Indieterria meets Lost Tiger to the Wild

Dear Readers,

Lost Tiger to the Wild band logo

On September 22 2017, Worcester will be rocked by Musicians Against Homelessness campaign. The town will host an annual gig to raise funds for Crisis,  an NGO that help vulnerable people. This year yours truly are involved and our role is to bring to light and attention of general public the amazing artists who will be playing for the fundraiser.  We have already profiled nth cave for this blog. It`s time to meet Lost Tiger To The Wild.
Believe us or not, we found them via Twitter when they were still under a different name around a year and half ago, we have been in the first row on their debut gig, we may have passed a word about them to a DJ or two. It was a pleasure to watch this duo grow into confident artists. Now it is a pleasure to present them on this blog.

Hear us roar

Jokingly referred to as the rock and roll version of the Thompson Twins (who were not real twins mind you!) brothers Alfie and Zack Jeavons-Fellows are on the straight way to stardom. Their sudden appearance on Worcester music scene less than a year ago was a true musical knock out. Powerful riffs, rhythmic beats combined with talent for writing songs you cannot get out of your head, proved to be a winning combination. We have caught up with the skilled duo to speak about their early success, getting noticed and their upcoming music.

You are identical twins, we are not seeing double, are we?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: (laughing) Yes, we are identical twins; born a minute apart. I’m the older of us both.

Lost Tiger to the Wild is an interesting name for a band – half poetic and half cryptic. Can you explain where it came from?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: We found the phrase in a book. The quote read “We have lost a tiger to the wild”. We liked the way the words worked together, so we went with ‘Lost Tiger to the Wild’. For us the name is about being free and independent.

Alfie and Zac before their BBC Introducing session with Andrew Marston for BBC Hereford and Worcester Photo by Andy O`Hare https://www.facebook.com/andy.ohare1

 

Zac, you normally play the lead guitar and sing, while your brother Alfie is wreaking havoc behind his drum kit.  However, you are known to switch places or play different instruments such as ukulele or keyboard during your performances. Is it hard to play only with your brother as a duo or do you prefer to keep it simple?

Zac Jeavons-Fellows: Playing as a duo is easier for us. We get on really well, have similar mindsets and share an approach to our music. Decision-making is much easier. And of course sorting rehearsals is simple. We are keeping it simple; it works for us at the moment.

Are you working with any other local musicians? Do you have a backing band that is supporting you on stage on special occasions? 

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Yes, we do. We’ve added a bass and lead guitarist for a recent live gig, which was really good for us because we were able to experiment with the solid guitar sound that Lost Tiger is about.

Many young bands look up to your own musical heroes such as Arctic Monkeys, The Kooks, Kasabian, Oasis or Catfish and The Bottlemen and their influences can easily be heard. The music you make is hard to categorize – it is rhythmic and energetic, yet very original. What inspires you to write?

Zac Jeavons-Fellows: Song writing is all about the riff for me. The lyrics come after. I can’t really tell you where the inspiration comes from. We probably draw from blues, a bit of soul and plenty of guitar rock, although we do listen to lots of different music. Lyrics generally come from experiences – some of my own and some that I see other people going through.

Read to Rock! Photo from band archives.

BBC Introducing gave you one of the best recommendations we have seen in years. “Great guys, great melodies, great live shows, great future ahead of them”.  It is not easy to impress people who listen to music for a living.

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: (laughing again) People who listen to live music for a living are our best critics. Honest feedback is what helps us drive forwards. The BBC Introducing chaps were really good to work with, funnily enough we bumped in to Andrew Marston after our Coventry University gig and we see Andy O’Hare all over the place. Good blokes.

You are represented by prestigious Coalition Talent Entertainment Agency in London, responsible for shaping careers of well-known acts such as Shoala Ama, Pixie Lott, The Wombats or Artful Dodger. How did your partnership begin?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Once our social media started to kick off, we found several agents were getting in touch. Rather than leap at the first offer we have received, we waited for a proven talent management team that could help push our careers on. Coalition got in touch in February, making some really positive noises so we met with them in London and soon agreed to work together. Being part of the Coalition stable gives us a chance to perform with lots of other professional artists.

We have to ask about our favourite track, Remember to Breathe.  You played it at the BBC session at the Railway in Redditch to rave reviews and great compliments from the crowd. It is a powerful track with thoughtful lyrics. Tell us more about this song. 

Zac Jeavons-Fellows: I have had the chorus riff for ages and loved the way it sounded with a decent fuzz pedal. Alf developed the song without lyrics a lot and it still sounds exactly the same. Coming up with lyrics to compliment the gritty sound was a struggle until I heard a bluesy song called “Remember to Breathe” written by Australian busker, Owen Campbell. It just clicked. With a little bit of tweaking, the lyrics fitted perfectly over my verse and chorus. We love it. Hope Owen will too, when he hears it.

Lost Tiger to the Wild – performing at the Marrs Bar on 5th May 2017 – their debut gig

Debut gig on May the 5th 2017 – force was definitely with the band

Lost Tiger was only founded in November 2016 and you have been performing extensively ever since. Your achievements are most impressive: on 17th of May you played at the sold out CUSU Summer Ball 2017 at the legendary Coventry University Students’ Union supporting Tinie Tempah;  on the 10th of June you supported Lethal Bizzle at University of Essex and recently you headlined a gig for UNCOVER sessions night in Worcester. Where are you going to play next?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: Our next gig is the Monmouthshire Filthy Girl Mud Run After party at the beginning of September. We played the sister event in Derbyshire about a month ago which was great fun. The crowd was really up for it. Top gigs are all about the audience.

On 22nd of September you will return to Marrs Bar in Worcester to take part in Musicians Against Homelessness initiative in support of Crisis (charity combating homelessness). This nation-wide musical event is championed by Alan McGee, the founder of Creation Records and manager of Primal Scream, Oasis and The Libertines. Are you preparing anything special for the night?

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: The Marrs Bar is the home of original music in Worcester so we’ll definitely be playing our own music. If everything goes well, we’re hoping to debut a couple of new tracks. We’re really pleased to be part of the event.

Debut gig at the Marrs Bar.

Outside of your musical careers, you are very keen on sports, especially rugby. You both play for Stourbridge RFC, also with great success. We hope you are not thinking about a sudden career-change.

Zac Jeavons-Fellows:  No, don’t worry! We’re really into music; it’s what we really want to do.

Last but not least – the fun question. Tell us the most rock and roll thing that has happened to you so far. 

Alfie Jeavons-Fellows: I think it’d be best if we keep that one to ourselves… if you ask us face to face we may answer differently.

You can follow Lost Tiger to the Wild at:

https://www.facebook.com/LostTigerBand/
https://twitter.com/LostTigerBand
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNcu1GbXFLTrl_UP-L9lHsw
https://www.instagram.com/LostTigerBand/

 

Lost Tiger to the Wild in Slap Magazine

You can read this interview in September issue of Slap Magazine:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/issue-73/september-2017/

or you can download the copy here:

issue-73-september-2017

Musicians Against Homelessness charity concert will take place on September 22nd 2017 at Marrs Bar

If you want to see Lost Tiger to the Wild  play Musicians Against Homelessness concert, tickets are a £5 and can be bought from the links below:

https://www.wegottickets.com/event/413506
http://www.marrsbar.co.uk/events/musicians-against-homelessness-2/
https://www.facebook.com/events/106395143421500

To find out more about MAH visit Musicians Against Homelessness on Facebook  https://www.facebook.com/mahgigs/

We will see you soon enough for more music,

Mal+Rita

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Indieterria meets Jodie Hughes

Indieterria meets Jodie Hughes

Transmission.
Photo by Dominika Marchewka
https://www.facebook.com/a7xf0rlife

Another month, another  edition of Indieterria and we just discovered a real gem worth telling you about. So far we concentrated on bands, but this time around we will profile a solo artist (even if she is part of a band as well).  After all – variety is the spice of life.

