Another wet and windy day here in Cardigan. Clearly not as wet and windy as Cockermouth where hundreds are destined to be in temporary accomodation for months. So thanking my lucky stars, my journey home from viewing Stephen Jones’ Henllan Salerooms, allowed me time to stop on photograph the River Teifi. The broad winding stretch underneath the not so new castle at Newcastle Emlyn was happily colonised by sea gulls foraging for who knows what. At Cenarth Falls the spate was so great that the falls seemed to have disappeared; and down stream below the indomitable bridge the water was surging, twisting and doing its best to be thoroughly frightening. Towards Llechryd (home of my former band, the Llechryd Light Orchestra) the river course had spilled its banks and then some. The road was clear but the bridge was under though cars could splash across.
Anyway it was dusk and the skies were clearing enough to show a rosy glow and a skein of geese like me, driving themselves home.
More on a watery theme and as far as I’m aware without Rory McGrath.
This festival has become an annual event for Cardigan and makes great use of the River Teifi as backdrop with boats buzzing about and rowers grunting and groaning in unison.
A rather lovely way to spend the afternoon though I suggest a big pocket full of hard currency and no breakfast. Somehow crispy duck seems just WRONG at 2.30pm. Plenty for children to do (in particular a VERY long and boring queue for face painting) and, of course, eat. Though the thing that children do with highly coloured extruded sugary things probably isn’t technically ‘eating’ is it? It’s more like substance misuse.
Best things? Lots of lovely people, being mistaken by a visitor for someone who might know something about the history of Cardigan, real lemonade, being asked if I could teach a Dreamweaver Course, and meeting the people from the Cardigan and District Agricultural and Maritime Museum (they don’t actually HAVE a museum so don’t ask me where it is).
It’s sad I know but celebrity does bring out the worst in me. I recall walking into my shop to be greeted by my rather chuffed assistant: ‘Paul, meet Mr Grant Baynham from TV’s That’s Life! I managed a barely polite ‘Hello’ before I announced ‘I can’t stand that show’. Retreat of customer. Anyway, a long time ago. I’m better now.
Tipped off that Rory, Paddy and film crew would be filming coracle racing for the next series of their somewhat indifferent TV show, Rory and Paddy’s Great British Adventure we warm-footed it down to the River Teifi at Cilgerran. I hadn’t seen coracle racing there since I was 12 or so but I had become temporarily and boyishly interested in the little hide and willow tubs that for at least two thousand years have graced these shores.
Anyway, opportunities to gongoozle are these days rare, so there we were watching woeful red-faced Rory and wretched Paddy getting it all wrong while the river pros paddled the one hundred yards in a flash. Then former funny-man Rory got a bit grumpy with his producer and then they re-shot some cheering and then I started muttering something about it being ‘Clarkson Lite’ (which when I think about it is probably a good thing); and before I started shouting ‘Which one’s Jeremy Clarkson?’, Shevaughn insisted we leave. A good job no drink had been taken. Anyway here’s a picture of a chunky guy who came last and some river tough guys who came first…
Mmmm… I wonder if they visited Martin Fowler’s National Coracle Museum at Cenarth?
‘A unique collection of coracles from Wales & around the world.
Set in the grounds of the 17th century flour mill overlooking the salmon leap & falls.
Craft & souvenir shop & Forget Me Not Antiques.’
Easter to end October, daily 10.30 – 17.30. All other times by appointment
There will be a meeting to further discuss the future of the Big Art Project in Cardigan. Taking place on July 16th at Ysgol Uwchradd (Cardigan Secondary School) it is organised by those campaigning against the project. Chaired by “independant” person Andrew Shoben from Greyworld. All invited.
If you are in favour, it could be the last chance to get your voice heard.
If you want to get my goat then your best bet would be to start up some heavy plant outside my window early on a Sunday morning. The throb of generators perhaps with a counterpoint of reversing lorry is certain to bring me stumbling to the curtains with an oath.
I recall one Sunday, about 10 years ago, standing outside Isfryn (where lived before Umsinga), in the lane, in my slippers, in my flapping dressing gown, berating the driver of a JCB. He was making a nice early start on the building plot opposite. It was 7.30a.m fer c*****s sake! Fair play to the man he went home for an hour. In the cold light of (later in the) day I felt more than a little bit foolish.
So, to this morning. As readers may recall, Umsinga is moored close up to that Cardigan jewel, Victoria Gardens. I was dragged to consciousness at 8.00am by the offending clatter of 3 sturdy fellows from Teify Forge at Lampeter. They had a long flat-bed truck and another carrying their generators; they were busy taking down the railings on the north side of the gardens, torches aglow. They had already got work on the kissing gate and were loading up the sections to take away.
See how I’ve mellowed! I dressed (after all I don’t live on a quiet country lane now), I went downstairs, gave Elsie some breakfast, grabbed my camera and went outside and took some pictures. They weren’t particularly joyful about this and nor were they particularly forthcoming about what was going on. I don’t blame them either; I probably looked a bit mad. Just as well I was properly shod and attired though.
So today Victoria Gardens looks somewhat odd with a whole of a flank de-railed. I’m looking forward to what happens next.
Here are the pictures, made in anger.