History Comes in Layers

28 Feb 2012

Some towns have more history than you can shake a stick at. Carmarthen is one of them. Admittedly the county council seems to be determined to replace all that history with shiny new retail opportunities and 3D cinemas, but there is still some of the old stuff there.

Yesterday I had to go for an appointment, and the vagaries of rural buses left me hanging around in Carmarthen before the shops had even opened. So I wandered round taking photos on my phone.

This is part of the castle gatehouse. Behind it is the wall of the old gaol that was built in the shell of the castle, and behind that is the roof of the grim county council building they built to replace the gaol. It's history in layers on the landscape, an onion of pain and repression.

This is the front of the gatehouse, in the rain.

See those little windows near the top? You can get up to them and look out. You have to climb these stairs.

In front of the gatehouse there is a square (it's not square, but only someone who knows Carmarthen will get that joke). In the square there is a plaque commemorating the martyrdom of some bloke in 1555. They burned him to death for being the wrong sort of Christian. I took a picture of the plaque, but it didn't come out very well.

Some of the most interesting things about a town like this are the places behind places. The tiny lanes that you reach through an arch in the wall, the bits of roads that used to go places but don't any more. These are all the  remnants of an older town, an ancient place that's all but gone.

This is Bridge Street. It used to lead to the bridge until it got chopped off by a dual carriage way. Someone has painted a penguin on the wall. I think that's rather cute.

I have no idea what this place is really called. I know it as Smoker's Alley, but that can't be it's proper name. If it is, I really want to live there, just for the laugh.

That's all for now. After this the shops opened, so I went into Waterstones and browsed the books until it was time for me to catch my next bus.

Maybe I'll take some more pictures another day.


16 Feb 2012

In my calendar, spring begins at the beginning of February.
And there should be snowdrops.

I saw the snowdrops a few days ago, so I knew it was spring, even though it's freezing cold. I saw them from the bus, and I couldn't take a picture. But here are some from a previous year.

Counterfeit Pound Coin 4

4 Feb 2012

Well, here's another one, and once again it's a bridge coin. This time it's Thomas Telford's suspension bridge across the Menai Straits in Wales.

So, it's not so much a matter of what's wrong with this coin, but what's right with it. It's faults are very similar to my previous post on the Egyptian Arch bridge. Soft, fuzzy impressions, fat lettering, appalling edges showing evidence of filing.
The heads side is unevenly impressed, shallower on the bottom right.
In both cases they got the two sides aligned correctly, and that's the best you can say for them both.

One interesting feature of this coin, but which does not show up on the photographs, is that the heads side has a faint texture. It is covered in a series of tiny lines that give it the look of brushed aluminium.