Nantclwyd y Dre

Nantclwyd y Dre is the oldest timber town house in Wales. Nantclwyd y Dre 1

The house was dated using the method described in the picture below. It was very interesting to learn about it, as I had no idea it’s possible to pin point the exact date when the tree was cut down.
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The house has so much character, it’s charming. I love it. The house was built in the 15th century, but over the years a lot of additions were made to the original structure. The first addition was made in 1620s by the owner, a wealthy lawyer. More rooms were added in the late 17th century, by the lawyer’s granddaughter.

The house was bought for ยฃ192 in 1722 and the new owners added more rooms. In the 19th century the house was rented to very special tenants, doctors or head-masters.
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The Hall was built in 1435, almost 580 years ago.
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The Georgian room was added in 1734 and it’s now decorated with the aid from the Ruthin Town Council.
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The school-room is a lovely room. Love the tea set and the toys.
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The room was decorated like in the Elizabethan period, colourful, high neck collars and flamboyant.
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Afterwards we went to Ruthin Castle.

The peacocks are adults now. Last year they were small chicks, in July I think they were only a few weeks old, in December they were “teenagers”, bigger and more confident.nyd_19

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I was trying to get closer so hubby can take a picture, but the peacock wasn’t very friendly.
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In the bar, waiting our cream tea.
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Ruthin Gaol (prison)

I’ve seen a very interesting special episode at Time Team about old gaol and the life of the prisoners, so I was keen to visit the Ruthin Gaol. Loved it!

The staff is helpful and nice. One of the ladies had a lovely welsh accent, quite rare, at least in this part of Wales.
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The kitchens were big, but the menu wasn’t that diversified.
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This is a very strange rolling pin, I’ve asked the lady from Aberconwy house about it and she told me it was used to brake oats.
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This is what the men would have to “work” on. They had to rotate the handle a few thousands time every day. The box contained sand or it had a screw. It was meant as a form of exercise. Keeping the inmates tired meant they were much easier to handle.
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On every wall there were signs with pictures and stories and info about life in prison.
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At the begging the prisoners were photographed by a professional, but soon the prisons bought cameras, so they could take the picture easily and cheaper. This is a real camera that was used in Manchester to track the inmates. This was the first step to make records. Another one was the introduction of the fingerprinting in 1901, by Scotland Yard.
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These are the real keys used in the prison.
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Women and men were kept in the same prison. After a few reforms in the system, it was decided that they will be kept separate. Also, the women worked for real, for example washing clothes, and got paid. I think was much better that the “work” men were doing: box sand or braking rocks. The men were “lucky” enough to spend time on the big treadmill.
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With new reforms, in the late 17th century, the prisoners had 1 bath every week.
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Now there are the Archives and it’s not open to public.
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During WW2 the gaol, closed as a prison in 1916, was transformed into a munition factory. With the celebrations for the 70th anniversary of D-Day, there was a dedicated cell to the war efforts.
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Love the propaganda, the encouragements to make your own, help in so dramatic times, with rations and fear and lack of supplies.
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After visiting the Gaol, we’ve been to Nantclwyd y Dre, the oldest timber town house in Wales and for a cream tea to Ruthin Castle.

Bodnant Garden

On Wednesday we’ve been to Conwy where the lady from Aberconwy house told us the Laburnum Arch is in bloom. The restaurant we wanted to go to was closed during the day, so we’ve decided to visit the garden instead.bg_01

The garden is huge and it’s lovely to walk along the path or get on the grass. We’ve spent only 2-3 hours as we didn’t have more time. In this time we were able to see only half of the garden. We’ll have to go back in one month, to admire the rest of the garden and see the new flowers in bloom.
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The famous Laburnum Arch, looks amazing and it’s quite long.
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In the background is Snowdonia.
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We could only visit the upper gardens, there is a lower garden too. It’s such a beautiful place, quite and calm.

Conwy

Yesterday was a lovely day and we’ve decided to get a few hours off and go to North Wales. We’ve started in Conwy where we’ve visited the Toll house and the Suspended bridge, the Aberconwy house. After that we’ve went to Bodnant Gardens, but that will be in another post, tomorrow or the day after.

We’ve already visited the castle at my 30th birthday. We had a nice walk on the walls.c_01

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Then we went to the Toll House walking on the Suspended bridge. The bridge was built in 1826 by T. Telford, the same architect who built Iron Bridge, and the Aqueduct from Wrexham, pictures with both on my blog.
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The other bridge was constructed in 1848 and it’s lovely. I like that the Victorians were so keen in making flamboyant constructions and the bridge sits nicely near the castle and the older bridge.
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This is the Toll house, a small castle. It was small considering there would have lived a family with 3 children. The picture is a little blurry, but the idea was to see the size of the house. For a weekday it was quite busy and even if it’s only me in the pictures, we had to wait for the other visitors to pass.
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On the floor are the original wood bricks used on the bridge.
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Love the picture of the train entering the bridge.
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We can’t go to Conwy and not take a picture of the Knight shop, where one can buy knight stuff: Armour, swords.
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The Aberconwy House is a lovely 700+ years old merchant house. It has a nice history and we were able to see a few interesting things.
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Love the beams!
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The paddle used to make butter in medieval times. Watching Tudor Monastery Farm on BBC2 paid off.
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After leaving the house we’ve got some amazing cakes from Popty Bakery, very yummy, huge and at a great price. If we would move to Conwy we would get fat very fast ๐Ÿ˜€

Lightnight 2014

Friday was Lightnight in Liverpool. We usually go to this event, we’ve been in 2012 and 2013. Last year wasn’t as interesting as 2012, so I had lower expectations. I was wrong! This year was lovely!

