Thursday, 27 August 2009

Postcard 40: Swansea, Dylan Thomas and Salubrious Passage

Coastcard work-in-progress

Above and below: Salubrious Passage, Swansea

Above and Below: more Coastcard experiments

I am in the process of designing some greetings cards of Swansea, home town of Dylan Thomas. Last week I was looking at some of my photographs and experimenting with a design based on the famous alleyway, Salubrious Passage. I have been trying out different colour schemes, as you can see.

You will notice the stone tablets or open books, incised with words from Dylan's famous poem (and one of my favourites), 'Fern Hill'. You will also notice the cherub holding the strings (which look like reins).

Imagine my surprise when I visited Seth Apter's blog, The Altered Page, to see a rather similar image. ('Chinese Checkers', picture 3). It is not identical, but I cannot help wondering if there is some common influence. What do you think?

There are more cherubs in Swansea in the vicinity of the Grand Theatre. Dylan Thomas referred to this alley as 'Paradise Passage' in his ghost story, 'The Followers'.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Postcard 39: Oxwich, Gower and Wesley

'Is this picnic only for humans?'

We had a 'holiday-at-home' yesterday, when we packed a picnic lunch and headed for Gower. My heart lifts when we cross the cattlegrid at the start of Fairwood Common: I always feel at that point that the town is truly behind us. Our first port of call was the new Wildflower Centre. If you are in the area, do drop in for a cup of coffee. The Italian bread looked amazing. I have rarely seen such a splendid display of deep blue cornflowers.

We had our picnic on the edge of Cefn Bryn, before heading on to the south coast of the peninsula at Oxwich Bay.

Sadly the beach was full of wasps and looking very 'grey', but we were about to head off in a different direction. Oxwich is a pretty village, known for its wide stretch of sand and for the wildlife habitat of its extensive dunes. It is not widely known that the preacher and founder of Methodism, John Wesley, came to the village and stayed in one of the beautiful cottages in the second half of the eighteenth century.

Oxwich was once a haven for smugglers. Oxwich Castle, a ruined manor house, was built in 1541 and the delightful 12th century church of St Illtyd nestles in the trees on a rocky ledge above the sea.

Along the boardwalk
Eggs of some sort or a seed pod from something like a birch tree?

On this occasion, we were heading for a nature walk across the sand dunes and over the short marshy boardwalk. The area of reedbed and fen was once a saltmarsh. Thomas Mansel Talbot of Margam claimed it from the sea in the 18th century.

Burnet Moths

I.D. gratefully received!

Looking up from Oxwich to Cefn Bryn on Gower

Sadly, it was not a bright sunny afternoon, so it is not very surprising that we failed to find any lizards, grass snakes or adders on the dunes. We had a good time all the same: I hope you enjoy these photos of some of our sightings...
ID gratefully received!

The waymarked paths over the nature reserve are marked with white cockle shells. Cockles are a key part of the Gower scene.

Common Blue Butterfly - I think...

... and query Meadow Brown Butterfly

Red Admiral

To be identified!

Brown Lipped Snail?
(it looked very pink to us!)