Notes from a Small County – Part 1

Being a student over the summer has quite a large list of downsides.

Namely, any kind of secular funding is immediately cut, resulting in any previous savings evaporating over the first few weeks. This is not helped by a continual insistence on trying to fruitlessly have wild nights out, which suffers heavily from the fact that every sane person has migrated back home for the warmer season and you blearily realise the next morning that not only did you completely and utterly fail to pull (aside from a muscle or two on the dance floor), but also that a depressingly large chunk of your remaining finances find themselves in the form of a punishing hangover that was most assuredly not worth it.

However, the weather in Wales this summer hasn’t been half bad. Attempting to take full advantage of the lack of downpours, and scraping by on money from a part time position at Subway, I made a point of trying to visit a number of local places, and honestly, it was quite an enlightening experience.


The view of one of the larger cliff-faces. Scaling up on the right hand side was easy. Getting back down again was terrifying.

This rather lovely stretch of coastline is called Nash Point, and is easily accessible even by public transport in the Vale of Glamorgan. I believe it’s the 303 bus from Bridgend to a very exotic sounding place called Barry. Situated around a ten minute walk away from the tiny settlement of Marcross, the place also happens to feature one of the last manned lighthouses in Wales; initially built in 1832 and staffed right up until August 1998. Arriving on a Wednesday would present you with the opportunity for a guided tour, however I ended up going on a Thursday due to better weather, so instead resorted to stumbling around the cliffs, taking in the spectacular sights and remembering my ongoing fear, not of heights, but of hitting the ground after a particularly large drop.


The famous lighthouse itself. This was as close as I dared to get on a day when it wasn’t officially open.

Just down the road from Marcross, heading back towards Bridgend, and more locally, Wick, you stumble upon the very quaint, quiet village of Monknash, a place in which the local pub, The Plough and Harrow, holds it’s historical heritage as far back as 1383, which it claims comes from a “very strong ecclesiastical background.”

Well, that’s all very well and good mate, but how are the pints?

I’m probably exposing my naivety here when I say that I was surprised to see cider on sale that went up to 7.2%. Student life yo, Budweiser and Coors only go up so far. I ended up settling for an ale because of its curious name, which was something to the effect of “Blackberry Slug”. I can’t say it tasted much like blackberry, and I haven’t eaten enough slugs to make an apt comparison, but it was still very enjoyable. The place had a nice ambience whilst I was there too, and excusing the one white guy with dreadlocks, doubtlessly telling his girlfriend about the current follies of society and what-not, there were a collection of patrons, all middle-aged, who talked about much more traditionally British things like the rugby and the barmy-ness of the political state of affairs.

One thing I will say however, and I’m not sure that this will apply to the girls, but going for a piss is a tad unsettling for the gents when they have two giant life-size cartoon caricatures of monks staring at you at either side of the trench urinal whilst you do your thing.

That pretty much covers my adventures in that particular area. I went to a few places over summer so will be covering them more in future updates. I plan on blogging a lot more frequently going forwards.

In terms of other news, there is something rather odd. I gave an interview to PRI’s The World which, aside from being co-produced by the BBC, is a Boston based news journal both on the radio and online which apparently covers all manner of things. The twelve minute or so telephone interview happened after I wrote around 6000 words of official commentary for this online gaming event happening here:

This is the post I wrote for in particular:

In the event that you are interested, but don’t want to slog through 6000 words, some guy did a brilliant reading of it on YouTube, as he has done for all the others:

But yeah, I signed up to do the writing as a bit of a goal-orientated laugh as I figured that I wasn’t doing anything particularly productive in my own time, and apparently it escalated! I haven’t seen the published piece yet, as it hasn’t been released, but I’m certainly looking forward to seeing as to how much of a clueless twat I sound/read in my first, and possibly only interview.

That appears to be everything. Apologies for the wordiness guys, it just feels good to be writing again.