As I sat on the bus heading towards the South West of Wales I am reminded of holidays I used to take as a child. Flying in from Germany to meet my family, who would take it upon themselves to drive the long way to and from the airport and deal with the relentless chatter my brother and I would inflict upon them. The one way four hour drive has not changed much since I was young. The windy roads through fields and woodlands that roll off onto magnificent beaches keep this destination still somewhat of a mystery to its visitors. Pembroke is your picture perfect town, its Castle stands tall as fortress in the past and a welcoming tourist attraction at present. The one way high street through town where the pastel coloured houses open right onto the pavement and invite you in to explore their local offerings. Amongst them my favourite toy shop selling buckets, spades, bats and balls for the beach. The craft shop I spent many summer’s pocket money in; the Welsh souvenir shop, selling everything made from Welsh slate or coal. The local pub, the Lion Hotel, the fish and chip shop and Mott’s butcher.
This part of the world has lent itself to many films, including Robin Hood, Harry Potter, Me before you, as well as serving as the construction site for the Millennium Falcon built for the second Star Wars film. There is an attraction to the astonishing beauty and mystery of this place that many are drawn to over and over again. And yet, as time has moved on it appears so have many of the people, who kept this little town flourishing. Shops are now closed and boarded up, old family businesses struggling to make ends meet and cafes only open in high season to cater for the tourists arriving by the bus load spending only a few hours in this historic town.
Strolling along the beach I thought about the countless sand castles built and day dreams dreamt lying on the warm, white sand and hope this miraculous place will find its feet again and be preserved for generations to come.