March 31st morning: Set off from cottage in thick fog at about 9.30 am.
Quick lift into Aberystwyth from 2 people who run an anarchist health food shop. Looked around a bit and then another lift from a girl student to Blaenplwyf (?); and another to Llanon from a construction worker; then a student (of something technical at Aberystwyth) – student friendly but v. smelly – to Aberaeron. Another to Llanarth from a young fellow who was a student of history at Aberystwyth; is now working in Prince Charles’s Environmental Foundation; much interested in local history (13th century church at Llanarth disappointing).
Then part walking, part bus to New Quay; hoping to make it to Bird’s Rock in time to see the birds. Not possible; had to turn back because of thorns. Difficult finding a lift out of New Quay but eventually got one from a man who’d won his bets on all four races in the Grand National. New Quay very pretty – magnificent coastal views; lots of cliffs – but too many tourist caravans.
From New Quay, a friendly, fat Welsh truck driver gave me a lift to Aberporth; an Englishwoman took me into Cardigan and an elderly Welshman took me straight to Fishguard.
Fishguard grandly situated on a cliff. Staying the night in a bed & breakfast. Weather grey and misty in the morning; bright and sunny after New Quay.
Left: £ 25.50.
1st April 1979
Left Fishguard at about 9 am. Had to walk 1 ½ miles to get out of town. No traffic. Sunday morning. Thought I wouldn’t get a lift but a farmer took me about 5 miles and then went out of his way to take me a little farther. Then, after walking for a while was picked up by a middle-aged lady who’d come to Fishguard to get the Sunday papers. She and her husband sell Sunday papers at St. David’s.
She took me into the centre of St. David’s (out of her way) and showed me the Cathedral.
She complained a lot about tourists and visitors buying up houses in the area.
St. David’s Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace gorgeous beyond description.
Took lots of pictures and attended service. Very bad choir, and impossibly banal curate. ‘Jesus saves, that’s why he’s called the Saviour.’ ‘Love Jesus and ask yourself why you follow him and you’ll find it will make a difference to you personally.’ Etc. etc.
Afterwards met an elderly man who’d been at the service too (they sang Psalm 69 – beautiful) and he said he’d been a planter in Ceylon for 35 years, till nationalization. Now teaches in a Sussex girls school. Will soon be retiring and going back to Ceylon for a holiday. Nice old man. Also a nun who was very friendly and helpful – wanted me to be sure to go back to India unlike ‘all the others who stay’ so that I could ‘take it all back’.
St. David’s to Solva and then (after a lot of walking) to Haverfordwest. The young man (30) who gave me the lift was a folk singer who’d been to college in London and then gone to Zambia. Had traveled extensively in Africa before finding a job in London, finally settling in Solva (which is a beautiful little town).
From Haverfordwest a lift straight to Pembroke
with 40-ish plumber with the most wonderful Welsh accent and voice. He’d been a paratrooper and gone to Kenya in the 50s ‘when Kenyatta was kickin up like’; and helped to put down the Mau-maus. Was also in Kuwait.
Pembroke Castle was closed.
Took a bus to Carew Castle – amazing.
And then straight lift to Carmarthen with a young welder and his wife. Their friends were following close behind on motorbikes. Very nice people – with lilting Welsh accents.
Couldn’t get a ride out of Carmarthen, so am spending the night in the Ladies Waiting Room in Carmarthen Railway Station, having persuaded the Supervisor that I could go nowhere else.
Weather began gloomy, but have had patches of sunshine all day long – and only a few drops of rain in Pembroke.
[Left £ 21-50].