Excerpts of 800 word article, ending with driving directions and reservations information
AT HOME IN ST. DAVID'S FORMER MARINE LIFE CENTRE
by Pam Hobbs
St. David's, South Wales: Our arrival in town was frustrating. In
addition to the usual Saturday mid-morning traffic, St. John's
Ambulance was celebrating an anniversary in the cathedral which
allows this small community its city status. Visiting dignitaries
were to lunch in the adjoining Bishop's Palace, so it too was out
of bounds for the rest of us. And there wasn't an empty parking
space to be had in the immediate area. Then we spied a near-empty
car park in what our guidebook described as The Marine Life
Centre. With certain joy we discovered it had been converted to a
B & B called The Waterings, and the vacancy sign was up.
Other than a lifeboat soon to be made into guest
accommodation, and the fishing vessel for junior pirates to play
on, there is little evidence of the Centre which for fourteen
years housed 150 species of local sea creatures. The play area,
with homemade swings, climbing ropes, ladders and the like is as
popular now as it was when school groups visited. So are the
barbecues and picnic tables, the three acres of grounds where you
can kick a ball around or sit by the pond for a quiet read.
Owners David and Sandra Chant love this town, and encourage
their guests to see it all. Sandra grew up here; her father owned
a local pub. When the couple first married, David was a lobster
and crab fisherman. Sandra ran a Bed and Breakfast, and a small shop
where she sold her husband's catch. On rainy days vacationers
would bring their children in to see the live crabs and lobsters
held in tanks. Their interest prompted plans for a Marine Life
For 32 years David was a member of the area's lifeboat rescue
crew. For the last six years he was their full-time
coxwain/mechanic, an often dangerous job that earned him a medal
for bravery. At the Centre he lectured to groups on sea safety,
as well as the creatures he and other locals had caught for
display. The Centre won a prestigious award presented by Prince
Charles, and became a major visitor attraction for St. David's.
This same devotion to excellence is given to The Waterings,
which has five rental units in what used to be a series of man-
made caves housing sea octopus, sharks, lobsters and pals.....
A big plus in staying here is that just about everything,
including the beautiful 12th century cathedral, is within walking
distance. It helps too that our hosts are so well-known in town.
When we returned from our walkabout most restaurants had stopped
serving lunch, so Sandra 'phoned The Cross Hotel. By the time we
wandered over, they had soup and sandwiches ready for us. Next
she wangled dinner reservations at Morgan's Brasserie...