We are beyond excited to bring you this interview . Jodie Hughes is unique: hip and mysterious, outgoing, intellectual, artistic and she`s also a polymath (person who is knowledgeable in various disciplines).  She may be very young but, as you will soon discover, she had done in her time more than a lot of us. And she is just getting started.

Jodie Hughes – In a league of her own.

In the world where artists document their entire lives on social media, Jodie Hughes goes against the current. Her online presence is minimal, she scrupulously avoids the spotlight, values education more than fame and releases her music exclusively in form of home-made demos. In the same time, she is a multi-instrumentalist (playing piano, keyboards, synths, bass, ukulele and guitar), avid busker, alumni of Worcester School of Rock, one of the youngest participants of Worcester Music Festival (she was  fifteen when she performed in 2015 to a full house) and  recently she supported  the hottest acts on indie scene – Anteros and The Assist.

We just knew that we had to interview Jodie . Not every day you meet such a diverse, young artist.

Jodie on stage
Photo by Rebecca Warr
https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.warr.7

As a singer and songwriter, your presence on local scene is strong, yet you remain mysterious and elusive. I know you fiercely guard your privacy and allow little information to appear online. By your own words, what  should be known about Jodie Huges as an artist and musician?

I have a very wide variety of influences and I like a little mystery! I’m very fussy about my original songs, they have to be perfect for me to share them.

You recently opened Independent Music Week event in Worcester by supporting such accomplished acts as The Assist and Anteros. What is your reflection of the night?

I really enjoyed it!! It was a fantastic opportunity and Independent  Music Week is brilliant for reminding people of some of the great venues that are out there. I’m very honoured to have been a part of it!

Slap Magazine described you previously as possessing “beautifully melodic vocals”, others drew comparisons to Amy McDonald, Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star and Bilinda Butcher of My Bloody Valentine. Do you regard such praises as a compliment or unnecessary pressure?

I like hearing other people’s opinions of my music, I like learning different people’s interpretations!  I definitely see it as a compliment to be compared to such successful artists and it sometimes introduces me to new artists too!

You are being likened to Hope Sandoval also because of your unusual artistic strategy: occasional gigs instead of regular performances, busking around with no prior announcements, no demos or EPs being released. Are you waging this musical guerrilla to keep audience on their toes? 

Mostly it’s due to time constraints, it’s often difficult to balance time spent on music with college work, especially at this time of year! I definitely try to keep my music going in some form, be it writing or busking, alongside working – it’s healthy to have something separate to focus on as a break from college work.  I’m hoping to work more intensely on writing and hopefully more gigs over the summer after exams though! Plus it’s always fun to keep people guessing!!!

Jodie performing during Worcester Music Festival 2016
Photo by Rebecca Warr
https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.warr.7

Your SoundClound account is filled by original compositions and covers of eclectic artists like Neutral Milk Hotel and The Neighbourhood. You seem to enjoy confusing anyone who tries to squeeze you into a box.

I’ve always had a wide range of music tastes – I don’t think I could put myself into any box really! I’ve had phases where I’ve taken a particular type of music, like pop punk or indie, and tried to solely fit myself into that one genre, but there’s just so much out there it’s good to discover what else there is! My band do sometimes covers of many different artists – Fleetwood Mac, REM, Erasure and Beyonce to name a few.  Over the years I’ve discovered so many great artists from so many genres, I encourage everyone else to do the same.

We are intrigued by one of your original pieces  – “Don’t talk to me about death”. There is a line in the middle that goes “keep pretending that you`ll be my Kurt Cobain”. You sound almost furious in that track. Is it based on personal experience?

The song is based on a particular person – or I suppose a particular type of person – who tried to create a persona based on self-pity and trying to appear deep and meaningful through cynicism.  The Kurt Cobain reference was in relation to this idea of appearing a certain way and glorifying and romanticizing mental illness, which is often done by the media regarding celebrities such as Kurt Cobain. The idea of trying to be negative just to appear a certain way, and almost making a mockery out of mental illness by using it as an accessory, seemed so ridiculous to me, it felt necessary to voice my feelings on it somehow.

Jodie performing with her signature guitar.
Photo by Lissywitch
https://www.facebook.com/LissywitchPhoto/

Another track worth mentioning is “Mixtapes And Metaphors” – a love song with incredibly clever lyrics. As a song writer what is more important to you – composing of music or having a story to tell?

I think it’s a bit of both – they can work quite well together actually. I like intricacy, it’s something I’ve been trying to work on more by remodelling some of my old songs and adding more subtle details.  I personally find writing lyrics very difficult, so I think I generally prefer the composing and storytelling through the other parts of the song. I am hoping to improve my lyric-writing though! I find some songs with such detail and little lyrics sometimes work better (like The 1975’s song “I Like It When You Sleep For You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware Of It”).

Besides being a musician, you are also a skilled painter. You design all covers to your demos. Can we expect any exhibitions from you in the future?

That’d definitely be something I’d like to do one day! I’ve been experimenting with what subject matter I like to work with recently – animals and flowers have been fun to study.  Similarly to my music, it’s nice to have something to do as a break from work, and having stopped studying art at college I’ve been able to experiment more at my own pace and in my own style.

You are currently working towards a degree in law and philosophy. Do you think it is obligatory for musicians these days to have a proper education alongside their artistic endeavors?

It’s a matter of choice really.  I know some great musicians who are going to do degrees in music tech, which is a really good option for them.  I personally chose to go down a path not related to music so that I can enjoy lots of different things – Law is a subject that I really enjoy studying, whereas things like music and art I prefer to have more freedom over, and the option to pick it up as and when I have the inspiration.  I’ve personally found it harder to work creatively under time constraints. However if that works for other musicians that’s great for them!  I think everyone should consider what would be best for them in the long run, but that may be a music-based career/education for some people.

We know you prefer to take your audience by surprise. But what should we expect from Jodie Hughes in the months or years to come?

I’m hoping to go a bit more electronic maybe.  I’ve been looking into getting hold of an Akai Miniak – my dad has two he uses for gigs  and there’s so much you can do with them.  That’s definitely something I’m interested in.  Again, I’m hoping to have more time to write and record more after exams, perhaps re-recording some of my old songs and updating them a bit.  Who knows, I may even start new projects while I’m at university!

Focused, fiercely independent and always looking for new artistic endeavours, Jodie Hughes has no match on local music scene. She has created a whole league of her own.

****

Jodie Hughes – Mixtapes and Metaphors (EP review)

Mixtapes and Metaphors
EP cover

“Mixtapes and Metaphors” is a digital EP or a collection of home recordings that Jodie released between 2015 and 2017. It contains the following original compositions: Angel Statue, Crazy Scientist, Don’t Talk To Me About Death, Small Talks, unfinished version of New Years and the title track Mixtapes and Metaphors.  Each song is accompanied by a mysterious drawing, often a study of animals, human faces or natura morta.  Most tracks can be qualified into singer/songwriter category bringing comparisons with Amy McDonald or Courtney Barnett.  Don’t Talk to Me about Death stands out thanks to very personal lyrics and angry vocals, while Angel Statue incorporates keyboards, samples and has a vivid shoegaze feel to it, including distorted vocals that make Jodie Hughes sound eerily like Belinda Butcher. Somebody please call Creation Records!

On April 14th, Jodie released a new demo – Lake Water (Blue) – this time playing with synthesizers and electronica.

We thought you would like to see the covers of Jodie`s demos. They are spectacular.

Don`t talk to me about death cover

Crazy Scientist cover

Lake Water (Blue) cover

Angel Statue cover.
(word of advice -Don`t blink!)

