John Fish B.Sc. Publishers of Tenby in Wales (UK)

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Tenby Publishers
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Muse of Pembrokeshire

"Yr wyf wedi cael breuddwyd, heibio'r ffraethineb dyn i ddweud ... beth oedd fy mreuddwyd"
"I have had a dream, past the wit of man to say ... what my dream was"
Shakespeare, A Midsummer's Night Dream

Explore the Inspirational Qualities of Pembrokeshire
to the Author and Poet

 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness,

it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair,

we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,

we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going the other way,

-in short,

the period was so far like the present period,

that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on it being received,

for good or for evil,

in the superlative degree of comparison only.

 

Those words form the opening sentence of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. What Dicken's was doing was comparing the time he lived in with that of the French Revolution. The key to understanding being his use of the words:

In the superlative degree of comparison only

And, obviously, at the time of the French Revolution politics had descended into the bloody chaos of civil war followed by a pan-European war.

But Dicken's words still ring true today, if we apply them to our modern world.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

On the one hand we have electricity in our homes and workplaces, motor cars, our people have never been so well fed, clothed, housed, educated, and the list goes on and on. But on the other hand we have pollution, we have global warming.

It was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness

On the one hand Europe has never been, since time immemorial, so at peace with itself. On the other hand, we have war without end.

Obviously, we always have to bear in mind the words

In the superlative degree of comparison only

But Dicken's has got his finger on the pulse of human society, of the human condition, of the paradox of the rational and the irrational existing side by side just as night and day, although different, are part of the sameness of our experience of reality.

At the time of the French Revolution, William Wordsworth was a young man. He was, to use a modern expression, a left-winger. He admired the revolution and spent some time in France during it. Obviously, his infatuation was not to ascend into true love and later in life he wrote a poem. Probably, the poem for which he is best known and it's called The Daffodils:

 

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills

When all at once I saw a crowd

A host, of golden daffodils

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margins of a bay :

Ten thousand saw I at a glance

Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

 

The waves beside them danced, but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee :

A poet could not but be gay

In such a jocund company !

I gazed-and gazed-but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought :

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude ;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.

 

So Wordsworth has written a poem about Nature. Wordsworth has written a poem about his personal interaction with Nature. Dickens has asked questions about the causes of our malaise to not being at peace with ourselves: Wordsworth points at a cure: Nature. Or am I being too simplistic?

After all, it's an acceptable idea that, even in our modern age, that our relationship with Nature is at the heart of our well-being. In fact, it could be said that there is a sea-change occurring in people's minds throughout the industrialised world: that the unbridled materialism of the last twenty years is leading us on a course which will wreck our ship of life that is Planet Earth.

But then why do people leave cities to come on holiday to places like Pembrokeshire? Did we know the answers before we asked the questions? If we were bastardise Wordsworth's words we could translate them to Pembrokeshire with something like this:

 

I wandered lonely as a seagull

That floats on high o'er vales and hills

When all at once I saw a crowd

A host, of summer tourists

Beside the sea, beneath the cliffs,

Sunning their naked bodies in the breeze.

 

Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the milky way,

They stretched in never-ending line

Along the margins of a bay :

Ten thousand saw I at a glance

Building sandcastles on golden sands.

 

The waves beside them danced, but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee :

A poet could not but be gay

In such a jocund company !

I gazed-and gazed-but little thought

What wealth the show to me had brought :

 

For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude ;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And paddles with the summer tourists.

 

So here we are in Pembrokeshire. We're in a twilight zone between the Atlantic Ocean and Europe. We live where it all happens: where our human existence and Nature interact. What happens in London, Cardiff or Brussels is quite irrelevant really. Compared to us they might have more money, bigger cars, more holidays abroad, holiday homes. But all they are really doing is causing more pollution than they need to cause to lead meaningful lives, where they would be at peace with themselves and with Nature.

