The Blissfulness Of Blue On A Winter’s Day In Wales

We have spent several Christmases on the island of Ynys Mon, otherwise known by its Viking name of Anglesey, in North Wales. The weather in December always throws up surprises. On our last trip this was one of them – a perfect, windless, cloudless day with warm sunshine. We wandered on the Menai Straits beach, looking out at the Great Orme peninsula at Llandudno across the water. I found myself watching this young man and his little  boy, so absorbed in their play, the sun catching winter-white faces. No sound but the call of an oyster catcher.

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That day in that place, we felt the universe had just given us a gift.

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Lens-Artists: Blue

Making A Splash In Pembroke ~Thursday’s Special

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This month Paula’s pick-a-word challenge gives us the words splash, marine, scenic, feathered and canicular. The seaside photos cover the first  four, and I’ve posted them as an antidote to the ongoing hot weather that is melting many of us in the northern hemisphere. They were taken in March on Broadhaven Beach and at St. Bride’s in Pembrokeshire, and I’m relishing the thought of a brisk sea wind on my face and  an invigorating paddle in some chilled Welsh waves.

This next photo is my stab at canicular – the state for which I need the antidote – the laid out, inactive, sweltering dog days of July, the grass turning brown before our eyes, sunset heatwaves. Phew!

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Thursday’s Special

Land Lines On Llanddwyn IsLand

These photos were taken on Llanddwyn Island, Anglesley, North Wales a couple of Christmases ago. It was a brilliant sunshiny day, but the wind was cruel.

Llanddwyn bound: crossing to the isle of lovers  for more about the island that is really a peninsula of Newborough Beach.

Daily Post: Lines

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Black & White Sunday ~ Traces of the Past

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The old railway bridge over the Mawddach River at Barmouth, Gwynedd, Wales

And mazy sands all water-wattled
Waylay her at ebb, past Penmaen Pool.

Gerard Manley Hopkins Penmaen Pool – from a poem written for the visitor’s book at the George Hotel 1876

Black & White Sunday: Traces of the Past

St Bride’s Castle ~ After And Before At Black & White Sunday

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Over at Lost In Translation, one of Paula’s recurrent themes is the conversion of a colour image to monochrome. It’s always interesting discovering what will or will not work; which details become more or less significant. Sometimes there are quite striking and unexpected differences in mood. All of which is to say, I’m not sure why I even thought of converting this first photo to monochrome. As an indoor, night-time shot with too many light sources, I wasn’t expecting it to work at all. But then I found I rather liked the monochrome version. It somehow has a more formal or stately feel about it. It was taken in the hall-drawing room of St. Bride’s Castle.

Coming up is the front entrance. I don’t think the conversion does much for the image here:

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This next exterior shot perhaps works better: austere geometrical silhouette against active clouds:

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And I do rather like this clump of monochromed daffodils found in the castle grounds:

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Black & White Sunday: After and Before

More about St. Bride’s HERE

In which Six Go Potty In Pembroke With Cockapoo Puppy  – holiday snaps #10

St David’s Cathedral ~ Thursday’s Special

These ruins of the Bishop’s Palace at St. David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, South Wales stand on the site of the monastery of Menevia founded in the 6th century by St. David, patron saint of Wales (500-589 CE). The nearby cathedral (coming up below) was consecrated in 1131, but has undergone many phases of re-building, including major remedial work, first after an earthquake c 1247, and then after the devastation wrought under Cromwell’s Commonwealth of the 1650s. Welsh architect John Nash oversaw extensive repairs in 1793, but his work, proving substandard, made it necessary for the whole cathedral to undergo complete restoration by George Gilbert Scott in the late 19th century. A bit of a mash-up then, architecturally speaking – Gothic and Perpendicular not the least of it – but still an imposingly handsome building. It also hosts a very excellent cafeteria.

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St. David’s has long been a place of pilgrimage, papal decree stating in 1123 that two pilgrimages to St. David’s was the equivalent of one to Rome. England’s monarchs from William the Conqueror onwards hot-footed here, which probably accounts for the increasing grandeur of the Bishop’s Palace, still apparent today despite its ruinous state. After confession comfortable lodgings and some fine dining would doubtless be the next royal requirements.

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The cathedral’s presence confers city status on the community of St. David’s. This may seem a trifle curious for a place scarcely larger than a village. With a population of less than 2,000, it thus has the distinction of being the United Kingdom’s smallest city, and so by default the loveliest – its peninsula siting bounded by scenic coastlines west, north and south and its hinterland composed of rolling Pembrokeshire farmland. A good place to visit then, although perhaps best done out of season.

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P.S.  The daffodils on the cusp of opening in the header photo are the national flower of Wales and worn on St. David’s Day on the 1st of March.

Thursday’s Special: Traces of the Past

Darkness And Light ~ Thursday’s Special

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Solstice – the longest night – a time for drawing in; earth quietness; immanence; a conjuring of new possibility.

This photo was taken a few Decembers ago – the view from the island of Anglesey looking across the Menai Strait to Snowdonia on mainland Wales, terrain of antique tales of shape-shifting princes and magicians, their black deeds and bloody conflicts.

Thursday’s Special ~ darkness and light