The note read ‘Post food through cat flap’ which was a real positive for me

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Ynyslas Nature Reserve

Picture courtesy of Visitmidwales

With the autumn term having just begun, the time seemed about right to avoid the crowds and certainly the beach directly in front of our cottage remained almost deserted. Borth is a small community, formerly a fishing village, which stretches for about a mile with the sea on one side and a railway line on the other. It’s quite close to the Ynyslas nature reserve which was featured on the BBC’s Springwatch programme the year after the same team spent three seasons at our very own Pensthorpe. Whenever we head west for a holiday we run the risk of doubts regarding the weather. Have we remembered to pack the coats, scarves, gloves and the rest of the wet weather gear? Don’t bother with the sun cream or sunglasses. Well this time we just struck lucky. From day one the skies were blue, the sun warm, the sea calm. Yes, it was a bit chilly taking a dip but glorious none the less. A particular pleasure was in being able to get close to the resident bird life. Perched on the nearby breakwaters were the inevitable gulls but also a regular regiment of cormorants. Overhead, screeching loudly, were flocks of terns whose daily feeding gatherings above the bay were a delight to watch. Their method was simple but effective, dive bombing at great speed, hitting the water with a splash and soon surfacing. If they had caught a small fish it remained in their bills as they flew off, frequently chased by others hoping to share in the bounty. If I had to find one word to describe Borth it would be ‘quirky’. The beach-side properties conformed to no particular standards, varying in size, shape, colour and quality. Some seem to have been thrown together almost at random whilst others were clearly the pride and joy of their owners. There’s one mini-supermarket and a few small shops along the main road. I was a bit shocked to discover a tattoo parlour had arrived since our last visit three years ago. But then I had similar feelings when one opened in Fakenham so I guess that was understandable. If the place reminded me of home at all it was in the friendliness of its people. And the obvious sense of community. I spotted a number of messages left on doors which reflected this. One for the deliverer of meals on wheels, for example, to post the food through the cat flap if the resident happened to be out. For my money such positives are worth much more than meets the eye.

n Our time away meant I had to miss the September council meeting at which a new mayor and deputy were elected following the unexpected resignation of Jeremy Punchard in August. As might have been anticipated, current deputy Adrian Vertigan won the approval of the council and accepted the mayor’s chain of office until next May. Voted in as deputy mayor was George Acheson, known to many in the town as a former local GP. He’s a relatively new councillor but has already made his mark as someone of efficiency and enthusiasm. I think he will fill this office with distinction.