TRAVEL & PLACE | Caersws Magic

I hope you can forgive me, but when it comes to my home country I have a very soft heart, I seem to go all glossy eyed and romantic when I think of this beautiful piece of the world.

Wales, it rains a lot, but without that rain you wouldn’t have Wales. The smell of the earth, it’s life. No wonder there was so much industry in this little country, the ground on which we walk hides a wealth of minerals that seemed to keep the world moving forward at one stage. Now, Wales give’s great pleasure and relaxation to the millions who visit it every year to go walking it’s great peaks, and it caters for the hardier as well as the less hardy or merely the ones who want to lie on one of it’s outstanding coastal beaches if the thought of walking makes you come over all tired. On some days though you become witness to scenes like this and you can still believe your an explorer. You could also be forgiven in thinking you have seen the dragon of Wales silently glide from around that distant mountain and clear the mist just long enough to catch a glimpse but still not sure what you saw. It is true you know, if you stand still long enough you can hear the sounds of gurgling streams, the sound of sheep on the mountain sides depending on the time of year. But for me as a photographer it’s light that gets my creative juices flowing and on this day God was putting on one incredible show, after all this is His favourite country.

I was staying with my brother on one of my bi-annual visits from Australia. He lives in the small hamlet village of Carno, Powys in the Parish of Montgomeryshire, it’s one of those places you seem to pass through on your way to greater things. His cottage, I might add you can now hire for your next Welsh escape, lies alongside the main A470, the main road that takes from the south to the north but being so rural you wouldn’t think so. The name of the village is said to have derived from the welsh word for cairn (carnedd), as there are many ancient cairns on the hills surrounding the village. One claim to fame for this little place is the designer and entrepreneur Laura Ashley who is buried in the churchyard. Anyway. I woke one autumn morning to witness this beautiful show of weather moving down through the valley. Grabbing my camera I photographed some of these scenes from the bedroom window, until I couldn’t contain myself any more and just had to get out and soak up the best of Welsh mountain weather and we hadn’t even eaten breakfast as yet. It was early and very still with a quietness you can expect in such a beautiful piece of Wales, no cars, no walkers, just this peacefulness with a smell of earth. We drove up to the top of the mountain pulling into the side of the country lane just the once to let the local farmer through with his tractor, not quite at the top we pulled over to make more images, the valley of Caersws seemed to want to be photographed this day.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

A beautiful Autumn morning in Carno, Wales as the mist drops down into the Cledan valley.

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CIRCUS DAYS | The world of the Big Top

Here today, gone tomorrow, circus days.

You can forgive yourself for thinking everything’s possible in the circus except acting your age and being all grown up and sensible. That’s for the boring real world of grown up people. This is part of my project on Webers Circus and the people who make the magic happen.

The circus is a place to be exhilarated and enthusiastic, be a child again and celebrate the joy of being alive.  In the circus there’s magic, mystery, fun, and laughter of childhood. A wondrous place to behold. Adventure awaits for those who enter the secret world of the Big Top, as you enter with anticipation and excitement of things that can only be imagined.

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Drama, out of control activity, courage and beauty, the energy of mad as a hatter clowns, trapeze artists that seem to defy gravity, juggling, tumbling through air. You can see your childhood played out in front of you as you hold your breath. Protected from the real world by a thin layer of canvas magic, under which music plays and special smells fill the air, magic has come to your town and filled your heart. The audience clap and laugh, excited, lights light up the faces of children standing close to their parents who’s faces shine almost as brightly.

We now live in a world that seems to want to take away the wonder of childhood, but the people of the circus work hard to erect the Big Top and keep the thrills alive defying those that would want to spoil those special memories. But the tent is just the beginning, measurement’s must be made, lights set up, seating placed, then it’s all got to be checked before the acts can get in and start to practice, making it all look so easy. These are the details that go on so we the audience can escape in to that world of make-believe.

Crowds around the world have been inspired, enthralled and entertained by the circus for many years and as it’s been far too long a time since my last visit I can’t help but be one of them. I revel in the magic of the show, lights, music, smells and noise.

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

Webers Circus, the acts, behind the scenes and fun of a circus life

It would be a shame to lose all of this, if it goes what will we have lost? There will be no more dreams to escape into, when circus days, like the good old days, like the dreams you had, like the child you were, are gone.

The desire to travel, the mystery of packing up your tent and slipping off into the night. Adventure awaits, escape is the next town. The circus is always the same, it never changes.

TRAVEL & PLACE | Siege of Kenilworth

In June 1266 having turned down the chance to make peace on King Henry’s terms, the rebel supporters of Simon de Montfort prepared to defend Kenilworth Castle. King Henry moves his men to Kenilworth and the siege begins.

I covered the event over the beautiful long weekend of August last year as the 750 Anniversary of the Siege took place.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

750th anniversary celebration weekend 2016.

TRAVEL & PLACE | The Rennie bridge, Stoneleigh Abbey.

Apparently this bridge, designed by Scottish engineer John Rennie (1761-1821) and built over the river Avon west of Stoneleigh Abbey, Warwickshire England, is a possible site to the murder of a number workmen around 1812-1815 – within the lifetime of Jane Austen, who was Austen’s relative Chandos, first Lord Leigh of the second creation (1791-1850), a Romantic poet and Whig essayist, he was charged with two of the murders.

The Rennie bridge, Stoneleigh Abbey.

The Rennie bridge, Stoneleigh Abbey.