, watching for their safe return and as the boats were counted in one by one, the watchers noticed that, far out across the bay, another, larger ship was struggling to reach shelter. Nobody recognised it as a local vessel, but it was noticeable that strange lights played across its decks and ghostly shapes seemed to be clinging to the rigging and the masts.
There was no one at the helm of the strange ship, but something or someone seemed to be guiding it in to the sands near St Catherine’s Island. As night fell, the vessel grounded with a sound like thunder, and though the watchers on Castle Hill rushed down to the beach to offer what help they could to the shipwrecked mariners, they could find no trace of the ship or its crew. Terrified, the people of Tenby fled back to their homes, but all through the night strange sounds were heard coming from the shore and disembodied voices wailed in the wind. By morning, the storm had died down and the day was bright and clear. In groups of two or three, people came down to the sands to see what might be left of the ghostly ship. There was no trace of the wreck, but they were astonished to find a man wearing strange clothes, lying in a deep sleep near the top of the beach.
He was taken into the nearest house where he was cared for, but when he awoke he would tell them little of his background. He refused all offers of hospitality and retreated to St Catherine’s Island, where he made his home.
The only person to whom he would speak was a local shepherd, who each day brought him food and who, over many months, learned something of his life. The man had made a living as a pirate, leading a murderous band that attacked and robbed ships along the coasts of Wales. The stranger wept as he recounted how in a jealous rage he had slain the person who had loved him most and how, as a punishment, his ship had been taken over by the spirits of those innocent sailors he had killed during his time as a pirate. It was these ghostly forms who had been visible as his ship approached the beach and who had caused the wreck. The stranger explained that now he was tormented by sea maidens, who rose from the waves with messages from his dead lover, assuring him that she was now happy and wanted him to join her. As he related this story, he suddenly sprang to his feet, shouting, “I come, I come. Let me be with her, let me be at rest.” Before the startled shepherd could do anything, the stranger leapt from the cliffs of St Catherine’s Island, and was drowned.
For lunch I stopped for a cup of tea and some fresh sea food! I mean it would be rude not to. Luckily the early morning rain had put a lot of tourists off coming out, all week the queue at this little she’d had been insane, luckily I was able to walk right in. All the seafood is caught the day before by local fisherman and prepared on site and it tasted that fresh! It was some of the best sea food I have ever tasted! Definitely worth a visit if you are ever in Tenby!
As if by magic or the birthday gods the sun came back! I really can’t complain I only received about an hour of rain during my whole stay while everyone back home had four days of thunder storms! When the sun returns over this little fishing town so did the tourists!!
I enjoyed more cake sat outside in the sunshine, of course guarding it from seagulls! Did you see my 35 Things I have learnt in 35 years post?
I spent the afternoon doing a little shopping ducking in and out of little cafes looking for the next bit of cake! Soaking up the last bit of sunshine and thinking of ideas for my next adventure! By the way I have picked Cornwall for my next adventure and will be heading down south on the 31st of August for a week of walking and eating!
I could have spent weeks and weeks exploring Pembrokeshire and its beautiful coast! I guess I have an excuse to visit again soon! Also is it just me or do Tenbys flower arrangements look like penis! I mean they are a little extra!
The day was coming to an end, so before I started the long drive home I stopped for some food. At the start of my trip I food a tiny little Greek cafe over looking the harbour with delicious coffee and amazing Greek foods, I ate here a couple of times!! Filled with cake and Greek food with a smile from ear to ear and feeling very relaxed with turning 35 years old I headed home. The drive home felt twice as long as the drive there but as with any trip I was happy to get back to my own bed!!
Also these posts make zero sense because I completely wrote them in the wrong order. So an FYI despite this post ending with me driving home, you actually have about five more blog posts about my trip to Tenby ahead of you! Sorry not sorry!