You can read this interview (in a shorter form) in the April 2017 issue of Slap Magazine:

Interview with Jodie in April edition of Slap Mag

Page 2 of the interview printed in Slap Mag (April 2017)

Online version of the magazine can be found here:

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-68-april-2017.pdf

or you can download the file directly from here:

issue-68-april-2017

You can follow Jodie Hughes using the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/jodiehughesmusic
http://www.worcestermusicfestival.co.uk/bands/Jodie-Hughes/
https://soundcloud.com/jodiehughesmusicandstuff
https://twitter.com/JodieHMusic

****

Independent Venue Week 2017 

Ad for UNCOVER – club night organized every month in Worcester at the Marrs Bar. This was launching night on 26.01.2017 to celebrate Independent Venue Week

Last week of January is usually dedicated to independent music venues across the country.  Worcester is a home to Marrs Bar, which is both proudly independent and ran with the local music scene in mind. On 26th January 2017, Marrs Bar hosted an opening night of UNCOVER – a local club night, while simultaneously taking part in Independent Venue Week.

UNCOVER invited some esteemed guests to play in Worcester: Anteros and Rhythm Method (London) and  The Assist (Birmingham). Jodie has been invited to represent home town scene and opened the night with a semi acoustic set.

Flyer advertising club night UNCOVER with Jodie on the bill.

It is always fun to see the jaws drop when Jodie enters the stage and beings to sing. If the audience expects a clone of Taylor Swift or Duffy belting out covers, then they are in for big disappointment.  Jodie presented a set consisting of her own tunes with occasional rendition of a song by The Neighbourhood. And she sang in such a passion and verve  like she headlined John Peel Stage at Glasto.  The audience had goose bumps and once again comparisons to Bilinda Butcher were uttered in whispers. And we won`t be lying to tell you that we have seen people leave the venue after seeing Jodie and The Assist. They did not even wait for the main act!

Jodie Hughes on stage at Marrs Bar opening for The Assist and Anteros.

Jodie opening Independent Venue Week with her performance at the Marrs Bar on 26.01.2017

After her mesmerizing set, Jodie was compared to both Hope Sandoval (Mazzy Star) and Bilinda Butcher (My Bloody Valentine)

We at Vanadian Avenue thought that such a successful debut called for a celebration. Or at least a present. Few days before the gig, we framed the poster and  handed it to Jodie once she came off stage. Here she is holding the poster with her name on it. A small memento of her big night.

Jodie posing with poster with her name on it. Framed poster was presented to her as memento.

You can see the review of the gig at Slap magazine:

Review of UNCOVER in Slap Magazine

 

http://www.slapmag.co.uk/slap-issues/issue-66-february-2017.pdf

Or you can download the file here:

issue-66-february-2017

We hope that you have enjoyed this issue of Indieterria and we will surely come back to update you on Jodie`s future plans and gigs.

Ta,

Malicia/Rita

 ****Update 30/06/2017****

Tickets for Battle of The Bands at the Worcester Rugby Club, 23rd June 2017

Flyer for the event

All you good, good people – listen to us. Time has come to introduce you to The Lightweights, a project where Jodi Hughes plays guitar and shares vocal duties. We have mentioned the band before, but in our interview we wanted to focus on Jodie alone.

Now, that we have seen The Lightweights live, we can put our stamp of approval  on them and encourage you to catch them on stage if you have a chance.

The Lightweights are a quartet consisting of Alex Russell (drums), Fiona Berry (rhythm guitar), Jodie Hughes (vox, lead guitar) and Euan Richardson (vox, bass).

The Lightweights on stage

Jodie Huges and Euan Richardson – opposites attract

We had a real pleasure to see Lightweights during The Battle of The Bands at the Worcester Rugby Club on 23rd July 2017 and they made an impact all right. Performing as a trio (Fiona Berry is on sabbatical), the band  is a very contemporary twist on American college rock, combining energy of Hole with harmonies and dynamics of Veruca Salt as Jodie and Euan take turns at the microphone. The youngest of the lot Alex (he is just 14) kept the perfect rhythm and it seemed so effortless for him. It is hard not to compare Euan to legendary bass woman Kristen Pfaff – with her dark flowing hair and elaborate stage outfit.  She and Jodie contrast and yet complete each other. Lack of second guitarist was felt, but it did not slow the band at all. We can only hope Fiona will return shortly so we can enjoy The Lightweights in their full line up.

Euan Richardson of The Lightweights

Jodie Hughes of The Lightweights

He bangs the drum – Alex Russell of The Lightweights

We grabbed some merch (pins and mirrors) from the band and count the night to be a perfect one.

Pin and mirror

Merch (front)

You can follow The Lightweights are the links below:

https://www.facebook.com/TheLightweightsBand/
https://www.instagram.com/thelightweightsband/

M/R

 ****Update 03/07/2017****

Worcester Carnival Flyer

We will return to The Lightweights for a moment as we managed to catch them live on July 1st 2017 as part of the Worcester Carnival and as usual they were stunning.  Jodie, Alex and Euan opened the stage dedicated to Worcester School of Rock and delivered 45 minutes show  despite scorching heat. Those kids may be young, but they are professional to the core. Rain, shine, 37 degrees in the shade – doesn’t matter. The band will play and the crowd will have a lot of fun.

The Lightweights at Worcester Carnival

If you haven’t heard of Worcester School of Rock and Performance before, then listen carefully – because this organisation has been operating in town for twenty years. They hold music courses for anyone between eight and eighteen and coach young musicians to be able to perform on stage as part of a – yes, you guessed it – rock band. Young artists not only learn their craft, but also polish their stage presence and get to know how to co-operate in a group. You don’t have to end up being new Rolling Stones but the skills acquired at the school will be useful thought your adult life. Nothing beats creativity and willingness to work with others.

Worcester Carnival performance by The Lightweights

The school  has regular shows at Marrs Bar (our prime venue in town), Mapp Fest and several other music events though out the year. If you feel like joining – please use the links below.  And the coolest news of the day is that on July 14th – WSRP will hold a gig at Marrs Bar and guess who is on the bill.

The Lightweights performing for Worcester Carnival on July 1st 2017

Yep The Lightweights will be rocking out and we have cameras at the ready. So expect another update to this blog. We can`t get enough of Jodie, Alex and Euan. To see them live, pleasure and privilege is ours.

Twenty years of Worcester School of Rock!

https://www.facebook.com/W.S.R.P.worcester
http://www.wsrp.co.uk/

M/R

Art at County Hall

Dear readers,

Art at County Hall project logo

Art at County Hall project logo

Its mid-May already and in just few days Rita will have her artworks exhibited at Worcestershire County Hall, being a part of Art in County Hall project that showcases local artists  to general public at the picturesque local government building. Art in County Hall is an impressive project – bringing together unusual space and artists that make the Worcester scene a vibrant one. Rita cannot be more proud to be participating. We will make few posts about the project naturally as we want to show you the space and the exhibition itself.

We will start off with The County Hall itself as we love the building and how it works. It is an absolute gem and the surrounding grounds/public park are worth visiting as well. There will be many pictures in this post as we tried to show you the space from every angle. But if you prefer a bit of reading, you won’t be disappointed. We had a visit to the Worcestershire County Archives and they found us an article from 1990 about the building and how it was designed. Fascinating reading it is.

Plus usual links, dates, maps and directions – one happy package.

So let us begin:

County Hall

Entrance

Entrance

Heart of the campus

Heart of the campus

The home of Worcestershire County Council is one of few public buildings in this part of the UK representing brutalist architecture (think Barbican Centre in London for comparison). It was designed for short-lived Hereford and Worcester County Council and located at the semi-rural “E Edge” of the Worcestershire.

Although the building itself was completed between 1974-1978 under the careful eye of its architect – Robert Matthew of Johnson – Marshall & Partners,  the plans for the complex were ready as early as 1972.

View of the Registrar Office

View of the Registrar Office

One of two "wings" or "houses" of the building

One of two “wings” or “houses” of the building

The Hall became house for Worcestershire County when Hereford and Worcester County Council ceased to exist in 1998. Built in red and brown brick, The County Hall was opened for further expansions (which ultimately did not happen if you don’t count few annexes like boiler room) and was considered both innovative and surprisingly ecological for its era.

