Saturday, June 05, 2010

Back from the Glorious Gower Peninsula

I'm back! And this is where I went:

Yes, Swansea - Abertawe in Welsh - Welsh poet Dylan Thomas's "ugly, lovely town". I went to see our actress Sonia Beck playing the title role in the play Piaf at the Grand Theatre there.

Swansea is in South Wales and probably people think of it as being an industrial city - - bombed nearly flat in the Second World War - and not the most scenic place.

Actually, I found it friendly, atmospheric and - in places at least - it has been mightily spruced up these days.

Silverback kindly accompanied me and was excellent company as always, and did all the driving - it's a round trip of over 500 miles. I was very grateful that he drove (and, actually, I think he probably was too).

Sonia was superb as Edith Piaf in the faded-grandeur Grand, and I was really pleased that I'd managed to see her, having missed her playing Shirley Valentine at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham last autumn. I simply couldn't get there because of my mother's broken shoulder.

But for the two nights we were down there we didn't stay in Swansea. Because Swansea has a secret, and it's not very well-known to the rest of Britain, so please don't tell.

And that secret is the Gower Peninsula. Just a very few miles to the west of Swansea is the Gower - not very big, nowhere seemed more than ten miles from anywhere else. But all of it is beautiful.

We stayed at the North Gower Hotel, Llanridian, in the - - er - - north of Gower (the clue's in the title, as Silverback remarked). It was an interesting mixture of nineteen-seventies and modern, decor-wise - it looks as though it has been designed by a committee, each with different ideas. But the staff were really friendly and the food was great - I had the best steak-and-ale pie that I've ever eaten.

To the North of the peninsula is a very scenic estuary and the rest of the peninsula is surrounded by beautiful beaches and coves. I used my little camera to take a few short videos and they are full of me exclaiming "Gorgeous - - beautiful - - gorgeous" in awestruck tones.

So - - not much over ten miles from Swansea and we have this:

Rhossilli Bay - a beautiful long stretch of sand, framed by hills and cliffs and popular with surfers. Oh yes, and the skies were blue and the sun shone. Glorious, wonderful Wales! I'll tell you more tomorrow.


Blogger Yorkshire Pudding said...

Ah yes Rhosilli - overlooked by the Rhosilli hills where the makers of Stonehenge sourced their stone.

It sounds like a really hard life being a theatrical agent!

1:09 am  

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