We Moved: A Husband’s Point of View in 1978

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It’ll be better for the children,’ the wife said. ‘Pembrokeshire’s beautiful and  has to have a better climate than at home – please, I love the house, let’s buy it.

It was a blind leap of faith. With a little bit of research we would have found out Pembrokeshire was one of the wettest counties in Britain. But there was no such thing as Google in those days – and besides, whenever we went there on holiday, the sun always shone.

And the children had been very ill with measles and whooping cough and the doctor had said we needed to move to somewhere milder, warmer.

So the decision was made.

I packed in my job with the optimistic words of the wife echoing in my ears; ‘you’re a qualified electrician; you’ll get a job anywhere,’ said goodbye to lifelong friends with my promise of keeping in touch and their promise of, ‘we’ll come and see you next summer; have a holiday with you,’ and, with much grinding of my teeth to keep smiling throughout all the recriminations of family, who insisted in declaring we were moving to the ends of the earth, we put one life behind us and looked with optimism towards a new future.

The day we moved in it pissed down all day; I remember thinking, better climate my arse. At least back home we knew what to expect every morning when we got up and looked through the window. The village we lived in on the Pennine moors was either shrouded in mist so thick you could almost taste it, or the rain was coming down in stair rods, swept almost horizontal by the wind. In summer, even though the sun shone you could be blown off your feet as soon as you set foot outside. And in winter you’d be snowed in for weeks.

So, with each mile nearer to our new home I became more disenchanted. Looking back to the day we viewed the new house I suddenly remembered  wiping the muck off the inside of  that bedroom window and looking out, thinking it wasn’t really a village; just shops and a road with houses. At least in the place we’d lived in since we were kids, there were five pubs, three churches, a Labour Club and A Con club (actually, thinking back, that was an apt name for the Conservative Club, bearing in mind today’s Government). Anyhow, as I said five pubs, three churches, two clubs – a good ratio that covered all options.

Driving along the winding exposed roads on the tops after Newtown we passed a straggling line of men.

‘I wonder what they’re doing,’ the wife said.

‘Minding their own bloody business,’ I muttered, peering through the windscreen. Forty miles back the windscreen wipers developed a judder and threatened to give up the ghost. So every now and then I’d have to wind my window down and give them a shove. With every blast of cold air the kids howled, my wife’s chin quivered with a contrived brave smile and my jacket sleeve became more sodden. A few miles further on I realised they could have been a group of poor immigrants, wearily making their way away from Wales and I was seriously on the verge of turning around and offering some of them a lift back with me  to England. I could have, squashed them in somehow.movingvan20cartoon20300x

Earlier that morning, when the removal van and the car were packed up to the gills with our life’s necessities I joked we were taking everything with us bar the kitchen sink.

When we got to the house in Pembrokeshire I wished we had brought the kitchen sink. Oh and the bath. The guy who’d built the house had gone bankrupt and he’d stripped the place before the Receiver stepped in. There was no water, no electricity, no heating – it was November and we had three kids under three. And there was definitely no telephone to let the rest of the family that we’d arrived. Which, as it turned out, wasn’t a bad thing; the babies were screaming, the toddler was throwing a right paddy because we’d lost her comfort blanket and the wife was skriking.

I put my arms around all four of them and asked her, ‘are you sorry we’ve moved?’

‘No,’ she wailed, ‘I love this house.’

Three weeks later it was still raining; boy did it bloody rain.

And then the cold weather set in and the pipes froze. And so did we.

I went to the Job Centre and was sent to the Benefits Agency. They wanted to know everything except the size and make of my underpants. ‘Sod that for a soldier,’ I said, ‘I’ll start up on my own.’

So, with fingerless mittens donned, the wife dragged out her old typewriter, typed a whole load of leaflets and, with the twins in the pushchair and the eldest balanced on the handle, trooped off to push them through letter boxes.

We’d managed to get the electricity and water turned back on the week we arrived and so while she was out I carried on installing the kitchen sink and a bathroom suite. They’d used up most of our savings. Carpets came later, much later.  So, because of this and because the house was larger than the last one we lived in and because the furniture was spread so thinly between the all rooms the place echoed emptily; the table, two chairs and three high chairs presiding in splendid isolation in the dining room, thirty foot by twenty, with no curtains.

When I could afford the petrol, I got in the car and ventured further afield delivering more leaflets. I put an advert in the local newspaper.

And then we waited – and waited.

We didn’t starve; the wife worked bloody wonders with vegetables, chicken and mince. And we kept warm with the little heater that we trailed from room to room, wherever we were in the house, and saved electricity by going to bed with hot water bottles when it got dark.

