Excerpts from The Mystical Milestone

Swansea Bay

A few days later Annie had something important to say. They were ambling along Swansea’s readily accessible and underrated beach which formed a segment of a majestic bay that swept eastward from Mumbles to Porthcawl. This arc was reminiscent of the Bay of Naples, if one could only ignore a prominent industrial belt, the sea’s forbidding hue, and a climate prone to rain. Of course, on a warm, cloudless summer’s night, one could…and did; Swansea became Napoli, and Porthcawl became Capri.

Annie

Approaching the top of the hill, she slumped to the ground; the mantra seemed to be losing its power. In her trance, she had neither a sense of how tired she was nor an understanding of the hallucinations that her exhaustion was about to bring on.
She struggled to her feet, and felt she’d have slumped again had she not imagined herself captivated by herring gulls swarming around her head. They’d appeared from nowhere, and continued to swirl and swoop and shriek as they encouraged her over the top of the hill and then down to the left towards Llangennydd. In this boisterous fashion, they held her attention till the mantra reasserted itself.
“Left foot forward, followed by the right; left foot forward…” and then the gulls vanished as suddenly as they’d appeared. As with the surfer in the car, this hallucination, and subsequent ones, would register only in her subconscious; she wouldn’t remember a thing.

Rhossili Bay

As if the bay and beach which sweep between Rhossili and Llangennydd aren’t striking enough, they are complemented by a green and unspoilt, raised strip of land which runs parallel to them. It in turn nestles into Rhossili Downs which towers above. The strip resembles a massive bench and conjures images of sitting giants bathing their calloused feet in the sea and resting their backs on the downs. The strip is bare but for one small cluster of structures in which a white house stands out. This is the old rectory and is positioned roughly half way between Rhossili and Llangennydd because the same clergyman used to serve both parishes. Not too far away lay the original village and church of Rhossili. During the 13th century, devastating sandstorms hammered those coastal parts of Gower which face south and west. Rhossili’s inhabitants, threatened by dunes, were forced to re-establish their community and church where they stand today; safe from the sand but still walloped by winds. It is said that the present church’s south doorway, with its famous chevrons and side shafts, may have been the chancel arch of the original Norman church in the dunes.