Maen Ceti; Great Stone of Sketty

Cefn Bryn overlooks Maen Ceti; a chambered cairn or burial tomb also known as Arthur’s Stone.  Maen Ceti or the ‘Great Stone of Sketty’ is one of the most well known dolmens in Wales.

The stone weighs between 25-30 tons. This capstone measures about 4 metres in length, over 2 metres tall and 2 metres in width.

It stands on a northward facing slope just below the crest of the northern end of the ridge-backed hill of Cefn Bryn stretching east from the Iron Age hillfort at Cilifor Top, north across Llanrhidian Sands and west to the mouth of the River Loughor or Afon Llwchwr where it flows into Carmarthen Bay.

To the north is the Loughor Estuary which separates Gower from Llanelli and Burry Port.
The hills skyline above the estuary are composed of rocks from the Upper Carboniferous, and mostly covered in green ferns and mountain grasses.

The hills are of the common land its where the animals roam and graze freely and it’s where the ground is hilly and fertile. This belt of rich farmland meets the north coast at a prominent, rounded hill with Iron Age fortifications around its summit.

Arthur’s Stone or Maen Ceti can be found on Cefn Bryn in the Gower Peninsula. This massive stone weighs over 25 tons and marks the site of two Neolithic burial chambers, dating from around 6000 years ago. The stone is one of Gower’s best known landmarks and has long been the subject of wonder.

Standing above the Estuary on Cefn Bryn, I feel the presence of this gigantic stone and wonder about the ancients who placed it here so many  thousands of years ago

For a long time, I believed that Arthur’s Stone is a feat of engineering similar to Stonehenge, where Neolithic people used very basic equipment to move the heavy stones into position and some were carried by glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Below the alter stones, you can see the pillar stones standing to create the burial chambers below and the smaller upright stones are there as support.

Arthur’s Stone measures 4 x 2 x 2 metres, but it was once much larger than this. A big piece of it, weighing 10 tons, broke off sometime around 1690 and can still be seen lying next to Arthur’s Stone today.

 The site of Arthur’s Stone was one of the first places to be protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882.

This is my favourite place in the Gower.

References:

Barber, Chris., Mysterious Wales, Paladin Books, London W1X, 1987.

Hawkes, Jacquetta., A Guide To The Prehistoric And Roman Monuments In England And Wales, Cardinal, London, 1975.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cefn_Bryn

*The Gower Society, A Guide To Gower, The Publication Committee of The Gower Soc., (orig. prepared 1965. Edt. 1989).

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Happy Thanksgiving in America


Can you feel the weather changing? I can and it beginning to feel like the holidays here in Swansea Wales. And yes, of course it is raining! But nevertheless, yesterday I ventured out to visit the shops and they all have their Christmas decorations on now and they are so beautiful! It makes me want to start decorating.

Except when I returned to my car; I was handed a parking violation for going 30 minutes over my time limit! It’s a no wonder anyone can get any shopping done! It might be unfortunate, but those Christmas collectables might have to stay on the shelf a little longer. Maybe, Swansea could suspend parking violations in the Quadrant throughout the holidays. Is’t that a great idea? Well, we will we never know because I don’t think it will ever happen . So I will have to start from scratch with all my Christmas decorations purchase

The fact that I am even here in Swansea, it still simply amazes me. After all; who moves to Swansea from Texas? Hardly  anyone! At least that’s what everyone here tells me; especially if your a girl and from Dallas, Texas. It’s true I was born there and sometimes we just have to take a chance to see what will happen not really knowing what the outcomes might be. But now that I’m here in Swansea; and i love it here and I’d do it again.

Yesterday, it was Thanksgiving Day in America. Sometimes people ask me if I miss it. My reply is; “I miss people, but not things.” Besides I’m happy here with Jim and the doggies.  Some days the past is still a blur and there are future and still unwritten; I don’t think we are meant to know everything until it happens. I think anticipation demands that you look towards the future and take chances.

