taking its toll

I seldom write about things in the news, but seeing that the Severn Bridge tolls are to cease tomorrow, it seems a good opportunity to get out a whole collection of photographs I’ve taken of the River over the last few years.

I used to travel back and forth between London and South Wales fairly regularly by road and was very familiar with the queues at the toll booths on the old bridge. Then there was a period when I travelled from Bristol airport late at night and, again, I’d have gone over the old bridge.
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A bunch of daffs

Daffodils in a flooded flower bed

Wet St David’s Day
on my windowsill
a jar of sunshine

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There has been much talk of the unseasonable weather here in the UK, with swathes of bright daffodils blazoned across webpages offering a counterpoint to dreary rainscapes and flood destruction.

So my photo is hardly news, although it is at least a Welsh daff – taken yesterday, New Year’s Day, near Chepstow in South Wales.

Daffodil in flower on New Year's Day 2016
I did consider titling this piece: post early for St David’s Day. Whether there will still be daffs in bloom in three months’ time remains to be seen.

translation and otherness

Firstly, some daffodils for St David’s Day:

Secondly, a Welsh castle:
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dydd dewi sant

It’s St David’s Day, and they say Tri chynnig i Gymro, so it seems appropriate to post three photos, all taken in Wales.

Chepstow Castle, south Wales

In every town and village
grey stones
grey skies

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village scenes

I went for a brief walk this morning and was struck by how eminently English** everything seemed.

First of all, although not actually raining, it was so dark and wintry that the streetlights were on despite the fact it was nearly 10am:

street lamp and winter tree
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‘a tower to the sun’

castle and palm trees

castillos en el aire – ilusiones lisonjeras con poco o ningún fundamento

I wonder how many Spaniards realise that as well as building castles in the air, English speakers also build castles in Spain.

Perhaps more to the point, I wonder why we do.

Brewer tells me that

[…] air-castles were called by the French Châteaux d’Espagne because Spain has no châteaux.

I wonder who told him that yarn.
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