Sunday 26 February 2023


Lanes and Stiles to explore

We have landed in Cricklade, Wiltshire.  

A delightful place full of equally delightful people. The place is a beguiling mix of Saxon walls, innumerable footpaths and small estates of homes. A neighbour pops round with tulips the day after we move in!  

Another with a bottle of wine.

There are great things waiting to be discovered, within the small housing estates and the attendant buildings and gardens, tracks that run past barns, farms and desultory chicken coops.

Vortex-like plants and hedges


Sprinkled around: small estates of homes

Each day I take Rosie for a walk and come back loaded with ideas and with R’s permission linger longer to make a sketch. Dreamt about hedgerows last night.


St Sampson’s Church Tower, a triumph of Late Perpendicular, can be seen for miles around.


The lanes that are vortex-like with winter branches and beside each a stream ditch or river.  

I had the studio set up two days after moving in and have even started to carve out time with charcoal and acrylic. There is much to celebrate in drawing and painting and ‘camera as sketchbook’. And approach adopted by the painter George Shaw. 


George Shaw talks about “being a bit of a prowler” constantly touring the landscape, neglected woodlands, these wildernesses, with his camera. He admits to taking hundreds of photographs and using these and his imagination to create works that are very real very lonely and works that monumentalise every day.

Written February 2022

For more on Shaw

Sunday 19 February 2023


The Victorians were an industrious bunch when it came to church building and church make-overs. The architects of the period get mixed reviews. Arguably if they had not happened along many churches might be rubble now.


Two 'new build' churches close to Laugharne are delightful and well worth a visit. 


St David, Meidrim. 

A guardsman-like line of yews usher you forward to a church that is impossibly long. Or you can gain access to the church yard via a red brick church hall which the Buildings of Wales* characterised as ‘non-descript’. 


Inside, the Chancel was the work of  Ewan Christian. He is known for designing the National Portrait Gallery. A busy boy he carried out about 1,300 restorations and additions to churches throughout England and Wales.


Under escort the guardsmen yews will take you to a long and lovely church  

The Nave of St David was down to F R Kempson. Frederick Roberston Kempson (1838 – 1923)  was a Herefordshire lad who aside from Meidrim is known Herefordshire secular building designs including Hereford Library in the Venetian Gothic style.


St Martin & St Enfael, Merthyr.

This delicacy sits in a narrow valley with a river, the Cowin, running behind the church yard. It is gained via a single track with a farm at the end, Church Farm. 

Tip-toe to the door.. this is a delicate charm of a church.


The work of one man: R. K. Penson.  He was a Welsh architect and artist. Penson was county surveyor for Cardiganshire and Carmarthenshire. Just up the road he designed Llandovery Town Hall


The day I attended 9:45am Holy Communication at St Martin  there were seven in the congregation and a a real welcome. We concluded the service with a hearty rendition of 51. Lo, he comes with clouds descending, a Wesleyan classic.


THANK YOU WIKIPEDIA… To whom the writer does donate.

Monday 6 February 2023

THE NATIONAL DISH - a poster child


The oft' seen poster of sea fish species

The other day we were on the beach below the quayside at seaside town New Quay in Cardiganshire, about 20 miles south of Aberystwyth. 

It was blustery although the sun shone, and it was nearing lunchtime. 

Regaining the town we  entered the wonderful Captain’s Rendezvous Fish and Chip Restaurant and enjoyed a wonderful meal. The management even provide proper fish knives.

On the wall was the oft' seen poster of sea fish species. 

Any fish and chip emporium worth its salt (sorry) has one on display. 

On Etsy and eBay they sell for a fortune. 

Going to the source, the National Federation of Fish Friers, I was able to purchase one direct. 

It came with a lovely exchange of email with the lady that runs the Training and Qualifications co-ordination. I expect it to arrive very soon and that is not too long before my next cod  and chips.


New Quay's quay. Above and to the right is the Captain's Rendezvous


‘Both Lancashire and London stake a claim to being the first to invent this famous meal – chips were a cheap, staple food of the industrial north whilst fried fish was introduced in London’s East End. In 1839 Charles Dickens referred to a “fried fish warehouse” in his novel, ‘Oliver Twist’.  Source: Historic UK  - the History and Heritage Accommodation Guide.