Monday, August 24, 2015

Wales: Rhuddlan Castle

Enough is enough.  Today is the day, y'all:  we're finishing up the pictures from Wales.  Ya know, since it's been more than a year since our trip out there.  Our final stop was Rhuddlan Castle on our way back home.  Now, Welsh is like impossible to pronounce unless you're a native speaker (and even then I think it's tough), but if I read all the pronunciation guides right then a U sometimes sounds like an I as in "wit" and a DD sounds like a soft TH like in "there" (not like "thistle") so I THINK this is pronounced Rhithlan.  But I could be making that up.

There it is.  And also the clouds that chased us all the way back home; we got poured on for a good part of the drive that afternoon.  Anywha, Rhuddlan was completed in 1284, went through a few wars, and then was intentionally slighted in the English Civil War in 1648.

Kinda looks like people came in here to steal the stone from the castle but only as far up as they could reach without ladders.

There's a view from the castle down toward the river, isn't it pretty?

Just looking for some interesting angles on this one.

And you know how I like to take pictures through holes in walls : )

View inside one of the towers.

And here's a closeup of how some of the stones have weathered.  I think it's interesting how the mortar is still in pretty good shape but the stones themselves have been eaten away.

Lookit that handsome man!

Ok, one more shot of the stones...

...and another landscape.  I like the colors in this one.

There's the new staircase inside the tower, as seen through a hole in the wall.  Yep, Rhuddlan is a little too drafty for me to want to live there right now.

And there's our very last European castle selfie. 

For my next trick, I might actually get the pictures from Mount Vernon uploaded from the camera...

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Wales: Plas Mawr

Well, I just realized that my last post here was, like, two weeks ago.  And I still have two more Wales posts to put up, and our trip to Wales was over a year ago.  My bad, like a lot.  Sooooo today's post is all about Plas Mawr, an Elizabethan townhouse just a few blocks away from Conwy Castle.  We had lunch at a lovely tea room on the way to Plas Mawr, which looks like this from the outside:

We saw lots of buildings that look like this in the UK.  I don't think they all go back to the Elizabethan era, but they do seem to like plastering over brick there.  Apparently it's a thing.

They really liked plaster, period.  Check out that fireplace!  Uh, so not my style.

And while the fireplace plaster is painted in garish colors, Elizabethan clothes are more...drab.  Well, half of them are drab.  That kinda orangey color ain't half bad.

So there's lots of plaster in several rooms of the house, on the walls and ceilings and of course decorating fireplaces.  Most of it is heraldry stuff, with the coats of arms of the owners of the house as well as royal heraldry.  You can read more about it on the Wikipedia page linked above (because we believe everything we read on Wikipedia, duh).

The "ER" stands for Elizabeth Regina (Regina is a name that actually means "queen") which is how she signed her paperwork.  Lots of kings signed with the second name Rex, which as you might expect, means "king".

So the house is pretty big; it had its own brewery.

I kinda like the stair-steppy look.

There's another "hey, Elizabeth is a pretty cool queen" fireplace and you can see some of the plaster ceiling for good measure.

That's the ceiling in the attic, which looks kinda cool.  I think they were supposed to saw off the ends of the pegs so they were flush with the timbers, but they never did.

And there's a plate of cookies featuring the White Rose of York and the Red Rose of Lancaster from the Wars of the Roses.  Because even cookies (biscuits!) in the UK are educational.

There's a quilt hanging on the wall below some of the ubiquitous plaster work.

Last picture because somehow we forgot to do a selfie here?  Anyway, the gardens have been redone into what scholars think they looked like originally.  Because some people study garden history.  Which...okay.  If that's what makes them happy.

Cheers, peeps!