St David's Day Reminiscence

Image Credit: Jeremy Bolwell, CC License
It is a bit late in the day I know, but 'Happy St David's Day' to you, especially if you are Welsh. I'm not. I can't claim any Welsh heritage. My personal associations with Wales are with Welsh friends and with many happy holiday memories. When I think of St David my mind goes back to many holidays near the town of St David's, but today I'm remembering my first visit to Wales.

I was 10 when my parents took my brother, sister and me for a summer holiday at Tresaith. Here's a photo of  its lovely sandy beach in the shelter of Cardigan Bay. In my childhood days it was a small hamlet with virtually no facilities that I can remember - but oh what a wonderful place for playing on the beach, swimming, rock climbing and exploring rock pools. We spent most days on the beach with a picnic lunch. 

Image Credit: Henry Widdicombe CC Licence
At low tide we would move beyond the exciting waterfall to the adjacent smaller beach, having to remember to climb back around or over the rocks before getting completely cut off by the incoming tide.

I suppose it was my last holiday as a child-child before puberty changed me into an adolescent-child. I was still at the stage where I enjoyed getting really messy and didn't care what I looked like. This was just as well, dressed as I was in a dreadful seersucker bathing costume. After swimming I delighted in wearing a pair of khaki boy's shorts held up by a boy's stretch belt with snake fastening. These had both once belonged to an uncle. This was fine by me - I was at the height of my 'tomboy' stage and didn't mind wearing exactly the same style of shorts as my younger brother.

That holiday was a great adventure. We had no family car then and travelled to Tresaith by several changes of train, bus and taxi. We stayed in a self-catering farm cottage with very basic amenities. The toilet was an outside privy, inhabited by a permanently resident frog (or was it a toad). We collected our milk each day from the farm - and yes it was directly from the cow and still warm. I learned how to milk a cow that holiday - a skill I have never since practised. We probably got eggs from the farm as well, but for other food we had to go to the village of Aberporth, 2 miles walk away via a beautiful cliff path. I remember being fascinated by the people in the shops all speaking Welsh. 

The evenings were spent in family games, chess, draughts, card games like 'beggar my neighbour', 'cheat' and 'rummy' and of course reading. My father was a great reader and usually bought each of us a new book to take on holiday. Mine that year was Lorna Doone by R.D. Blackmore. This was the year I discovered P.G. Wodehouse as there was a complete set of his novels in the cottage. I devoured them, finding them so funny. Perhaps I was the right age for the humour, although I can't imagine recommending them to a 10 year old now. Revisiting one or two of those books as an adult I no longer enjoy them. 

None of this has any connection with St David or St David's Day apart from the land of Wales. (St David is the patron saint of Wales). If you arrived here looking to find out more about St David you could go to St David's Day: the man, the myth and the legend. Or you could wonder about what St David meant by what he is said to have preached in his last sermon:
"Do the little things in life."
I think that is what holidays are for aren't they?


  1. Lovely glimpse of a past time not dissimilar to mine. Our family holiday was spent with my grandparents (both sets being Welsh) and in South Wales, but with much the same ways of passing the time.
    'Our' beach was Lavernock. near Barry. A mere stone'sthrow from Penarth (Dad's) and Rhiwbina (Mum's) family homes.
    St David's day is pure nostalgia for me. Lovely little man.

    1. Thanks for commenting Ray. Was St David 'little'?

    2. Oddly enough Nancy, I don't remember seeing him, but as a child Dewi Sant was always referred to by the aunts as "little Dewi Sant".
      As the Welsh as a race tend to be shortish it may have something to do with that. Or again, it might just have been a term of endearment.

  2. A lovely glimpse of the kind of holidays I too can remember from my childhood, bringing back all kinds of nostalgic memories. Thank you.

    1. Sorry for delay in my response. I'm pleased my post brought back nostalgic memories for you.

  3. I also remember family holidays in the caravan with no TV or anything electronic and family board games and talk in the evening and reading a lot (especially when it rained.) Mind you we used to take the boys on caravan holidays to France and ,apart from "game boys", the use of which we limited, things were much the same (with less rain...)

    1. Thanks for commenting Suem. I think my love of reading was much nurtured because of the nature of our family holidays. To me now a holiday isn't a holiday without lots of books to read, although mostly I use a Kindle app for this rather than carting around all those books.

  4. A lovely post, Nancy, bringing back a lot of memories for me too . Oh, those seersucker bathing costumes! My memories are of boarding-house holidays on the Fylde coast in Lancashire, especially at Fleetwood. No cliffs or rockpools there but a wonderful wide beach and the fishing fleet to watch. :-)

    1. Thanks. Wool bathing costumes were even worse. The first bathing costume I remember having was one that my mother knitted from wool she unravelled from an old jumper of hers! I can't wear wool next to the skin now - itches too much. Thankfully my last seersucker bathing costume was when I was about 10 or maybe 11 - very unflattering.


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