The Day The Sun Fell Into Henllys Woods And Other Light Shows

Henllys Woods

It is said that the Druids faced their final battle with the Roman Army on the North Wales island of Anglesey in 60-61 AD. According to Tacitus, things did not end well for them and their sacred oak groves. [See my earlier post Island Of Old Ghosts]. Early on in the invasion of Britain, the island had become a refuge for resisting Celtic warriors, doubtless assuming that the Menai Strait would present an obstacle to the legions. (It didn’t).

But for the Druids – the seer-diviner-lore-keeper-law-makers of the community, I tend to wonder if it wasn’t the island’s more extraordinary characteristics that they drew on. The quality of the light for one, and especially in winter when the sun over sea and strait and mainland mountains creates some mesmerizing effects, even when caught in monochrome.

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Henlyss Woods 2

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Light

A Curious Rendition?

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Well, it is surprising, isn’t it – to find this Elvis artwork at the head of the grand staircase at Chatsworth House, Chatsworth being one of England’s most prestigious stately homes and the country seat of the Dukes of Devonshire.

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Here’s more of the art work. It is pretty surreal, however it comes: whether in the original technicolour or in monochrome.  (I’m afraid I omitted to make a note of its creator). But now I discover that the likely reason for its presence is that the late Dowager Duchess of Devonshire, otherwise known as Debo to her friends, was a huge Elvis Presley fan and had a fondly kept signed photo of him on her wall.

Also when the Duchess died in 2014 at the age of 94, he was to play a big part in her simple funeral service, held in the Chatsworth estate church. She had chosen his recording of ‘How Great Thou Art’ to play her out as she was borne aloft in her woven wicker coffin stranded with ivy and autumnal hawthorn berry sprays. A surprising soundtrack perhaps in rural gentrified Derbyshire.

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Debo was the last surviving Mitford sister, a notorious brood of five ‘gels’, several of whom, in pursuit of love, bolted from deemed acceptable aristocratic marriages in order (between them) to embrace the full spectrum of political persuasion. Jessica was a communist; Diana ran off with fascist Sir Oswald Mosley; Unity pursued Hitler; novelist Nancy was a socialist and left her husband for a protracted affair with a French statesman; Pamela left her husband to live with an Italian horsewoman, while Deborah, in true English gentry style, married a future duke and spent her life developing Chatsworth House as a premier visitor attraction, including the pioneering of heritage shopping and the marketing of local produce.

You can find her final accompaniment ‘How Great Thou Art’ on YouTube.

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: things musical

Just About Room For Two

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This seat looks to have been created from driftwood and sea debris, with just enough room for two to huddle. It’s sited on the path through the dunes to Harlech Beach (see previous post). You can just glimpse the mountains of Snowdonia in the distance.

There were also some pretty interesting seats In the garden of Borthwnog Hall (where we were spending a few nights back in October). This next one takes repurposed driftwood to a new level. Perhaps a little spooky? Or made specially for dryads.

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And then there was this more conventional bench in the rock garden. It caught the sun only as it was setting over the mountains above the house:

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And then there was the bench with the Mawddach Estuary view:

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And this was the view, and with plenty of room to perch on the wall:

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Seating for more than one

Walking Squares #19   The header square also for Becky’s November #WalkingSquares

Monochrome Favourites

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Ash trees at St. Brides Castle, Pembrokeshire

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This week Cee says we can pick our own black and white images. These are some of my favourite shots of Welsh winter scenes.

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Llanddwyn Island, Anglesey

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Farm fence, Aberffraw, Anglesey

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P1060515edWinter dawn, Menai Strait, Anglesey

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Family gathering, Penmon Point, Anglesey

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: favourites

Iced

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For anyone currently suffering any kind of over-heating, herewith some cooling images of frosted ferns. These photos were taken a few Decembers ago during a sudden frigid spell in Hay-on-Wye, widely known as the book capitol of the world. We’d planned a long weekend there – a brief trip out of Shropshire and into Powys. It was only an hour or so’s drive. Up to the moment we set off, we’d had mild winter weather, but even as we stopped for a cup of tea half way in scenic Eardisland, we could feel the bank of cold, cold air closing in.

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And so it proved to be three nights of cold comfort.  On one of them the central heating system in our inn failed altogether. In between times a gale blew through the place as no one thought to shut the doors. Nor thought to light the log burning stove in the bar while we ate our evening meal. Street wandering could only be undertaken in small doses. Or at least that was our excuse for popping into Eve’s for regular rescue infusions of hot chocolate. Thank goodness, too, for Hay’s many hostelries that were far more welcoming than ours and for Richard Booth’s bookshop with its big squidgy sofas to camp out in.

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: hot or cold