Monday 7 March 2011

Celtic Arcadia

In the continuous and warm sunshine this weekend I make my way to Pwllgwaelod, the best beach below Dinas on the north Pembs coast, to play ducks and drakes in the still water lapping at low tide and walk up the steep Coast Path to view Fishguard to the west and the Preseli mountains south east. Then to the Sailors Safety, the famous ramshackle inn nestling right up against the shingle. I refuse to call it by its ugly and prosaic new name the "Old Sailors" and you just have to hope that in the fullness of time a new owner will revert to the correct title.

The pub is quite respectable now (with a fancy little restaurant section - roast dinner not great but I'm told the fish and chips is good) but used to have a bit of a reputation. Dylan Thomas inevitably visited and after his time I can remember different phases in its history including when it was a haunt for biker gangs (keep your back to the wall and don't catch any one's eye, still less talk to their girls!) and a long spell as the favourite local place for late drinking (in return for a monthly crate of bottled Bass a resident at the top of the long hill down to the beach would ring the landlord if the police were on the way).

On hot summer days you can lie languidly with your pint on the grass outside the pub, sheltered by Dinas Island to the north, and find yourself in a Celtic Arcadia very distant from the cares of modern Wales. In this weekend's weather that prospect seems a little nearer, reinforced by the early signs of spring - young leaves in those grassy stone walls unique to the far west presaging abundant colour from early May.