- There is no rail station in Oswestry, but there were once two, separated by 50 yards. It was a big rail town, now teeming with relics.
- Apparently people have been doing this to coffee for years, but I had never seen it before.
- The Michelin Man lives on in Oswestry.
- What's in the container?
- Wow! A custom built post box used for torching love letters.
- Little Chef's become scarce, but there is a fine example in Oswestry, keeping up the best of their traditions.
Thursday, 21 September 2017
Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Not perhaps a 21st century approach to bee husbandry, but how fascinating - a rack of skeps with beekeepers "looking out" for swarms to capture and re-skep.
I met two beekeepers there on the same mission - they told me something about foundation that perhaps is best not published.
The church is an ancient gem. In the graveyard is buried, lavishly tended, a victim of the 1999 Ladbroke Grove train crash, which was really a very sad thing to behold.
Tuesday, 13 June 2017
There is a relatively recent programme of establishing memorials. The Girona cemetery has an imposing long metal memorial naming an unhappy number of local-born Republicans who are somewhere in unmarked graves, most being post-war executions - it's less than 10 years old. There's stuff about this to be read.
We went on an outing to the old France/Spain frontier between Portbou and Cerbère, which commands stunning views and offers various ghostly ex-border buildings. Low-key signage pointed us to some display materials on the refugee plight in 1939, a surviving Francoist memorial (these are very rare - it was pleasantly defaced with red paint), and a 2016 Catalan plaque commemorating the International Brigades.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were: any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.
John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, 1624
(I sang a bit of The Red Flag, but it seemed a little inadequate).
Monday, 1 May 2017
The race is run every 2 years: weather cancelled the 2016 event which was postponed until this year. About 15 crews left Arklow on Coastguard advice at noon, Friday 28th. Tracking software predicted the winner arriving at Aber harbour at 6am on Saturday, and I actually thought about getting up to see this happen. But then I thought "stuff it", which was good as overnight the weather had been unkind and the prediction had become 10am.
First over the line was the Irish Vartry crew, with Aber men coming in just 30 minutes later, both boats receiving enormous applause. The very unkind conditions caused all but one of the other crews to retire: third in was a women's boat.
It is, of course, event of the year (well, every other year) for the longboat clubs and so very well known in some communities. But Aberystwyth town makes little of it: no sign of the BBC, S4C, Cambrian News, or even the ubiquitous Keith Morris. Well, I'm doing my bit.
Other pictures exist.
Wednesday, 12 April 2017
Thursday, 26 January 2017
Newcastle Emlyn - Castellnewydd Emlyn yn Gymraeg - means "new castle"; "Emlyn" was one of the seven cantrefi of Dyfed. It has a castle alright, but to my untutored eye it doesn't look so new.
- The GWR once ran a rail spur into Newcastle Emlyn, closed to passengers in the 50s and freight in the 70s. There is effectively no trace of it in the town, unless you look really hard.
- There are many food outlets to be found; I used the Number 11 coffee shop in the morning (a splendid 1950s experience, and you can get free Wifi from the Barclays branch opposite). For luncheon, whereat pie and chips, Tŷ Croeso1.
- It's easy to see what Newcastle was once like, although I think most of that is [nearly] history. Of especial note was the charity shop devoted to whippet rescue (bugger labradors and dalmatians, eh?).
Very nearby is Henllan, where there was a WWii Italian POW camp. Many lovely traces of this can be found, although I suspect the buildings were probably admin. (inhabited by British persons) rather than cell blocks (inhabited by Italian persons) for the simple reason that they are still standing.
I still seek an opportunity to enter the block that was painted up as a chapel by one of the Italians.
- Likewise nearby is Caws Cenarth where you can spectate on the making of award winning cheese. A jolly good outing!
Other pictures exist.
No post boxes of note were seen.
Sunday, 20 November 2016
The fun kicked off in St David's (now de-consecrated) cemetery where he is buried. Robin Huw Bowen and Meinir Olwen (who came especially from France) appeared with two triple harps: affairs were supervised by an agreeable RectorPeter Ingram gave an address. The Rector spoke mostly in Welsh, and Ingram mostly in Romany, so I nodded knowledgeably throughout and felt very cosmopolitan.
There were umpteen events at Gregynog: I went to Ingram's hour of stand-up gypsy comedy that was very jolly, culminating in a performance by a real Patagonian guitarist/singer, who looked Spanish and sang in Welsh. Or it might have been Spalsh. Or Wanish.
Highlight was the evening concert with five [count them] triple harps, abetted by flute, fiddle and double bass. Bowen told us lots about the instrument (Telyn deires yn cymreig), its history and Roberts' connections and importance. He noted its beautiful curves and observed that the pedal ["English"] harp looked like a broken down old nag in comparison. They also fetched out Roberts' own harp from Llandrindod museum, which I have now heard played!
Next day the rain abated and I walked down to Caersws for the train: en route, this rather forgotten memorial to dead young men appeared: