The Gower

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Friday 7th October   Matthew got up early to be rehearsed in Furgs’ dosing and the serving of his breakfast.

Set off about 9.30 in dullish weather which improved as we drove west.   Some quick spats of rain once we had crossed the border into Wales, but mostly it was bright and sunny with good soft wet light.  

Stopped at the Leigh Delamere Services and had the most execrable of all lunches ever and we have had lots…   Bought a Gastropub Rich Steak Lasagne from M&S which was also proved to be very disappointing no taste of cheese and too much garlic with tough bits of steak – the Italians would foam at the mouth.   Really bad food day.

Arrived too early at the cottage, but fortunately it was ready for us.   Found out what we had forgotten, but nothing too important… 

Went down to the beach which was a very fine sandy one with lots of shells on it;  not very photogenic.    People were walking their dogs and fishing.

Viewed Oxwich Castle from the outside;  it is shut for the winter. 

 Fed some grass to a blonde welsh cob. 

The flat

We find that the hoofer doofer working the set top box does not work possibly battery is weak.   As England play France tomorrow early we are not overjoyed.  

Mobile does not work in the flat so PJ has to go outside, landlady is not available.   This is starting well…  

PJ is making coffee in the teapot;  there is no sieve and the grounds are blocking the spout – happy days.

Typical cottage

Saturday 8th October

Peter set off early to try to get a battery for the TV hoofer;  no luck.   Left to find a super market, could not find the Tesco we had seen yesterday, but found a Sainsbury’s which we preferred.   Parked in the station car park and found that the Cardiff train was half an hour off so we went to a charity shop and P bought a milk jug that would fit in the fridge for 50p and H bought a pint jug for £2.45 that was seriously underpriced.   Arrived at Cardiff and had lunch at John Lewis;  very much better food than yesterday.   We both had food with caramelised onions in that were just ordinary ones when they arrived on the plate.  

We had a look at the castle, but were not prepared to pay £9.50 for a look around Lord Bute’s fine over-decorated, garish rooms when we only wanted to see the castle keep and grounds.   Apparently ‘bad people’ had gone into the grounds and sneaked into the castle without paying.   PJ took lots of pictures, unfortunately H could not bring a backpack to a day out including the Opera.   This was probably the wrong attitude as it was the best light of the trip...L

We walked down to the Millennium Centre at Cardiff Bay and found out when the opera ended and that we had plenty of time to get to the station after the performance.   Explored the Bay area;  lots more photographs.   Had a good snack before the performance at an Italian restaurant and really enjoyed an excellent version of Katya Kabanova.   The orchestra in particular was inspiring.   The bass trombone had some telling passages in the storms as did the timpani.   Amanda Roocroft was touching as Katya, but a bit over amplified at times from where we were sitting near the front.  

P was rather surprised by the chattiness of the woman who was sitting next to him.

We did not use the bus walking back to the station missing the 10.48 train by a second, catching the 10.06.   We had the Cardiff experience; there were police and security on the platform and around trying to control the exuberant customers.   The girls were very lippy, but amusing and one who could not sing, but did!  By the time we arrived at Swansea there weren’t many left on the train every poorly lit station received a few.   P drove slowly home.   The TV still does not work even with the new battery.

 Sunday 9th October

PJ rang Mrs Bruce and when we got back after lunch the TV was working;  the battery in the right way up and a sharp tap seemed to be the answer.  

We saw some magnificent trees maintained by the Forestry Commission at Penrice unfortunately not enough light.   There was the remains of a waterwheel and a castle which was nothing but a broken circle of walls covered in vegetation.  

Cymbalaria muralis

We went round the coast to look at Port Eynon which was very small and wet and had gone to bed for the winter…   There was a nice little church and graveyard with a tribute to lifeboatmen who had been lost on duty.

Excellent show for October

St. Cattwg's

Port Eynon parish church was founded by St Cennydd (a missionary for St Cattwg) in the 6th century A.D.  The present building dates from the 12th century and was given to the Knights of St. John by Robert de la Mare around 1165.