So here we are in Pembrokeshire. We're in a twilight zone between the Atlantic Ocean and Europe. In a twilight zone with what we call the Star of Pembrokeshire:

 

The air so clear and clean

The sky so blue

The grass so green

The cliffs so grey

The sea, as ever, so complex

 

We live in a world where at the heart of our existence is Pembrokeshire against a backcloth of Wales, Britain, Europe and the World. Now Thomas Hardy wrote a series of books about Wessex. A series of books centred on a fictionalised Dorset. So the idea came to publish a series of books about Pembrokeshire. So the idea came to publish:

Star of Pembrokeshire Series Paperbacks

But where to begin? The archaeological evidence suggests that Pembrokeshire's history stretches right back into prehistory. And we possess what is Europe's oldest legend: that of the transportation of the legendary Bluestones from the Preseli Mountains to Stonehenge.

But then Pembrokeshire's history is this intriguing mixture of historical fact and legend. Obviously, the academics in their ivory towers want facts. But sometimes Pembrokeshire can't provide answers in facts ... but sometimes Pembrokeshire can provide stories. They may be true, they may not. But to write, authors need inspiration. And what may be the cause of utmost frustration to the dyed in the wool academic, can be like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ... to an author.

Now being Pembrokeshire born-and-bred we grew up with the legend of the Preseli Bluestones and so decided to attempt to publish a book called:

Preseli Bluestones

At the time, the X-Files were big on TV. So we decided to attempt to publish a X-Files type story about the Preseli Bluestones by Sion Pysgod.

Now besides being home to Europe's oldest legend, Pembrokeshire is also home to Europe's newest legend: that of the numerous UFO sightings of the 1970's in what came to be known as the infamous Broadhaven Triangle.

So it made a kind of sense to Sion to stretch the imagination so that, just as it is claimed that a UFO crash-landed at Rosswell, New Mexico in the United States of America at the end of the Second World War. Sion would invent one that crash-landed in Pembrokeshire during the Second World War.

And so we have the opening scene of the book: It takes place in 1997 in the Oval Office of the White House where a meeting is being held between the President of the United States of America, General Baker the head of the American military and a Harvard University scientist - Cleopatra Binns:

 

"What!!?"

"It's based on a piece of reverse engineering from a component which was salvaged from an alien spacecraft which crashlanded in West Wales during the Second World War."

The President of the United States of America looked incredulously at the contraption, which lay on his desk, then at General George Baker the joint chief of staff of the American armed forces, and at Cleopatra Binns who was a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Harvard University. Then he checked the calendar to make sure it wasn't April first. He got up and stood in front of the Oval Office's window surveying the White House grounds then turned his head and spoke to Binns: "It doesn't look much like a computer to me."

"That's because it's not a digital computer, it's an analog computer." Then she added somewhat disparagingly: "I expect your wife would understand."

The President shot a glance at Baker who laughed nervously: "She's quite a girl, isn't she? Sometimes makes me feel so stupid too, ha, ha!"

A thought crossed the President's mind and he grinned seeming to agree with Baker's humour; in fact the pair of them had reminded him of the pair of robots in Star Wars: Baker tall and gangly, Binns short and squat.

Binns reacted angrily: "This wasn't my idea! I was asked to assess some photographs and this is my evaluation based on the so-called facts which for all I know could be a cock-and-bull story made up by some ... some ... somebody who's being silly;" controlling her temper she cast her eyes at the ground and bit her tongue.

Binns was an interesting character, salvaged by a social worker from the inner city streets where she ran wild as a child leading a gang of kids involved in selling drugs, she'd achieved World wide fame for developing as her doctor of philosophy thesis the solution to Albert Einstein's unified field theory and at the age of twenty-nine was a Harvard professor and a visiting professor at Cambridge in England, etcetera.

The President asked Binns: "But if George really made it all up then how come your computer emerged out of it?" The President and Binns found themselves staring into each other's eyes and he found himself wondering whether or not if Baker had not been present then would she be compliant. He chuckled as a thought crossed his mind: 'Would she understand if he told her that his wife didn't understand him?' That thought brought him back to something she'd said: "I know this might be a stupid question, and forgive me if it is, but what did you mean when you said that my wife would understand your computer?"

"A woman's menstrual cycle is related to the period of the Moon's orbit around Earth. As such her body acts as a kind of computer. Not a silicon chip digital computer but a flesh and blood analog computer."

