Sunday 27 June 2021


 30th May



Our town, Laugharne squats at the end of an estuary. Here the Afon Taf flows into Carmarthen Bay and eventually the Bristol Channel. On the other side of this estuary are deserted churches, small farm fields and narrow roads draped in flowers. Cow Parsley, Red campion, butter cups, blue bells and hawthorn compete for room to flourish. Hedges are high. In the shade hearts tongue ferns glow in a green haze.


We drive down roads are like some helter-skelter rising up to the sun and plunging down to shady bridges and crumbling cottages. Up, up again, to a field of views across a hundred fields. A line of pylons march across this land.


We enjoy so much green, from darkest viridian to almost lemon. We pass gates are held together by rust and blue bailer twine. Red rust and turquoise blue the compliment to green on the colour wheel.

Llansteffan Beach: Mum!  I've found a jelly Fish 


As we make our way to Llansteffan* the land seems to pant in the high sun. We meet villages along the way. Llan-this, Llan-that. ‘Llan’ means Christian settlement, often a church, conjoined with a local saint. *Llansteffan - St Stephen. Often these saints were from ruling families who invaded Wales in the Middle Ages. There are 630 Llans’ in Wales.


Llan y bri, through which we pass has two chapels, Capel Newydd, new chapel, is home now to most of Dylan Thomas’ maternal relatives. In the village there is Hen Gapel, was the only medieval church in Wales to be converted to a non-conformist chapel. Now it is out of service and without a roof; God has an interrupted view on the congregation.

Hen Gapel: No roof, God has an interrupted view on the congregation.


There is a high concentrate of history, round every bend in the road. 

Friday 25 June 2021


28th May

The tyranny of doorknobs: S has spent hours across the week trying to fit new doorknobs for those we have ‘inherited’ don’t work. It is a seemly easy but impossible job. We need to bring some different equipment to bear.  


I begin a mural on a wall in the study (now called The Map Room). It is supposed to be bamboo. When finished the next day looks more like seaweed. Maybe I need to add in a motif of Disney’s little mermaid?


Being Friday we have fish and chips for supper, wonderful.


29th May

I finished the mural and it does not look half bad. We all enjoyed a good tramp down Long Lane. Sun pours into back yard most of the day.  Siân discovers a Screwfix in Carmarthen and of course has to pay them a visit. 

Detail of mural and a table I made out of scrap wood

Wednesday 23 June 2021

FERRYSIDE: A jaunt from Laugharne


Another jaunt. Ferryside is a small place, just off the road from Carmarthen to Llanelli and down the road along the Tywi estuary. Originally there was a ferry crossing to Llansteffan on the other side. Apparently, it was the first village in the UK to switch from analogue to digital TV.  In the sunshine and heat the place seemed to be snoozing sudden startled when the local train to Swansea (50 minutes away) passed through. We sat on the beach for a bit, read, sketched and Rosie got impossibly sandy. 


Went to the recycling centre to get rid of all that wood that we did not need. Returned via Home Bargains and Charlies (“Welcome to Charlies: Home, Garden & The Great Outdoors”) to buy things that we did need, for Siân’s Grand Designs out the back.


Actually saw the blackbird who sings to us every evening, he was accompanied with a chorus line of chattering swifts. 

The first home of digital TV

From Ferryside across to Llansteffan Castle

Monday 21 June 2021


 Tuesday 25 


Rosie and I walk Long Lane again so I can make a couple of drawings. Sun very high even at soon after 8am. 

Down the holloway of Long Lane 


For some day the volume on my iPhone has periodically failed to work. We discover an Apple dealer in Carmarthen and so head into town having rung ahead to see if they would see me. They were delightful people, sadly the phone has a hardware fault that cannot be fixed but has since fixed itself!


Waiting for Siân to pick me up I discovered an elegant chapel The English Baptist Chapel in Lammas Street. Built in a willowy temple style in posh Bath stone with a wide set of steps leading to entrance. Described as ‘one of the most architecturally ambitious classical welsh chapels in Wales.

Found this while waiting for my ride...

Returned home via the village of Meidrim. This is NW of Carmarthen and close to St Clairs, although we got lost on the way home. Meidrim sits on the Afon Dewi Fawr. We walked up to the church, St David’s, located on the site of an ironworks fort. The church was open and we were so happy to wander inside. It is impossible long; with a three-bayed chancel, four-bayed nave, north transept, south transept, vestry north of chancel, south porch and bellcote. Equally impressive was the long line of yew trees from the west entrance to the church yard. So lucky to have a church open.


At home I tidied up the mess from yesterday’s wonton destruction in the back yard. All looks much better and a good canvas for Siân’s big plans for plant and greenery.

Saturday 19 June 2021


 May 24

We arrived last evening so I could attend Evensong at St Martins. A lovely service from the Book of Common Prayer. Leaving the church walking through church yard looking West towards the sun and green fields, cows in silhouette on the far ridge, munching away.


