Today has been a day of small pleasures. One of those days that is totally unplanned, you think it's going to be a bit dull and uninspiring ... but then several small surprises line up and you get a special day.
As you probably know, I'm a bit of an aviation nut and learned to fly around 14 years ago. Aviation is a very small world and I have many good friends who fly. Friends who I never would have met, as initially I had nothing in common with other than a love of being off the ground. But two of those friends helped make today a bit lovely.
This morning was overcast and miserable. The forecast had been for it to be nice ... so one of those flying friends had offered to take me for an aerial tour of the area. But with the clouds starting at about 500 ft, that wasn't going to happen. There was still a chance it would clear up this afternoon, so I needed to find something to do this morning. I didn't want to spend too long driving and Milford Haven itself isn't the prettiest place to explore. But another one of those flying friends had heard I was visiting Pembrokeshire and sent me a few suggestions ... including: "Favourite unexpectedly pretty spot where you never see another soul and even the locals don't seem to visit - Black Bridge woods near Milford Haven". Looking at the map, I saw that the woods were about 30 minutes walk from the hotel. It had to be worth a shot.
It was definitely worth it! I would recommend to anyone anywhere near Milford that they visit. Even if you're miles away, still visit. The woods aren't huge and there are only a couple of paths. But the best things come in small packages, they say. The paths undulate gently while following a very shallow, clear stream with small ponds and pools. Along there way there are several picnic spots and green-roofed roundhouses where I can imagine sitting with a group of friends around a fire on a cool autumn evening.
We returned to the hotel, but the weather still hadn't cleared up. It was looking a bit more promising for late afternoon, so I had about two hours to fill. Looking at the map for places I could take the girls for a gentle potter, I spotted that Martin's Haven Bay, from where you can catch a boat over to Skomer, wasn't too far away. Much of the area is National Trust owned, which is usually a good indicator of stunning scenery. It was indeed very pretty ... but the highlight was in the ladies toilets (bear with me) ... where there were swallows nesting! It's a bit disconcerting having them dive-bomb you while you're (pardon the expression) minding your own business.
The weather was now stunning and I drove to Haverfordwest airfield to meet up with my friend and fly. Kind of him to choose an aircraft with a suitable registration! He also did his best airline flying and kept it very smooth and gentle. So much so that Disa slept for most of the time. After he'd dropped us back at the airfield and flown off home, I had the place to myself. There's nothing quite like an airfield on a summer's evening. There's a certain combination of sounds and smells which turn them into a little piece of heaven.