This was my shed when I took up allotmenting eleven years ago. He who builds sheds stopped it leaking and leaning into a complete state of collapse, and I and the snails and mice were very glad of it for several years. But then two years ago I left behind the plot it stands on to concentrate on my polytunnel plot. No one has taken it over, and this year it is doing a good imitation of the prairie with elephant’s eye high grass and thistles. Rather sad after all the hours of digging I did there. But at least the shed is still standing, and this year, the greengage tree that stands over it has quite a bit of fruit in the making. The artichoke, though, was eaten long ago.
Traces of the Past: Black & White Sunday Please visit Paula to see her dramatic seascape
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.
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.
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.
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
As a child I was fascinated by Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through The Looking Glass. I would stare into my full length bedroom mirror for ages and ages and wonder if it really might be possible – somehow – to access that other world behind the glass. Unlike Alice, I wouldn’t even have to climb on to the drawing room mantelpiece, which to my mind looked distinctly hazardous and was likely to attract unwelcome attention from mother.
John Tenniel’s illustrations were anyway profoundly disturbing, yet ever drew me to plumb their bottomless depths. All of which is the excuse of the very much older me to spend Monday morning playing with my camera in Bridgnorth Antiques Centre.
See! Just like Alice, I’ve finally arrived in Looking Glass Land. All it took was my magic little Lumix digital. But sorry, folks, I can’t hang around. Must catch up with the White Knight or I might never make it out again.
Sir John Tenniel illustrator 1820-1914 ~ Alice Through The Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
In A Glass Darkly is a collection of strange tales featuring demons, dopplegangers and even a lesbian vampire published by Irish writer, Sheridan Le Fanu in 1872. The vampire story apparently greatly influenced Bram Stoker in his writing of Dracula. I haven’t read these works, but I think they might be worth tracking down.
Please visit Paula at Lost in Translation for more Traces of the Past.