Sunday, 16 February 2020

DRYSLWYN CASTLE: PHEW WHAT A VIEW

Dryslwyn Castle  Acrylic on Board  30 x 20 cm



From the top of a steep hill on which perches what is left of Dryslwyn Castle you can see the wonderful oxbow curves of the Afon Tywi (River Towy). 

Seventy-five precious miles of lovely waterway, this is the longest river entirely flowing within Wales from the Cambrian Mountains, through steep forests of Tywi and south-westwards into dear Carmarthenshire. Here the river meets up with the River Taf together they into Carmarthen Bay.  

Its lower estuary is guarded by Lansteffan Castle, another Norman bastion of which there are so many hereabouts.

Famed for big sea trout each spring,  Salmo trutta swim up stream to breed in the tributaries. The Towy boasts a population of otters and grey seals are common in the lower reaches, chasing the sea trout and salmon upstream! 

In 1932 angler Alec Allen, fishing the Tywi near Nantgaredig, caught by far the biggest fish ever taken on rod and line in fresh water in Britain. He landed a sturgeon (Acipwienser sturio) weighing 388 lb. and nine feet two inches in length. 

Friday, 31 January 2020

SOLVA: LOOK TOWARDS THE SEA

Solva Harbour: lifeline and leisure portnow

Solva harbour must hold many stories with its connections to the sea hereabouts. It was a lifeline for the remote village of Solva high on the headland before the road to St. Davids was built.  In these parts the entire coast comes with its chronicles of shipwrecks; for this was once a busy port where it was possible in the 1800’s to buy passage to America.

OUT FOR A DUCK
Every year on Easter Monday Solva hosts a Duck Race for charity. The ducks are released into the River Solva near Middle Mill and float down stream to Solva harbour. The winner is the first to cross under the footbridge in lower Solva car park.


BLACK DAB-FILLED SEA
In June 2014 Solva was used as a location for the filming of Dylan Thomas's Under Milkwood.

'And you alone can hear the invisible starfall, 
the darkest-before dawn minutely dew grazed
stir of the black, dab-filled sea where the Arethusa, the
Curlew and the Skylark, the ZanzibarRhiannon, the Rover, the Cormorant and The Star of Wales tilt and ride.'

Dylan Thomas, Under Milk Wood: A Play for Voices (1954)



Tuesday, 28 January 2020

ABEREIDDY ALL ALONE

Abereiddy Beach Pebbles and Slate

It was one of those days in winter when it never seems to get light. We pulled up at Abereiddy beach. Close by its small hamlet of houses and cottages huddled together for warm. 

We walked down to the water’s edge and back, across lots and lots and lots of lovely pebbles and extraordinarily dark sand made of pounded grey slate. Slate mining was once a big business on this part of the coast. 

Ruins of a small group of slate houses known as The Street remain near the beach, their stones peering across at you through the headland grass. These were built for the quarry workers of the ‘Blue Lagoon’ only abandoned after a flood in the early 1900’s.

 The ‘Blue Lagoon’ itself is a beautiful little harbour – the hamlet’s breached quarry – round the corner just to the north. Its name ‘blue’ because when the sun does shine the slate under the sea causes it to shimmer all shades of turquoise.


Duw Bendithia


Thursday, 23 January 2020

RETIREMENT ACCOMMODATION?

The Charles. Start saving now.

Another piece inspired by my favourite photographer New Yorker, Professor Lehrer.
This is a exciting tower on 1st Avenue that offers some interesting accommodation options.
Single apartments sell for around $6,750,000, and as you might imagine lots of space: full-floor residences that open up to over 3,300 square feet of space.
However you can never have enough room, witness the gross developments here in Beaconsfield. The Charles Building outshines them:

The WALL STREET JOURNAL reported 
'A family that buys together stays together. On New York’s Upper East Side, buyers related to each other have purchased a total of five units that span the top six floors of the Charles condominium, creating two massive units, for a total of $58.635 million.'

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 20 January 2020

BARNEYS: EVERYTHING MUST GO

Barneys  Everything Must be Sold

COR’ BLIMEY! BARNEYS

The photography of my New York correspondent, Professor P.J. Lehrer, never ceases to impress and inspire. This small study is from her photograph of a Barneys window. 

For those of us planning to do a bit of shopping in NY this year be aware the city’s retail scene is in a state of flux, like London.  Across the US Barneys is planning store closures and their flagship New York store is relocating inside Saks Fifth Avenue, so my correspondent informs me; now that is more bang for your buck.

Enjoy New York without the air travel, follow P.J.Lehrer on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/pjlehrer/?hl=en

Friday, 17 January 2020

ST ANDREWS BEACH

West Sands Beach 40 x 70cm  Gouach on Paper


This is a gouache and ink painting, a commission, of West Sands St Andrews beach in Fife. (Gosh I have been busy). The beach became famous as a training run in the 1981 film, 'Chariots of Fire', about Olympic athletes Eric Liddell and Harald Abrahams.

The ever-handy online guide WALKING HIGHLANDS gives us the full picture! https://www.walkhighlands.co.uk/fife-stirling/west-sands.shtml

‘Stretch your legs on the spectacular and vast sandy beach made famous in the film, 'Chariots of Fire'. The route then passes through Eden Estuary nature reserve before a track leads between the famous golf courses with good views over fine buildings of St Andrews.

©2006-2018 walkhighlands.co.uk

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

TOTALLY BRILL



My painting of Brill Church was a pre-Christmas commission, a timorous watercolour, from a sunny photograph, turned out quite well.  I was keen to discover more about this place

All Saints’ Church sits on a hill in the village and apparently this lovely church started life as a royal chapel to an adjacent royal palace in the 11th century. Edward the Confessor* owned the parish at one stage.

The earliest part of the church is the nave, built in the 12th century (Normans were soon at  it) and over time it has been altered. A Mr J. Oldrid Scott rebuilt the entire church in 1888, with the good sense to incorporate some of the older bits. 

THE EXCELLENT CORPUS OF ROMANESQUE SCULPTURE IN BRITAIN AND IRELAND   INCLUDES BRILL IN ITS SURVEY

‘The doorways have been restored in the resetting and more recently, but enough original stone remains to confirm their form. The fat angle roll and cushion capitals are typical of a date in the first two decades of the 12thc.’

© 2020 The Corpus of Romanesque Sculpture in Britain and Ireland   Please discover more about Brill on this wonderful website https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/site/946/

*Edward the Confessor was the first Anglo-Saxon and the only king of England to be canonised. He ruled from 1042 to 1066. Edward was the son of Æthelred the Unready.