Baker gaily interjected: "I'm glad I didn't say that, I always thought that you had a reputation for being a feminist!"

The President ignored Baker then spoke softly to Binns: "So what you are saying is that this ... this analog computer can actually do something. Tell me, what can it do?"

"It's not so much about what it can do, but what it enables one to do. It's a component, in the same sense that a wheel is a component. If we didn't have wheels we couldn't have automobiles, trucks, trains, planes. To all intents and purposes we'd be back in the Stone Age where if one wanted to go anywhere then one would do so by foot or on the back of another animal."

Baker eagerly interjected: "Mister President this gives us a strategic technological edge in maintaining American status as the World's number one military power. I suggest we set up a programme to evaluate the new technology and incorporate it into our defence plans. We'll need two maybe three hundred, no billion dollars!"

The President didn't seem to hear him. "Are you saying that we could be witnessing the dawn of a new age?"

Binns eyed Baker: "Certainly the end of an old one but whether mankind has a meaningful future will depend not only on our understanding of the new technology but how we exploit it."

The President's voice was grave: "Look guys I'm quite prepared to accept the premise that Life exists elsewhere in the Universe, perhaps forms of Life that are more advanced and intelligent than we are but ... and it's a big but ... the President of the United States of America can't ..."

Baker interjected: "Can't be seen as some science fiction nut who believes in little green men!"

The President nodded: "Precisely."

Baker attempted to exert control: "That's why it's doubly important to keep the project top secret: to maintain our technological edge and the credibility of the Presidency."

"What project?" Asked Binns.

"Err ... That's top secret, you don't need to know."

"You mean you don't know either!"

The President regained control: "Cut the crap guys. We're obviously in a situation where there are more questions than answers and soon I'll have to leave to greet the British Primeminister so we'll meet again at a later date. Okay?"

The office's door opened and the President's wife appeared: "You'd better hurry Bill, Tony's motorcade will be entering the grounds in two minutes ... Oh, Cleopatra, how lovely to see you after so long." The two women embraced and kissed. "Bill, why didn't you tell me that we had such a distinguished guest? Well now you're here I want you to stay. You haven't met Tony and Cherie, have you?"

As the two women walked arm-in-arm out of the office Binns glanced over her shoulder and grinned triumphantly at the scouring Baker.

 

And so Preseli Bluestones was published but what to publish next? Well, something completely different. A comedy novel set in Pembrokeshire. As you're probably aware, Pembrokeshire has a vibrant sporting scene and the author, Dave Ainsworth of Pembroke, wrote his comedy novel:

Silly Mid Off

against a background of the local amateur cricketing scene.

There are eleven players in a cricketing side and Dave Ainsworth begins with a series of cameos to introduce the characters:

Such as Tim Midleton, the team's captain:

 

A yorker! A bloody yorker! Of all the balls to receive first up - a bloody yorker.

A bouncer, yes. He had been set for a bouncer. That was the logical ball. Dai Evans usually opened his vast repertoire of fast bowling with a bouncer. Everyone knew that. Everyone. No-one more so than Tim Middleton who had spent seven seasons mentally digesting facts about the bowling actions, ploys and dangers of the Pwllgwaelod attack. It was a fluke ball. Yes, Tim consoled himself once more, it had been a fluke ball and the embarrassment of being out first ball was put down to the fact that the bowler had not consciously planned such a delivery. Tim had been unlucky.

He had to bury that image. He had to forget it. That awful moment when he had lost sight of the ball as it flew under his bat and then the awful sight of the middle stump landing behind the keeper's head. Blown away like a matchstick in the wind. He was frozen to the spot. Lawler had smirked from the other end. Cocky bastard. He was probably over the moon. But how would he have coped with such a ball?

