Brandywell & Derry City FC

I’ve been dying to get along to Brandywell to catch a footy match for many years. Finally got my chance – end of season “must win” versus Shamrock Rovers FC of Dublin.  One of those quirky, antiquated grounds that were once ubiquitous in the UK leagues before Legoisation.  The ticket booth was a grilled hole in a long brick wall.  A huge curving main grandstand and quirky pockets of isolated terraces here and there. This place should be a listed monument as a fine example of evolved sporting stadia.

The standard of football was, I felt, 4th or 5th tier English leagues, ie Div 2 / Conference {National League}

The crowd were passionate and mixed (old and young, not Christian right/left) and this was probably the noisiest 3K crowd I’ve ever experienced.  The “Ultras” drum reverberated in the bowled space of the ground and was deafening as an artillery barrage.

Derry needed to win, and so they did with 10 minutes to spare.  An enjoyable evening of football. Keri enjoyed it too.

Oh and there’s a dog track around the perimter – meetings Mondays & Thursdays apparently.

derrycityfc1 derrycityfc2

After the Lord Mayor’s Show

The show has left town. We anticipated the Eisteddfod coming back to Meifod for years. Our excitement as the pink tent slowly grew out of a farmer’s field. Finally the week itself – a glorious celebration of everything that is Welsh. And then the show was over. 
This photo taken today shows what looks like some crazed Peruvian Nazca lines but is all that is left of the Mathrafal site. 
See you in 2025 perhaps!

Aerial view of the site of the former Eisteddfod site at Mathrafal, Meifod, Powys

Our ballroom

Our “ballroom”. More or less the last room to come online – 3 years in the restoration. Lime, horsehair, oak lath the works. Just upstairs landing and bathroom corridor and we’re done on the inside. But for about 300 I’s to dot of course.

IMG_6436 IMG_6437



A standing stone with "Coed Keri" inscribedMy wife, Keri, has achieved immortality of a sort. Twenty odd years ago, we started a project to turn 11 acres of monoculture upland sheep pasture into an oasis of nature.

Over three winters, I watched as she toiled in driving sleet and rain to spade in each day’s quotient of trees. More than 5,000 oak, birch, holly, rowan and ash were planted along with the remaining strength in her back. She didn’t crow about it, but quietly, satisfied, started to interplant with other trees and woodland plants. Together we dug ponds, erected hundreds of birdboxes and generally set about making it a home for all but humans.

Years later, to celebrate this achievement I had Ordnance Survey rename that parcel to Coed Keri and planted this commemorative stone. Today, Coed Keri, vibrant like never before, is left to the wildlife of Denbighshire, but the stone moved with us to Powys, and just got replanted in our garden in Meifod, where we started the process all over again.