Borth y Gest, Thursday, 14th April
Travelled down the Llyn Peninsula to Aberdaron, where RS Thomas was vicar for many years. I borrowed Karen's camera to take some photos of his church (I've started using flickr to make slideshows you can embed in a blog - you can still click on individual shots to "blow them up"):
Earlier, on the way, we had stopped at yet another National Trust property, Plas yn Rhiw. This relatively modest-sized house was bought by the three Keating sisters in the thirties. It is said that there was a house on the site going back to Roman times and that the foundations include “Roman cement”. The sisters spent the rest of their lives buying up land around it in order to recreate the original grounds. They left it all to The National Trust, in memory of their parents, Constance and John Keating. They left a huge collection of books behind – including a first edition of Jane Eyre, with the pseudonym Currer Bell inscribed on the spine. I thought it was almost worth a visit to the place just to see this. The garden commands a view of Porth Neigwl, the bay known in English as Hell's Mouth. There is a bench in the garden –a recent addition- engraved with fish, animals and birds (try clicking on the photos to see them better). I don't know who made it, but it's beautifully done. The grounds are also famous for their two-seater privvy...
Why two-seater? I always thought twin seat arrangements were to allow people to dig two bore-holes for waste products, saving themselves the effort of moving the shed every time they filled a hole in. These, however, are built over a small ravine containing a stream which is culverted elsewhere in the garden. Perhaps the owners were simply great conversationalists.
We made for the bench in the woods instead, where we sat for a while, drinking coffee and eating the penultimate two slices of the excellent fruitcake my mum had baked us for the week.
Soundtrack for the day for me was I Sing The Body Electric, my favourite Weather Report album. The first track, Unknown Soldier, was inspired by keyboard player and composer Joe Zawinul's wartime experience as a child in Austria. He and a friend were out playing when they found the dead body of a soldier. It's less well known than it deserves to be, but if there is a list of pieces of music inspired by the Second World War out there this should definitely be on it.
Went for a run in the evening, up through the woods and back along the coast. Sat for ten minutes on the rocks at the edge of a calm, gently undulating sea, watching the clouds reflected in the water.
4 years ago