How brilliant the design was for late 70s – you can tell from good practice case study quoted below. We have to admit, we were impressed by the amount of work put into the concept! It is a very early model of an “intelligent building” making use of solar energy depending on the season and turning elements of the façade into blind shades.  Outworldy, genius and futuristic in the same time.  It is like architectural version of a Doctor Who episode!

 Energy_Efficiency_Hereford_Worcester_County_Hall_1990

County Hall building consists of three connected parts:

  • “Central Section” includes reception, IT help desk, public areas, meeting rooms and Riverside Café open for visitors and staff.
  • “Two wings” or “Houses” include offices, Registrar’s Office, offices of main political parties, gallery passage and the Council Chamber.
The building seen from the side

The building seen from the side

Cantena Terrace

Cantena Terrace

Shades and columns - beautiful details

Shades and columns – beautiful details

County Hall grew very quickly after its inception. Since 1977, many of the buildings owned by Council in the centre of Worcester have been vacated and the staff moved to County Hall campus. In 1985 the Record Office moved to a purpose-built building added to the site.

Today the main campus includes The Hall itself, Record Office annex, eight car parks (682 spaces for County workers and another 96 reserved spaces), boiler room, a bus stop, large public grounds/park and a lake. It is a site for over 3000 workers daily.

The Garden

The Garden

The second "house"

The second “house”

The campus boarders Worcester Woods Country Park and the grounds are home for multiple wild animals (hares, squirrels, badgers, terrapin turtles) and birds (swans, crows, robins, wild ducks, seagulls and even herons). We will not count the amount of species of flowers and trees – but thanks to its unique ecological value, the campus is often referred to as “Worcester lungs”.

Notice about wild life

Notice about wild life

The lake

The lake

The grounds are very well preserved and offer many surprising features, beyond the lake. If someone was to take a stroll around the area – they would encounter jogging paths, a big fountain (called The Flat Fountain by locals), a pond with a brick bridge,  a herb and flower garden and a huge weeping willow.

Pond and the bridge

Pond and the bridge

The solitary Weeping Willow

The solitary Weeping Willow

The Flat Fountain

The Flat Fountain

Public path

Public path

You can also find many sculptures scattered among the campus: dancers, capoeira  fighters and even a heron eating a fish.

The Dancers

The Dancers

Capoeira Fighters

Capoeira Fighters

Heron sculpture

Heron sculpture

Heron sculpture again and artificial pond with a bridge

Heron sculpture again and artificial pond with a bridge

Being an important business and public place, County Hall has an easy access from city center and from the nearest highway network (M5). You can see the directions from the attached leaflet.

County_Hall_How_to_get_there

And once you arrive on site,  you can use the following map of the campus

Map_County_Hall

If you are still not fully convinced that County Hall campus is one green and living organism, please have a look at the panoramas we had done. They may convince you that Worcestershire has one of the best landscaped sites in the United Kingdom and its County Hall deserves at least a Grade II of protection.

Panorama #1

Panorama #1

Panorama #2

Panorama #2

Panorama #3

Panorama #3

Panorama #4

Panorama #4

The Gallery at County Hall

Gallery at County Hall is formed by large circular public space outside of The Council Chamber.  The Gallery passage contains three large wall spaces each being 7 meters wide and 3 meters high.  There are also two cabinets approximately 6ft high by two feet which can exhibit 3D work.

Art in County Hall ad

Art in County Hall ad

Glass cabinet

Glass cabinet

This space is recently being used to host art exhibitions promoting local artists and showcasing works from students of a nearby University of Worcester under the Art in County Hall. We cannot offer you a virtual tour of the place but we can surely show you a 360 degrees view via images.

Entrance to Gallery Passage

Entrance to Gallery Passage

Both Rita and I believe that Art in County Hall project offers a lot of potential. Just think, County Council is Worcestershire biggest employer, with over 5000 employees. Nearly 3000 people are present daily at the site. That is a large crowd of those potentially interested in art and a good public for upcoming local artists. Moreover County Hall acts as a hub for business meetings, political parties, it is so to say – the headquarters for the councillors. By its very nature it brings together business and funding and is a place where decisions (also about art) are being made.  Art and culture are hardly invited to such places of power, they usually remain in the galleries or  museums  which are not places where political decisions are forged. It kind of marginalizes art in a way.

Passage #1

Passage #1

Passage #2

Passage #2

At the County Hall the division is broken down – art is exhibited in the very heart of the building, for everybody to see. It is hard to pass it and not notice it. And once the art is noticed, it cannot be left out of the equation.  It becomes a part of the scene – not just a fancy background. Bringing together artists, businesses and local government can only create  a positive environment – a platform where a true discussion about the role of art in today`s society can begin. Simple, yet revolutionary idea.

Passage #3

Passage #3

Passage #4

Passage #4

Passage #5

Passage #5

There is also another dimension to the project. We often look up to fancy and very expensive centres –like Microsoft campus in Seattle or Googleplex (headquarters of Google) in California, with its smart buildings, environmental friendly surroundings and secretly wish  we had something similar in close proximity. We often  forget that we have fantastical sites near us, with unique buildings and public parks like the County Hall campus. Those places can be morphed into real epicentres for the community  with just a bit of love and creativity. And that is what art does the best.

We hope you enjoyed this small tour of the County Hall. We will now proceed  to pack the artworks into the suitcases – as tomorrow is a setting up day.

We will see you soon.
Mal& Rita

Bromyard Speed Festival – in pictures

Dear fans of speed and antique vehicles.

Royal Automobile Club Association logo

Royal Automobile Club Association logo

Malicia is taking over the blog and we will do something completely new around this time around. Rita asked me to look though all the pictures taken during Festival of Speed on April 3rd and edit the best ones. Thing is, so many pictures were good that once I sat down and started editing, I ended up having over 100 imaged processed and  complied into two groups: cars and motorcycles. It would be a waste not to use them all!

We have done quite a few image based posts and they are always well received, but never before they included so many shots in one go. It feels more like proper photo reportage than a visual recording of a particular area or event. And why not, to be frank. The Festival of Speed was so diverse and detailed, that you had to go Japanese tourist mode to see it all. Each car is a different tale and they all form a part of what makes British heritage so important and valued.

It was a whirl of colours, wheels, brands and historical artefacts. You can’t show it all in just few clicks. The rule says that one photo should be enough to tell a story, but sometimes you need one hundred pictures to do justice to the event. Mind, we only had a mobile phone so don’t expect that we will win Pulitzer Prize for feature photography (we will leave that honour to Tyler Hicks) but we tried our best. There will be few cut off heads or wobbly horizons and strange angles on the shots. But this comes as a part of the package – you have a small tool and a very limited time and too many objects that just can’t be missed.

Although Malicia is usually responsible for visual aspect of the blog, this post is the first time she was responsible for choosing, editing, chronological order of all the images and commentary. Proper editorial job and she is very proud of herself.

It is very important to support local cultural events – either by attendance or writing about them. Pop and local culture events don`t have big budgets, they don’t often find themselves presented to big audiences and they hardly receive coverage in major newspapers. But they are crucial to understanding of local history, customs, feelings or grievances. Such local events often shape and form individuals that become huge stars later on. Want an example: try to understand The Smiths without detailed knowledge of Manchester area in the 80s. Or better – try to understand Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear phenomena without attending one of those fairs full of old racing cars, past glories and strange characters.

We hope you will enjoy our (hectic) coverage of Speed Festival 2016. If we got any car brands wrong, please point it out. We`ll correct ourselves.

