It’s hard to describe the mixture of trepidation and exhilaration when approaching the base of a mountain like Covadonga on a bicycle, knowing you are going to have to keep going till the summit, not allowing yourself to entertain the thought that you will give up half way up, yet secretly harbouring that destructive thought.
Once you get going, however, all those feelings are replaced by the simple physical exertion. Although its only 1134m a.s.l., the road reaches a gradient of 15% over an 800m length towards the end of the climb. It was a beautiful day when I went up, and well worth the effort to be able to descend without any effort whatsoever – just like being on a motorbike, but MUCH quieter and more enjoyable!
Strange lodgings for a bike
I have just come back from a 500 mile cycling tour of the Picos in Northern Spain. The region’s scenery is majestic, and I found myself running out of superlatives trying to describe it. Sometimes the bicycle gets to stay in the most luxurious stable; always treated with great respect by all the hotels and pensions! This time, it was even invited to a wedding reception!
About to descend to Potes
A rather baleful and impotent bear watching over the bike. Its a bit ironic that throughout history, humans have decided they needed to eradicate bears; and yet now, when they have all gone, they are so often held up as the symbols of the wild and wonderful areas they used to roam in.
Some of my photographs will be showing at the Town Hall Cafe Deli in Lampeter between 1st and the 13th August.
Motorway Service Tunnel
I have been clambering about on a scaffold which has been erected preparatory to a re-furbishment project on a Burton building nearby. The Burton chain employed a particular architectural style which was a 1920′s and ’30′s example of very distinct ‘ corporate branding.’
The faience brickwork has endured very well, and generally has only failed where there has been structural movement, or corrosion of the reinforcing steel within the structural framing elements of the building.
There are some very graceful details to this building, and it is going to be a wonderful and iconic part of the townscape when its fully restored.
Montague Burton was the founder of the chain; he came to England from Lithuania in 1900, at the age of fifteen. He started the chain in 1903, and by 1929 it consisted of 400 stores, factories and mills.
” The Tailor of Taste”.
Burton store; pilaster head detail
Window head view, showing pilaster heads and lintol details.
Window head and lintol detail
On a very wet day, I visited Penarth and Cardiff to visit some of the exhibitions open as part of the Diffusion Festival. I could have stayed all day at the Turner House Gallery in Penarth! It was pouring with rain outside, but it was mainly because of the work in Edgar Martins wonderful photographic show – ” The Time Machine. ” Not to be missed if you like this sort of thing – which I very definitely do!
The Tramshed, Cardiff: Diffusion Festival – May 2013
Cardiff skyline from Third Floor Gallery: Diffusion Festival. Sebastian Liste’s exhibition.
Photograph of one of Sebastian Liste’s images; Urban Quilombo
Beach shelter, Porthcawl, April 2013
I would love to know who inspired the neo-classical design to this very useful beach shelter in Porthcawl. Such a contrast between the Spanish sun and brightness, and the soft and muted light on a South Wales waterfront.
Muelle Uno, Malaga, 2012
I have just realised that this time last year I was planning to be on my way to the Gnaoua Festival in Morocco in a couple of months. I stopped in Malaga, Spain for a few days en route, and enjoyed walking around the costly architectural games that had been played down by the old harbour. I wonder how many years it will be before this kind of adventure will be perceived as affordable again. It may be decades, and the experiments like this one, and those in Valencia, for example, will possibly come to feel less ephemeral as they, hopefully, endure, and are not left behind as the next novelty captures the attention.
Malaga, June 2012