Shrewsbury is a beautiful town – strangely divided into a gorgeous old town full of shops huddling underneath wonky black and white timber-framed medieval buildings, and two gloriously ugly 1980s shopping centres which are dark concrete ghost towns full of low ceilings and yellow lights. It’s always amazing how unsympathetic modern architecture can be.
The little town of Knighton, situated on the Welsh/English border, has two national trails running through it: Offa’s Dyke Path and Glyndwr’s Way. The first is named after King Offa, the eighth-century king of West Mercia who built his giant dyke (earthworks) as a barrier against the Welsh; the second is named for Owain Glyndwr, the 15th-century Welsh warrior who fought against the English to establish an independent Wales. This pretty much sums up the duality of many of these border towns.
In common with many rural villages, Knighton feels its trade declining under the influence of larger towns, and notices in shop windows encourage visitors to ‘shop local’. I visited on a sunny weekend afternoon in the middle of the school holidays – and most of the businesses were shut. One even had a notice in their window that they’d gone away for the whole of the summer break…
There are a lot of standing stones, stone circles and cairns in this part of the world. Nobody really knows what most of them were used for, but there’s something deeply ancient and moving about a landscape littered with them.
Writing a first blog post is one of those excruciating experiences like introducing yourself to a total stranger when you have no idea what to say. I never have any idea what to say.
WordPress suggests that I might like to use this post to tell people why I started this blog; and I guess there’s nothing like conformity. I’ve always loved art: photography, drawing, painting, writing, carving – I love creating. But … I’ve always been hobbled by a horrible lack of self-confidence so I’ve never really shared it with anybody.
Anyway, I’ve got to the stage where I’m sick of feeling like that. I need art in my life, I need to be creative, I need to be inspired. So this is my small step into sharing my art with the world, and hopefully growing in the process and learning from all the great work other people put out.