Spirit of the Past: Black & White Sunday

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I’ve written about the Iron Man of Llanbedrog in other posts. (Personally I think it could be a woman – Boudica perhaps, the last of Britain’s Celtic warrior women). I’ve also posted variously edited versions of this shot before, but not this one exactly. This week at Black & White Sunday, Paula is reprising the popular Traces of the Past challenge, and I thought that although this iron figure is not especially old, everything about it speaks of the ancient Celtic spirit. And of course there are the ‘rocks of ages’ just visible in the distant mountain range of Snowdonia. In many senses, then, Wales is an old, old land, and the traces of the past are everywhere across the landscape.

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You can read more of the Iron Man’s story at Warrior Wind-Singer Of Llyn

The Railway Men 2 ~ Black & White Sunday

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Here’s another portrait from our Victorian day out on the Talyllyn Railway in June. Looking at their website this morning I see they’ve got a very special trip coming up next month – The Halloween Steam and Scream. Oh what a hoot. I think I want to go. It’s my birthday too. There will be a choice of two Steam and Scream trains departing from Tywyn station at 5.15 and 7.15 on several October nights including the 31st. Everyone can dress up as ghouls, goblins and witches; there are prizes for the best carved pumpkin lantern, and you can book a feast at the railway cafe.

Join us for a fun spooky evening train ride along the Talyllyn Railway to the haunted woods at Dolgoch, says the blurb.  Those woods are pretty spooky in broad daylight, but on a dark autumn night in the Welsh hills…Watch out for the Hessian Horseman  and his Celtic brother. Yikes! And double yikes!

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Now please visit Paula at Lost in Translation for more B & W Sunday portraits.

 

@TalyllynRailway

#RheilforddTalyllynRailway

The Railway Men: Black & White Sunday

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The Talyllyn Railway in mid Wales is the oldest preserved steam railway in Britain. Over the past half century it has inspired many other such ventures and there are now some 500 miles of restored lines across the country.

That they are there at all and can offer us steamingly enjoyable train rides is mostly down to armies of enthusiastic volunteers like these chaps in the photo. It’s an enterprise fraught with responsibilities too; the health and safety implications are momentous: track, rolling stock and passengers all to be kept in good order.

And in case you missed it back in June, you can read more about Tish and Graham’s big train day out at:

Partners in steam on the Talyllyn Railway – Woo-hooooo

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This week at Black & White Sunday Paula’s challenge is COMPOSITION. Please visit to see her own very fine composition, and the other entries it inspired.

My own photo was composed in Dynamic Monochrome.

Unexpected: Monochrome Mawddach Sunset

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The most unexpected thing about this shot is that it came out at all in such low light conditions. I do love the Dynamic Monochrome setting on my Lumix. It creates all kinds of unforeseen magic, even with much added zoom.

I suppose the other piece of unexpectedness here is the perversity of shooting a limpidly pastel sunset in monochrome. But I like the way it silhouettes the old railway viaduct across the estuary mouth. In Welsh it is called Pont Abermaw, and in English, Barmouth Bridge. It was constructed mostly from wood during the 1860s, and included a drawbridge section that would open allow tall masted ships to pass through, sadly not a facility much needed these days.  It would be fine sight though, so please add your own sailing ship to this vista.

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Black & White Sunday  This week Paula requests we show her the unexpected. Please drop in there for more creative renditions of the theme.

 

#MagesticMagicalMawddach

Magnificent Magical Mawddach

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We drove through one hundred miles of rain to reach it. From South Shropshire to the Welsh coast clouds piled on clouds and the rain dashed down the windscreen with only brief interludes of drizzle. Climbing and climbing the precipitous road through Dinas Mawddy, sky and mountains closed in, reminding us that we humans are rather puny ineffectual things, and that the motorized carapace that transports and shelters us may just  not be enough in a land like this. Even the sheep, inured to the place, stand hunched and motionless on the hillsides, backs to the downpour.

And then at last we’re here, on the banks of the Mawddach Estuary, just downstream of Penmaenpool, and the rain recedes,  leaving stillness and shadow, the slow curves of the river, Welsh Black cattle grazing the salt marsh, a buzzard calling, canoeists returning to base, and on the far horizon the knowledge of the sea, though unseen,  marked by a sudden flush of brightness out in the bay.

