Writer's return visit sets the record straight on attractions
A WRITER invited back to Carmarthenshire in a bid to change his opinion of the county admits he may have been "a bit harsh" in an article he wrote about the area for a national magazine.
Wilfred De'Ath was asked back to West Wales after writing in the satirical magazine The Oldie.
After staying with a friend in Carmarthen he told his readers he would rather kill himself than spend more than two days in Wales.
In his original piece he also moaned that it rained in Wales all the time and accused the Welsh of being mean — especially when it comes to portions of butter.
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He was enticed back by county tourism bosses and has spent five days here, staying at a bed and breakfast in Llandeilo and also in Carmarthen.
Mr De'Ath said: "I've had a very nice time in Carmarthenshire.
"Maybe I was a bit harsh in my article but it was meant to be funny.
"The tourism people paid for my accommodation but I paid for my train fares, coming from Cambridge, that's not cheap either.
"Once in Wales though my trip didn't get off to a good start when the Heart of Wales line train at Swansea station had no driver.
"It meant I had to wait an hour for one to turn up and it was raining again."
However, he conceded that things improved from day one onwards and he took delight in both Llandeilo and Llandovery.
"The weather got better and I thought Llandeilo and Llandovery were very nice."
He said Llandeilo was not what he thought it was going to be, adding, perhaps tongue firmly in cheek again: "Well this part of Wales is viewed as being a poor area and I was expecting Llandeilo to be a sort of peasant town, but I was pleasantly surprised, it was lovely."
He also spent a morning in Llandovery and was pleased with the service at the train station's cafe.
"I had two pats of butter there, I had to ask for it of course but at least I had another" — referring to an incident during his previous visit over the summer where a hotel in the county refused him more butter at breakfast.
Mr De'Ath's original article outraged tourism bosses and they wrote to him to invite him back to the county to show what it really has to offer.
They also sent a hamper of local produce to capture his interest.
Mr De'Ath thanked them for their welcome.
"The tourism people have been great and I was shown around Dinefwr Park which was beautiful."
Mr De'Ath was asked to eat his words as he was whisked around the best Carmarthenshire foodie experiences the county has to offer.
The Welsh School of Artisan Food served up a splendid response to the columnist when he visited Aberglasney Gardens, as part of a guided tour by Carmarthenshire marketing and tourism development officer, Sarah Owen.
He dropped in briefly at one of the new seasonal food courses run by Margaret Rees of the Welsh School of Artisan Foods. Guest local artisan producers contributed including grower Lucy of Lily Wen Herbs and Chacutier – Llyr Dunsford, of Pontyates. Margaret also used edible flowers, herbs and produce from the garden.
She said: "I really think Mr De'Ath must now surely 'eat his words'.
"We introduced him to some of the finest products on the Carmarthenshire Food trail from farm to table."
While at Llandeilo, Mr De'Ath stayed at Ty Menyn bed and breakfast in Rhosmaen.
It is built in a former butter house and run by James and Lisa Woodward. Mrs Woodward said Mr De'Ath had been given the chance to meet local people.
"I think the people here have really surprised him. I hope we've opened his eyes a bit, to be honest."
Before leaving Carmarthenshire, Mr De'Ath spent the weekend in Carmarthen, where sampled the best local restaurants and what the shops had to offer.
In his original article he had declared the town was full of charity shops and there were no restaurants – only takeaways.
The Journal would like to thank The Oldie magazine for providing us with pictures and content for use in last week's edition. Find them online at www.theoldie.co.uk