Sunday 24 March 2024

23rd March things

March 23rd was unusually productive for Things.

VoR museum

Opening day for the VoR museum. I went down fully expecting large banners and welcoming volunteers - perhaps a brass band. I had obviously forgotten this is Abeystwyth. A nice man reminded me it was opeing day and sold me a ticket, after which I strolled alone among some shny exhibits, having passed through an archway recyled from London Bridge (seriously).

I'd seen many of them before, but the standard gauge Dukedog (on loan) was new, and it's never disappointing to see the Beyer Garratt. One of the highlights of the VoR is standing near a steep incline (there are many) and just listening to a loco labouring uphill - apparently the B-G is so powerful it barely makes a sound. When used in South Africa, two of these monsters were harnessed at the head of timber trains that were very very long indeed.

Other pictures exist.

Bryntail lead mines

There were mines just all over the place, but the Bryntail site is distinguished by having many remains of buildings, wheel pits etc, all in the shadow of the Clywedog dam. It is a short distance to the very productive Van site, so ironic that despite huge investment and innovation by a Cornish engineer, Bryntail never produced much and closed very shortly after the fellow's death.
Other pictures exist.


A refreshment break in Llanidloes - didn't meet any Chartists.

Alison Cotton

Something drew my attention to A Cotton opening her tour at Gregynog. A cursory search suggested that if Godspeed You! Black Emperor operated in the folk music sphere, this is what they would sound like. A must-do. On arrival, the Gregynog organisation was just as expected (yeah), and the remainder of the audience looked as though they knew just why they were there, and might all be related to Vashti Bunyan.

The lady plays drone viola, but is actually a vocalist and her unaccompanied singing dominated (a pest, as she had a sore throat and had to abandon an attempt at one song. Never mind, we got lots of others). She played from her very recently released Engelchen, about two Tyneside sisters who rescued large number of Jewish children from the Nazis. She sported gold boots and eyelids, and from time to time was accompanied by Chloe Herington on percussion and harmonium. Both of them made interesting use of loops and other electronics. If there's one thing in the world I don't need it's another T-shirt, but I was easily persuaded to buy one in her support.

Support came from Elizabeth Still, who played a fabulous short set. She was a bit of a one-woman band with lots of instruments and electronics. Apparently the founder member of Haress, of whom I had never heard - there's always something new.

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