Thursday, October 8, 2015

Going with the Flo

We were on holiday a while back; south Wales this time. Pembrokeshire, where we stayed in a tiny little village called St. Florence at a holiday cottage I can only describe as “Pretty Darn Pink.”

The cottage, though pink, was comfortable, containing all you might expect from a holiday cottage and more: an old-fashioned claw-foot tub in the bathroom with a skylight directly overhead, an ample outdoor seating area, a second bathroom with a shower, an outer kitchen with a Belfast sink…and knick-knacks.

It was incredible. Nary a nook had not been filled with sea shells nor a cranny left bereft of colourful stones. Glass-fronted cabinets displayed ornamental tea sets, bowls of potpourri and doilies covered random occasional tables and shelves sagged under the weight of bottled ships and scented candles.

There was hardly a square inch of wall space not covered by decorative plates, framed photos or amateur artwork. Everywhere there were dado rails festooned with figurines, cubbies crammed full of ceramic tat, dresser-tops adorned with Dutch shoes and chests piled with porcelain jugs. Mugs hung from every exposed beam and even the limited space on the diminutive kitchen table was half taken up by a large lazy-Susan covered in a set of Portmeirion pottery.

Are you sure you can't fit any more knick-knacks in here?
It made it difficult to unpack, as there was no place to put our stuff. And you couldn’t move the knick-knacks; there was no place to move them to because every space was taken up with knick-knacks.

Even so, we had a great time. One of the many sites we visited was the city of St. David.
St. David is the Patron Saint of Wales, and he has his own cathedral in a small town bearing his name. The fact that there is a cathedral in the town, however, means that the town has city status, making it the smallest city in Britain. In 2011 it had a population of 1,841, making it—population wise—about the size of an average village.

St Dave got this...
One of the more interesting things about St. David, is his girlfriend, St. Florence, who was the namesake of the village we were staying in. Now, the canned histories that I skimmed intimated that she was a contemporary but you don’t get a village named after you (along with a nifty and picturesque church) for just a wink and a smile. In my book, she was his main squeeze.

...St Flo got this.
I didn’t bother delving too deep into the text on the history plaques; I liked my imagined version too much to sully it with anything as mundane as facts.

We also visited the bustling sea-side town of Tenby, with its medieval town walls, castle and Victorian fort.

Nothing like having your town protected by a 20-foot thick wall.

St Cathy's Fort. 1870s. A new build, hardly worth a mention.
The street, caf├ęs, bars and even the church were lively but the local council still seems to be short of cash: in practically every tourist town we have visited, there have been three old duffers sitting on a bench near the town centre giving the place a little local colour. Tenby, apparently, can only afford two.

Those guys again.
There were a lot of places selling tourist tat but I didn’t see any ceramic effigies of St. Flo. Sort of a shame, as I would have liked to buy one for the cottage.

Though I doubt we would have found nay place to put it.