Sunday, 21 January 2018

Porthcawl, a seaside gem.

Porthcawl. We returned there the other day by coincidence I discovered this post which had be dozing in my Drafts folder for twelve months 

Close by Wigfach where we stay in South Wales is Porthcawl. We spent more time in the town on this last trip. While there is an air of faded glory about the place, once nearly the whole population of the mining valleys decamped to Porthcawl. It suddenly mushroomed into one of the most popular holiday resorts in the country in 1950s.

Now the acres and acres of fixed caravans of Trecco Bay Caravan Park offer holiday homes and what looks to be more permanent places to stay.
The town centre provides an exciting array of fish and chip shops, ice cream parlours and pubs and one of the best Poundland stores I have ever visited.
Lovely beaches, Trecco Bay’s and several others close by enjoying Blue Flag Status.

On the way home one evening Sian and I called into The Jolly Sailor pub, the oldest in Porthcawl and overlooks the green at Newton. 

The next day, returning with the bread for breakfast, I stopped and made a drawing at the church. St. John's Church, founded by the Knights of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem 800 years ago, and originally built as a fortress, overlooks the village green. It looks like a stronghold facing towards the sea.

It is wonderful making discoveries as we travel.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

Pipes and Daggers - more from Pitt Rivers

Pipes and Daggers - more from Pitt Rivers 

As part of that recent trip and again exploring in the arsenal that is the upper floor of the Pitt Rivers . . 
Remarkable steel from Japan and bamboo put to good use in Indonesia. The blow pipe must be an effective weapon the right hands I am sure

Thursday, 11 January 2018

A short trip to Nagaland

 Nagaland is a mountainous state in northeast India, bordering Myanmar. Here have made their home to diverse indigenous tribes, whose festivals and markets celebrate the different tribes' culture.

Nagaland  is one of the places that Augustus Henry Lane Fox Pitt-Rivers visited as he amassed his collection of 20,000 objects that from 1884 to this day has to be one of the most exciting museum collections on the planet -

The Pitt Rivers Museum today is an anthropological romp around the globe. Unsurpassed and a collection brimming with exciting bits and bobs.

I spent two hours in the Upper Gallery, billed as ‘Shields, Spears and Samurai’ and most of that time with my face pressed up against a huge glass case of pieces from the Naga Peoples.

Another trip is planned, to  spend more time with the Nuer and Dinka Peoples from Sudan.

The Pitt Rivers Museum is a Caucus-Race; there is no start or finish. No story to follow, no instructions or intrusive curatorial directives. This is a place where  it is sufficient to wander through a maze of cases letting your curiosity lead you.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

The tenacious tourist

It poured with rain in Oxford the other day. On the 275 Red Rose bus from High Wycombe one could hardly see out of the windows – rather what is must be like to be on Harry Potter’s night bus.

However once in the city it was gratifying see that the place was crowded with tourists undaunted they paraded with umbrellas and selfie sticks, some baffled by the parking regulations.

The group was outside the Bodleian, which is one of the oldest libraries in Europe.

Colourful umbrellas, the perfect counter point to a grey day.

Oxford - hope springs eternal, tourist dampen but unbowed.

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Drawing in Church 5 - from the Lectern

Day five

St Michael’s is a nice silver affair. The word comes Lectern from the Latin lectus, past participle of legere, "to read") this is a reading desk, with a slanted top. Here will rest The Bible.

This delightful piece of furniture directs our gaze down the Nave to the West Door of the church.  And again I am struck by the candour of this house. And why, through these drawings and remembrance of important milestones,  this place is so special.

Tuesday, 2 January 2018

Drawing in the Church 4 - St Michael is revealed

Day four

The Archangel Michael to whom the church is dedicated has an important role in every branch of the Christian church and within Islam and Judaism.

In Islam Mikail (Michael) is one of the four archangels along with Jibrail, Israfil and Azrail. The Quran mentions him in 2:98. He provides nourishments for bodies and souls and is also responsible for nature events. Mikail is often depicted as the archangel of mercy.

In the New Testament Michael leads God's armies against Satan's forces in the Book of Revelation, where during the war in heaven he defeats Satan. Michael is is always shown with armour and treading on a dragon; carrying a banner, scales (for soul-weighing) and his sword.

Interestingly his Patronage includes police officers and grocers. He also appears on the coat of arms of the city of Kiev.


In church architecture jargon, the Chancel is the space around the altar, including the choir and the sanctuary (sometimes called the presbytery). This is always at the liturgical east end of a traditional church layout.
This is the business end of the church.

Sanctuary has stone altar, again that delightfully sparse style of design.

Oak communion rails embrace the Sanctuary. It was before these rails that Siân and I stood thirty-one years ago to have our marriage blessed. I recall Sian’s father had to make intercessions with the Bishop of Oxford for permission to walk her up the aisle, as it was not strictly allowed then.