Alwyna, the window lady comes to measure us up for having the front windows replaced; then before the huge rains we discover a great walk down Long Lane. This holloway, a sunken lane of green trees, roots and ferns runs up from St Martins, parallel to the main street and gives out almost at the castle. We made it to Poon’s for coffee just before the downpour!


Later, I hit the bar, literally, dismantling a curious wooden construction out back, put up by the tenant during lockdown. A huge amount of wood. 


Great celebration as the washing machine arrived deftly heaved through the door and through the house by Garrard and Andrew from AO


A trip B&Q in Carmarthen. And by this huge shed a great walk; The late afternoon sun is glorious as we walk along a footpath by the River Tywi towards were the railway crosses on what must have once been a swing bridge. We met a lady with a bichon – shih-tzu cross dog like Rosie. An important encounter as we were able to get names of groomer and vets in the area, vital intelligence.

Thursday 17 June 2021


May 11:  A bright clear day and Sian wanted Rosie and me out of the way so she could get on with some decorating. So be it.

We drove back up the hill to Llansadwrnen and staying on the high ground stopped a mile or so on for some wonderful views North and East. Carmarthenshire laid out like a huge quilt of greens, yellows and browns, in the far distance this gives way to faint veridian and blue. 


We dropped down into Llandawke a collection of farm buildings and homes. Our quest was church of St Oudoceus lies in a dell reached through the grounds of The Old Rectory.   It dates from the 13th century and was refashioned in the late 14th by the Lord Marcher of Laugharne, Sir Guy de Bryan. 


And best of all it was open thanks having been rescued by the Friends of Friendless Churches. So many treasures effigies, inscribed stones, and a flight of fancy, an extravagantly carved oak alter (1882). The work of a local stonemason, Owen Williams. Please spend time here if in the area!


Onwards to St Margaret Church in Eglwys Gymyn, a Grade 1 listed beauty. Sadly the church was closed so we were denied the treasures inside including wall paintings. I made a note of the incumbent’s name and will try to determine when the church might be open.




The Friends of Friendless Churches was set up in 1957 to save disused but beautiful old places of worship of architectural and historical interest from demolition, decay and unsympathetic conversion. Working across England and Wales, we are an independent, non-denominational charity which cares for over 50 former places of worship and has helped hundreds more.


This county is crammed full of lovely churches, and over the coming years we will seek each one out and be sure to enjoy it. We have invested in a copy of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion (Pevsner Buildings of Wales)by Thomas Lloyd, Julian Orbach and Robert Scourfield. It is already a precious friend.

Song for today 

Church (feat. Earthgang)                 Samm Henshaw/Earthgang            Released 2019


Tomorrow it is back to the Badlands.

Tuesday 15 June 2021

LAUGHARNE: Love Devine, All loves excelling

 May 9th

HYMN: Love Devine, All loves excelling,               Music: John Stainer Words: Charles Wesley



It is Rogation Sunday. To Eucharist at St Martins, about a dozen of us duly assembled in the face of God. Sadly singing is still not on the cards however we were given hymn books and asked to mouth along. Hard for several of us, I was repeatedly elbowed by Siân for mouthing too loudly, especially during that wonderful Stainer hymn.


Cheerful hearts but dull weather today. 

Siân drove me up about three miles out of town towards St. Clears with the idea of my walking back having made some drawings on the way. The topography to the East and West was thrilling, especially Eastwards where is stretches for miles, carpeted in vivid greens, trees just on bud pillions marching into infinity or hiding the lower ground. Here and there the occasional farm, nestling the landscape’s folds and creases.



Rogation is an ancient church festival to seek blessing for a community and its sustenance. The word rogation comes from the Latin verb rogare, meaning "to ask", which reflects the beseeching of God for protection from calamities. As the Book of Common Prayer puts it: “Rogation Days are the three days preceding Ascension Day, especially devoted to asking for God’s blessing on agriculture and industry.”

Sunday 13 June 2021

LAUGHARNE DIARIES: Rain, rain go away!

 May 8


Rain, Rain Go Away              Bobby Vinton                        Released 1962


“Welcome to Wales” hailed Adrian the Postman. It was raining, it rained all day, every minute of.


Nothing for it but to got to Aldi and Home Bargains. Close to both we discovered a new emporium, Charlies, a sort of B&Q/Garden Centre/Home Bargains all rolled into one. A wonderful find and just what we needed to buy a water butt.


Back home and Hywel and Andrew (Sparks) come round to measure up for the boiler and discuss the job of putting in the electric boiler. Very productive conversation and nudges the project forward.


Sian prepares the skirting boards upstairs for painting. I prepare fajitas for supper.



It rains in Carmarthenshire about 10-12 days a month on average. 


We have a drainpipe that comes from the roof of the garage next door and drains onto our back yard. So, we set up our new Charlies’ water butt so as to catch the water   The butt size is 100 litres. After two nights rain it is full. I am unsure as to what to do with so much water; apart from a tin bath in the back yard and I wash outside.   


