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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So, I bought a day ticket... (Part 2)

Just after 11.30, I hopped on another bus outside my back gate, and headed first to the Uplands. I paid my utility bills at the Pay Point, and sent a CD to a friend in the US, before hopping on the 118, around 12.15. I was trying to decide whether to go to Rhossili first, spend a few hours there, and then go to Port Eynon for an hour later, or go to Port Eynon first. The bus driver inadvertently made that decision for me, by his erratic and alarming driving. I think he thought he was driving a train on the London Underground. No sooner had passengers boarded, than he started the bus and accelerated, throwing poor passengers, myself included, around the bus like rag dolls. Passengers were also bouncing (and complaining) in their seats. He took the roundabout by Olchfa school like something from the Wacky Races - it was scary. So I thought, knickers to this, I'm not going over Cefn Bryn with this nutter. So I transferred to the Port Eynon-bound 117, at the Black Boy in Killay.

The bus driver very kindly let me off right at the sea front in Port Eynon. First port of call was the Captain's Table for rissole and chips. Then I took a walk across the beach towards the old Salthouse. I've always been fascinated by this tiny, shuttered cottage.

I suspect it's a holiday let - I can't see anyone living very comfortably, all year round, in such a tiny abode. Plus it must get incredibly bleak and cold in winter. But it has a very special appeal for me, for some reason.

As I continued along the beach, I became intrigued by the persistent clanging of what I thought was a church bell. Although Port Eynon has a very fine church, the sound was coming from entirely the wrong direction. It seemed to emanate from beyond the Salthouse, going towards Port Eynon Point. Determined to solve the mystery, I skirted around the Salthouse, pausing only to take a pic.

After rounding the old Salthouse and clambering up a small rise, I found myself at Salthouse Mere, a small, rocky cove, with an intriguing, somewhat lunar landscape. The tide was right out, and numerous small birds flitted around the rocks, their beaks filled with nesting materials, or grubs to feed their babies.

By now, the bell was very loud, and I realized its source - a bell buoy, bobbing out at sea. It's visible in this pic.

You can't actually see it in this video, but you'll certainly be able to hear it.

Here's a closer look at the bell buoy:

I decided to make my way back to the sea front, to sit and read for a while. On the way, it hit me just how much sand has been lost from Port Eynon beach, even in just the last five years or so. It's shameful that the dredging company blames natural erosion due to tides, etc, for the loss. What a coincidence, eh? Mother Nature decides to accelerate her rate of sand erosion to coincide with an increase in sand dredging off Gower. Yeah, right.

I headed for the bus stop and had just about enough time to capture this pollen-laden fly, basking on a sunlit buttercup, before the bus arrived.

My next destination was Rhossili. I only stayed an hour or so. I was very tired by now, and starting to ache. Also, despite the warm day, a rather vicious, chill wind whipped up along the cliffs, shortly after I arrived. I spent some time sitting in a sheltered spot amongst the cliffs, after searching for a while for a place free of sheep poo and thistles.

As I returned to the village, I estimated I had ten minutes to spare before the bus arrived. To my horror, as I walked up past the hotel, I could hear the 'beep beep' sound of a bus reversing. I pounded uphill as fast as I could, which wasn't very fast, given my physical state at the time, and was relieved to make it to the bus, before it drove off. The driver waited a few minutes, but even so, he left Rhossili six or seven minutes early, which, in my eyes, is rather naughty. When I arrived home, as sad as this sounds, I was in bed by eight, I was so knackered.

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