Dai's walk around Wales blog - November 2019



5/11/2019 13.jpg (382619 bytes) Richards, Lott, Orrells, Smith & Rees all former members of Her Majesty's 4th Battalion Royal Regiment of Wales guarding Swansea Beach from invasion. Quite often we've been described as the cast of "Last of the Summer Wine" when we've been spotted out walking but this week we were definitely "Dad's Army" on our walk along Swansea Beach and through the city of Swansea and the market..................  

singing cockles and Welsh cakes alive alive oh !


10 November 2019

Last month on a sunrise walk along the Gower coast I stumbled across some pebbles strategically placed on benches above Rotherslade Bay, being the nosey and inquisitive soul that I am I chased the contact information on them and arranged a walk with Jim the Swim. 


If you haven't clicked that link, here's a couple of photos of the pebbles so you get the gist of it.

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Jim & his book about growing up in Swansea

We met mid morning at Jim's and I met his lovely wife Sue, we talked for an hour covering common ground, kids, life and the universe then off we headed to Rotherslade following Jim's almost daily route through the streets of West Cross and Newton to Oystermouth cemetery. Here we cracked open the camera and started to video blog our walk and swim. 

The autumn colours were superb on the trees around the cemetery which is naturally bowl shaped. There is lovely avenue of Yew trees through the centre and we bumped into Chris and her former guide dog Big Dave. Chris told us the story of how she looked after Big Dave as a puppy then sent him on his way to learn his trade as a guide dog, and how one day she received a call saying that Big Dave was getting the sack because he had a phobia about wooden flooring and refused to enter shops and places that laid such traps for dogs. The problem was that his legs were too long and he'd slip and slide and slide and slip. Poor Dave, maybe he was just happy living with Chris and acting up in the knowledge that they'd send him home. 

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I want a pair a pink crocs just like that

Little Dave meets Big Dave

Jim and I bade Chris and Big Dave goodbye and just a little way further along the path on this Remberance Sunday we took the time to pay tribute to a brave young man who made the ultimate sacrifice in the First World War. His grave has fallen into disrepair but you can still read the inscription................


To the memory of 

Cyril Donald Thomas Jenkins (of Swansea)

 who was a Lieutenant in the 3rd Battalion of the Royal Welch Fusiliers who served through the Gallipoili campaign where he was wounded. He was then attached to the Royal Flying Corps and fell in the service of his King and Country, 2 October 1916.


..............The ironic but incredibly sad story of Cyril Jenkins is that he served through the Gallipoli campaign and died we assume in training accident in Cramlington, Northumberland after he'd joined the Royal Flying Corps (RAF) This is according to the Malvern College website who in their school magazine published shortly after his death describe his character simple and unassuming.................

'Although never a prominent member of the School, Cyril Jenkins gained the affection of all with whom he came in contact; simple and unassuming, there was a hidden strength of character which attracted all. He left in December 1913 to follow his father's profession as a solicitor, but upon the outbreak of war he joined the 3rd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers with his chum, John Morris (who was killed in action on 15th May, 1915); he was sent to the Dardanelles in the following September, and saw most of the campaign in Gallipoli, receiving a slight wound just at the end of his time; from this he quickly recovered, and on returning home joined the Royal Flying Corps. He was killed in consequence of an accident to his machine on 3rd October.' (Malvernian, Nov 1916).

( http://www.stanwardine.com/cgi-bin/malvernww1.pl?id=227



Life must go on they say and on we went through Underhill Park and down into Rotherslade Bay........  

..............The weather and tide were perfect for winter swimming, warm and not windy, Jim says it the wind chill that catches you after a swim, he should know, he been in swimming when there is a wind chill factor of minus 11 on the beach. "I get a bit pink from swimming in the cold sometimes but when the wind catches you after it can turn the skin quite grey". We came across the benches and Jim's pebbles were the topic of conversation amongst some and one little boy in particular pictured left was collecting Jim's pebbles for the trip home......

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 It must be a little boy thing, at a similar age I was collecting stones from a garage compound near where we lived and taking them home in the boot of my tricycle. My dad ended up taking the boot off my trike to stop me doing it. Up to Jim's hut we went with a beautiful view of the bay, a quick change and we were down on the beach, setting up the video and at last we were swimming. Massive waves pounded us as we entered, some too big for body surfing, but we did catch a few................. fun times.







