Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Powys

Entrance to Powys Castle











Virginia Creeper







Castle from the 17th century garden








Countryside from the garden








Flowers, Alstroemeria Psittacine, specifically










Hedges in the garden











So here you are, looking down a couple
hundred feet of perfectly trimmed 8 or 10
foot high hedge, pictured above; obviously
they use laser-guided trimmers














And the mountain-size topiary is not bad either





































































From Llanberis we drove back east through gorgeous valleys, mountains and hills, through Betws-Y-Coed (Betsey Coed), the principal mountaineering center (why Llanberis is not, I have no idea), and a beautiful town itself, and then on to the edge of Wales and Powys Castle. Powys was a Welsh stronghold but acquired, in the 15th century or so, by the Ludlow family. The castle is a large fortified residence. By the time the Ludlows began changing it, the Welsh were happy campers, and there was no need for all the defensive/military stuff. The site is notable for two other reasons. The first is that it is the home of the relics of Clive of India, whose son married into the title and estate. Clive was an 18th century India Co. military official and was a principal in putting down a couple of major rebellions. The relics are the booty and lootings of these military victories. The various articles are impressive--far better than anything we saw in India. Similar things have been said, I suppose, about Egypt and Greece and everywhere else the sun has not set on British soil. [Today (October 20) I came across the very first reference to the E-word (Empire) I have seen in two months in the UK. Appropriately, it was at a Blenheim shrine to Churchill who "did not become His Majesty's First Minister in order ot preside over the dissolution of the British Empire." (I know these words by heart.)] But I rant, I mean, digress. Anyhow, the other very notable thing about Powys is the terraced gardens, never updated from the 17th century and a singular example of what gardens were supposed to have been like before Calamity Brown got into landscaping. Powys' gardens, even in mid-October, were stunningly beautiful.

Powys, like so many others, was something we might have easily skipped, but are really glad we did not. We have learned that each and every one of these properties is special in some way(s) or other, unique, and especially interesting and informative.

We spent the night in another lay-by, out in the boonies.

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