Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Saturday, 5 September 2015

High Fortress Above the Sea

High Fortress above the sea - the world drives
Its carriages across it;
And you, all you ships of the sea,
Pass beneath its chains.
David Owen (1784-1841)
Translated from the Welsh englyn poetic form.

The year was 1959 and we were on holiday in Llandudno, Wales, during the last week in August. My brother and I are posing on the Menai Suspension Bridge. Designed by Thomas Telford to carry traffic between the mainland of Wales and Anglesey, it was completed in 1826. Before its completion the only way to cross the dangerous waters of the Menai Strait was by ferry.
“I heard him then for I had just
 completed my design,
To keep the Menai bridge from rust
By boiling it in wine.”
Through the Looking Glass, Lewis Carroll

The towers on either side of the Strait are constructed from Penmon limestone. The sixteen huge chain cables, each made of 935 iron bars, support the 176 metre span, and between manufacture and use were soaked in warm linseed oil (not boiled in wine as the White Knight in Lewis Carroll’s poem, above, suggests).

And here are our parents snapped at what was then a T-junction. The breeze has caught the skirt of Mum’s dress, making her appear much larger than she was, so it’s possibly not one of her favourite photographs.

Incredibly, Mum and Dad are standing just across the road from where this weeks’ Sepia Saturday prompt photo below, was taken. It comes from the National Library of Wales, and  shows the bridge in the Winter of the previous year, in thick fog which appears to cut it in half.

Help bridge the gap by joining other contributors to this week’s Sepia Saturday.


  1. That is quite some bridge most sturdy and lovely design. You all look wonderful and happy! I like the opening quote as well!

  2. Perfect synchronicity of thought. I think I must have chosen that theme picture with you in mind after my trip to Bangor a few weeks ago. Great photographs - such a cute little thing, weren't you.

  3. Alan is right- what a sweet pic of you and your brother. And what am amazing feat for the 1800s!

  4. I didn't see Little Nell that day in 1959, but I probably was only about 20 miles away, enjoying one of our annual cottage holidays on the North coast of Anglesey. Crossing the bridge was a exciting event every year, because I knew I was about to have several weeks playing on the beach, swimming, messing about in boats and clambering over the rocks.

  5. You must win the prize for the. Best Match of the week. A lovely strong image of you and your brother on the bridge. I think polka dot dresses were in fashion in the 1950's, as I have photos of my mother and mother in law in a similar style.

  6. That's a fantastic fog photo. You could disappear into the fog on the bridge and then what ......? A story waiting to happen. There must be plenty of myths and legends around Anglesey to provide some ideas. Can I borrow that line about the wind on your mother's dress, please. I could use it when people are looking at photos of me. And such a good title for the blog.

  7. Excellent Post, Thanks for sharing, Love the Family snap of you and your brother. They make wonderful memories don't they?

  8. How fantastic that you can exactly match this week's theme. Lucky you!

  9. A bridge with a quick turn at the end! That's fascinating.

    I remember a small bridge in England that had a toll keeper. As I recall the backend of our car was almost still on the other side and the toll keeper was on the farther side. Basically we had to pay toll to go across a bridge that wasn't much longer than the car. Still laugh about that one.

  10. A champion match if there ever was one. Well done!

  11. What a perfect match! I was sorry not to have a misty photo to match this prompt.

  12. Impressive bridge and compliments to the early 19th century engineers that it is still standing firm!


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