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Tenby was always going to be our starting point. We knew that we were probably romanticising it, that we risked judging any other location against what might be just a dream, so it seemed important to rule it in or rule it out once and for all. We knew that we loved walking on its two sandy beaches, that the ice cream was brilliant, that the fish and chips from D. Fecci were probably the best we had had in our lives, but that wasn’t real world stuff.
We planned a visit and I started what was to become a familiar process of perusing property sites and Googling events, amenities and public transport to generate a slightly nerdy fact sheet which included notes on “popular” and “sought after” areas and local villages where properties seemed to come up.
I also started to think seriously about what I would need in a new place in order to meet people and settle in. In London, there are three main ways that I meet people and enjoy myself: singing, the gym/yoga, and being a member of my local Quaker Meeting. Harry was less clear on what he would want or need to adapt, but I became more and more clear about what I was looking for.
Once I began my research, Tenby began to look a little less promising. The only choir was for men. There was no Quaker Meeting. There were yoga classes (including my beloved power yoga) and a public gym, but of all the things I enjoy doing the fitness stuff is the least social. Would that be enough?
We went there in July 2016 ready to look with new eyes. The first thing we realised – slightly guiltily – was that what was fun for tourists was not fun for residents. The “sought after” areas were not our style after all and the pretty Georgian houses in the town centre were, but they were the very ones we had passed so many times from within a continual surge of holidaymakers. Those houses have little or no front garden, so in the summer they open out straight onto sunburnt bodies crushed onto the narrow pavements.
It had taken half a day to realise that Tenby probably wasn’t for us after all. But we had the rest of the weekend in south Pembrokeshire, so we thought we may as well explore…