You can read of review of Festival of Speed here:

https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2016/04/06/bromyard-speed-festival/

Ta,

Mal & Rita

 

Cars brands:

 

Aston Martin

Aston Martin profile

Aston Martin profile

Aston Martin from the side

Aston Martin from the side

Aston Martin inside

Aston Martin inside

Aston Martin logo

Aston Martin logo

Bentley

Bentley profile

Bentley profile

Bentley front

Bentley front

Bentley logo

Bentley logo

Bristol

Bristol profile

Bristol profile

Bristol profile

Bristol profile

Bristol logo

Bristol logo

Caterham

Caterham profile

Caterham profile

Caterham side

Caterham side

Caterham mascot

Caterham mascot

Chevrolet

Chevrolet profile

Chevrolet profile

Chevrolet seen from the side

Chevrolet seen from the side

Chevrolet logo

Chevrolet logo

Chevrolet engine

Chevrolet engine

Factory Five

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car profile

Factory Five car engine

Factory Five car engine

Factory Five logo

Factory Five logo

Ferrari Pininfarina

Ferrari logo

Ferrari logo

Ferrari Pininfarina front

Ferrari Pininfarina front

Ferrari Pininfarina profile

Ferrari Pininfarina profile

Ferrari Pininfarina back

Ferrari Pininfarina back

Classic Ford

Ford profile

Ford profile

Ford seen from the side

Ford seen from the side

Ford Austin

Ford Austin front

Ford Austin front

Detail #1

Detail #1

Detail #2

Detail #2

Ford Austin logo

Ford Austin logo

Ford Thunderbird

Ford Thunderbird engine

Ford Thunderbird engine

Ford Thunderbird front

Ford Thunderbird front

Ford Thunderbird logo

Ford Thunderbird logo

Ford Thunderbird profile

Ford Thunderbird profile

Jaguar

Jaguar front

Jaguar front

Jaguar profile

Jaguar profile

Jaguar logo

Jaguar logo

Jaguar steering wheel

Jaguar steering wheel

Jensen Healey

Jensen Healey front

Jensen Healey front

Jensen Healey profile

Jensen Healey profile

Jensen Healey logo

Jensen Healey logo

Lola Cars

A pair of Lola cars

A pair of Lola cars

Lotus Cars

Lotus racing car #1

Lotus racing car #1

Lotus racing car #2

Lotus racing car #2

Puma

Puma profile

Puma profile

Puma front

Puma front

Puma logo

Puma logo

Sunbean Bluebird

Sunbeam Bluebird full body of a legendary car

Sunbeam Bluebird full body of a legendary car

Sunbeam Bluebird profile

Sunbeam Bluebird profile

Sunbean steering wheel

Sunbean steering wheel

The inside of the car

The inside of the car

The flag

The flag

Engine of the Bluebird was regarded as exceptionally advanced in its time.

Engine of the Bluebird was regarded as exceptionally advanced in its time.

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports

We are living for the history - as the song goes

We are living for the history – as the song goes

Sunbeam logo

Sunbeam logo

Shelsley Walsh racing course in an old photograph.

Shelsley Walsh racing course in an old photograph.

Sunbeam profile

Sunbeam profile

The seats - we wonder if they were comfortable.

The seats – we wonder if they were comfortable.

Sunbean seen from the side

Sunbean seen from the side

Sunbeam spare wheel

Sunbeam spare wheel

Turner GT

Turner seen from the front

Turner seen from the front

Turner profile

Turner profile

Turner seen from a side

Turner seen from a side

The wheel

The wheel

Turner logo

Turner logo

Mdina Grand Prix 2015 - the car that went a long way.

Mdina Grand Prix 2015 – the car that went a long way.

TVR

TVR seen from the front

TVR seen from the front

TVR profile

TVR profile

TVR seen from the side

TVR seen from the side

TVR steering wheel

TVR steering wheel

Wolseley

Wolseley seen from the front

Wolseley seen from the front

Wolseley profile

Wolseley profile

 

Motorcycles brands

AJS

AJS profile

AJS profile

BSA

BSA bike in full glory

BSA bike in full glory

Can Am

The background on this unusual motorbike

The background on this unusual motorbike

Can Am profile

Can Am profile

Cab Am seen from the side

Cab Am seen from the side

Ducati Desmoquattro

What a machine!

What a machine!

Ducati Desmoquattro seen from the front

Ducati Desmoquattro seen from the front

Ducati Desmoquattro profile

Ducati Desmoquattro profile

Ducati Diavel Carbon

Ducati Diavel Carbon - if you prefer toned colours

Ducati Diavel Carbon – if you prefer toned colours

Honda 750

Honda is one of worlds most recognized brands. More than Adidas, bet you didn't know that!

Honda is one of worlds most recognized brands. More than Adidas, bet you didn’t know that!

Kawasaki

Not always a ninja...

Not always a ninja…

Norton Superior

Norton_Superior
Suzuki

One of the best bikes we have ever seen

One of the best bikes we have ever seen

Yamaha 400

Another legendary brand - Yamaha

Another legendary brand – Yamaha

 

Till the next time

M/R

Bromyard Speed Festival

Hello, hello!

Ready, steady, Go!

Ready. Steady. Go!

West Midland life can be hard if you are an outgoing person without a car. Herefordshire and Worcestershire are sparsely populated and you need your own transport to get to many interesting places. Birmingham has an excellent public transport system but the further you are based from Birmingham, the worse it gets. At Vanadian Avenue, we are constantly keeping our eyes and ears open in search for some local things to do, yet we are not able to get to all events, just because there is no decent bus connection. Luckily, sometimes we can get a lift and we enjoy a fantastic day out.

Map of the event

Map of the event

Leaflet #1

Leaflet #1

Leaflet #2

Leaflet #2

Old photos always get Malicia`s attention

Old photos always get Malicia`s attention

We learnt about Bromyard Speed Festival by accident. An unconfirmed internet rumor that Jeremy Clarkson has been booked to open the first edition spread quickly like Californian forest fire causing great excitement among locals. We were a bit skeptical as he is currently filming the equivalent of “Top Gear” for Amazon Prime, but tempted to see him in real life, we decided to give it a go.

The event was to take place on Sunday, 3rd of April so exactly at 11:00 am, we arrived in Bromyard and we set ourselves up on the main street waiting for the vintage car show to start.

Car parade in full swing!

Car parade in full swing!

Rare, precious and still kicking!

Rare, precious and still kicking!

You could buy some curios trinkets at the festival

You could buy some curios trinkets at the festival

For those of you who know very little about Bromyard, we need to say few words about it. It is a medieval market town located in Herefordshire, placed exactly halfway between Hereford (22 miles) and Worcester (20 miles). According to Bromyard and Winslow Parish Council statistics, it has nearly 4,500 inhabitants, several pubs (including two traditional half-timber “black and white” buildings), one local library, one theatre (The Conquest Theatre) small S-F Museum, two hotels and St. Peter’s Church dating back to Norman times. Bromyard may seem like a quiet place but it has several very active clubs and societies organizing nationally known events such as Bromyard Gala, Nozstock Festival of Performing Arts or Folk Festival among others. It also has a strong claim to motoring fame – Morgan Cars were originally set up in Bromyard before moving to Malvern and The Chairmen of the Austin, Bean and Morgan motor companies lived inside or close to town for many years. You can learn more about Bromyard motoring history on festival’s official website: http://www.bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk/history.html

We want this car, like now!

We want this car, like now!

Preparation for the car parade

Preparation for the car parade

Car parade is about to begin

Car parade is about to begin

By 11 o’clock, the town was already packed and several vintage cars were driving through the town centre forming a small parade. At first, we thought that we have missed the formal opening and Jeremy Clarkson’s speech but soon we found out that that Mr Clarkson’s appearance was not confirmed at all and it was probably an April 1st joke, a clever publicity stunt or a local gossip. To be very honest, the entire event was very well organized and there was no need for any special guests. Rita is not a big fan of the pompous presenter so she wasn’t bother by the fact he wasn’t there. At least nobody got beaten up when the food stand ran out of burgers around midday!

General view of the festival

General view of the festival

Rows and rows of truly unique vehicles

Rows and rows of truly unique vehicles

We love antiques. Hand on the heart. One of these days we will do a blog from Antiques Roadshow!