Thinking of Lawler's supercilious grin had reminded Tim about the phone. Why hadn't Lawler returned his call? He looked anxiously at the clock. 4:57. How he hated digital clocks. He had phoned the message through nearly an hour ago and he knew that Lawler always returned home early on a Friday. But, then again, being an architect, Lawler could do what the hell he liked. Tim jealously contemplated the actual usefulness of architects and immediately drew the conclusion that they were all bastards. What do they actually do anyway? Ponce about drawing plans and dreaming up grandiose schemes involving the spending of other people's money. 'Bunch of crooks', that's how his cousin Alan put it. Poor old sod. Cousin Alan had tried for years, without success, to sue an architect who had been used in the redesign of his kitchen and dining room. The architect, who had a particularly stupid name that Tim failed to recollect at this moment, had been blamed by Alan for contracting a local building firm to do the work. The building firm went into voluntary liquidation soon after, leaving cousin Alan with an overdraft, two holes in his ceiling and a pile of drying cement outside his back door.

Tim glanced, once again, at the phone, willing it to ring. It did not. Where the hell was he?

If only Lawler would phone, Tim would be free to go. Perhaps he'll phone Bill Nicholson later and see if he's heard. Yes. With the Festival Match tomorrow, it would be prudent to ring the vice-captain in any case.

Tim put his jacket on and had a final stare at the phone. His eyes shifted furtively to the clock. 5:11. He sighed. Resigned to the fact that Lawler was not going to call. He saw that smug, greedy grin in his mind once more just after his middle stump had landed.

A yorker ... of all the balls to receive first up ... A bloody yorker!

 

Then there's John Marsden, the team's Romeo:

 

John Marsden lay back on his soft pillows and thought of Joyce. Only two hours ago she had lain here with him; wonderful, voluptuous, sexy Joyce. As refined as a high-born lady and as randy as a butcher's dog on heat. She gave him a real sense of being wanted, of being needed. She desired him and he desired her. It was a deep feeling of self-satisfaction.

For no particular reason, John cast his mind back to recall the first time. He had only gone round to collect a book and, with her husband being out, she spent a long time trying in vain to locate the item for him. John had said that it really didn't matter and then she insisted on giving him a drink and a tour of their Lydstep home. After looking at the new patio, the herb garden and the interesting pine shelving in the lounge, she showed him upstairs. It was there that she had pounced. It was there that she had said she was feeling hot and wanted a glass of water. The water was duly brought by an unsuspecting John, who discovered her lying half-naked in the guest bedroom. For a moment he froze but, after gentle encouragement and assurances that her husband was in Haverfordwest and not expected back until early evening, he was soon in an equal state of undress. They made love rather quickly, as John recalled, and he was home in time to see the news.

From there it went on with meetings arranged regularly at John's flat in Freshwater East. Joyce used various excuses to explain her whereabouts to her unsuspecting spouse - bridge evenings, hen nights and, more often than not, the Young Wives Group.

In truth, their meetings had become less exciting and rather mundane of late. That wasn't to say that he didn't enjoy tonight. It was certainly better than a round of golf or a game of scrabble. He smiled broadly and then let his face drop as he considered the situation in greater depth.

Instinctively, he knew that he would have to end things at some time. Soon, the relationship had to end. He would have to explain that, as a teacher, he could not afford to be linked with any scandal. Yes, he would have to finish it and it was imperative to tell her as soon as possible. But when? Usually, John was a great believer in procrastination, but not in this instance. Things were getting out of control. But, when could he tell her? Tomorrow? Yes, tomorrow. No time like the present. Strike while the iron's hot. But, should he tell her before the game or after? It was all a terrible worry.

John slumped further into the warmth of his pillows and pondered his immediate future. What if Peter found out? Would Joyce tell him in a heated moment? She might, it was possible ... After all, who could tell what she might do in an unguarded moment? John didn't know; that much was sure. They met in secret and made love - that was it. They certainly didn't discuss their relationship or the relationships of others. It was just sex.

At length, John decided to think about it again in the morning. Perhaps then, with his head a little clearer, he could consider the whole predicament a little more logically and a little more dispassionately.

He turned over and, with a mental picture of Joyce in his head, he quickly fell asleep.

 

Or how about Mike Brandon? A young person familiar to us all, on the point of leaving Pembrokeshire in order to pursue a university education.

 

"It's the next turning on the left."

"Righto, boy!"

