• Strange Stuff at the Farm

    Way back in the early days of the blog I seem to remember including a little piece about how Jan & I rebuilt part of the old fold yard wall after a couple of yards of it tumbled down. Well, we thought we'd done a pretty decent job, and it lasted about two years, but then a couple of months back it collapsed again. We think it might have been the flexing of the root system of the adjacent birch tree that caused it to topple a second time. Who knows? I've slowly rebuilt it again, but this time using a bit of intermediate cement between a few of the key stones. As I selected the stones to fit I turned one over and was surprised to find evidence of it having been worked into a shallow round hollow that would have been perfect for grinding something - grain or herbs? The hollow is quite smooth from regular use. The stone is not of a local type so it was obviously brought in from somewhere else. But from where, and when? More's the point, how come I missed it the first time we rebuilt the wall? Our neighbour's son-in-law, an archaeologist, dates it somewhere between medieval and Victorian. Bit vague and somewhat frustrating. Anyone out there with a view?

    Great clouds above the farm in the evening sky on Monday. Who or what is this strange winged being?



  • Not all dismal in Dismaland

    Last night Banksy's Dismaland closed its doors for the last time in sunny Weston-super-Mare, and seems to have been a runaway success, drawing thousands of visitors from all over the world. In the process it has also brought great prosperity to the local economy.

    We went down last week to see what the buzz was all about. On view is a plethora of social, economic and ecological polemic. Here one is confronted by all the evil and inequity of Britain in the 21st century, but often presented with a certain wry humour. But why have people flocked to this seemingly depressing portrayal of our world - a grim decoction of all our woes? Perhaps in some way this huge public airing of all our frustrations and disillusion with the system is a reassurance that we are not alone; a catharsis for those who give a damn.

    One of my personal favourites - a little film called 'Teddy Has An Operation' by Ze Frank. Google it - you'll love it!



  • Return of Found for a Pound

    Yes, been out rumaging around in recent weeks & come up with one or two more interesting FFAPs.

    This beautiful Victorian art nouveau tube-lined tile is most handsome and absolutely typical of its period (1880-1900). Usually used in fireplace surrounds or in porches there are scores of stunning designs. Can't identify the company who made this one, but no matter for each one is a little 6 inch square work of art.

    The Minton plate - Corinthian pattern - dates to about 1830 & it seems quite amazing that it has been serving up hot dinners for almost 200 years and survived unscathed.

    And these pretty little tumblers, made of incredibly thin glass and full of little air bubbles and striations are almost certainly 19th century. They could easily be from one of the Bristol factories.



  • Strange and beautiful in Machynlleth

    Stopped off briefly in Machynlleth the other day & happened upon a couple of little gems.

    The old guy hunched over the piano was in the front garden of a chap who upcycles old instruments into pieces of furniture. This piece had been created to arouse interest from passers-by and to raise donations towards providing music lessons for adults with learning difficulties. If the pianist was suddenly to pause and turn to look at you this just might be the stuff of nightmares I suspect. Love the way nature is taking hold.

    Just around the corner, down a side street, I found the Post 16 Learning Centre with this fabulous wood panel by Pippa Taylor mounted in the front porch. Understandably the subject matter is right up my street, but it's a bit of a shame that it's not in a more prominent situation in the town where visitors as well as locals could enjoy it.

    Machynlleth's that sort of place, where I suspect there are many more arty pieces tucked away in the town.



  • Petrified forest at Borth

    Over on the Welsh coast a couple of days back and lured back to have another look at the petrified forest on the beach between Borth and Ynyslas. It was low tide, but not a particularly low one so there was relatively little of the forest revealed that day. The guy working on the car park behind the sea wall told me that some of the coastal defence work in the last couple of years has actually destroyed/removed some of the forest remnants anyway, which is sad.

    This petrified forest dates back some 6,000 years when the land between England and Ireland was submerged due to tilting of the landmass in the wake of the melting ice caps as the Ice Age receded. Most of the trees are oak or Scots pine, but I found some evidence of birch too. The ancient peat beds of the forest floor can still be seen with perfectly preserved fallen twigs and tree roots that have survived in pristine condition due to the dense compacted structure of the peat and the lack of oxygen from continual submersion.

    The shapes and textures of the trees' remains combined with the sand and seaweed create strange and beautiful abstracts in their own right. There's something different to find every time I go back to this remarkable place.



Archie Miles photography

Archie's Blog

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