And still we waited, avoiding one another’s eyes over the of the children’s heads, refusing to put words to our fear. To failure.

And then one day there was a knock on the front door; my first job. Such a relief, I can tell you.

And, to cut a long, a bloody long story, short, it took off from there. I’m not saying it wasn’t hard, that there weren’t times when the money didn’t come in, that I didn’t have sleepless nights worrying over unpaid bills and red reminders.

Or that,nearly  thirty-seven years later, I don’t look back on that wet depressing journey, that day in November of nineteen seventy-eight and remember the sheer terror as we made that blind leap of faith.

But I what I will say, it was one of the best moves we ever made in our lives.001

PS. Thought I’d show you a few of my photos as well. Hope you like them.

PPS From ‘the wife’ – if I ever heard him calling me ‘the wife’, he’d know what for!!! (In other words he’d be packed off to his shed… where he still has that old heater!l)

Tenby Arts Festival – Day one – 19th September

We’re having a Book Fair on the first day of the Tenby Arts Festival. Please join us – meet our lovely authors, relax and listen to music while having a cup of coffee and a cake. Stay for a short poetry reading and to discover who won the children’s competition: prizes of great books kindly donated by Firefly Press.

And here’s a flavour of the rest of the first day

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Saturday 19th September

Brass Band.

Tudor Square or outside the gates at the entrance to Church House. To announce the opening of the festival with a swing a brass band will perform a medley of popular musical numbers.



Book Fair

Now in its third year this event has proved very popular as the start of our festival and continues to grow each year. We will open the doors on an exciting line-up of fourteen authors from Wales who will talk about their work, their inspiration and why it is that we all love a good story.  A short reading of poetry for your entertainment will precede the prize-giving of a children’s writing competition with entries from nine schools in the area. The judge for the competition is Janet Thomas, editor of children’s publisher, Firefly Press, who has kindly donated prizes of their own books. There will be books old and new to buy and coffee and cakes for sale too.
Talks, books, relaxing music, coffee and cakes with plenty of friendly chatter and discussion – a great morning.

Church House
11am – 2pm



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Join us for a light-hearted historical stroll through the town’s winding streets, and meet some of the colourful characters who passed this way in years gone by. Our talented band of players aim to entertain you, and even educate you, as they bring to life the illustrious, the infamous and the occasionally inebriated  visitors who, like you, came to stay in Tenby.  Meet outside the Fourcroft Hotel at 4pm for 4.15 start, and finish at Cafe Vista. The walk takes approximately 1hour and includes some steps.

Fourcroft Hotel



Fauré’s Requiem

The Gloria by Vivaldi

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Under the baton of Welsh National Opera conductor, Alexander Martin, singers from all over Pembrokeshire and beyond, choir members or not will rehearse and perform Fauré’s Requiem and the Gloria by Vivaldi in the beautiful surroundings of St Mary’s Church.

Born in London, Alexander Martin studied Music at St John’s College, Cambridge, and the piano at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1992 he was appointed répétiteur at the Opéra National de Lyon in France under Kent Nagano. From 1995 to 1998 Alexander spent four seasons in Germany as répétiteur at the Opera, and répétiteur and conductor at the Hesse State Opera in Wiesbaden, before returning to live in France to pursue a freelance career. He has worked as guest conductor, assistant and coach for Lyon, Marseille, Avignon, le Capitole Toulouse, l’Opéra National du Rhin (Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia), La Monnaie, le Grand Théâtre Geneva, as well as for Aix-en-Provence, Glyndebourne, and Montepulciano Festivals. Alexander also worked closely with Philippe Jordan Britten’s Peter Grimes and The Turn of the Screw (Graz), and collaborated with René Jacobs in Rome for Tancredi. Following three seasons as Chorus Master in Bern (where he also conducted Cendrillon and Dave Maric’s Ghosts), Alexander worked as Chorus Master at the Opéra National de Bordeaux from 2010-2014. During this time he also worked in Bayreuth with Philippe Jordan on Parsifal (2012). He became Chorus Master at WNO at the start of this season.

The choir will be accompanied by Jeff Howard, organist.

Jeffrey Howard was born in Cardiff and studied at the University of Wales College, Cardiff, and the Royal Academy of Music, specializing in organ performance and church music. Since graduating, he has pursued a freelance career as organist, pianist, singer, coach and conductor. He has accompanied leading international singers including Bryn Terfel, Sir Willard White, and, Rebecca Evans.

