I am totally cool with this concept these days. But it has taken years to be able to go with the flow and not have a set picture in my head that has to be adhered to the letter or else a fun time *cannot* be had by me or anyone else.
Besides, I actually really like lemonade.
We were all geared up to go out to Skomer Island on Sunday with the Carmarthen Vegans. Skomer Island, for those of you don't know is a nature reserve in Pembrokeshire with real honest-to-goodness puffins. Seriously, puffins. But it can be a bit tricky and here is why.
1. We don't live in Pembrokeshire we live in Carmarthenshire.
2. They only allow 250 per day out on the island and you can't reserve a place so you have to get there super early to queue for a spot on board the boat.
3. The boats don't always run if they suspect inclement weather ahead and you don't know until you arrive.
We set out as a hopeful party of six all arriving at Skomer from different locations. We left Carmarthen at 7:30 to get us to Pembrokeshire by 9:00. Alas, they suspected choppy seas later in the day and so they boats weren't running. While we are all disappointed, we just laughed and said, "well, we've got all this gorgeous picnic food. Let's go for a walk and have a picnic." Also on the bright side we saved £21 each not having to pay to go out to Skomer making this an incredibly cheap and fun day out. Bonus!
Priya, Susie, Peter and Kathryn, myself and Spiderman went to a beach near Susie's house (she actually lives in Pembrokeshire and has to travel a fair distance to come to any of the meet-ups in Carmarthen so it was so nice to be in her "neck of the woods" as they say.) We also texted another vegan friend Allison and invited her and her dachshund Ruby along. After swinging by to pick up the dogs Daisy and Nougat from Susie's house we were off to Newgale beach near St Bride's bay.
This did not disappoint.
The beach was beautiful and there were many amazing geological structures to look upon. There were hosts of caves--some you could explore and some you couldn't.
Thanks to Spiderman for taking all the snapshots. Enjoy the view:
|the view out to sea|
|the view up the coastal path|
|a rock that was just begging for a Little Mermaid to sit on it and sing|
|Outside a cave|
|inside the cave|
|one of many other caves|
|Don't go into the Drowning Cave!|
|some caves were cut off by the tide|
|the winds picked up and the sea was rough so they were right to call off Skomer|
|the back of us being whipped by the wind|
|if you look carefully you can see Carmarthen Vegans written in the sand|
After walking about three miles we walked to another part of the beach and in the shade of a hanging rock we sat down, tired and hungry for our food. There is something about walking along the beach with friends that builds up an appetite.
It was a veritable feast with sandwiches galore and food to share--crisps, watermelon, hummus and vegan cheese all being passed around. It was a glorious meal and then we beach-combed for another two miles or so (where I nearly slipped and fell in some rather slippery seaweed by a lagoon) and then all went back to Susie's for more snacks (flapjacks, chocolate and hot tea) and several hours of lazing about in her beautiful garden and just chatting about anything from silly things to serious deep subjects. We practised our song that we are singing next month at the Summer Vegan Meet Up and realise we still need a bit of work but we thoroughly enjoyed it. We even had Susie's 88 year old Mum joining in on the chorus!
The best thing about the day was the friendship. This group of lovely human beings adopted us straight away when arrived in Wales. We ran into Kathryn and Peter who run a vegan information stall in the market every Saturday. They invited us to join the Carmarthen Vegans and a week later we were at the Waverly cafe eating and visiting like we had known each other forever. There we met the rest of the gang and suddenly we found ourselves being invited to picnics and hikes and we had a social life that involved fresh air, good food and exercise as well as laughter and good conversation. I mean just like that--two weeks after we arrived people were offering us lifts to places and we had friends. These friends have helped us both be more active about veganism and have given us ways to help change the word for animals.
So even if we didn't get to Skomer, we still had an excellent time. What more could a person ask for?