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Dad's Army walking group practising the newest military drill movement called 'bench sit eyes left'. The commands are as follows - squad will look to the left in fives (timing 2, 3) - Yey............eyes ....................... left (timing 2, 3) (action) look to the left - the angle of the head should be at 110 degrees to the torso with the chin level. Eyes fixed and still. (not wandering as if watching a tennis match between Chrissie Evert and Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street) A study of this photo will show that Richards and Rees have their chins to perfection while Orrells, Smith and Lott have been charged for being disorderly and are being released from the guard house in time for next weeks walk and drill practice. 

Cafe stop at Mumbles Pier


19 November 2019

34.jpg (169641 bytes) 95-surfside-caswell.jpg (379171 bytes) 94-dads-army-surfside.jpg (208035 bytes) On this day we (Dad's Army) walked the coast path from Langland Bay to Caswell Bay and back. Thumbs up to whoever (I suspect it may be Swansea City Council) has built the nice path between the bays. Illustrated are the new path, surfboard sign inside the cafe and Dad's Army enjoying coffee & bacon rolls at the Surfside Cafe in Caswell Bay.   

23 November 2019

  92-2019-11-23-guardian-fron.jpg (243310 bytes)93-2019-11-23-guardian-hand.jpg (111276 bytes) 91-2019-11-23-guardian-hand.jpg (149001 bytes) 90-2019-11-23-guardian-name.jpg (256234 bytes) 89-2019-11-23-guardian-info.jpg (602307 bytes) 88-2019-11-23-guardian-info.jpg (424254 bytes) Guardian Mining Memorial, Six Bells, near Abertillery. Hayley and I were passing through Aberbeeg so we stopped off for a 3 mile circular walk to the 66 foot (20 metre) high Guardian Mining Memorial at Six Bells. Although we've driven passed the monument on the A467 and even then you get sense of the size of this structure, this is the first time we've been up close and boy it's huge. On our approach, we took the time out to try a 'holding hands' photo with the self timer and tripod, I was running into the picture and after about the 6th attempt we almost got the shot we wanted. The one we were looking for has the sun in the background but the weather forecast says we may need to wait another five years for this. 

The memorial is dedicated to the 45 people who lost their lives at the Six Bells mining disaster on the 28 June 1960. A nice touch to the memorial is the addition of the names around the base, together with the nicknames of the men and boys who died. This tells us that these were real human beings, characters, people like you and me, they had similar goals and dreams like you and I. They worked to support their family and for future security and the happiness of that family, they wanted a safe home and environment. Their dreams died with them. What the monument doesn't show, and this is not a criticism of the monument or it's intention or of anything else, it's just an observation that the monument does not show the hardship of the survivors living with the guilt of survival, or the pain and suffering of the families of those that died. There were fathers and sons, and twins who died on that day. Place yourself into the mind of a mother who has just lost their husband and son, possibly their only child. Think about how you would you feel? These people have suffered hardships beyond most people's comprehension. Spare a moment to pay homage to the families of the miners of Six Bells, and to the miners themselves, sleep soundly boys.  

26 November 2019 84-orchid-close.jpg (280341 bytes) 87-beach.jpg (315557 bytes) 86-starling.jpg (210303 bytes) 26 November 2019 - On this day, Richards, Lott & Smith spent the morning searching the streets of Sandfields for deserters folowed by a stop off for gravy and chips at Francos, with entertainmaint by Steve the Starling from Stockholm. While walking the prom we noticed them rocking up the lower end of the beach steps in a similar manor to the other end. Is this the end of the soft sand area on Aberavon Beach as we know it? If it is I will be super sad, heartbroken, the soft sand on this end of the beach has been my friend for nearly 60 years. 
28/11/2019 82-dai-ollie.jpg (230647 bytes) 74.jpg (373682 bytes) Welcome to the world grandchild no 3, Oliver James Dodd. Congratulations Laurie and James on your new arrival. - Grampa Dai is walking around their living room holding Ollie, there is an actual sunset going on in the background but the iphone would pick it up and give a clear picture of us as well.
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The last day of November and my plan to swim all year round is still going with a sunrise dip at Tor Bay (Oxwich Bay) on the Gower. The sun was more than shy and we didn't see it but the sea was a lot easier to find and a bit colder (4 ice cream heads) than my last dip with Jim the Swim, although this time I did have the luxury of a wetsuit. I had planned a distance swim of about 20 minutes but there was a vicious sideways undertow / current in the shallows so I just played in the waves bodysurfing for 10 minutes. Thanks to Hayley for being the top camera pointer on my swim. We followed the swim with a figure of 8 walk down to the Oxwich Bay Hotel for a coffee and back, about a 6-7 mile hike in total.







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