The taxi slowed appreciably as it prepared itself to take the turning off the main road. In the dusk they had just passed Jameston. Mike Brandon had spent the whole journey using the scenery to prompt recollections of his young life.

Lamphey Church had reminded him of a Harvest service he had witnessed when he was a toddler. His great-aunt Joan had been keen to show off her infant relative to the members of the congregation. He did not recall much about the service, but he did remember that great-uncle Jack had been to the pub earlier and his breath smelled of stale beer. When they passed the turning for Manorbier, he remembered the first visit to the castle and throwing stones into the sea, imagining that they were boulders being propelled from a giant catapult. Happy, innocent days when Mike's family was complete and protected from the rest of the world.

But, whilst he would miss the physical beauty of Pembrokeshire, he wouldn't miss the realities of high unemployment. It was time to move on. Soon he would be at Bristol University and he doubted he would ever return here, save the odd visit to the family farm.

After completing his 'A' levels two years ago, he had taken time-out in order to resit one exam and get some much needed money behind him. In the winter, the only employment opportunity was to help his dad on the farm, but in the summer he worked at Elmtree Leisure Park. This year at Elmtree, he had been promoted from being a mere rides' assistant to being a performer in the Elmtree Pixie Show. True, dressing up as Eric the Elf had its drawbacks, but he enjoyed the company and he needed all the money he could earn to help him through university. Although, Mr Dymcock, the Entertainment's Manager, had offered him the tempting role of Percy the Pixie King in next year's production, Mike hoped that alternative employment might be obtained in Bristol during the summer holidays.

The Elmtree employees and his father aside, Mike would only really miss his cricket pals. But, then again, he had to qualify that by saying that he would only miss Thommo from that particular group. He had just spent the evening in a Pembroke pub watching that wayward friend getting progressively drunker. Poor old Thommo. He hadn't been the same since his wife left him at the start of the season.

"Just tell me where," warned the driver, conscious that his fare was not paying any attention to where they were going.

Mike quickly pulled himself together. "Oh, another 500 yards or so. We're nearly there."

The driver negotiated a sharp double bend with some timidity and then spotted the sign for Upperbrook Farm.

"This it?"

"Yes, just drop me here, thanks."

He cranked up the handbrake and Mike gave him a ten pound note, which represented the nine pounds required and a one pound tip. After a thank you and a cry of "Goodnight!" the taxi sped away back to Pembroke.

Mike began the long walk down the farm track to the house, pausing only momentarily when in the darkness his trouser leg snared on a blackberry bush; reflecting that the berries were beginning to ripen. He wondered whether his father would still be up. The question was soon answered in the affirmative when he spied light from the kitchen spilling out into the yard. Although an early riser on account of his profession, it had long been his father's habit to stay up late with a warm drink or the occasional whiskey. He would sit in the kitchen quietly thinking about nothing in particular, missing the woman who had been the family's heart and soul. It seemed appropriate that he should spend so many long hours of peaceful contemplation in the room most closely associated with her.

Mike opened the door and smiled gently at his father. The farmer's rugged brow relaxed as he returned the greeting. "You're back early. I was just about to go up."

"I was tired. I didn't fancy a late night, not tonight anyway."

"I was thinking about that fence in the lower field. It needs fixing. Fancy giving me a hand with it tomorrow? It's a two-man job, really."

"Dad, I can't tomorrow. It's the Festival Match."

"Oh, yes. Sorry, I'd forgotten."

"I could help Sunday."

"No, don't worry. Bob'll give me a hand."

"Sorry, dad."

"Don't be daft. It's my fault, I'd clean forgotten about the match."

Mike paused at the door, wondering whether to apologise yet again or to make a move upstairs. "I'll go up, then. See you tomorrow."

"Yeah, 'night son."

"'night, dad."

Mike climbed the stairs, conjecturing as to why his father always made him feel guilty and selfish. He didn't mean to of course, it was just ...

In bed, Mike could not settle. For some inexplicable reason, he could not stop thinking about his mother. He missed her.

