Wednesday, August 27, 2008


There's often a specific reason why you remember a place – be it a town, city or even a whole region. Manorbier is one such place for me.

“Indeed,” you might well reply hoping for some more information which would help you place Manorbier somewhere on some map. It is the site of some interesting castle ruins (photo), but we didn't even visit them. When in Wales one can't possibly visit all their old castles without over-running one's allotted time. We had already selected those we wished to visit.

Across the narow valley from the castle was the Church of St James, a beautiful old stone structure dating from Norman times. It would have been in use back in the twelfth century when the castle was under construction. Beside it was this interesting old cemetery.

Manorbier is somewhat off the beaten track in Southern Wales and does not suffer from a continuous train of tourists. It is on 'highway' A4585. Now that is off the beaten track! We had tacked it onto our visit to Tenby, a better-known resort in this part of Wales. We agreed that it was well worth while. After this impromptu extension to our itinerary, it was straight back to our accommodation in Laugharne, some fifty twisting kilometres away.

We were tiredly unpacking the car – maps and brochures, lunch hamper, wet weather gear, mementoes from Tenby when: “Have you seen my camera?” A quick search and then further frantic searching yielded no result. My simple question: “Well, where did you leave it?” evoked a rather threatening glare from my wife. Then began the memory game until a possibility finally emerged.
“I must have left it on a pew in that Norman church in What's the Name of that Place? Oh yes! Manorbier.”
“Are you sure?”
Would it still be there? Merely entering a church for an idle look might not enforce on everyone the commandment,Thou shalt not nick a camera someone left lying on a pew. Maybe a phone call to the local vicar? Bless his soul, he suggested he would drive out to the church (it was situated a few kilometres outside the town), have a look and get back to us.
“Yes,” he later phoned, he had rescued it.

And so the 100 twisting, tired kilometres to retrieve the camera firmly cemented the name “Manorbier” in my memory.

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