About Oxwich Castle

Oxwich Bay Castle; a hilltop fortress haunted

Rising from ruins of early Tudor times,

It’s appearance more of a fortified stately home;

A magnificent mansion it was.

It was built to impress the influential.

Made from the treasures of shipwrecks there.

Rising on the site of an earlier fortification.

With a castle gate bearing of innocent blood,

A scene of a once mortal battle.

The daughter of Sir Mansel who’s grief is bared.

Men Fighting over lost stolen treasures there.

Barrels of wine from France; and the like;

Pots, pans, fancy dress and mustard seed.

Fighting were two of the Gower’s families;

The Mansel’s and the Herberts; disputing

When Sir Mansel’s daughter appeared,

Her aim was to the resolve,

Sir Mansel, it was her innocence he feared.

Over the stolen booty Sir Mansel held.

Refusing the real owner to reconcile or detour,

A feud engaged over this stolen treasure,

But there within the Mansel household,

When his daughter appeared at the gate amure.

Caught in the fire; for it was too late,

There was no peace to be made

As Sir Mansel refused to negotiate.

For the booty was Herberts stolen from the sea,

And it was not to be had; not owned by he.

Miss Anne was killed for the treasures taken,

She was met by a miss thrown stone.

A Stone was meant for Sir Mansel himself.

Instead of gain; his daughter struck lain.

An innocent life; Miss Anne was gone;

Sir Mansel, her life was lost; he grieved in pain,

Bereaved for what he had exchanged;

A shipwrecked treasure feigned,

All for the life of his daughter he gave.

******

From the shores of Oxwich Bay the Mansel family found many an opportunity to gain advantage of their location to the beach were the first to plunder lots sailing ships that wrecked near the rocks at Oxwich Beach.

However, such eager salvaging brought disaster upon the family when, in 1557, Sir Rhys Mansel took possession of the riches from a certain French trading ship that had come to grief off Oxwich Point during a gale.

The salvage rights to this vessel, to some extent, also belonged to a Sir George Herbert, one of the most important and powerful men of Swansea at the time, and he and his men soon descended upon Oxwich Castle.

Fearing an ensuing argument, between Herbert and his men and Mansel and his own, would turn bloody, when Sir Rhys Mansel’s daughter, Anne, rushed outside the castle to intervene and reconcile the two sides.

However, as she intervened, she was struck by a stone thrown which resulted in her death six days later.

References from:

http://cadw.gov.wales/daysout/oxwichcastle/?lang=en

Made in Belgium

During the Belgian revolution of 1830 and the period of mutiny afterwards (1830-1839) the family BOCH had already acquired a long tradition in the field of faience and a lot of strategic experience in anticipating politic and economic developments.

Around 1874, due to the passionate interest of collectors of old faience pieces, Victor BOCH hires Dutchman from Maastricht, some already experienced after years of work in Delft. These Dutch faience painters brought their knowledge, experience and skills.

Thanks to their collaboration the old working methods were applied on different clay than the potters in Delft.

A period of reproduction of decors is followed by a period of innovation, among others with the polychrome decors on white background, or bleu, green or black, and afterwards new decors.

Luxury faience is decorated with Delft decors, and becomes a speciality of the “Manufacture” in a division named “la Chambre des peintres hollandais” (the Holland painter’s chamber).

These pieced each with a hand painted signature of the interlaced letters “B, F, K“ (Boch frères Keramis) on the bottom of the pieces.

These artistic products in Delft style are hand painted, instead of being decorated with a usual printed decor.

 

More at: visit my ebay store:

https://m.ebay.co.uk/itm/Antique-Celadon-Boch-Freres-Keramis-Bowl-Ceramic-Lustre-ware-3-Available-/263252912835?_mwBanner=1

Le Voyage

Bonjour!

I have always loved to travel. Sometimes it’s risky leaving home, going on an adventure to another country, then going through customs and then border patrols.

Those are times when we share new loves and new conversations talking about settling somewhere new. What if”s are fun… refreshing. Perhaps looking for a job or even a new house anyone knows that it is risky. But, I think sometimes the heart overtakes reason and you just want to hit the road.

We are on our way to Paris, just for a few days. Taking the ferry from Dover to Calais. We’re diving with doggies and it’s only for a few days. They even have their own passports.

Maybe we don’t get paid when to travel, but the return is priceless; it’s healing for the soul; it’s a breath of life, energy and refreshing to the mind and body.

And nevertheless; Luckily, when I return home I will be starting a new job soon. I’ll be ready to come back to work. I don’t mind because I love to experience new places and people.

Anyway, travelling is a high for me. I think to some it can be so overwhelming when it’s on demand rather than inspired.  Like when it’s for work rather than pleasure.

Taking a spontaneous journey requires passion, believing in yourself and your partner. A journey is about creating a believable story, despite timing setbacks, and enduring to understand a different language. I’m attempting to learn French. The doggies understand it better than I do!

Travel takes fortitude. Then you have to write about it and photograph it and publish your experience.

So we share the joy of the road; Jim and I, we travel with our chihuahua’s; Boubou and Daisy. They are lovely companions; against all odds and despite all; I love this view from the road with them.

Although, I don’t think I go alone or even complete a thought on paper without them.

Travel requires learning the craft of road and the motion of thought and all that goes with the journey. But then, I always look forward going back home and to work so we can hit the road again next summer.

Au revoir…until we meet again.

Aberaeron

Aberaeron Lobster Boat

On Sunday, we drove West into the beautiful Aeron Valley. To Aberaeron, a harbour town much loved by the poet Dylan Thomas who lived there locally for a while.


