Tuesday 31 August 2021


 August 9

All day sunshine and showers Monday. We piled into the car and drove to Narberth a town some thirty minutes west, just off the main A40. We went to deliver some paperwork to a solicitor whose reception was festooned with the best collection of postcards I have ever seen!!!


Co-incidentally, my friends T & J are moving to this area from just down the road in the Badlands and making their home in Narberth. Brilliant. 

Narberth is a gourmet town with its most famous nosh shop being Spanish; https://www.facebook.com/ultracomidadelicatessen/ . In the fourth week of September each year there is the town's Food Festival. 


Whilst we were there the place had a festive air with crowds of people coming in and out of cafes and bric-a-brac emporiums. We joined the throng. Checking on prices I am sure I discovered the most expensive battered rusty milk churn on the mainland of the British Isles.


Back home via Wiseman’s Bridge. A hamlet that sits on a rocky beach and in a valley. The was a hive of industrial activity from the 14th to the 19th century as it was a vital part of the Pembrokeshire coal field. 


The beach here is one of the best hereabouts for rock pool explorations: All manner of shells, sea weed, sea urchins and tiny crabs.

Friday 27 August 2021


 August 8 Trinity 10


Double God today; Said Eucharist at St Martins just up the street. Said because the organist had unfortunately done her back in and so had her usual replacement. Once the St Martin's service was over, I scuttled back up the street for the Zoom Eucharist for all the parishes hereabouts. My attendance was essential as I was doing a reading from the First Book of the Kings. (19.4-8) 

An interesting tale of Elijah going to sleep under a broom tree and an angel nudging him awake with cake and water (broom service?) and saying eat and drink and get up that Mount Horeb.


 We have walked past Laugharne Castle 100’s of times and never been in, today we did. Siân had bought tickets for all of us and so through the castle gate we entered.

Castle View


Located right the edge on the estuary of the River Tâf, its was originally built in 1116. Then the Normans saw its possibilities as a ‘let’s-keep-the-locals-in-order’ stronghold. There have been many alterations since then, including becoming a Tudor fortified manor house in the sixteenth century. It was in Laugharne in 1403 that Owain Glyndwr’s rebellion stalled not something we talk about. During the Civil War, in 1644 there was a good game of Roundheads and Cavaliers, the Roundheads won by a good margin of those killed.


Sian has signed me up for CADW a sort of National Trust, English Heritage all rolled into one! OAP rate makes an attractive 

Wednesday 25 August 2021


 Saturday 7th Cultural overload or what!

Afternoon: A game of rugby up on the playing fields above the town. Laugharne RFC v Lampeter RFC. A good game with some imaginative wide play by the boys from Laugharne. They did great in the line-outs and winger #14 was Olympian fast!

The final score, 24-36 points to the visitors was a disappointment as was the ref’s performance, he must have left all his yellow cards at home.


The evening saw us in the Community Centre for a performance of UNDER MILK WOOD by the Laugharne Players. One of my absolute favourite pieces of writing. My dear late Mother-in-Law introduced me to this play for voices some twenty years ago. It has shaped my love of Wales and a reason for us making a life down here.


The Laugharne Players brought wit and a great sense of timing to this enchanting work. A play ten years in the making and ‘premiered’ in NYC the year I was born. In May 1953 Thomas gave a solo reading of some of Under Milk Wood at the Poet’s Theatre, Cambridge, Massachusetts; with the the first stage performance of Under Milk Wood, at the Poetry Center, NY. http://www.dylanthomas.com/dylan/dylans-work/milk-wood-chronology/

'The amusing, poetic, and immensely popular Under Milk Wood is set in the village of Llareggub. The work has never been out of print since first publication in 1954 and it has been filmed at least four times. It would be difficult to estimate how often it has been performed on stage across the world, but think of a very big number and then double it.' 

 PhD Researcher, Swansea University writing in The Conversation  November 2018


Saturday 21 August 2021


 August 6 

 Friday: Heavy rains on the way down last night made for exciting driving conditions but we were in The Showroom by 8pm. Most of the day was spent preparing and welcoming Bronnie and Joe staying for a few days, our first overnight guests! 


We met their train at Carmarthen station, another first visit. 

I thought it was going to be grander than it was. 

However it does has the customary GWR red and purple bricks, wooden roof and stone lined doorways. It is the third station that the town has enjoyed < https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmarthen_railway_station> since the mid 1800’s. The previous ones have opened and closed reflecting the fortunes of railway enterprise; lines proposed, and never going further than the drawing board, lines opened and closed reflecting traffic and revenue.  