 

Silly Mid Off was then followed by a book of childhood reminisces of Tenby and Pembrokeshire in the 1930s and 1940s, the period of in and around the Second World War. It was written by Tenby-born Avis Nixon and is called:

A Tenby Lifeboat Family

Avis' father Alfred Cottam was, following service in the Royal Navy, a professional Lifeboatman and there is much about the Tenby Lifeboat within its pages. Such as this account of one of the most famous rescues the Tenby Lifeboat has made, for his part in it her father received the RNLI's bronze medal for bravery:

 

My brother Alan was three months old, when our father was to take part in one of Tenby Lifeboat's most memorable rescues. I have to quote the details as I was only two myself.

In the early hours of January 15th 1938 the phone rang for dad. The Coastguards informed him that the Lifeboat was on call-out, distress flares had been sighted out to sea off Saint Catherine's Island.

My father's sea clothes were always laid in readiness on the floor beside the bed, his size nine boots with thick white socks placed ready for his feet to slide into. It must be a mile or more from Broadwell Hayes to the Castle Hill and the Lifeboat Station. He had to cycle as fast as he could against a very strong wind and driving rain. Down the Maudlins, across the Green, up Saint John's Hill, across the Norton and down Crackwell Street to Tenby Lifeboat Station.

The conditions this morning were so bad ... he had to crawl on his hands and knees to get across the foot-bridge linking the Lifeboat Station to the Castle Hill, clinging to the wooden slats or he would have been blown away. Hurricane force winds and torrential rain. The sea was so rough ... it was breaking over the Napoleonic fortress on Saint Catherine's Island.

At 05:15 am within minutes of the first call the Tenby Lifeboat, of name John R Webb II, was launched on her fearful mission. Her crew anticipating a dangerous rescue, darkness and extreme weather conditions against them. Her Coxswain George Hooper was away at the time, his place taken by Second Coxswain John Rees.

Just handling the Lifeboat was a feat in itself in the severe conditions. Visibility was very poor due to the driving rain and spray from the waves. When they sighted the stricken ship they found her aground on the treacherous Woolhouse Rocks - which lie between Caldey Island and the mainland and are submerged at high water. She was identified as a coaster, the SS Fermanagh of Belfast.

The Lifeboat went into rescue procedure. Firstly to circle the ship, inspecting her position, checking for damage and searching for anyone in the water - priority always being given to these first. The ship seemed to be lying on an even keel and did not show signs of breaking up. The Coxswain decided it would be best to stand by and wait for better light, keeping a careful watch on any change in her position.

Within a short time of this decision the Fermanagh came off the rocks and was drifting before the gale. Her bows were up in the air and her decks awash two thirds of the way aft to her funnel and bridge. The Lifeboat crew could now see men aboard her.

The Acting Coxswain, John Rees, at once took the Lifeboat alongside her, handling his craft with great skill in the heavy seas, even so she could only stay alongside for a few seconds. In that short time the eight man crew of the Fermanagh were aboard the Lifeboat. My father told us that in order to exercise this feat the crew had to hook their feet in the scuppers and lean out with their arms outstretched, ready to grab any man who might not succeed in the jump.

It was then discovered that her Master was not among them. Before the Lifeboat had arrived he had launched the ship's boat, but with the heavy seas he had been swept away.

The Lifeboat had already searched around the Fermanagh as she lay on the rocks and seen nothing of the Master or the ship's boat. The rescued men were in a state of shock and exhaustion. The Lifeboat headed for Tenby arriving at 08:30 am - just three hours and fifteen minutes from launch. They landed the rescued men and then went back to search for the Master. They searched for a further two hours but could find no trace of him. The Lifeboat returned to Tenby at 10:45 am, she had been out for over five hours and her crew were severely shaken in the heavy seas. They had been in continual danger of being washed overboard, and two of them were nearly lost when the Lifeboat went into a deep trough.

The highest praise possible must go to any man prepared to offer his life to save that of another.

The crew were: Second Coxswain, Acting Coxswain, John Rees - awarded the RNLI's Silver Medal; Mechanic Alfred Cottam (Avis' father) - awarded the RNLI's Bronze Medal; the rest of the crew - all Tenby men, they were from old Lifeboat families - Fred Harries, Thomas E Lewis, Frank Hooper, Alexander Harries, Bertie Lewis, Henry Thomas and James N Crockford - were awarded Vellum Certificates for Gallantry from the RNLI.