St Cattwg's Church has undergone many changes over the centuries but is probably now most famous for its connection with the seaside community and the marble statue commemorating the brave life boatmen in the church yard.

On the way to Worms Head we followed a long file of vintage tractors which also turned into the £3 Car Park.   We had a good roast lunch at the Worms Head Hotel in Rhossili.  

The sea was lacy with waves and the horizon was at one with the sea;  very beautiful, but not a photograph more of a water colour.   The clouds were well down and it was raining lightly so we came home and caught up with the Friday episode of Eastenders.   Spent the evening in front of the box.

Monday 10th October

Another damp day with low cloud;  went to an information centre to ask about mining cottages.   Had a look at possible ones in the Gower and went on to Maesteg where we saw some nice terraces of houses, but unfortunately  there were cars in front.   Still really bad light nowhere for lunch so went back to the station car park in Swansea.   Had a really good Chinese lunch, must have been authentic as most of the diners were Chinese.   Had a look around the centre of Swansea, failed to buy anything for Ann.   Came home via ALL the mini villages PJ map reading from a new OS map.   Looked at Weobley castle, might be something in good light.

Home to a large coffee and the box.

 Tuesday 11th October

Not quite so overcast this morning.   We failed to find a castle at Loughor Castle and went on to Carmarthen where we took pictures and had a good lunch mine included beef from the local black cattle.  We then found an excellent castle at Kidwelly took more photographs and also visited a Norman church.   The light still not good, but maybe something will be worth enlarging.   The road works we had enjoyed on the trip out were finished so had a quicker journey home.

Carnarvon Castle


Some solarisation to enhance the glamour factor.

Probably works better in monochrome

Kidwelly Castle

The Castle Gatehouse and pub


In ancient documents, Kidwelly was spelt Cadwely, Catwelli, Kadewely, Keddewelly, Kadwelye, Kedwelle. The "Cat" in "Catwelli" may, however, have just been a misunderstanding about the origin of the word - some even believe that Kidwelly was named after a gentleman named Cattas, whose habits included sleeping in an oak tree in the vicinity!

Attractively painted houses

St. Mary's Church

Some distance from the sea

Bus shelter designed by school children painted by artists

 Wednesday 12th October

Peter had miscounted his pants, so he did some washing.   Went down to the bay and walked amongst the sand dunes and along the beach.   Found lots of intricately patterned stones and a variety of snails some about 4 mm across and striped.   A few flowers including erodium, oenothera, geranium, centaurium and possibly wintergreen in amongst the grass.   Eryngium maritinum still flowering, thought about bring some seed home but resisted.   Found a tennis ball and gave it to a dog owner with two dogs and one ball;  the dog already holding a ball took the new one too!!   Took some pictures of the ridges on the sand, but the light not really good enough.

In the afternoon we went to look at Carreg Cennen which was an impressive castle on the crest of a hill near Trapp.   The light was still poor until we were leaving when the sun came out for a few minutes.   Came home for supper.

Geranium pratense

Lots of wind in the grasses!

Sea holly


Arranged by the sea



Some wonderfully patterned stones

Carreg Cennen Castle is one of the few remaining privately owned Castles in Wales.   The Castle came to be privately owned due to a legal discrepancy when Gwilym Morris, bought the farm from the Cawdor Estate in the early 1960's. The Land which he bought included the land on which the Castle stands, hence he had acquired the castle as part of the farm. On realisation of their mistake the Cawdor Estate tried to buy the castle back for £100, he of course refused and hence why it is his today.

He has a management agreement with Cadw, Wales' equivalent to English Heritage, which means that they take care of any necessary upkeep to the castle


Carreg Cennen

Countryside from outside the castle walls mist dispersed during the morning

Castle in the mist too

From the ramparts

Loo above

Way in

 Thursday 13th October

Went out to find the dolman or stones nearby, but could not locate them.   Weather still not up to much so we decided to come home a day early.   The weather on the way home was sunny with lots of fluffy clouds;  better than anything we had seen for most of the holiday.   Clouds came down again just outside St. Albans.   Had a slice for supper.