Carmarthen Station viii built in 1903 can be one’s gateway to Manchester, Cardiff and Crewe or wizz you West to Pembroke Dock, Milford Haven and Fishguard.

Friday 20 August 2021


We were having a fabulous breakfast in Poons Street Food, Market Street, Laugharne.

Poon and Vince outside their successful restaurant cafe


The full breakfast with trimmings was made all the more excellent by the application of condiments and sauces from glass bottles.  Easily opened and applied to my bangers and bacon and futzing around with sachets of these essential condiments.

Essential Glass

It makes you think....


‘Almost 855bn sachets are used globally each year, containing single portions of everything from ketchup and vinegar to face cream, shampoo, and laundry detergent’ reported Madeleine Cuff of the i newspaper. She went on to say, ‘More than 50 business leaders, politicians and minor royalty have urged governments around the world to ban plastic sachets, which they argue are a major cause of plastic waste.’


Stick to the bottle or box (in the case of some detergents).

Vince at work 

Where it all started, Poon's original pitch in Laugharne 2018


The place for delicious Thai Green Curry and other Thai culinary marvels. Others are as enthusiastic. 




Madeleine’s full article is here https://inews.co.uk/news/environment/plastic-pollution-sauce-sachets-ketchup-mayonnaise-landfill-recycling-401879

All rights reserved. © 2021 Associated Newspapers Limited.

Monday 16 August 2021


Saturday July 24

It looked and felt like it was going to rain all day so I scooped Rosie up for another early morning walk on Pendine Sands. On our arrival the sun broke through illuminating a family some 200m in front of us to the east. The whole beach turned a silvery-pewter colour, reflections on the sand shimmered.



The sun is back although in London storms and floods. We sat on the beach at Ginst Point,  round the corner from Pendine close to the MOD’s military proving ground, at 5:30 in the afternoon a balmy, peaceful 27°C. 

Ginst Point Sunday 


Before our beach time I attended a delightful United Churches Service in the car park of St Martins. Fab hymns and good prayers. The sun brought out colour sun umbrellas and made the service quite festive! 

Sunday 15 August 2021


Experimenting with a new direction in my painting.

The idea hinges on taking a landscape or familiar territory and imagining it as a barcode. 

Immediately below, a painting entitled ‘If Pendine were a bar code’. 

If Pendine Sands was a bar code   Acrylic on Board   34 x 28 cm 

The approach is very stimulating; the use of colour, juxtaposition of colours and the depth of the actual bars in the barcode and the number of bars overall in the composition and the white space between them. There are lots of levers one can pull. 

Explorations will continue.

Friday 13 August 2021

The Great British Fry-up?

 21st July 

31°C The tide was up, and the water was like a warm bath, quite remarkable. Pendine Sands was packed, paddling, swimming and getting sunburn during the first days of the schools’ summer holiday.  


The festival atmosphere provided a free life drawing class.

Come on in the water's lovely!


Fell into conversation with a lady also sketching the crowds on the beach. 

Me: Where are you from?

She: Cambridge

Me: Massachusetts? (Sensing her accent)

She: No, Cambridge England however I used to live in Cambridge Massachusetts.


Part of a lovely conversation; N came over here for two years loved it so much has never left. A move down to Wales in on her cards.

Phew! What a scorcher

Wednesday 11 August 2021


There’s a lovely walk we often do along the River Towy a mile or so south of Carmarthen town centre.  Soon into the walk you see the six spans of the railway bridge over the river. 

A bridge of ornamental cast iron and rivets

A working monument of ornamented cast iron and rivets in a garb of grey paint. Closer to the bridge one gazes up its imposing its lifting gear, giant cogs and levers.

Cogs, wheels and levers

This a rolling bascule bridge, its western most span is a lifting span. Built in 1908 – 11 to replace a wooden bridge which could not carry heavier rolling stock. An engineered balanced cantilever bridge. The moving span was operated by gearing carried on trestles on cantilevers either side of the bridge: a curved rack is fixed to the outer face of the main girders, driven by pinions themselves driven by wheels. 


These details survive, though the small power house is now derelict. It housed the electric motor to make the span lift, allowing shipping through. With its lovely purple-blue engineering bricks is now practise area for graffiti artists and home to buddleia. 


It was tested manually every Sunday up until 1957.