Although sometimes my emotions get in the way. Like the first time I arrived in the UK, landing at Heathrow…good heavens! I was so lost and overwhelmed with Gates and terminals only allowing access to certain trains, buses and taxi’s. Oh boy was I proved wrong whereas I thought Dallas/Ft. Worth International was big. Driving in Texas is so much easier because the roads are so wide; which makes it easier to get to all the shops to do your christmas shopping.

Christmas shopping in America is so much easier too!  The day after thanksgiving is Black Friday and the malls every where are  usually open by 7:00 A.M. in the morning and close at 12:00 P.M. during this  holiday week end.

Black Friday in America has lots of sales and buy-one-get-one free schemes. Plus, in Texas you don’t have to pay for parking and worry about how long you leave your car parked as long as you are shopping.

But I’m here in Swansea now and I love it and nothing seems to get in the way of reality. Some days I go from being over- confident and strong-willed, to warm and open-minded, to less tense and less apprehensive.
I love the beauty, it’s culture and its lovely history; even in its vastness and in spite of everything; I’ve always wondered if the destiny is a matter of chance or if due to forces unknown… Yes, I believe it is as real as we are only if we give a little, take chances of bits and pieces of dreams.

Making our ideals, desires, fears, memories; living the history. May it’s just my view looking out of window from an American girl from Texas, discovering Swansea.

Just me and Jim together is perfect; the way we’d found each other from the beginning, the way we always find the path in our particular universe.
 Where love us the the truth, or as close to the truth than I can say, certain things are beyond any understanding. All I know is you don’t have yo try so hard when you love someone so much.

Http://don’t-try-so-hard.myshopify.com where two creatures working as one unified body.
We were meant to be. Like two flames unite and blend into one.
 Something so big that never get fully describe, at least not in my lifetime, nor in eternity.

Happy Thanksgiving to all. I am thankful for my new family here in Wales and I love you all and miss my Kids, family and Friends in America.

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.

Marsh Lambs

  
If anyone were to tell me that Swansea is not the most beautiful place in the world; I could never believe them. I think that the Gower is proof. If you don’t believe me; take a drive through the Gower on a Sunday. 

Everything was so green; the sheep dotted the road and fern marshes and hills; wild ponies were everywhere along the estuary with their fouls laying along the roads; dozing in the sun on the commons. Just being there in the Gower makes me want to own a derelict old stone farmhouse and fix it up. It could be somewhere I could go on the weekends and write and have that inspiration, there in the Gower. 

   

I went to the Gower festival this weekend When I arrived there was a Dog Show going on for cross breeds. We had taken the dogs with us; Beau and Daze; so naturally I had to enter them. I’m not partial to them, well maybe a little! And of course I had to enter them. They both got ribbon! Beau got fifth place for the breed with the most beautiful eyes! Daze won fourth place for the dog the judge would like to take home. I couldn’t believe it! I had that cheeky smile on my face the rest of the day. You know that smile; it’s the one where Jim makes fun of me when I do it; like a swell with pride; smiling like I just had invented something witty. 

   
As we were driving back, we took an alternative route since the roads were so busy. As a result we discovered Weobley Castle where we bought a marsh lamb; but just the part leg portion of course. We had it for dinner. It was delicious!  

  

Weobley is one of the few surviving fortified manor houses in Wales. There aren’t many places in the world left were you can stand in the same window as someone did half s millennium ago and witness the same unspoilt view; much less have a chance to taste the bounty of the marsh and it’s lambs from so many generations ago. The view from the North Gower marshland, mudflat and estuary is such a rare and enchanting place in Swansea.

   
That is when I find myself in places where I have been and where I am at now, I feel so lucky. Staring up at the ceiling as I lay in my bed, with thoughts racing through my head; I can hear the wind blowing through the trees and the faint sounds of waves as they struggle to push and resend. We are in the new house and my being is awakened within my heart. 