At the mouth of the Aeron River, is where we spent the afternoon. We dined at the Harbormaster; an historic listed building.

Aberaeron was built on a level area between the mountains and the sea.

A land  formed during the last ice-age 10,000 years ago.

And in 1148 a castle was built there. It was a 12th century medieval fort on the sea-shore, near the village.


Castell Cadwgan, a ringwork fortification around a probable wooden structure, was located by the shore at Aberaeron.

But it has long since been claimed by the sea.

Few traces remain today apart from some mounds of earth, the remains of the enclosure bank, most of the site having been eroded.

Aberaeron was beautiful and it was old and ancient and I loved it.

Until we meet again…
American Girl in Wales

Art Credit;
Dorian Spencer Davies, Abaraeron lobster boat.

All That Remains 


From the “Wild Irish Way, the road that leads to Minard Castle where it stands proud on a hill overlooking the Irish bay. 

It’s ruins prominent; with views across the Irish Sea to the edge of glaciers to Ireland’s southern Peninsula. J took me there today. I loved it. 


A castle commanding one’s attention; one of only three of the 16th century built; it’s forbidden to enter now. 

At high tide it remains a citadel submerged; once beautiful but left in despair. 


There are places where time and nature toss the waves rolling, weakening the sea walls leaving all thrown; left at the shore…


And that is all that remains. 

Winter in France

Situated near the Pyrenees and located in close proximity to the Mediterranean coast.

The climate of this French city is very wet with snow and a cold climate normally found in the Midi-Pyrenees area of southern France, alongside the banks of the Garonne River.

The winter months in the Mid Pyreneese are inspiring, when daytime times during January and February average around 12°C, and on occasion reach more than 15°C, although the nights can feel a little chilly.

Although the winter months between November and February are nothing like the cold, snowy affairs of northern Europe, the mountains do see its share of days and nights with freezing temperatures and the occasional snowfall.

Wild Blackberry

 

Finally, we are in our new house! I can’t hardly believe it! Imagine this; an American Girl from Texas meets British boy, they fall in love, she moves to Wales, they get married, together they buy a house and live happily ever after! Sounds like a fairy tale doesn’t it?

It was only a year ago when I first began writing and photographing Wales. And now I have a weekly column in the Evening Post! How much better can it get? I have so much more to write about and my days are so full. Today, Kevin the painter is here. I think he’s the greatest even though I only understand very few words when he talks. Yet, he is a true Welsh friend and gentlemen. After all, you can’t just let anyone touch your walls; right? “I trust you completely,” I told him. He replied, “You would not believe it if I told you how may coats of paint and wallpaper were on the walls,” he said. “There were seventeen layers!” As I was tying the bags up, I noticed the remains of one of the wallpapers. It was dark blue with white astronauts floating in space. Another patch was red Victorian flowers. Really?

Now I know why there are 37 black bags of wallpaper and paint chips! I know I can’t put them on the sidewalk all at once, after learning the hard way. One time I placed 4 black bags out for pick-up. The bin collectors only picked up 3 black bags and then place ‘a naughty notice’ on the fourth bag and left it there. Therefore, only 3 black bags at a time from now on for pick-up every week. So, I guess it will take 12.3 weeks before all the black bags are gone.

Just to be here in the new house makes me feel so alive and full of hope for the future. I have not felt this good in years. Both Jim and I are making decisions on everything. We just purchased our first new television together. It’s a 42 inch LCD with HD and the entire SKY package! After taking it out of the box and having it mounted on the wall; then turning it on for the first time; it was almost like giving birth!

I am excited by everything I see and do…I am meeting extraordinary people, having real conversations, watching films and the BBC, while making an already beautiful house a home and all the planning that goes with it.

Jim wanted to pick the paint for the walls but had a difficult time deciding. So, the other day we took the doggies for a walk in The Gower  in order to take a break, forgetting the fact he has purchased 27 samples of Farrow and Ball paint; while in short chose only four out of the 27 colors.

Anyway, I think Woebly Castle is one of the most beautiful places in the entire world. Walking above the marshes, remembering one time when we found a lovely sea shell and an old crab and some kind of seaweed flower; I think we were just having a silly moment pretending it was real treasure we found. We laughed for hours; we were barefoot, carefree, the sand sliding up between my toes felt great watching the dogs run and play.

I loved it, with the wind in our face, the waves washing up to shore, the sun was going down, I loved the day even more, because I couldn’t even tell where sea and sky began or ended. All I know is that it felt as if I were a part of it; a oneness of earth, the sea and sky, home, Wales and me.

It’s a kind of love here in the most tender ways, I can feel my face against the breezes from where the four winds blow, with my feet steady upon the sands; it’s a place where you could walk for miles. It’s a place where I feel happy and free. Wales is a comforter and it’s where Swansea is my love; it brings meaning to my life and settling here seemingly is the answer to all my prayers.

This source of comfort is always present and I love your mind and thoughts and not to even know where you begin or where I end, or whether we’re any different than the sheep grazing on the cliffs along shores of this beloved Wales.

All I know, it’s where the blackberry grows wild, where the seagulls sings beautiful songs and it’s the views I see standing from here that elevate my mind; it’s home calling to me. And it says, “I know you through your thoughts and it’s about the beauty here that you will write about and that will be your inspiration.”

I think Wales will be my anchor; just Jim and I; the doggies too… and Swansea our nest. So, from now, it will always be the place I’ll call home. You are all the colors of Farrow&Ball, and if allowed, I will paint your name and cross my heart; just for another chance to say; “I love you Abertawe Cymru.”

Pages from “A Bit of Texas in Swansea
By Katie Murphy, August 26, 2015; previously published; South Wales Evening Post.