Two shots from Edinburgh this August. The firework finale of the Military Tattoo late one night and Princes Street the following evening caught between the bustle of early evening and late night as the festival crowds and tattoo audience were all in their seats. Not quite dark but the clouds made it feel more night than day!
This week’s stroll was a hidden corner of Pembrokeshire, buried deep along country roads and single track lanes. I was convinced that I had visited Upton Castle before but none of it was in the least bit familiar so it was a real afternoon of unexpected discoveries. Another Pembrokeshire castle with Norman origins but with little left to see now amongst the later 17th and 18th century developments. The castle is privately owned and not run by any of the usual organisations that own ancient monuments and buildings. As a result the feeling is of entering somewhere that is private, somewhere where it is a privilege to be allowed inside to explore.
The medieval chapel however is a real gem of tranquillity, with an abundance of 12th and 13th century stone effigies of knights and their ladies. The one I’ve chosen here shows some of the fine details and what looks like a tiny hand by the lady’s pillow. I’ve only noticed this whilst looking through the shots I took and, after taking another look at Upton’s website there’s also a tiny foot….. a baby perhaps? I wish I’d taken more notice while I was there….. this could mean a return visit I suspect, before they close down in October for the winter!
The gardens are full of delights…… a wonderful sunken, walled rose garden reached by steps down through a stone arch, where the perfume from the roses comes up to meet you……… a sheltered stone gazebo where you can gaze out at eye level into the roses. An old stone workshop with overgrown windows which look onto the rose garden and leads through to the kitchen garden which is really more orchard. At the end the path leads out into the meadow with an abandoned shepherd’s hut and then into the woodland beyond. I loved the chair carved out of the dead tree trunk, although probably not the most comfortable of seats! The path divides to take you over a bridge and deeper into the woodland, but I took the other direction through the arboretum with its specimen trees.
Unfortunately there was no tea room to take a rest and enjoy the surroundings even more, so after an hour or so I had to move on!
I’ve been away from the WPC for a few weeks…. or possibly a couple of months? Things are settling down into a bit of a routine now, so I’ve had time to think around this week’s theme but, having chosen the photos from my files I then couldn’t decide which order to post them in, so here they are, all together! I’ve concentrated on the idea of humanity as people, not the emotion, and then I had to think about how I could best portray humanity and what it means to me.
There’s the mass of humanity that we encounter most days in various contexts, whether it be shopping crowds, motorway queues, airport lounges, on a bus or in a crowded train, at a sports event, music festival or, as here, on the streets of Edinburgh during the festival. People coming together to enjoy the artists, to mingle and perhaps meet new people some with a shared interest, others just passing by.
Away from the crowd humanity is the love of a good friend, sharing experiences, exploring culture, chatting, laughing and, sometimes, crying together. Being comfortable with each other, knowing when to help, when to encourage, when to step back and watch from afar….. knowing they will always be within reach no matter how far away we are.
But most importantly for me humanity is the love of family, not just my own children but also the people they choose to share their lives with. I love this family shot – it was the beginning of a holiday and within an hour of arriving from different parts of the country we were sitting round a table, sharing food, catching up with each other and planning the week ahead.
One thing about living in this part of Wales is that you can find a castle around nearly every turn in the road! This Sunday’s stroll is around Carew Castle, although now more the ruins of a fortified manor house than a defensive castle. The site dates back to the Iron Age but the building is Norman in origin, as are many of the ancient buildings here in an area that has been called ‘Little England Beyond Wales’. Not so many of the unpronounceable string of Welsh consonants, but place names such as Red Roses, Stepaside, Wooden, Ludchurch and so on…. each with their own Welsh language equivalent of course!
Anyway, back to Carew…… a tranquil spot built on a branch of the estuary that snakes inland from Milford Haven and overlooking the mill pond, the building was heavily damaged during the English Civil War, being held by Royalists in a predominantly Parliamentarian area. The mill itself is open to the public and the only tidal mill in Wales. The circular walk takes you across the causeway (popular for crab fishing on this particular afternoon), round the outskirts of the castle grounds and over the narrow, medieval bridge crossing the River Carew passing a very fine 11thC Celtic cross on the way. It’s a good flat walk so one I can do easily with plenty of places to stop and catch the castle from different angles!
As I languish in rural Pembrokeshire I’ve decided I should get out and about and explore the area while I have the chance. The September weather is wonderful; long warm sunny days, mostly in the low 20s, and clear blue skies are showing the county at its best. Whilst I busy myself with the house and garden during the week, in the hope that a prospective purchaser might walk through the door eventually, Sunday can be a bit of a low point so I’m dedicating Sundays to exploring local places of beauty, starting with the local gardens that are open to the public before they all close down in the autumn! As always my camera comes too!
The first Sunday stroll was a familiar one, to Colby Woodland Gardens, a National Trust property that reaches down to the coast. I didn’t venture that far but the walks vary from the formal walled garden to the oriental garden, meadows along the stream and the woodland paths that lead down to the sea or up onto the valley sides. And, of course, the required tearoom for an afternoon cream tea!