We’ve started with Black-E, where we saw the Shotokan demonstration, the Freefall circus and an Indian dance.
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Hubby has a green belt at Shotokan and I trained almost an year in Qwan Ki Do. It was quite emotional for us to see a karate training session, it brought back a lot of memories. I would love to be able to train again, but I’m smitten with Qwan Ki Do and there are only 3 branches in London. The British team of Qwan Ki Do is trained by a Romanian woman, she was the one who brought it in the UK.
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A very nice kata, fight with an imaginary opponent, quite long and the energy was great. Loved it.
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Kumite, fight with opponent, between the sensei and a black belt student. Very theatrical, but fun and nice for the crowds.
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After the Shotokan demonstration, it was the Freefall Circus. After one of the guys said he will demonstrate how everything works and that the audience can have a go… I thought it will be so boring and that nobody will try.
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I was so wrong! A lot of people stood up and started trying things. This man tried everything, it was a joy to see him so carefree.
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And this is hubby. He wanted to try the rope. I must admit I would have loved to try climbing on them, but in less than 1 month I have another fair and I can’t have a wrist or ankle twisted. I’m prone to accidents, so I had to stay on the side.
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The rotating thingy is harder to control than I thought, but it was lots of fun trying.
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The Indian dance, in front of the Black-E, was interesting. A little too much colour for my taste and I’m not that found of the rhythm.
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At the Anglican Cathedral there was a dance and an artistic exhibition in the Lady Chapel, next picture.
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As part of the WW2 commemorations, it was an ice sculpture with the very known message: “Your country needs you”. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landing, but also it’s the 100th anniversary of the WW1. I think there should be more events about WW1.
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The new Liverpool Library, between World Museum and Walker Art Gallery. It looks lovely, not as big as the one from Birmingham, but that is a new build.
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The view from the Library’s rooftop.
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Bring the Fire Project: Japanese Fire was amazing. Loved it. We were a little late and it was hard to have a good view, it was very crowded. It was worth the effort.
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As expected, we’ve finished with the Candle Lit Labyrinth.
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Owls

I’m very found of birds of prey. Two years ago I hold for the first time an owl, a tawny owl… Pippin. This year I had the pleasure to hold that same bird!! I must admit I didn’t recognize it, but when the owner told me his name I knew it was the same owl.

So, here it is Pippin after 2 years:
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He was hunting right now, but he is too lazy to be bothered to actually fly away. It was funny nevertheless.
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He is 2.5 years old, halfway thru his life in the wild. But, at the center, he will probably reach 15! I love that.
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Isn’t he extremely cute? Love the face and big eyes. Also, he has a very important job, going with his owners to special schools, so kids can see and interact with the native birds.
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The big owl is an Indian breed, I can’t remember the name. She is 9 and can live up to 50 in captivity, much more than in the wild.
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I just have to stop and look at them every time they are in the city center. Just love them. Very soon we’ll visit a falconry center that’s quite close to us (30 minutes drive is close ๐Ÿ˜€ ). One center has vultures, my favourite birds of prey, can’t wait.

Chedworth Roman Villa

Chedworth Roman Villa is the largest roman ruin within UK. It was built in the 4th century and it had a lot of additions and the very impressive roman technology.

The Villa was discovered 150 years ago by a Victorian gamekeeper. As it is so far from us, is unlikely that we’ll have a chance to visit it again during the celebrations that are organized this year.crv_01

In the background there is the Victorian Museum, built in the middle of the site.
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We’ve taken the guided tour and it was so interesting to learn so much about the Romans and their usual activities, the society and their technology. The extend of the Villa reminded me of a school trip I’ve made a little over 20 years ago to another important roman site Adamclisi, only a few miles from the town I group up in, Constanta.

The pillars are dressed every winter, to prevent the rocks to be damaged by the rain&freezing.
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This tree has an interesting story. In fact there are 2 different trees, one is native and one is American. The Victorians were interested to experiment with all sorts of things, including trees.
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The walls are Victorian, made from the stones they found on site, in the same location as the original walls were built. The roof is designed to add protection.
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The water feature was a religious site. The extend of the construction was unusual.
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These 2 cambers were adjoining the bath house. One camber was used to store wood and the other one was used to burn the wood to heat up the bath house, thru underfloor heating.
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The house doesn’t look that spectacular, but it is a state of the art conservation area. The temperature and humidity is controlled by a computer and conservationists are looking over the readings every week to see if everything is in place. The floors are hanged up from the roof.

Inside the house there is the almost 2000 years old mosaic that has to be preserved.There is more mosaic outside but it had to be covered under tarmac for protection. In the future they hope to be able to build a similar structure over. Then they can remove the tarmac and expose the mosaic.
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This tree marks where the soil was 150 years ago.
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Love the mosaic and the techniques to make it is similar to the ones used today, after 2000 years. The manufacturer placed the tiles on linen sheets. It was brought like this to the site where they rolled it over concrete. If you think, it’s like you’d buy today mosaic tiles from B&Q.
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The cold bath, the last step in the bathing process. The bathing lasted for 3 to 6 hours and it was complicated, with a lot of steps. Because the floors were so hot, from the underfloor heating, they were given wooden slippers.
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The dinning room, where they used to stay on the sofas to eat. This was big enough for only 3 sofas!
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A roman brick with a dog paw print, and considering the origins of the breed… it can be a Rottweiler paw print!! How exciting!
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It was very interesting to learn that the Romans brought their own snails too. This one is a Roman snail, a protected species. The Romans were eating the snails, having quite an interesting technique to cook them.

The snails from Chedworth were studied and the guide told us some funny facts about them. For example, they know where they live and if you through one a mile away (it’s illegal as they are protected)… the snail will come back in the same location where it was born. Tracking them by GPS revealed a lot of interesting facts, even if it doesn’t look that way for the non-biologists.
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