My first attempt to breach the walls of Cardiff Castle didn’t work out quite as planned. When I returned from walking the barrage, it wasn’t yet 6 o’clock, and the sun was still out, so I thought, why not hop over to the castle and take a look? The hotel’s front desk staff recommended a taxi over the bus, and I thought, OK, just this once. I’ll figure out public transportation after I’ve had a proper night’s sleep.
I signed up for the “premium tour,” which I figured was as good as any place to start (with the advantage that the tour was inside the castle, where it would be dry). Our knowledgeable and witty guide led us through several rooms, each decorated within a millimeter of its life.
The third Marquess of Bute, in between speaking the twenty-one languages he knew like the back of his hand, reversed course, at least in part. The moat was back, though chiefly, with money to burn, he turned the castle into a Gothic Revivalist fantasia par excellence.
The rooms were one after another over-the-top, and it was good entertainment to view them, no doubt about that:
laverbread (which I thought a type of bread, silly me as it turned out).
whose unhappy task it was to declare war on Germany at the time, served as MP for Birmingham Edgbaston from 1937 to 1940. The current MP for that constituency is Gisela Stuart, née Gisela Gschaider in Velden, Bavaria, West Germany.
Of such things, perhaps Wisława Szymborska put it best, in Reality Demands:
What moral flows from this? Maybe none.
But what really flows is quickly-drying blood,
and as always, some rivers and clouds.
Benedictus, from John Metcalf's Plain Chants
© John Metcalf.
For a Spotify Playlist of the music of John Metcalf, click on Wales Diary. Metcalf is the Artistic Director of the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music, which occasioned my visit to Cardiff.
This is the second in a five-part series entitled Wales Diary. The first part, Cardiff Bay Barrage, can be found here. The third-fifth parts can be found at these links: The Covered Streets of Cardiff here, Art and the Aquabus, here, and From Celtic Village to Castle Gardens here.
A three-part series of posts on the Vale of Glamorgan Festival of Music concerts I attended while in Wales, including listening lists, can be found at these links: Crossing a Bridge of Dreams here, Ancient Instruments, Timeless Sounds here, and Worlds Entwined here.
For considerably more sensible and well-researched information on castles, I recommend Hilary's Positive Letters . . . inspirational stories . . . site and her A to Z on castles. A good starting point can be found here.
Credits: The quotations about Brown's renovations can be found here. The quotation from Reality Demands can be found at Friko's Poetry and Pictures here.