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

On the Road In Much Wenlock ~ ‘A Rip Van Winkle Kind Of A Place’

Much Wenlock Sheinton Street towards Holy Trinity Church

Sheinton Street looking towards Holy Trinity Church

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It’s a while since I posted any photos of my home town. These shots are all from the archive, but I had a notion to edit them in sepia tones, along with a touch of over-exposure here and there to accompany  the century-old quotation from Shropshire writer Mary Webb. I mean to say, even with all the cars, it still has that  look. There’s definitely a sense of Winkle time-slippage. This may well have something to do with the fact that this small town has been continuously occupied for  more than a thousand years. And before that, there would have been Romans and Romano-British wandering around the place with the likelihood of a villa/bathhouse on the site of the medieval Wenlock Priory. And before that, itinerant Bronze Age smiths may well have passed through, one of whom lost his stash of arrow and axe heads in the River Severn not far from Wenlock. Or maybe it was a donation for a safe crossing.

Many of the facades you see in the photos have been added on the front of much earlier buildings – this during periods of particular market-town prosperity when there were attempts at gentrification. I say ‘attempts’ because by all accounts even in the late nineteenth century there was a smelly open sewer running through the town. Also the place was regularly doused in limestone dust with every blasting at surrounding quarries. And there would have been some evil smog too from lime burning kilns (this to produce lime for building mortar and fertiliser).

Much Wenlock High Street

Looking down on the High Street

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Much Wenlock The Bullring

The Bull Ring where once  the popular sport of bull baiting took place on fair days and holidays

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Much Wenlock The Square

The Square (looking past the church towards Wilmore and Sheinton Street)  with the Museum on the left (once the Butter Market and then a cinema) and the 16th century Guidhall opposite. The assizes were held on the upper floor, the lock-up down below. These days the town council holds its meetings there.

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Much Wenlock Queen Street

Queen Street and Brook House Farm, one of the last surviving town farms, now ‘done up’ into several desirable residences. I remember it with cattle in the barn.

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Much Wenlock High Street with Reynalds Mansion

The High Street featuring our star timber-framed residence – Reynolds Mansion, a fifteenth century hall with a grand 1682 frontage

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Much Wenlock High Street towards Gaskell Corner

Top of the High Street. This row of stone clad cottages contains some very ancient inner parts.

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Much Wenlock High Street and Wilmore Street with Guildhall

Much Wenlock Sheinton Street towards New Road

Looking down Sheinton Street from the Farrell house

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Much Wenlock lane beside Priory ruins

Downs Lane beside Wenlock Priory

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Related: Wenlock: “A Rip Van Winkle kind of a place

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: roads

Full Steam Ahead!

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The Talyllyn Railway is a Welsh heritage treasure, once a working line opened in 1865 to haul slate from the quarries of the mid-Wales hinterland to the coast at Tywyn. The narrow gauge line may be only 7 miles long, but you can spend a whole day stopping off at stations en route, exploring Dolgoch Falls, having lunch at the station cafe at Abergynolwyn, or hiking up through the woods to the old Bryn Eglwys quarry.  And not only that, you meet lots of happy volunteer drivers and guards along the way, all of them bursting to fill you in with fascinating railway facts.

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: trains or tracks

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

In Case The Flood Comes

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Our small and ancient town of Much Wenlock sits in a hollow beneath Wenlock Edge. The Edge itself is an uptilted Silurian seabed, formed some 400 million years ago, and the farm fields around the town rise steeply to the Edge top. In consequence, flash flooding has long been a problem and in recent years (after the 2007 storms when the town centre was badly inundated) our locality has been designated a rapid response flood risk zone, the danger coming mostly from field run-off feeding onto roads and lanes that run into the town.

And so finally in 2017, after much humming and ha-ing, the Local Authority commissioned engineers to excavate two flood attenuation ponds at either end of the town. They are basically reverse reservoirs in that they remain empty with the aim of catching up the worst of any flood should a particularly bad rainstorm hit the Edge.

One of the ponds is at the top of Townsend Meadow, behind our house, and given the upward slope of the field, I found myself much taken with the sight of the big digger and dumper on my horizon  as the work was underway. I think I’m also happy to have the pond above our house, although the Farrell domain did not flood in 2007, and some experts have equivocal views about the utility of attenuation ponds in rapid-run-off situations. Anyway, so far so good. Besides which, the guerrilla garden behind the garden fence is on a small rise and forms something of bund to protect us.

Now for more digger views, far and near:

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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Busy with purpose