We love antiques. Hand on the heart. One of these days we will do a blog from Antiques Roadshow!

First editions of any events are usually plagued with many unfortunate incidents so Speed Festival organizers should be praised for a nearly flawless delivery. Each point of interest has been clearly marked on maps, volunteers were helpful and well informed and guests were directed to the right places. The organizers took serious security measures and the visitors were separated from the car parade by proper fencing. We had 3 emergency ambulances points, West Mercia police stand in Co-op car park and two emergency vehicle access points. The only thing we could complain about was the prices. Although the event was generally admission free, you had to pay 3 pounds to access The Paddock situated by The Conquest Theatre and another 3 pounds for the flyers or the event plan. We didn’t mind paying for the access to Paddocks as we had a chance to see the famous Blue Bird, but paying the same amount of money for a single leaflet seems a bit too much. Other than that – we are truly impressed. Overall, the Bromyard Festival of Speed attracted more than 3000 people, so hopefully it will become another annual attraction for the picturesque town.

Festival menu

Festival menu

Memorabilia corner

Memorabilia corner

Festivals as such always bring sellers who offer many artifacts from the good old days

Festivals as such always bring sellers who offer many artifacts from the good old days

If Mal wanted to buy every old photograph she fancies, she`d have to live at Tate Gallery...

If Mal wanted to buy every old photograph she fancied, she`d have to live at Tate Gallery…

Talking about the car parade – it was a very impressive sight. More than 130 vintage and classic cars took part in it, driving slowly in circles from Rowberry Road, passing the Council Corner, turning into The Cut then into the Broad Street, and finally arriving on High Street and Rowberry Road again. The cars were touring in groups of 20-30 cars at 20 minutes intervals. You could see the very impressive Royce-Royce Bentley MK VI Special (produced between 1946 and 1952) limousines in motion carrying up to 5 people, a lot of classic Morgan cars (Plus 4 Coupe from 1954, Morgan Super Sports from 1933 or Family 3 Wheeler from 1935), superb vintage cars (previously unknown to us SunBeams, Diatto Targa Florio, Riley Brooklands and Railton Straight Eight) or fan favourites Hill Climb Cars (including Porsche Cayman SV-R, Caterham Seven or Jensen Healey). Hillclimbing motorsport is a fascinating thing and maybe one day we will write more about it. You can read a short description about it here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillclimbing

Caterham

Caterham

Jensen Healey

Jensen Healey

Younger visitors were also mesmerized by a large collection of classic racing bikes and rally cars. We have to say, we are not interested in motoring or racing cars but some models were simply stunning. It was hard not to fall in love with them. Rita was especially pleased to spot a classic Ferrari and Mal was happy to discover that one of the vintage cars took part in The Mdina Grand Prix Classic Car Event in 2015.

Turner GT

Turner GT

Mdina Grand Prix 2015!

Mdina Grand Prix 2015!

We have mentioned the Blue Bird above but it needs to be explained why this car was the biggest attraction of the festival. We have never heard of the Blue Bird before but it has a fantastic history worth of a blockbuster movie. It was designed by brilliant French automobile engineer Louis Hervé Coatalen in 1920 for Sunbeam, a marque registered by John Marston Co. Ltd of Wolverhampton. It was officially known as Sunbeam 350HP and was equipped with a modified aero engine. Considered to be the fastest car in the world, it was tested by famous aviation pioneer and pilot, Harry Hawker. In 1922, it was purchased by Sir Malcolm Campbell, who had it repainted blue and nicknamed it the “Blue Bird”. The rest, as they say is history. The Blue Bird won several land speeding records and Sir Campbell became a true motor racing legend. The car has been recently renovated and is visiting motoring festivals all over the country. It is also on permanent display in the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, Hampshire. If you’d like to support the restoration of this fantastic machine, please see the links below. The museum needs to collect nearly £30,000 for a new gear box.

The legendary Blue Bird

The legendary Blue Bird

Look at the engine. It used to power the fastest car on the planet.

Look at the engine. It used to power the fastest car on the planet.

The Blue Bird links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunbeam_350HP
https://www.beaulieu.co.uk/news/the-sunbeam-350hp-appeal/
http://www.bluebird-electric.net/bluebird_history/sunbeam_blue_bird_Malcolm_Campbell.htm

National Motor Museum links:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Motor_Museum,_Beaulieu
www.beaulieu.co.uk/
http://www.nationalmotormuseum.org.uk/

It would be very unfair, if we missed another very old and very unique Sunbeam model that was displayed right next to the Blue Bird. The other Sunbeam known professionally as Sunbeam 16/20 Sports is even older as it has been made in 1911 and is in private hands (owned by Hicky Hickling). This 4 cylinder, 4300cc vintage monster of a racing machine can go at 100 m/h at the top of its speed and is the oldest surviving competition Sunbeam in the world. The car has won numerous racing competitions and held hill record at the Shelsley Walsh racing in 1912, the oldest motorsport events in the world running continuously from 1905 until today. Restored in mid-1990, it also travels around the UK being admired by new generations of speed racing fans.

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports profile

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports profile

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports from side

Sunbeam 16/20 Sports from side

Photo of Shelsley Walsh racing course

Photo of Shelsley Walsh racing course

Sunbeam logo

Sunbeam logo

The history of Sunbeam

The history of Sunbeam

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelsley_Walsh_Speed_Hill_Climb
http://www.skwimages.com/media/802fbcec-236c-11e3-aae3-371ff1c67724-hicky-hickling-in-the-sunbeam-16-20-4-3-litre-1911-kop-hil
http://www.autocar.co.uk/blogs/motorsport/shelsley-walsh-relives-its-rich-history

We would love to write about each car or motorbike we have seen but it is simply impossible. Please take a look at our pictures and if we are missing any vital information about any of the models, please contact us and we will try to add them. Thank you kindly for your assistance!

Bromyard Festival of Speed:

Points of interest:

  • The Paddocks – located near the Conquest Theatre. Large vintage car display including the Blue Bird and Sunbeam 16/20 Sports
  • Prestige Car Display – located near the Old Road
  • Autojumble and Trade Stands – located near Sheep Close and on Pump Street
  • Motorcycle display – two locations, first one close to “Rose and Lion” pub near Little Hereford Pub and second on New Road.
  • Morgan Display – located near The Cut

Official website: http://www.bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BromyardSpeedFestival
Twitter: https://twitter.com/BromyardSpeed
Email: enquiries@bromyardspeedfestival.co.uk
Phone:  01885 555010
Post: Bromyard Speed Festival, c/o Holden Vintage and Classic Ltd, Linton Trading Estate, Bromyard, Herefordshire, HR7 4QT

Another of great cars - Bristol

Another of great cars – Bristol

Festival hosted a large collection of motorcycles as well

Festival hosted a large collection of motorcycles as well

Local news:

BBC News: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hereford-worcester-35953755
Hereford Times: http://www.herefordtimes.com/news/14401961.Crowds_flock_to_Bromyard_Speed_Festival/ http://www.herefordtimes.com/sport/14306797.New_motoring_event_to_take_place_in_Bromyard/
Classic Cars for Sale: http://www.classiccarsforsale.co.uk/news/event-news/1603/blue-bird-to-appear-at-bromyard-speed-festival/
Bromyard Info: http://www.bromyard.info/index.php/78-news/1716-bromyard-speed-festival-to-take-place-on-april-3.html

As usual, thank you kindly for reading and we hopefully will see you very, very soon!

Have a lovely day,
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Castlemartin Firing Range in 19 clicks

Aye travellers!

