Manorbier Castle

Painted a few years ago while we were on holiday in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿.

I ppainted this while we were staying in a caravan in Pembrokeshire, I’d decided to take paints and a canvas for a change (I usually just take a sketch book or watercolours). I did some sketches of the castle but used a guide book for the castle to find an image to work from.

Manorbier is still in private ownership (a lot of places are now owned by the National Trust and other charities). Its really close to the coast, you can walk down a valley to the sea and if you look back you can see the castle up on a hill on the left and the church tower of the village on a hill on the right.

If you ever go to South West Wales it’s worth a visit……

Conkers

Still llife photo of conkers. Photo taken last year at Bodnant Garden in North Wales last year. What a great trip out that was. We walked round the large garden grounds. Down into the river valley, past huge and ancient trees. Late flowering perennials and bushes. Its a charming place to visit, but be aware it is hilly. Its a National Trust site so its very well maintained. There are small shops trading there, a garden centre and a cafe/restaurant.

Great for a visit when the garden is in full bloom, especially the laburnum walk. You can join the National Trust or pay when you visit. BUT check opening times, it does close in the winter and with the lockdown for the pandemic there will be changes to visiting and probably closures.

I wish

I wish that I was driving on this road, following it round the bends, storing by a stile at the side of the road and climbing over it, walking up the hill, maybe past a few grazing sheep, till at the top I would see mountains in the distance in one direction, and tree covered hills in another. If I looked in one direction hard enough I think I would see a distant view of the sea.

Where am I? I could be in Scotland, or some parts of England, but this winding road is in Wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 land of ancient people’s and dragons. Wales is in a lockdown for just over two weeks at the moment. I hope the people will all be safe. In the meantime I’m expecting where I am now to have another lockdown soon…. When will this end….

Welsh views

A year ago, driving down towards Snowdonia. I like the way the Layout app has joined some of the mountains up. Reminds me of the phrase ‘and the road goes ever on’ from The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkein.

The thought of not being able to go there for the moment is very disappointing. We were going for a short break but there has been another lockdown. I really want to see family and friends, but everything is messed up. We are expecting new rules for this part of England on Monday. As the nights draw in I think people will feel more and more isolated. Oh well…….

🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Want to visit Wales

Over a year ago we visited Llandudno and walked along the pier at the seafront. This is at the far end looking back at a magestic hotel. We also went up the Great Orme mountain in a tram car (there is a chair lift too). We went back to North Wales at Christmas and stayed for a couple of days, but that’s the last time we had a trip over there because of covid 19. I would love to live over there but we would never be able to afford it and I would miss all my friends here. But once life has got back to a more normal situation I think we will start visiting the beautiful countryside of Wales again. 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

Red arrows at Rhyl

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In August last year we were at Rhyl watching the red arrows flying over the sea, with THOUSANDS of people watching the show on the seafront.

The thought of warm Welsh sea breezes really makes me sad that I can’t go there at the moment.

I remember seeing something like a helicopter, an auto giro I think it was called? And an air and sea rescue helicopter. There were all sorts of different planes doing aerobatics.

The thing is though, I could live without the planes, and the crowds. I just wish I could go and look at the sea again, with its constantly changing waves. To see white horses as the wind whips up the waves. Or a flat calm with blue ripples.

The town must have suffered because of the lockdown. How are people coping? A little town on the North Wales coast, where most of the income is raised from holidays and tourism.

But the sea, that’s what calls me. Great storms, gentle tides, boats and ships, but mainly sea.

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I want to go to Wales!

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The foreign country on our doorstep. With wonderful singing, beautiful landscapes, sandy beaches, castles, neolithic artifacts, mountains, pleasant green hills, and narrow guage railways.

Home of authors like Dylan Thomas, R.S Thomas, O.M Edwards, Vernon Watkins from Swansea or Eric Madden who has written stories based on Snowdonia folk tales.

I would love to go back and have Bara Brith, a type of friuty bread, or Welsh cakes full of butter, and a nice cup of tea. Other delicacies include lava bread made with seaweed.

Driving through the country is sometimes slow. A lot of the roads are ‘scenic’, narrow and twisting. But they are beautiful. Driving over a pass and into a new valley with different field patterns, or plantations of trees is a pleasure.

There are waterfalls like swallow falls near Betwys Coed, the wooded hillsides which gradually become moorland,  covered in slate as you drive into Snowdonia.

Snowdon is the tallest mountain in Wales. There is a footpath to the top, or you can take the mountain railway. Great for views, except on the day we went up when everything was enveloped in fog.

North Wales is closest to where I live, but there is a lot to see in Mid and South Wales too. In Mid Wales there are places like the national centre for alternative technology at Machynlleth and towns like Aberystwyth where there is a funicular railway and a narrow gauge line up to the Devils bridge waterfall. In the south you can visit Tenby which is a tourist attraction, Laugharne where Dylan Thomas wrote, and the capital of the principality which is Cardiff.

I’ve only included places we have visited. There is so much more to see.

The strangest thing, as you drive into Wales the signs on the roads are in Welsh and English. I find myself trying to pronounce them!

Hill and fence

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Driving through Wales last Year. My sister took us out into Snowdonia, past lakes and mountains. Along streams. Through wooded valleys, over mountain passes. Seeing the scree tumbling down. Sheep climbing jumbled piles of broken slate. Then down steep hills back to the coast, along  tunnels bored through the mountains, back to the flatter lands of North Wales (flatter not flat, its not Cheshire!)

The beauty of the country of Wales is amazing. I’ve only really explored the North of the principality, I would love to visit Cardiff for instance, which is in the very South of the country.

Rushing by…

_20191002_184359_optimizedOver the hills,

Rushing by,

Stony landscape, see it fly.

Fences blurred, ground so grand.

Limestone cliffs across the land.

Sheep and birds, flocks and herds,

Many miles across we sped,

Down to sea the river led.

Craggy hills round Snowdon lie,

Reaching up into the sky.

Grey clouds scudded on breeze up high.

Rushing wind makes me cry,

As the weather bites, cold again,

Then it comes on to rain.

End of journey, time to rest.

A drink of tea or coffee, best?

A sweet hot cake, a refreshing drink.

Then into bed, in sleep, to sink.