Birthday tripping
Tuesday, December 22, 2015 at 08:33AM
Joyatri in Art, Books, Cardiff, Cats, Pre-Raphaelites, Travel, Vegan, Vix, Wales, Walsall

A couple weeks ago my boyfriend and I took a trip to Wales. High time, as the last time I’d been to Wales was to catch a ferry to Ireland in 1982. We visited Cardiff Castle.

The ornate interiors are the work of William Burges (1827-1881. Low lighting meant lousy photos, so I’ve just shown some details. Unfortunately, the tour guide rushed us from room to room so there wasn’t time to take in all the decoration in each room (I try to avoid guided tours as I prefer looking to listening and can’t do both at the same time).

The tunnels in the walls of the castle served as air raid shelters during the Second World War. Poster in the reconstructed kitchen area reads “Dr. Carrot, the children’s best friend.” And Potato Pete says, “I make a good soup.”

We enjoyed our spicy curry and vegan barfi at Atma.

Dinner was at Anna-Loka, where we admired the giant carved sheet rock image of Krishna.
The dense chocolate terrine topped with berry compote was a highlight of the meal.
The collections at the National Museum Cardiff were pretty impressive. It has an extensive collection of works by Augustus Johns.
And several Pre-Raphaelite paintings.
My birthday was celebrated with a yummy vegan high tea at Waterloo Tea. In Cardiff there was actually a choice of 3 tearooms for a high tea--more than in London!

I contemplated having my hair done by cats.

In Cardiff, I had the great pleasure of meeting crafty, cat-loving, book-reading, yoga-teaching, vegan food-cooking museum educator and blogger Sian and her “bookshop person” husband Bert (who may have time-traveled from the 1970s). 

We then stayed with friends on the coast. The rest of the weekend consisted of invigorating walks in the driving rain through luscious landscapes towards the sea and through seaside towns, hearty meals, lots of tea and relaxing in front of the fire with two small dogs.

Seeing the Augustus Johns collection was fortuitous as he featured in a book I was reading on this trip, The Rare and the Beautiful: The Lives of the Garmans. It was in the free book swap area of the car park of my boyfriend’s block of flats, along with these other books that I have yet to read. In the early 20th century, the beautiful, bohemian Garman sisters (whose roots were in Vix’s Walsall. She's blogged about the book) were living lives so full of art, music, travel, and lovers that I found it hard to keep track of who was living where and sleeping with whom.

I've started reading Elizabeth Taylor's A Wreath of Roses. According to the preface, Taylor once commented, "I also very much like reading books in which practically nothing happens." This could be said of the books she's authored, which I enjoy for the small details of daily life and nuances of relationships they describe.

A Taste of Honey by Shelagh Delaney is the screenplay. I loved the film with Rita Tushingham.

Can anyone recommend any of the other books?

Article originally appeared on (http://www.joyatri.com/).
See website for complete article licensing information.