The Tour de Wales goes on! As promised we are back on track again and ready to report about our adventures during the summer. Good news is that November is almost finished and we will be greeting the much more people-friendly December in less than a week! Christmas spirit, better weather and lots of festive markets to go to! We cannot wait to visit the Victorian Fayre in Worcester, and this year we are also planning to see the German Market in Birmingham. As usual, so much to do, so much to see and so little time – oh well, the life of a cultural blogger is a difficult one. Choosing between the places to go can be a heart-breaking task indeed J

Have you missed previous stops on or tour around Wales? Use the links below to see where we have been before:

Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part 1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea/
Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part 2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea-part-two/
Saundersfoot in 20 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/saundersfoot-in-20-clicks/
Barrafundle Bay in 30 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/barafundle-bay-in-30-clicks/
Broadhaven South in 27 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/broadhaven-south-in-27-clicks/
St Govan’s Chapel: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/23/one-castle-a-day-st-govans-chapel/

All right, our last destination was the St Govan’s Chapel – beautiful, tiny place of worship near the village of Bosherton. The chapel is located at Castlemartin Fining Range, a piece of land now owned by Ministry of Defense that once belonged to the posh landowners, the Earls of Cawdor. Castlemartin is worth visiting for its breathtaking sights and truly impressive limestone cliffs but it also has a rich history. Interested? Follow us!

Have you ever wondered where the name Castlemartin came from? If you think it’s a combination of two words “castle” and “martin”, you are very close. The village built on a sandstone peninsula was founded around 5th or 6th century. It had an impressive motte-and bailey castle erected by Norman and Scandinavian invaders in the 11th century and large farms that supplied food for local residents and Marcher Lords. The castle didn’t survive to our times but the remains can be seen even today. They are quite extensive and measure 70m x 60m. Well preserved remains of a ring-bank and remnants of the outer ditch can also be located. Amateur archaeologists will be delighted to know that Normans have used foundation of an earlier building to create the castle, probably an Iron Age Roman fort.

Excellent photographs of the castle remains can be found here:

http://map.coflein.gov.uk/index.php?action=do_details&numlink=305415&cache_name=cG5tcnNuYW1lLGhhZm9kIGNvcHBlcndvcmtzX3NlYXJjaHR5cGUsYWR2YW5jZWQ

The village grew steadily around the castle and in the 13th century a Catholic church dedicated to St Martin has been added to the community. Within few years, the village became known as the Martel Castell, the Castle of St Martin, or Castlemartin for short. The church is still standing and has been renovated in the 19th century thanks to the generous donations by the Cawdor family. Today the parish is known as St Michael and All Angels. There is a different church also known as St Michael and All Angels in Stackpole. In Wales things just cannot be simple! We haven’t seen the churches yet, but next time we are in Pembroke, Rita is going to photograph them from every angle. You have her word for that.

Once again, please visit the website of Royal Commission on the ancient and historical monuments of Wales. This excellent site offers the best and most accurate information on almost any listed building in Pembrokshire:
http://www.coflein.gov.uk/en/site/308940/details/ST+MICHAEL’S+CHURCH,+CASTLEMARTIN/

Castlemartin nowadays is a sleepy village that offers good BB accommodation to tourists and climbing enthusiasts. It may not be impressive but not many people realize that it is one of few remaining places in Wales that has been entirely English-speaking for the last 900 years or more.

We have mentioned in our previous entry that Castlemartin Training Range has been established in 1939, just before the start of WW2 as a place where the British Army and fleet could train undetected. This remote coastal location was perfect for this goal and Ministry of Defense used every possible legal trick to take the land away from the noble family. The range covers 2,390 hectares and 12 nautical miles off the coast. It consists of two parts: Range East available to tourists (this is where St Govan’s Chapel is located) and Range West that is closed off to visitors and you need a special permission to enter. The permission is granted quite often these days and many organized climbing groups come here to conquer some of the most impressive limestone walls. We have seen several red metal climbing poles on Range East but we didn’t have the chance to see the climbers in action. Rita is secretly planning to team up with some local climbing expedition and go with them to take some pictures – we tell you it will be some truly magnificent photo-session. If you’d like to enter Range West, be prepared for a 40 minute military style briefing about security and safety! Here’s another very interested link and several times when the briefing will be held in 2015: https://www.thebmc.co.uk

Range West is known for its wonderful fauna (you can spot rare wild orchids there as well) but Range East is also very interesting. There is an old training ground used by military personnel, tanks and vehicles during the war, Cold War helicopter landing pads made out of stone, antishelters, bunkers and even small rail tracks for heavy cannons. Urban legends mention that several secret weapons were tested in those shelters but the data is classified and nobody knows anything for sure. Our guide has mentioned several big transmitters and radars being created here in 1950’s and 1960 but majority of them went out of use before our birth and what remains are the stone pillars and bare foundations. Those who like reading about military equipment will be delighted to know that Range East is considered unique and is preserved for its historical and educational value. An excellent article about the can be found here: http://content.yudu.com/Library/A1qcir/PembrokeshireMilitar/resources/15.htm

Here are our favourites pictures from the Castlemartin Range tour:

1.

Castlemartin Range

Castlemartin Range

2.

View from the top

View from the top

3.

Castlemartin Range near the St Gowan's Chapel

Castlemartin Range near the St Gowan’s Chapel

4.

High Cliffs

High Cliffs

5.

Beach below with a sharp rock knowns as The Beacon or The Lighthouse

Beach below with a sharp rock known as The Beacon or The Lighthouse

6.

Closer look at The Beacon

Closer look at The Beacon

7.

Large beach at the other side of the Range

Large stone beach at the other side of the Range

8.

Red climbing post near the old bunkers

Red climbing post near the old bunkers

9.

Stone circles - they were used as a practice targets for military planes

Stone circles – they were used as a practice targets for military planes

10.

Closer look at the circles, this one was made in early 1960's

Closer look at the circles, this one was made in early 1960’s

11.

Don't look down!

Don’t look down!

12.

Old bunkers from The Cold War era are not longer used by the military and their entrances have been bricked up.

Old bunkers from Cold War era are not longer used by the military and their entrances have been bricked up.

13.

Castlemartin Range information board for the tourists. The range is closed for 44 weeks a year

Castlemartin Range information board for the tourists. The range is closed for 44 weeks a year

14.

Long ravine with derelict train tracks

Long ravine with derelict train tracks

15.

Old navigation station is actually still operational and is being used to monitor the weather conditions alongside the Pembroke coast

Old navigation station is actually still operational and is being used to monitor the weather conditions alongside the Pembroke coast

16.

Rockly plateau is now home to hundreds of rabbits

Rocky plateau is now home to hundreds of rabbits

17.

The magnificient coastline looks splendid in the sun

The magnificent coastline looks splendid in the sun

18.

Cracked stone surface crates mini lakes and rock pools

Cracked stone surface crates mini lakes and rock pools

19.

It may look nice and calm, but the ocean is very dangerous around the range with many hidden vortexes and strong currents

It may look nice and calm, but the ocean is very dangerous around the range with many hidden vortexes and strong currents

You want to know more? Look no further, we have selected the best websites to give you more information about the subject:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castlemartin_Training_Area
http://www.milfordmarina.com/castlemartin-range-1/
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/castlemartin-firing-notice–2
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/27471/Castlemartin.pdf
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/43344/dte_info_leaflet_pembroke.pdf
http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/website/m/enjoy/mEnjoy00.asp?a=106

http://cy.nationaltrail.co.uk/pembrokeshire-coast-path/blog/national-trail-officers-survey-7-castlemartin-range-trail

And if you meed something extra: A great info about the range – print the map if you want to discover all roads and walking trails – castlemartin_range_trail

We are leaving Castlemartin behind and moving onto something bigger and better (in our humble opinion of course). The last stop on our Tour de Wales will be the lovely town of Pembroke. If you haven’t seen the grand castle there, you haven’t seen the beauty and splendor of medieval Wales!

Return soon
XXX
Rita and Malicia Dabrowicz

Broadhaven South in 27 clicks

Hello again!

Few days ago we complained about the gloomy winter weather in the UK. Today, we need the biblical ark! It has been raining cats and dogs and the canals around Worcester are now full. This is an annual river Severn flooding and Rita will have a lot of difficulties reaching her work. Streets will be closed, traffic jams will go for miles and only Mal will enjoy the lovely Mediterranean climate. Oh well, on days like these, all you can truly do is to put the heating on and look at some lovely photographs!

