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Strange, Wild Beauty: Clyne Gardens & Swansea Bay Video Journal

When you live in Wales, or anywhere in the UK for that matter, a strange thing happens when the sun pokes its head through the clouds.

It happens so rarely during the long dark winters that, when it does, you become filled with this sort of restless, anxious energy. There’s an almost franticness, an urgency to drop everything and get outside. You must make the most of this!

And on those occasions when you can’t, where you simply must stay in, the anxiety dissolves to a sort of low simmering sulk, a furious frustration that leaves you bereft. It can feel, in those moments, like you’ll never feel the sun’s warmth on your skin again.

So when the sun popped out recently, we dropped everything and headed to Clyne Gardens without even a whiff of hesitation. We needed to collect some medication for Lola, whose vet is based right next door, so we thought we’d make full use of this essential journey.

Strange, Wild Beauty: Clyne Gardens and Swansea Bay Video by Ben Holbrook12

I have so many happy memories from this glorious green space. As a child I’d visit with my family for picnics under the tall pines. As a teenager I worked in the fire-warmed Woodman pub to save up money for my trip to Thailand. It was  still is the best job I’ve ever had.

And we crossed the Mumbles Road to let Lola stretch her legs on the sands of Swansea Bay, looking out over the city in the distance and the lighthouse of Mumbles in the distance.

Strange, Wild Beauty: Clyne Gardens and Swansea Bay Video by Ben Holbrook12

We sat on the bench dedicated to my father and read the little plaque. Bonnie Tyler’s house shimmered above us like a fairytale palace and teenagers skated and cycled up and down the prom, apparently blissfully unaware of the global pandemic we’re all trying to get through.

It’s still strange being home. There are just so many memories everywhere. It’s hard not to feel stuck in the past. But then I also realise how bloody beautiful it is here, and how fortunate I am to be able to call it home.

Strange, Wild Beauty: Clyne Gardens and Swansea Bay Video by Ben Holbrook12

I recently turned 37 and I suppose I look at it through a different lens now.

Anyhow, I shot a little video. It been so long since I’d done so that I was concerned I’d forgotten how.

It’s nothing special, but, I don’t know, it means something to me, and maybe it’ll mean something to you in some small way.

Thanks for stopping by.

Yours as always,


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