This blog shows you the most recent post first. To see where our journey began scroll down or click here
We had a couple of next steps while in Pembrokeshire last weekend, starting with checking out the town more fully. I was worried I’d be disappointed, but in fact Narberth was even nicer than I remembered, especially on the foodie front.
I got a better look at the marvellous Ultracomida. Wisebuys looked like a good quality greengrocers, but turned out to be much more, with high quality chocolates piled on tables, hoppers of ground to order coffee beans and shelves stacked high with interesting preserves and sauces. There were two butchers, one of which also sold wet fish. Plum Vanilla café turned out to have an organic and wholefood deli attached. We didn’t sample any because it was just too cold, but Fire and Ice on St James Street produces award-winning gelato and sorbets. Some of the shops sold cookware, and the Spar and the newsagents had a good range of food magazines.
I was in heaven.
Our second major task was to assess the public transport situation, so on Friday we went back to the little request stop station (“please signal clearly to driver”) and headed for Carmarthen. We took a look round and there are plenty of well-known stores for buying clothes, including an M&S, which is a bit indispensable for me. (Carmarthen is much more Welsh than Narberth; the accents were stronger, and when we had lunch at the friendly Pantri Blakeman with its traditional Welsh specialties, all but one of the other tables were occupied by Welsh speakers.) We could have returned by bus, but one that route they are even less frequent than the train, so we timed our exploration around the train timetable.
Saturday though was all about the bus. We’d thought about going to Haverfordwest, but as we had a window of sunshine we decided it would be nicer to walk along the beach. I’ve done a lot of looking at bus routes online, so I already knew that the 381 departed for Tenby at 21 minutes past the hour. The bus was prompt but only a third full; as with many rural bus routes, you can see how heavily subsidised they must have to be to keep going. The route took us through many villages I’d seen on the map or on property sites, pausing at scheduled stops but also picking people up or dropping them off near to their homes.
So was the transport awful? Depends what your standards are. Can you get places? Yes. Do you have to be prompt and patient in order to get there? Yes. Can you blithely assume that if you miss the bus/train another one will be along? No. But do double deckers stop outside your window every five minutes? No.
I’m admit the journey back to London was pretty awful – there were rail replacement buses in the mix – but in no way did I come back feeling that the transport situation wasn’t doable.
And isn’t a change in pace part of what relocation’s supposed to be about?