Friday, 27 March 2020

CARREG CENNEN, SLIPPING AND SLIDING


The Road to Carreg Cennen is paved with good intent
We drove to Carreg Cennen Castle NE of Carmarthen town. Its strong walls stare down from the hill. 

It started to rain. By the time we’d parked and paid our entrance and were walking to the battlements it poured with rain.

We turned back, and I slipped lost my footing and slithered five yards on the muddy slope*. 

So it will be for another day to explore towered square court and six towers, all of different shapes and gatehouse.

Many a slip...

This wondrous place in the 11th century, doubtless inspired by the Norman occupation.

One visitor who did not turn back was Owain Glynd┼Ár, together with 800 mates, attacked Carreg Cennen, but, although wreaking severe damage to the walls, failed to take the castle in early July 1403.

I thought the Wars of the Roses were purely a northern England thing however it appears that Carreg Cennen was a Lancastrian stronghold.

Across the years, ownership of the castle passed to the Vaughan and Cawdor families. From the 18th century it started to attract artists, Turner, led the way, sketched the castle in 1798.

*my only trousers were completely covered in mud so I repaired to Aldi for something to wear instead of, they only had running trousers. I did not let the name put me off and they have served me well.  See previous Post.

Monday, 23 March 2020

WET WET WET


Again looking back to February when things were so different.

Three days down in south Wales and the weather there was less than kind.

However in spite of the wind and rain we managed to get out and see some wonderful castles, coastlines, villages, and fields. 

And when the Sun did break through it was absolutely gorgeous. It was remarkable in its transformatory power: turning the oil refinery in Pembroke Dock into a horizon of minarets and cupolas. 

I felt I came back with material (drawings and photographs) for at least seven paintings.

Probably the most exciting drawing was one made on  West Beach, Angle. I took three minutes as a storm blew across the beach. 

I got absolutely soaked and almost blown away. However the feeling of making marks in a force eight gale was priceless. 



Ffynon Chape,  Llanddewi Velfrey
Castle in the air
Towards Carreg Cennen
Angle, West Beach in a force 8 
Lower Town Fishguard 

Wednesday, 18 March 2020

MARVELS OF MANCHESTER

How would L S Lowery depict Modern Manchester?

MARVELLOUS MANCHESTER 


Well as we battle with Coronavirus memories of places discovered and enjoyed will become even more important.  

Last week I was in Manchester as discovered what a wonderful place it is. It is remarkable for the way concrete and glass towers nestles along side Victorian flights of fancy in familiar red brick.

I was working in an office a short walk from the city centre. At the end of the first day I walked back to the hotel along several canal side paths. There are about 10 miles of canals running through central Manchester, dating back to the city's industrial heyday in the 18th and 19th Centuries.  Parts of the city with its gothic brickwork have a positively Venetian atmosphere!

My hotel room looked out on a cluster of skyscrapers nearing completion part of the new Deansgate Square area. What I was gazing across to is part of a seismic change to the city centre and highly controversial.

Oliver Wainwright in the Guardian, reporting in October 2019:
They will ultimately become 17- and 22-storey slabs that will in turn be dwarfed by a 41-storey tower, all surrounding the park with a glacial wall of “ultra-sleek urban homes”. And not a single one affordable.

This is MeadowSide, a £200m development by the Far East Consortium, a Hong Kong developer registered in the tax haven of the Cayman Islands. This site – once the gateway to medieval Manchester and depicted in the paintings of LS Lowry – is being ripped up to make way for 756 luxury homes, many already sold off-plan to investors in Hong Kong.

A glacial wall of “ultra-sleek urban homes?
Full story here   © 2020 Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 12 March 2020

THE SECRET OF CWM GWAUN

Cwm Gwaun    Acrylic on Paper   32 x 20 cm
On the road to Fishguard we turned off into Cwm Gwaun.

A steep-side valley flanked by fields and hard edged hills. An enchanted part of Pembrokeshire guarded by beech, hazel, ash and oak. Redstarts, marsh tit and tree creepers also keep watch.

The Rough Guide to Wales declares ‘Cwm Gwaun, the valley of the burbling River Gwaun is one of the great surprises of Pembrokeshire – a bucolic vale of impossibly narrow lanes, surrounded by the bleak shoulders of bare mountains.’

People in these parts continue to follow the tradition of the pre 1752 Julian calendar and celebrate New Year (Hen Galan) on 13 January. Children walk from house to house, and sing traditional Welsh language songs. In return, householders provide gifts of sweets and money.

Saturday, 7 March 2020

CHURCHING IN THE VALE OF THE WHITE HORSE


I billed this jaunt, to my cousin Wendy, as ‘lets go and see three Oxfordshire churches, three still on my list of not visited’.  

There was a feeling of familiarity on entering the first, St Swithun Compton Beauchamp, a treasure tucked away in the Downs. The feeling increased when stepping inside the grey Tuscan-like enormity of St Andrew’s Shrivenham. A full confession was in order when we got to All Saints Faringdon!



I had been to all three before with cycling chum Ricardo. When I got home I pulled Moleskine number 40 off the shelf and discovered it was in September 2013. All three and a couple more, it was on one of those September Sundays when the open churches for charity-ride cyclists.

Never mind Simon Jenkins* is at his most loquacious about all three churches

St Swithun ‘The interior is antiquarian rather than antique, fashioned for a modern enthusiast of the Anglo-Catholic rite.’*  
Certainly the place is festooned with representations of Our Lady.

All Saints Faringdon ‘… the interior is full of incident, much of it Norman or only a little later.’* 
There was an incidence of huge amounts of band equipment and associated junk that made enjoying the Unton family tombs a challenge’.

St Andrew Shrivenham  ‘The first impression is that Inigo Jones paid a flying visit, told a local builder to try Tuscan and then vanished.’*
I enjoyed making a sketch in the gloom of the chancel. 

*Copyright of and taken from England's Thousand Best Churches by Simon Jenkins an essential companion to the delights of churching.

It felt familiar, entering St Swithun Compton Beauchamp.

I had been to all three before with cycling chum Ricardo.

IN THE VALE OF THE WHITE HORSE

VALE OF THE WHITE HORSE CHURCHES 

I billed this jaunt, to my cousin Wendy, as ‘lets go and see three Oxfordshire churches, three still on my list of not visited’.  

There was a feeling of familiarity on entering the first, St Swithun Compton Beauchamp, a treasure tucked away in the Downs. The feeling increased on our stepping inside the grey Tuscan-like enormity of St Andrew’s Shrivenham. A full confession was in order when we got to All Saints Faringdon!

I had been to all three before with cycling chum Ricardo. When I got home I pulled Moleskine number 40 off the shelf and discovered it was in September 2013. All three and a couple more, it was on one of those September Sundays when the open churches for charity-ride cyclists.

Never mind Simon Jenkins* is at his most loquacious about all three

St Swithun ‘The interior is antiquarian rather than antique, fashioned for a modern enthusiast of the Anglo-Catholic rite.’*  
Certainly the place is festooned with representations of Our Lady.

All Saints Faringdon ‘… the interior is full of incident, much of it Norman or only a little later.’* 
There was an incidence of huge amounts of band equipment and associated junk that made enjoying the Unton family tombs a challenge’.

St Andrew Shrivenham  ‘The first impression is that Inigo Jones paid a flying visit, told a local builder to try Tuscan and then vanished.’*
I enjoyed making a sketch in the gloom of the chancel. 

*Copyright of and taken from England's Thousand Best Churches by Simon Jenkins an essential companion to the delights of churching.