Our water butt will collect about 7800 litres a year! Not sure what we are going to do. 

Wednesday 9 June 2021

LAUGHARNE Everything Stops for Tea

 May 7th


Everything Stops for Tea                Jack Buchanan



A better day. High spot was Pam Jones coming to tea. Our first social engagement. We made some welsh cakes that turned out well and of course Pam brought cookies. Sun in the back yard and we were set.


We first met Pam in September 2019. As a church warden she gave us a marvellous tour of St Martins. We have stayed connected ever since. She is a marvellous clearing house of information and discovery and has been especially valuable helping us contact expert tradespeople. Not so much a pillar of the community more like an entire sunny acropolis!

Milk in first?


Went out and made a couple of drawings at St Martins. Afternoon sun floods across the Rivers Coran’s valley and up onto the church, its tower and remarkable collection of gravestones many of which appear to loll against one another.

Forever friends 


Hung a picture and enjoyed a fish and chip supper from Caroline’s, The Castle View Fish Bar. Excellent beyond imagining.

Frying tonight


Monday 7 June 2021

LAUGHARNE LIFE Knock, Knock, Who’s there?

May 6th


Knock, Knock, Who’s there?           Mary Hopkin 1970


Not a brilliant day. Lots of DIY some of which went well, some of which less than. 

The weather changed so we went to Dunelm to try and buy some curtains to hang across the open stairwell and stairway entrance. 


Because of the temperature change most of the heat down stairs is being funnelled up the stairwell! We could not get what we wanted from Dunelm however two huge calico dust sheets did the job brilliantly. Sian intends to dye them pink.


A break though with the heating system. Hywel the Plumber came round early in the morning and we discussed the possibilities of installing an electric boiler for heating and hot water and doing away with calor gas. Hywel is to come back with an electrician to size the job up.


Also made contact with Aerial Boy, Scott from Ammanford who is booked in tomorrow to sort our TV aerials and sockets out so we can get the TV working. 

Friday 4 June 2021

HELLO, WERE BACK - Sunny too...

 May 5th

Hello, hello, I'm Back Again           Gary Glitter              Released 1973  


Sunny and welcoming, that was soon to change, well the sun bit. A jaunt to Llansadwrnen, a small village off the Laugharne – Pendine freeway. What a location. From here you can look south east and easily see the down to Brook, the eastern of Pendine sands, the Afon Taf estuary and across to the Gower Peninsula I am sure. 

The view from St Sadwrnen's church yard 


The church of St Sadwrnen standing high and proud with a curious tour and a sort of hat on it. As always around these parts, a church yard with impressive monuments, one of which has taken a tumble and lay face down onto of the tomb stone that it marked. There it was to stay, who’d volunteer to try and upright it? The is a polychrome of red and green sandstone with grey limestone voussoirs. 

A lovely afternoon and the perfect antidote to flat-pack assembly. 

Thursday 3 June 2021


 April 27

She’s Leaving Home                        The Beatles               Released 1967


Sun again as we assemble our things to take back to the Badlands (Buckinghamshire).

There is the promise of cloud to match out mood. 

The one thought: when can we get back?

It has been a great welcome and a great start.

Thank you everyone.

A special thanks to 

Marion and Robert, across from us

Lisa and Terry, a couple of doors down on our side.

Phil who runs the Garage

Nicky and Graham who own Clifton Garage

Garnet and June, across and up one house

Redfus, with the fab garden near the church car park

Woody aka Andrew (Life’s a gas)

Barry and Sandra (sorry to disconnect all your utilities)

Steve and Partner, Platform House





Tuesday 1 June 2021

 April 26

Take a Load off  Annie             Brooklyn Moods                    Released 2013



I sat outside in across the street by the memorial hall. Sian brought me a cup of coffee, an incentive to watch for the IKEA van who were delivering our sofas. Hey ho and right on time, 08:20 I saw the IKEA lorry almost pull up outside Barry and Sandra. I headed over to them and in fifteen minutes the boys, with Welsh not Swedish accents had placed the goods inside the house. Breakfast was postponed whilst we assembled the sofas and tested them out.

Waiting for Ikea 


Off for a jaunt. Went to Marros which is about 15 minutes down the road. Marros is a tiny village perched on the cliffs that falls away into Carmarthen Bay. Marros just up the hill and west from the caravan parks of Pendine. We were looking for a footpath down to the beach. We failed to see it. 


However, driving back into Marros village we parked next to the church of Saint Laurence and enjoyed exploring the churchyard, impossible full of flowers and impressive looking graves and monuments. We met a lady who lives next door, the custodian of the churchyard. We congratulated her on her ‘garden’. And were pleased to hear that although her son regularly cuts the grass, she orders him to stay off with his mower in the month of May to give the flowers the best chance of thriving.

High tower at St Laurence 


It was a lovely day and so we stopped at Pendine on the way back and Rosie had a good run on the beach. An onshore wind made it pretty cold although the sun was still very high.