  
No longer do I struggle to search for the answers; because now I know I was meant to be here. A lot of the time has past and today, I know there more answers than questions. I love Swansea. It’s as if I am a part of Swansea now and just maybe it’s a part of me too. 

  
From A Bit of Texas in Swansea; pub; South Wales Evening Post, August 23, 2015. By Katie Murphy

Norbutt and Doris at Home

  
Everything in Wales has an influence to the nature of life; to its people, in that I find myself so close to earth. I think it was just a reason to be happy and so it seems to me that it’s more like a celebration of life and spirit; It’s why I love it here with Jim. 
We are in our new house. There is beautiful scenery and the one I love is here and it’s why I have chosen to stay and remain; perhaps a bit green, to be open to everything, and to be always ready to explore, discover and to stay naive. I love Swansea and The Gower. It’s scent and all the colours of hills dotted with white face sheep cover the wide open marshes. 

I will always have a need for the Beauty here and for Jim; that our life together will be like living on the edge of a cloud top in the mountains. As it were a vale of emeralds with its hills with our new sheep; Norbutt and Doris and wild blackberry bushes and the ancient oak trees everywhere, and in our new home; finally. 

About Fairy Hill

 

Fairy Hill, The Gower, Swansea, South Wales,

There are certain people that come into our lives; I don’t question why… or why some us can see things why others cannot.

And sometimes there are people, places we go and things we see that inspire us, and I think that these opportunities is what makes our lives better; happier  perhaps.

Then I feel all these inspirations when I see how something so small can change the direction of our entire life; perhaps they even help us began to dream again.

And sometimes they become the one with us,

And our entire universe changes a single moment, that the sight of something so rare might appear; so unexpected. It doesn’t have to have meaning; Aren’t we are here to just enjoy the experiences we are given?

And it’s in the combination of my heart; of yours and mine, when this fairy appeared under the tree that inspired me the most.

The perfect union between two equal parts … converted into one captured in time; a mystic being.
It’s a beautiful life here in Swansea, near the Gower… There is a fairy under this ancient oak tree at Fairy Hill. I’ve seen it for myself.

It’s mystic and amazing. It’s an inspiration and the sight of it seem to breathe life into me… I gasp.

Such a breath, it’s the kind that I will never become weary of.
It’s about why I love it here in the Gower.  I can’t help it.

But the reality is that there is just one way to see them.  You have to look. Don’t get too close. Fairy’s are not very friendly you know.

And it is one of the reasons why I love this place near Reynoldston in Swansea county in Wales. It’s near King Arthur’s Stone. There is something magical about it I think. Cariad.

Cariad means Love in Welsh

Americangirlinwales@gmail.com

ivy covered. were the fairies once lived.

Fairy Hill Hotel and Restaurant

Fairyhill is a fabulous hotel and restaurant located in the Gower near Reynoldston, Sourh Wales. And it’s just a walk from Arthur’s Stone; Maen Ceti an Cefn Bryn.

 

Meredid; My fairy friend

My friend Midge invited us to check it out. And OMG! This is an ivy-covered manor house in the centre of Gower. It is with an award-winning restaurant and spa treatments available; B&B.

The Absolute

  

There are rifts and spaces 
And gaps and places, and sometimes 
All share a spec of time,

Like the billions of stones that were carefully placed here in an infinite dark universe,
Like the stars, they too,
Will one day wither and die.

But everything that has been given a time
Leaves behind a history;
Dreams, life, love, day and night,
And wonder and oh; to wander. 

Even sadness has a time. 

But the funny thing about time is,
That it passes, moves, flows and spins through space and nothingness.

And will do so till nothing is left and even space has all but withered away.

But it is with this that thought I leave with you in good parting today…

Nothing is eternal in the essence of time, except for love; if it’s real love; imagination and perhaps beauty of course.

But it is your spirit that enables anything to reach immortality, and that it rest amongst us, 

In my ever burning soul. 

Where there are no rifts; just spaces,

You are my gaps and places, and sometimes

The absolute; It’s where we share, 

that same spec in time. 

-m.h.h.