It was a real treat yesterday to get out into the autumn sunshine and drive. First to the StackpoleWalledGardens and then via the toll bridge over the Cleddau with glimpses of the contrasting extreme beauty and extreme industrialisation of this area. Next down the hill taking in the panorama of Newgale beach with its expanse of sand and crashing surf which is soon hidden behind a mound of pebbles right up to the road that speaks of the power of the sea and the fragility of this community. Then up the hill and on through Solva with a glimpse of the tiny estuary with its sand and bobbing boats and finally on and down into St Davids. Any day I see the sea is a red letter day for me.
I know the StackpoleWalledGardens fairly well as I have visited them before and pop in for veg if I am down that way. This was a courtesy call really to make links with the current manager and see if there was anything EW could help them with. I was very interested to see the new building which is going up in the second garden. It’s a straw bale construction rendered in lime mortar and is about ¾ finished I’d say. It will be a shop for their produce, a community area and a tea room when opened and hopes to help bring an income in for the project. This project specifically works with people with learning disabilities. They were telling me the new system where their client group are given their allowance to spend for themselves rather than being referred through social services is not working well for them yet and their client numbers are dropping. They are having to work in a different way and actively advertise for people so even in this area, working with people who need life long support, market forces are starting to be the governing principle. Lets hope inertia from the people and their families does not lead to many disabled people spending their lives unhealthily inactive with the TV for company rather than getting out there and participating.
I then went on to visit old acquaintances in a new organisation. TYF Connect is a new CIC set up by Andy Middleton of TYF Group as a non profit outfit for his various sustainable development projects. I was there to see Darren but Andy was about and it did me good, as a practicing curmudgeon and cynic, to spend a couple of hours bathed in his boundless optimism putting the world to rights. Darren and I had a useful meeting too and they may come to EW for some help in an innovative scheme, as all Andy’s schemes are, to engage business in sustainable development by linking them with local schools.
So all in all a rewarding if tiring day with around 4 hours of driving but what a world beating county to be driving in.