Everybody in Wales has a soft spot for Mumbles.
Though people from outside Wales may not have heard of it, they will
find it unforgettable once they've been there.To start with, there's
the name, Mumbles, deriving from the French word mamelles, meaning 'breasts'
and originally referring only to the two islets at the end of the promontory,
but nowadays applying to the whole village. Really, the name should
have a permanent exclamation mark – Mumbles!, like Westward Ho!
As indeed should the Welsh word, Mwmbwl!
Mumbles © Chris Gill Jones 2002
The village is an extraordinary place to live in
and to visit, and its magic never fails, whether you are travelling
back home for the thousandth time along Mumbles Road or seeing it all
for the very first time. On your left, there's the great sweep
of Swansea Bay, and then, glimpsed first through pine trees, a huddle
of small houses cascades down a hill and clings together beneath a steep
cliff as the coast arches sharply to those two islets with their Victorian
Why is Mumbles so intoxicating? It's not just down to the string
of seafront pubs along the famous Mumbles Mile. It must be something
to do with the light, the way the bay acts as a giant mirror, amplifying
the opalescent sunlight on a fine day, or making the sunlight shimmer
if the tide is in with white horses skimming the surface, when the old
stone and render of the buildings take on added colour, and everything
looks like a perfect European seaside resort. Then, when clouds are
racing across the sky, everything turns into melodrama, more Celtic
twilight than European, and rays of sun catch the hills surrounding
the bay and turn them livid green, then damson, then rust, as the sea
changes from black to silver.
Southend © Chris Gill Jones