Monday 28 November 2022


November, warmth, sun and crowds. Everyone enjoying themselves. The selfie-nistas are out in force. 

This is Rome.

We are here, M-F, quite wonderful, scrub that. It is wonderful.

 Rediscovering the familiars (Pantheon) discovering the new (Trajan Markets Museum) and coping with frustration – the places we most want to see are closed – what they don’t tell you on their websites don’t tell you.

Rome: carbonara central.

Hotel is two minutes from the Trevi Fountain and five minutes’ walk (in different directions) from two very important things.


#1 A remarkable collection of Renaissance paintings  -  Palazzo Barberini houses the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica, one of the most important painting collections in Italy. We had a wonderful last morning floating round the rooms housing this collection. Sun streaming in through the windows.


# 2 A wonderful exhibition of the French painter Raoul Dufy at the Palazzo Cipolla. 


The Dufy was a very extensive show including his fashion designs, fabrics, tapestry and ceramic work. Everything was touched with light, colour, and complete exuberance. The show was entitled "The painter of joy" and indeed his work was a delight. I bounced out of that lovely colour rush the perfect antidote to a drab early UK winter.  Note to self:  do some investigations into this exciting painter who was influenced by Matisse. 

Mediterrranean Delights 

Mattise Influences 

The painter of joy

Palazzo Barberini. Well, just getting so close to some fabulous Renaissance art. (Train strikes prevent me going to London to go to the National Gallery.) As soon as  I got home I got out a book on Renaissance art in Italy from the public library and will work my way through this. Also I discovered or rather Sian discovered that there is a whole host of National Gallery lunchtime lectures on YouTube. And I have been watching these  - absolutely thrilling - . So there's another source of art education if you want it.


Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica

A decorated panel in the private chapel

Sian discovered this wonderful ceiling in the Palazzo

Both experiences are so different from the self-obsessed, joyless contemporary art are served up by many of today’s galleries. As I write Max Hetzler has emailed me about a show of torn posters in Paris by the French artist Raymond Hains.

Affiches Lacérées / Torn Posters

Paris: 46 & 57, rue du Temple, 75004, 26 November 2022 – 5 January 2023

Friday 11 November 2022

ST CLEARS: River, railway and road.

St Clears, pop. 2,995 (2011 census, squats either side of the A40 as it wizzes westwards to Fishguard. North of this busy road is upper St Clears with its Cats Trust Charity Shop and Kebab and Piazza shop. 

 Lower St Clears, on the other side of the A40 boasts the Priory Church of St Mary Magdalene c.1100 boasting the best surviving Norman stone carving in Carmarthenshire. 

Priory Church of St Mary Magdalene 

The A40 was built by the Romans. Later, as  Norman forces made their way west they stopped and built a motte and bailey castle which at 12 meters high is one of the tallest in Wales. It was attacked by the locals in 1153, 1189 and 1215. Owain Glyndwr.



The river Taf with its stone quays still visible brought trade up the river. Lime for the kilns, materials for brick and tile making. There was shipbuilding. The Sophia Well (130 tonnes) was built there in 1839. She plied her trade as far as Malta, Constantinople St Petersburg and Quebec.

Once a great trading river

There was a regular boat service from St Clears to Bristol.


The railway arrived in 1854 and the port of St Clears fell into a decline. Although there is room for pleasure craft at high tide – witness St Clears Sailing Club. 

Pleasure craft still popular 


In 1964 the railway station closed. 



Reopening the station has been an on-off campaign since 1973. In fact building work to put platforms in place this year with an operational date of 2024. Detail here.


This year has also seen the opening of a 24 hr McDonalds and a Greggs both conveniently located by the main road and the Travelodge.

Off street parking


St Clears detail here


The writer is a regular donator to the wonderful Wikipedia organisation