 

Avis Nixon also includes an eyewitness account of the Fermanagh rescue by the late John Macarthur who was the ship's mate and, at the booklaunch on 14th June 2000 at Tenby Lifeboat Station, his son Alastair made a surprise appearance. Then in February 2001 Avis Nixon was contacted by John Shanks whose father was also a member of the Fermanagh's crew. Both Alastair Macarthur and John Shanks are deeply aware that without the Tenby Lifeboat then they simply would not have been born. John Macarthur ends his account with words which plumb the ocean's depths and would be familiar, in their meaning, to seamen since time immemorial:

 

The sea still keeps its own secret

And the gift of life exacts its own price

Whilst we who are left still mourn

 

Avis Nixon also writes poetry and her poem of tribute to the Tenby Lifeboat,The Lifeboatman, was included in the text:

 

The Lifeboat launches

From the Slip

To try to save

The sinking ship

Do haste all men

Your help they need

 

You work through God

To answer Prayer

Through every storm

You must be brave

Your fellow men

You must save

 

Who chose this role

For you to play

It is not any

Thought of pay

But in your heart

You bear a pride

Something deep

Down inside

 

That lesser men

Could never know

On Stock Exchange

Or Saville Row

One life we have

To live or give

Some may be loath

The Lifeboatman

Does both.

 

So far there are three titles in Star of Pembrokeshire Series Paperbacks. Each retails at 9.99 and can be ordered from any UK bookshop being distributed by the Welsh Books Council. Worldwide they can be ordered over the Internet from www.amazon.co.uk. They are also stocked locally by bookshops in Pembrokeshire including the Cofion Bookshop, Bridge Street, Tenby, which is situated adjacent to the National Trust historic property known as the Tudor Merchant's House; it is also known as the oldest house in Tenby and was once lived in by the publisher's great-grandmother.

Currently, we are attempting to compile a poetry anthology entitled the:

Star of Pembrokeshire Poetry Anthology

One of the entries entitled Whitsunday Worship on Pencaer 1998 is in the form of a prayer by a city-lady called Jan Kinrade:

 

Far far away upon the eye

Lie headlands indigo against the sky.

 

Ten thousand stars escape the night

And laze on lap of azure sea

To start and dazzle sight

Grown bleary with the dreary grey

Of motorway and day on weary day of city life.

 

Wavelengths' whispering wash upon the rocks

Tune in with skylarks' circling song

And low amid the murmuring mead

Soft summer's measure strums the air along.

 

Bluebell and buttery gorse, white campion and sea pink

Blur with subtle beauty time's hard edge;

While noon set sun releases from this spicy stir

And rose-strewn wind-bowed hedge

A scent so sweet it heightens senses

Swirled beyond the reach of word or world.

 

Amen.

 

We've even had a poem from a lady in America called Beverley Moore, entitled: When the Prairie Meets Preseli, with which we'll finish this essay.

 

If I should send myself to you,

I'd wear a gown of prairie-sky blue,

And I'd bring along a tale or two,

And whatever would you do sir?

Whatever would you do?

 

Oh, I'd be waiting in the mist,

To welcome you with one sweet kiss,

I'd hear your tales, 'cause you'd insist!

And where would we go from there girl?

Where would we go from there?

 

We'd first climb down from Preseli,

To walk along the stormy sea,

And I'd ask why you gazed at me?

And then what would you say, sir?

What would you ever say?

 

I'd smile at you in your blue gown,

And say, I'm happy I have found,

A caring soul who loves me sound,

And ask you is that true, girl?

Tell me is that true?

 

And I'd tell you what you longed to hear,

Our love is strong, though we're not near,

But there's all kinds of love I fear,

And where would you take me then, sir?

Where would you take me then?

 

I'd take you back to Preseli,

And lay you down on a fine Bluestone,

What better place might there be,

To claim you for my very own?

 

CYMRU AM BYTH

 

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