Friday, June 16, 2017

Penultimate passage

Thursday was another beautiful day, but we didn't go for a hike. Instead we drove south east through Haverfordwest toward the tiny village of Amroth to visit the Colby Woodland Garden. This garden is another National Trust site which we enjoyed as much or more than any other garden. There was a contrast between the enclosed wall garden

and the open meadow surrounded by stately trees.
  Trompe l'œil décor graced the walls of the summer garden house. 

Lillian made friends with other gardeners as we wandered among the beautiful flowers. 

 We took cream tea on the patio and shopped a bit in the artists gallery. 

The next destination was Pembroke Castle. This was the birthplace of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, and had been a defensive location even in the Iron Age. The prehistoric site was in a large underground cavern with access to the river. An early wooden structure had been built upon this at the time of the Norman conquest in 1066. It was replaced by a stone  building in the 12th century, and a five story tower in the 13th. 

Gradually the walls and towers multiplied so that by the time Henry VII was born in 1457, it was a very impressive complex indeed.
The advent of cannons rendered its defenses obsolete, and it fell to Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century. We had a wonderful time climbing up and down, and the many other visitors seemed equally amused. In the central courtyard there is an enormous map of Wales made out of a rubbery playground material which showed the many castles, churches and monasteries in the region.  It would make a great teaching tool for a history class.

We stopped for groceries because we were cooking our own dinner. After dinner, the sun was still high in the sky. Peter was tired but Bill agreed to drive me and Lillian to see the prehistoric site we had missed on our Monday walk. It is called Carred Samson, and we found it in a farmer's field just a short way from the coast. From a distance it looked like a stone mushroom sculpture, but up close it was composed of enormous rocks supporting a table like rock.  The sun was sinking rapidly as we watched and the colors faded to a smoky blue as fog rolled in off the water nearby. 

Tomorrow is our last day together. Saturday we set sail for Ireland. 

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