Saturday 28 December 2019

A Cliff~top Nativity

Hello Friends!

It is cold out today, cold with a determined and brisk breeze, and grey clouds scudding across the afternoon sky, but at least it is dry, well, dry~ish, for there is a dampness in the air that seeps into our bones, the kind of bone seeping cold that thankfully only comes on a few days a year, and which even the keen westerly wind can't whisk away.  Despite this, I wrapped up warm in my new, insulated, long coat, I donned a warm hat, scarf and gloves, picked up my camera and set off out the door.

The back roads and paths are awash with puddles, and water is draining from the fields and running in rivulets all over the roads; the coast path is a mud bath!  Care must be taken with every step, puddle jumping the order of the day, but still I continued on for I had a single purpose in mind.

Near where I live there is a unique, quaint and tiny chapel, built in the 1930's, which sits atop the high cliffs that look out across Saint Bride's Bay and into the wild Atlantic Ocean.

It seats barely a dozen people, and I don't think it is used very often for services for the nuns live in an adjacent convent with it's own small internal chapel, but they care and look after this small gem of religious significance with great love and care as if it were in daily use.  It is a true gem, and only a few minutes walk away from the majestic {whopping mediaeval} St David's cathedral in the nearby inland valley. I think they make an awesome pair indeed!

My darling Mum was once a bridesmaid to her best friend who was wed here many decades ago on a cold and stormy winter day in February.  I remember her telling me how cold they all were in their bridesmaids' dresses.

To bring you some perspective, I am standing on the coast path to take this first photo; facing south east to the chapel, the greenery of summer along the coast is now dying back, but still brings heavenly colour by way of a rich, red, rusty brown.  I love it!

and turning left, to the south and west, this is the view over Beddau Non {Non's Grave} and St Bride's Bay, next stop the Atlantic Ocean just over yonder beyond the rolling brambles and crashing waves ~~~

As we approach the chapel inside the low hedge, the lawn is green and well tended, although there is evidence of moles, the little gentlemen in grey velvet!  I may return to the origins of that saying in a later blog.

Shall we go inside?

As we come to the door, these two signs bring great joy.  First that dogs are welcome, and second that the dear nuns have great compassion and consideration for the swallows that nest inside, in the rafters, during Spring.  How wonderful!

This is what I came to see today, the nuns have placed a sweet nativity upon the unique stone altar!  I think it is the prettiest I have seen in a very long time.

I lit a candle on the small stand to the left of the arch, you can just see it.  I find great comfort in lighting a candle in church.

This is a close up of the stained glass window that overlooks the altar.  I believe it commemorates the arrival of Saint Non, mother of Saint David, in Brittany.  There is a strong connection between this area and Brittany, through Saint Non who died and is buried there,  I plan to research and share in a future blog.

Returning outside, here is the view on a cold winter's afternoon from the chapel door facing west across the land to the Atlantic Ocean.  The coast path is just beyond the hedge.

Until next time
Deborah xo

Monday 2 December 2019

Festival of Christmas Trees ~ The Wreaths

Hello Friends!

As promised in my previous blog about the Christmas trees, which you can read here, these are the decorated wreaths in the new associated competition.  I think you will agree they are just as creative and inventive as the many trees we've seen over the years, and I think this gives us hope that there will be so much more to come in this new category.  If you look close enough I think you will see a couple of wreaths that may be made by the same creators as some of the trees as they are very similar in concept.  We've got hand crafted, recycled, natural materials, and some with glitz and glamour, even a sprout wreath ~ love them or hate them, they are very much a part of Christmas dinner!  I think the lady who came up with bringing this as an extra dimension was very clever indeed!

THE WINNER!  Papier Mache hand painted wreath by Amy at the National Trust Shop

Which one is your favourite?

Until next time
Deborah xoxo

Saturday 30 November 2019

Festival of Christmas Trees 2019

Hello Friends!

It's the last day of November, all the big Autumn festivities are at a close and now we herald Advent tomorrow, December 1st, and before we know it, it will be Christmas Day, and the next thing it will be 2020.  How did this happen so quickly?

Sixteen years have flown by since I first introduced the concept of a Festival of Christmas Trees to my village.  Oh, boy! You should have seen everyone's faces, their expressions, when I first presented this concept to the Christmas Tree Association.  You could see what each person was thinking, "What is she going on about?" or "What mad scheme is she concocting now?" But, I must have done something good because they let me run with it; that first year we only had nine trees centred in the City Hall, but on the first day you could hear pennies suddenly dropping across the village as requests to "put me down for a space next year!" came pouring in!  The following year we had twenty trees, and the event is now an established part of our Christmas social calendar in the village.

I no longer have a part in the organising, as many of you know I was a care giver for several years and reluctantly I turned over the reins to others.  Everyone is doing a first rate job and the event continues to gather momentum.

This year, a very creatively minded lady suggested introducing a new category, A Decorated Christmas Wreath, to the event and it's a huge success!  The response has been superb, and the wreaths are all beautiful.  More on those in a second blog, as I do not want to overload this one, and the wreaths are all worthy of their own entry, so check back in a few days for that one.

I am always amazed at the imagination and creativity of everyone across the village.  Each year every tree is different, and while sometimes a theme may be repeated, the interpretations are all so different. We see real trees, fake trees, trees made out of trees, and trees that are not trees at all but highly imaginative installations.  It's all good, and it's all good fun!  I love to listen to the comments and see the smiles on people's faces.

So, here are the photos I took of this year's entries, or is that ent trees?

A local hostelry promoting their wares

Hand felted Robins by Menevia WI Craft Group

Tiny hand wrapped wreaths from Coffee and Chat

I wonder what the Ladies' Netball Team has under their goalpost tree?

An ocean theme tree

The Holly and the Ivy

Hand made gifts and surprises in a handmade Advent calendar

Remembering the past through reading in the Welsh language

Stitchy Witches Red and White handstitched tree

Eisteddfod Handmade Tree with Welsh themes

A seaweed tree

National Trust interpretation of the Cross Square with recycled and natural materials

Remembering the Moon Landing 50th Anniversary

Reading at School

 Local Playgroup recycled tree from clean used milk bottles

Recycling theme

All Wrapped Up!

A tree made using the new local doorstep recycling collection scheme boxes


I would love you to tell me which is your favourite, and why, in the comments.

I do hope you have enjoyed seeing all the hard work and creativity on show from my small village, and don't forget to pop back in a few days to see the dedicated decorated wreath post, will you?

Until next time
Deborah xo