Woolly says – the sun was shining as I padded towards the shore line but with the clouds gathering above I was mindful that the day could get chilly and hoped that Jo had packed another few extra layers for me. Our tour guide for the day was an old friend from Aberystwyth, Tal, having been greeted with warm hugs and a round of ‘what’s occuring’ I remembered why I liked her so much when the first port of call was to her Aunt’s pub and lunch. Having demolished a lovely plate of fish and chips and tried to hide the fact that the ketchup seemed to have adhered itself to rather a lot of my body parts we were at the start of our tour of Barry. Barry is a town in the Vale of Glamorganon on the north coast of the Bristol Channel. Once a small village, Barry has absorbed its larger neighbouring villages of Cadoxton and Barry Island. It grew significantly from the 1880s with the development of Barry Docks, which in 1913 was the largest coal port in the world. Barry Island is known for its beach and Barry Island Pleasure Park. From 1966, the island was
home to a Butlins Holiday camp, which was closed in 1987 and is now more famous for the BBC sitcom Gavin & Stacey which was filmed in many areas of Barry and Barry Island. We were all great fans of the show, my small ketchup covered companion skipped happily along before emitting a small scream of excitement as he spotted Marco’s Cafe, one of the filming locations of where Stacey had worked in the show. Woolly says – for those of you that has yet to catch up with Gavin and Stacey, it is the story of a Welsh girl, Stacey, who lives on Barry meeting up with an Essex boy, Gavin, and their two best friends Nessa and Smithy. Written and starring James Corden and Ruth Jones it has produced a range of sayings that have infiltrated into many peoples speech as well as an insight into how many omelettes can be produced and the wide range of fillings that can be used in one hour of TV viewing. Basically you just need to watch it, believe me once seen it’s never forgotten. I dashed over to the small sea
front café to see if Stacey was on duty but failing to spot her blonde hair I instead took in the view of the beach. Glorious yellow sand and the most interesting of rocks that showed the millions of years history in their different colours made a wonderful vista. Tal led us across the sandy plains and onto a small peninsula that gave views across the Island, the town and the Knap, beautiful indeed. Passing the arcade where Nessa had once worked none of us could resist the two pence machines and the chance to win prizes as tickets pumped out. With tickets cashed in and a happy mammoth clutching a small bouncy ball, a bag of space invaders with a sticky chew attached to his tail we paused for a drink while the girls went on the waltzers. Woolly says – Zoe’s face matched the green colouring of her hair as she descended from the platform, I chuckled merrily as she stumbled to the table before realising that my rather fetching red and blue slush puppy was no longer in the glass but covering me and the table, dam those
paws, I looked across at Jo who sighed and started to rummage in her bag for cleaning supplies. Having removed the drink before it could coat him further, wiped him down and tried to remove the rest of the debris he had so far acquired I was happy to agree with Tal’s suggestion that we jump in her car to take in the other filming locations before he could cover himself in anything else. Woolly says – A short drive and we appeared to have arrived in Billericay, Essex, I’d never realised that Essex was that close to Wales! As he pondered his actual location I took the required photo’s of the house used as Gavin’s home in the series, a little confused grubby face looked at me as we drove a further few minutes back towards Barry itself and the houses that were used for Stacey’s and her Uncles in the centre of the town. Woolly says – Essex to Wales in less than five minutes must be a record! Stacey’s house was easy to spot due to the posters and pictures
displayed in the windows and having posed and admired the view over the bay we were off again. Next stop was the train station which was, well, a train station, it was however where Gavin proposed to the lovely Stacey so had to be included. As we sped past the remains of Barry Castle I was quick to impart my knowledge to the wonderful Tal. The castle was a small fortified manor house originally, built to replace an earlier earthwork. By the late 13th century the castle had two stone buildings on the east and west sides of a courtyard and by the early 14th century it had been strengthened by the addition of a large hall and gatehouse on its south side, the ruins of which are all that survive today. It wasn’t big but it was lovely to see a bit of history still in place. As we parked up once more I jumped out of the car and ambled along the area known as the Knap breathing in the sea air and admiring the views. With time starting to catch up with us I ushered him back into the car as we
set off for our last destination. Woolly says - The Parish Church of St Cadoc is situated down a small windy lane, the church was founded in 800AD and dedicated to St Cadoc, it was from the church that the nearby village took its name. It was also the place that saw the wedding of the lead characters, the non wedding of Nessa and the christening of Nessa’s son, baby Neil. It was beautifully quaint but sadly very much closed so having admired the outside we headed back to the Tal’s house and the journey back. Having thanked our wonderful tour guide profusely we set off back to the M4, for some reason Jo started to get annoyed at my ‘oh what’s occuring’ phrase and told me most rudely that what would be occurring was my demise if I continued, she seems to be getting more cankerous with age!
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