A Voyage With My Son, Part 2.

Day 3: It was a normal grey morning for Swansea, and undaunted we drove towards Gower, 64 square miles of beautiful scenery  and designated the first AONB (area of outstanding natural beauty.) I like to think that I contributed in some small way to conserving its natural beauty. But first we paid a visit to Pennard Castle where my parents’ ashes are scattered. How many golf courses have the ruins of a medieval castle within their boundaries, and affording panoramic views of a coastline second to none?

We continued our journey towards Rhossili which  has a magnificent curved beach ideal for sand yachting, if you don’t mind negotiating a difficult access. The scenic gem is Worm’s Head which extends sublimely from the mainland into the English Channel. We decided to have lunch at the Brittania Inn located in the picturesque village of Llanmadoc. It also houses a 12th Century Church where my wife pictured us getting married nearly 25 years ago. Unfortunately, the pastor refused to marry us because we were both divorced, but ignoring the fact that the Church of England was formed because of Henry v111’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon which the Catholic Church refused to acknowledge.

The planning laws in Gower are very strict much to the chagrin of many farmers, but one of my pride and joys was initiating the conversion of redundant barns into living accommodation. I showed my son many examples of barn conversions, and I hope he wasn’t too bored with the reminisces of a retired town planner.

My biggest achievement in town planning of which I am most proud was advising a retired dairy farmer to convert his treasured acres into a golf course. Mr. Jenkins, the farmer, was a bigger than life character, and thought I was crazy suggesting he apply for planning permission for a golf course on his land. Twenty years later the Gower Golf Club is going strong. Sadly, Mr. Jenkins has passed away, but the dream that turned into reality continues under the tutelage of his son and daughter.

We couldn’t leave Swansea without a visit to Underhill Park in Mumbles. I played many a game for Nalgo in the friendly confines of Underhill Park. I was primarily a defender, but I once scored a hatrick there. On another occasion, I was summarily sent off for the only time in my career. Underhill Park contained many happy memories for me which I hopefully shared with my son.

We ended our visit to Swansea with a meal with my friends, Phillip and Marian, at the King Arthur in Reynoldston. King Arthur’s stone is situated about a mile from the pub on Cefn Bryn which was arguably the cornerstone of Camelot. Make of it what you will. I hope this journey down memory lane encourages some of you to visit Gower, but hopefully not too many. I like the remoteness.

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