If you have missed our Tour de Wales, so far we have visited Ogmore-by-Sea, Saundersfoot and Barafundle Bay. You can read the reviews below:

Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part1: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea/
Ogmore-by-Sea Review Part2: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/10/one-castle-a-day-ogmore-by-sea-part-two/
Saundersfoot in 20 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/13/saundersfoot-in-20-clicks
Barrafundle Bay in 30 clicks: https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2014/11/17/barafundle-bay-in-30-clicks/

As promised, we are still staying within the borders of the lovely Stackpole Estate. After seeing how beautiful Barafundle Bay is, we decided to show you another private beach that once belonged to the magnificently rich Earls of Cawdor. This beach is called Broadhaven and is located just two kilometers away from the picturesque village of Bosherston. We need to be very precise here – there are two beaches known as Broadhaven. The one we are interested in is officially known as Broadhaven South, the other is simply called Broadhaven. The other beach is situated near the village of Broadhaven, in the south east corner of St Bride’s Bay and lies in The Havens Community of Pembrokeshire. Please don’t make the same mistake as we did and ask the local residents how to get to Broadhaven Beach. You will receive pretty conflicting directions. Be more precise and either ask for Broadhaven South or for the Broadhaven Beach.

The two beaches are located quite close to each other but if you are new to the area, traveling on the narrow country roads can be a real challenge. To make matters even worse, SatNav on your phone will be useless, the internet connection in these parts of Wales is the worst we have seen! You will have to rely on the locals and road signs – almost as going back to The Middle Ages!

After arriving at Broadhaven South, the first thing you notice is a large car park and camping grounds at the popular Trevallen Farm (Bosherston, Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales, SA71 5DR, Telephone: 01646 661643). Again, you will be charged five pounds for parking. On a busy day, you might be asked by the parking attendant to stay only for several hours, as the parking spaces are being filled very quickly. Forget about the free parking after 17:30, in the summer you will not find a single place to park until 2 o’clock in the morning! Broadhaven is a very popular location – it is visited by thousands tourists each season. In recent years, it has also become a particularly favourite spot for rock climbers and surfers.

Luckily for tourists, Broadhaven South is not as remote as Barafundle Bay. National Trust has a small office near the parking that sells tickets, food, memorabilia, beach gear and souvenirs. You can even sign up as a National Trust member if you wish – you will not have to pay for the parking. This is what we have done and it proved to be a great decision. There is also an ice-cream van that has been in operation since the early 1960’s. The gentleman who owns it said that he is going to retire soon but each year he is delaying the decision. He remembered the original Cawdor Court at Stackpole and he could tell many interesting stories about the place. He informed us that the reason why the fantastic house was demolished was because it was abandoned for long period of time and the taxes for the land were too high to keep it. The Cawdor family apparently returned to their native Scotland and the grounds were sold. New owners were too poor to renovate the grand mansion and sadly it was destroyed. As a child, the gentleman was taught to swim by one of the Earl’s personal swimming instructors, who sometimes made exceptions for the local kids and worked for free. We were glad to hear that Broadhaven South has not changed much since them – it means the beach still remains clean and is not polluted.

Broadhaven South is surrounded by high cliffs and lime stones. The sand dunes are also much higher than those near Barafundle Bay and you will need a pair of sturdy shoes to walk around them. Don’t forget that the dunes and cliffs are part of coastal national reserve – you are allowed only to walk on designed paths not to disturb the local fauna and flora. Several plants growing on the rocks are indigenous to the local ecosystem and you will not find them anywhere else. Many people are involved in saving this splendid place for future generations!

The unspoilt and untamed beauty of Broadhaven South has been used as a filming location. In 1989, C.S. Lewis story “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (one of the books from “Chronicles of Narnia”) has been shot for a miniseries produced by BBC. In 2010, the post production and additional scenes for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1& 2 were filmed here while the house of wizards, Bill and Flaur Weasley, the Seashell Cottage was created at the nearby beach of Fresh Water West. Broadhaven South has been used several times in Doctor Who as well – as you can see this is a famous ground for every fan of fantasy genre!

Last but not least – we also need to mention The Church Rock, a small but famous limestone solitary standing in the middle of the water some 150 yards from the sandy beach. If you believe the urban legends, The Church Rock is said to be some sort of an alien beacon or maybe an orientation point for the unidentified flying objects. It is true that UFO’s have been spotted many times flying around the beach. We haven’t seen any men in black sunbathing during our visit, but any paranormal activity at Broadhaven South could be a case for Mulder and Scully. We still believe!

1.

Broadhaven South - do not confuse with Broadchurch!

Broadhaven South – do not confuse with Broadchurch!

2.

National Trust office

National Trust office

3.

Ice scream stand offers treats to everyone including the fans of Mortal Kombat video game series

Ice scream stand offers treats to everyone including the fans of Mortal Kombat video game series

4.

Road to the beach

Road to the beach

5.

Sand dunes

Sand dunes

6.

The beach is popular all year round

The beach is popular all year round

7.

This particular picture has been edited by Mal to show you how the difference between natural pictures and those edited in Photoshop

This particular picture has been edited by Mal to show you the difference between natural pictures and those edited in Photoshop

8.

We arrived at the low tide, usually in the afternoon this part of the beach is covered by water

We arrived at the low tide, usually in the afternoon this part of the beach is covered by water

9.

At low tide the beach is growing in size

At low tide the beach is growing in size

10.

Rocks and sand - the beach looks almost like a California desert

Rocks and sand – the beach looks almost like a California desert

11.

Church Rock on the horizon

Church Rock on the horizon

12.

Calm waters

Calm waters

13.

Foot prints  - humans and animals. The dogs are welcomed to the beach

Foot prints – humans and animals. Dogs are welcomed to the beach

14.

The water is blue and green in the sunshine. It is considered the cleanest  in Wales

The water is blue and green in the sunshine. It is considered the cleanest in Wales

15.

How do you tell there is a razorshell hidden in the sand?

How do you tell there is a razorshell hidden in the sand?

16.

Broadhaven South is known from the dramatic coastline filled with limestone cliffs and caves

Broadhaven South is known from the dramatic coastline filled with limestone cliffs and caves

17.

Another beach and another Labrador swimming

Another beach and another Labrador swimming

18.

Cave close up

Cave close up

19.

Inside the cave

Inside the cave

20.

The lime stones are pretty interesting if you look at them up close

The lime stones are pretty interesting if you look at them up close

21.

The Coastal riff near the edge of Broadhaven beach

The Coastal riff near the edge of Broadhaven beach

22.

Cliffs again

Cliffs again

23.

This massive lime stone block is known locally as The Wall

This massive lime stone block is known locally as The Wall

24.

Rising tide creates  small streams along the beach

Rising tide creates small streams along the beach

25.

Water is quickly reclaiming the sand

Water is quickly reclaiming the sand

26.

Soon the sand is underwater and the tourists are escaping onto the sand sunes

Soon the sand is underwater and the tourists are escaping onto the sand dunes

27.

Panorama of Broadhaven South

Panorama of Broadhaven South

You can learn more about Broadhaven South by reading the links below:

BBC Nature: http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/nature/sites/surfing/pages/sw_broadhaven.shtml
Bluestone Wales: http://www.bluestonewales.com/pembrokeshire/beaches/broad-haven-south
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broad_Haven_South
Pembrokshire Coast: http://www.pembrokeshirecoast.org.uk/?PID=122
Visit Pembrokshire: http://www.visitpembrokeshire.com/explore-pembrokeshire/beaches/broad-haven-south/

All right, our work in Stackpole is done for now. We are moving, but we are not going very far. Just two miles away from Broadhaven South, there is a small 12th Century chapel that we always wanted to see. Please return soon, – One castle a day will be back!

Till then,
Rita and Mal