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copyright 2016 Tish Farrell

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#SnowdoniaNationalPark

 

Iron in the Soul ~ Warrior of Llyn

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I have been a multitude of shapes
Before I assumed a consistent form.
I have been a sword, narrow, variegated,
I have been a tear in the air,
I have been in the dullest of stars.
I have been a word among letters,
I have been a book in the origin.
From a translation of the Welsh medieval text of The Book of Taliesin, a sixth century Welsh bard and courtly singer.

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It is said that the Iron Man of Mynydd Tir y Cwmwd sings in the wind. I can believe it too: bold laments of long ago battles, a proud Celtic warrior fending off invading Roman governors and power-hungry English kings. Sadly, the cause was lost on both fronts, although at least these days Cymru,* Wales, has its own Welsh Parliament, and Cymraeg, the Welsh language, is nurtured, learned in schools and spoken widely with great pride. And so it should be. It is one of the world’s wonderful languages, the words formed from the rush of sea on rocks, the wind whistling down from the heights of Yr Wyddfa** (Snowdon, Wales’ highest mountain). Under past times of English domination much was done to stamp out the Welsh culture altogether. It is what invaders do – belittle, ban, override  heartfelt expressions of a conquered people’s culture.

{*roughly pronounced Kumree and **Ur Oithva}

You can read the rest of this earlier post about the Iron Man of Llanbedrog at Warrior Wind-Singer of Llyn

copyright 2015 Tish Farrell

This Sunday at Lost in Translation, Paula’s ‘Black & White’ word is ‘winding’. Please follow the link to take part her challenge and see more winding renditions.

The River Runs Through It: Afon Mawddach Between Land And Sea

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I’m on the last lap of Ailsa’s current challenge with this post. These photos were taken last September when we were staying near Dolgellau in Gwynedd, mid Wales. The Mawddach (roughly pronounced Mouthack) Estuary is a glorious place -for mountains, birds and all round peacefulness. You can walk or cycle beside much of it, too, following the Mawddach Trail that was once the railway line from Dolgellau to the holiday town of Barmouth.

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The old toll bridge at Penmaenpool

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We followed the route to the most southerly point where the Mawddach meets the sea, at the bleak little town of Fairbourne. You could call this place a failed resort. In the late 1800s, and after the arrival of the railway, baking flour magnate, Sir Arthur McDougall developed it into a holiday destination for English East Midlands workers. These days, though, it has a desolate air, although it does have a magnificent beach. We bought an ice cream at the dingy seaside caf,  but when we broached the sea wall to see the sea, it was so windy it blew our ice creams away and all over us. That’s not supposed to happen when you go to the seaside. Nor did we have Mummy to wipe us down. What a pickle.100_6564

Fairbourne Beach looking towards Barmouth

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Related:

Now that summer’s done, we take the Dol Idris path

Thursday’s Special: Manscape to Landscape

 

Where’s My Backpack: Where Land Meets Water

Autumn weather in June? What’s going on?

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For those like me, who live in the northern hemisphere, it might seem a touch perverse to post a photo of autumn leaves just as summer is expected. But then, of course, so many fellow bloggers south of the equator are heading into winter, so this is for you. Seasons greetings and all that.

Besides which, here in the UK most of us have been having autumn, if not downright winter weather for weeks now. June arrived with Met Office warnings of gales, plus torrential downpours. As I write,  the sky is filling again with fat rain clouds…

Enough already. Feelings of dryness are definitely required at Sheinton Street. I anyway love the spicy scent of autumn leaves, and especially crispy sweet chestnut ones, which these mostly are.

There is something mesmerizing about that sundried smell that opens up pathways to the past: forgotten houses, empty rooms, sun bleached floorboards, old cupboards and drawers exhaling remnant whiffs of their former contents, the sweet odour of decay. It’s all most beguiling, and hard to know if these are shreds of a remembered past, or some parallel universe barely glimpsed. Shall we take a ‘leaf’ from Alice Through the Looking Glass, and step through…?

Perhaps another day. The leaves are Welsh ones by the way. There were caught last year on a gloriously dry September afternoon, as we walked in a dream on the Dol Idris Path below the great  mountain of Cader Idris.  You can read about that walk here.

But now for the soundtrack to the photo, a song that I’ve loved since my first years on the planet Autumn Leaves/ Les feuilles mortes  sung here by the one and only Yves Montand. Oh, the tristesse:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRJn0hnIyyc

Related: Now that summer’s done, we take the Dol Idris Path…

Jennifer Nichole Wells OWPC: dry   Go here for some more dry posts