The river carries no commercial traffic today, its path is a recreational joy. The bridge, its river and surroundings doze, prodded several times an hour by trains hurting westwards to Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard.  


Friday 6 August 2021




The beaches close by to Laugharne are adorned with wonderful driftwood. 


I’ve started collecting it, preparing it and painting on it. These are small works that I hang in the local café restaurant – Poons and are becoming quite popular.  Full gallery here 

Driftwood Pieces: Like hot cakes?


Even before the wood is touched in anyway it has its own splendour. I put a lot together in a stack the other day and standing back realised I had created a construction that would wipe it’s nose as a piece of art! Well, perhaps that is too ambitious a suggestion!

Driftwood Construction


Bit of digging around and I came across interesting facts about this harvest from the sea. Driftwood provides shelter for sea birds, fish and lots of other aquatic species. Wood discarded from the shore is jetsam, that which is discarded from ships, or the remains of ships and boats is known as flotsam. I’d always wondered about these two words.


In Norse mythology the first humans, Ask and Embla were formed from driftwood. 


Artists are fascinated by driftwood, including Lars Vilks, who’s drawings of Mohammed resulted in two failed attempts on his life by Islamic Extremists. In 1980 Vilks created two sculptures, Nimis and Arx, the former made entirely of driftwood in the Kullaberg nature reserve.


The native peoples on the Pacific coast of north America harvested driftwood and used it alongside wood they felled themselves or collected from the forest floor. It was prized for fuel, building and other purposes. This was explored in Natasha Lyons and Madonna Moss’s paper in the Journal of Ethnobiology Spring/Summer 2003:  THE USE OF DRIFTWOOD ON THE NORTH PACIFIC COAST: AN EXAMPLE FROM. SOUTHEAST ALASKA

Accounts from the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries suggest that driftwood was much more plentiful then than it is now. Which is a shame. It is hardly likely that ‘drift plastic’ will take its special place.

Natasha Lyons and Madonna Moss’s and the Journal of Ethnobiology Spring/Summer 2003:  

Wednesday 4 August 2021


Huddled together on the edge of the East River across from mid-town are the American Copper Buildings. 

It was an exciting photograph taken by my NY correspondent that prompted this drawing. 


And like all tall buildings of note in the city it has a unique tale. As the web site proclaims 

“The penthouses, exclusive and intimate, are designed to absolute perfection. Floor-to-ceiling windows, paired with custom features, create a castle in the clouds and make these dreamhouses unlike any other”. 

There are 761 of these little beauties. And 20% of the units are designated affordable

Like a nice lobby? Each tower has one with a 25-foot ceiling.


Work started on the site in 2014, copper being stuck to the north and south façades. east and west façades are tip to toe glass. Completed in 2016 the buildings are designed to ‘dance’* with each other. 

They are connected by a bridge 100 in length which includes a pool of course. If you prefer you can swim outdoors on the top of the east tower.’


The whole thing is just so exciting to gaze upon and little wonder they won Best Tall Building – Americas, 2018, awarded by the Council for Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat Tall Buildings Awards. 


You can rent one  from £4000 to around £15,000 per month which seems reasonable for a ‘castle in the clouds’.


*According to The Real Deal a trade publication which styles itself as the premier real estate news outlet in the US

Sunday 1 August 2021


Most days I give thanks for the BBC Sounds and every day I give thanks for Radio 3. Put these together and add in Nick Luscombe ace Tokyo-based DJ and broadcaster and you have the formula for a beguiling introduction to Japanese culture and music, traditional and modern.

Nick Luscombe - photo copyright of the BBC

Going all Luscombe: Screen Grab on the BBC Sounds program #3

Across three Sundays Nick took us through the islands of Japan, its countryside and on into the city, exploring all. 

Like all talented creators, communicating his work (the programs) in a way that makes you want to use these as a start point for your own musical explorations. So, with Shazam and Spotify and each program’s play list its rather like  'infinity and beyond'. 

Since my first visit to Japan in 2004 the country continues to enchant me. It is really the only place in the world, outside our shores, to which I’d like to return. 

Oh, go on, add in NYC. 


Oh, by the way you can discover more about Mr Luscombe here https://www.nickluscombe.com – recommended too.

Turning Japanese https://open.spotify.com/track/30cHDhxUqgnHq78hv5UjMx?si=170cd2c6574f4600 by English band the Vapors, from their 1980 album New Clear Days.

Here we are