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It’s fair to admit that I don’t frequently use this platform to write about my life, but there was something sufficiently poignant about a recent trip to Tenby with my dear friend Calum Heath that I felt compelled to commit a few words.

Before we go any further I want you to take a second to think about a place you visited regularly as a child. For many this may be a relative’s house, or a swimming baths, or maybe even the village hall where scouts or guides was convened. Whatever the place you have to remember it really well, and hopefully very fondly. For my good friend Calum this place would probably be Tenby, in Wales, which was the regular destination of his childhood holidays.

I’d never been to Tenby before 2015, and then in January a project that Calum and I had been working on required us to visit the beautiful seaside town. The trip there was largely consumed with detailing our activities there, but every now and then Calum would interject with some detail about his travels there as a kid. When we arrived we had a walk around the town and it was really heartwarming to see how he responded to being there. Then after the work was done we heading home and that was that.

Earlier this month Calum and I had reason to return to Tenby, only this time I understood the place for what it was to Calum, and the car journey there was filled with his recollections from his childhood. Our walk around the town on our arrival this time was far more extensive, and it was such a touching experience to see the place come alive for Calum, and for him to help me understand it for what it meant to him.

Ultimately I can never experience it as Calum experienced it, but I have my own places from childhood that I could equate it to, so it was almost like looking through the blurry edged binoculars at the edge of the promenade. Places are such incredible vessels for memory, and their smells and sounds are almost like a time machine, recalling more than just the details of what happened and when, but also what was felt, and hoped, and what was forgotten.

As hopelessly sentimental as I frequently am, I have to concede the problem with walking through someone else’s memories…

Calum wanted to take a photograph standing in the sea, and it was bitterly cold, but still we went for it. As you can see from the photo Calum looks his regular handsome and composed self. On the other hand, I took my turn in the sea and a small wave filled my wellington boots to the brim with the special December blend of Irish Sea/Atlantic Ocean. I then had to trudge around Tenby with my nostalgic tour guide squelching every step of the way. I got more than a few strange looks from the various shopkeepers and passersby. After a while the icy water warmed up, but the sound was present throughout…

For a story inspired by something similar why not click here?

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Posted: December 12, 2015

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