Jeff has performed throughout the United Kingdom and Europe including the Wigmore Hall, The Goethe Institute, Brussels, and St. Paul’s Cathedral, and has worked with orchestras such as The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and the Royal Philharmonic. He made his Royal Albert Hall debut in 2002 as soloist in Shostakovitch’s second piano concerto. Recent performance include performed Rachmaninov’s second piano concerto and Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto at St. David’s Hall, Cardiff with the Cardiff Philharmonic Orchestra and a recital with Bryn Terfel at Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool.

Jeff frequently provides arrangements for the BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales, S4C and various solo artists. He is accompanist, singer and arranger for Only Men Aloud!, winners of the BBC competition ‘Last Choir Standing’ who recently won a Classical Brit Award for their second album on the Universal label. Jeff is also involved in cabaret and music theatre having worked with names such as Michael Ball, David Owen Jones, Peter Karrie, and more informally, Dame Shirley Bassey!

For the past 18 years, Jeffrey has held a post as vocal coach at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and at Welsh National Opera and Welsh National Youth Opera.

For those wishing to join the choir there will be rehearsals held through the month of August in St Martin’s Hall, Haverfordwest from 7 – 9pm on the following dates: 7th August, 14th August, 21st August, 28th August and one final opportunity to rehearse before the day on the 4th September. There will be a charge of £10 for those taking part and in addition a refundable deposit for copies of the music/text.

St. Mary’s Church

Rehearsals will be at 12pm – 2pm and 4 – 6pm
Performance 7pm

Tickets £8

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Solo Guitar

You most likely have heard independent pop rock artist Anthony Snape on your TV or radio. His brand of rock pop or acoustic tunes have also been blasting on the speakers at your favourite clothing store or supermarket throughout Europe, USA and Australia.

His bio reads like a who’s who of the music industry. He’s performed, recorded or written with some of Australia’s and the worlds greatest artists (Tommy Emmanuel, Rick Price, Marcia Hines, Ian Moss, Human Nature, Vanessa Amorosi, Mark Williams, John Williamson, James Morrison, Phil Emmanuel, Graeme Conners, John Paul Young and more). His music has been used on television networks all over the world, including ABC, Seven, Nine and Ten Networks in Australia and ABC, NBC and PBS in the United States and a plethora of stations across Europe.

Based in the USA, Anthony has performed at a variety of venues from theatres (The Birchmere VA, The National, The Majestic) and clubs (The House of Blues LA New Orleans, BB Kings NYC, Park West Chicago) to performing arts centres (in Virginia, Nashville, Texas, Kansas, Boston and Wisconsin), colleges and festivals (SXSW and The Bondi Beach Festival).

His latest release “RESONATE” Produced by Grammy winner ANDY HUNT (Good Charlotte, Smash Mouth, Jars of Clay, Olivia Newton-John, Drew Holcomb the Neighbors), was crowd-funded and raised a whopping $26000 in 30 days. The RESONATE album explores Anthony’s pop rock influences (One Republic, Crowded House, Goo Goo Dolls) and reveals his raw acoustic side with uplifting emotive performances of creative and inspiring original songs. Anthony’s also been known to release new songs directly to YouTube. “Pictures” beautifully captures this emotive spontaneity. Anthony, (inspired by Instagram), wrote, recorded, shot, edited and released the “Pictures” recording and music clip in just two weeks. Find it here – youtube.com/epansa

Anthony’s an authentic independent artist. You’ve heard the word independent used before in music marketing campaigns by record labels trying to make their bands sound cool. But these bands usually have a huge marketing team and a lot of capital invested in their careers and are not independent artists. Anthony is part of a new generation of artists that are real. Real in the way that you can feel the hairs rising on your arms when you hear them play. So real that they may come to your house and play for you in person and make you laugh, cry, smile and dance. Anthony loves to create real connections and emotional exchange through his music. As a result, Anthony’s fans (known as SNAPESTARS) are some of the most passionate, strong and independent people on the planet. So passionate that they have taken it on themselves to market and promote Anthony’s music to the world.

Born in a small town in northwest NSW, Australia, Anthony spent his teenage years involved in school music events, rock bands and singing in local theatre productions. After graduating from the Talent Development Program (supported by board members Alan Jones, John Forman, Mary Lopez with many other Australian artists such as Human Nature) at the Sydney Entertainment Centre; Anthony worked solidly and uncredited as a backing vocalist for many well known Australian artists. He also worked as a session singer for Australia’s major radio network 2UE and started his own pop rock band playing all along the east coast. This culminated in Anthony co-writing and recording the Sydney 2000 Olympic games theme song for the Radio 2UE and winning the first John Laws Rising Star competition with his song, Idiosyncrasy.

De Valence


Tickets £12.00