smokingboot: (Default)
That really wasn't very good.
smokingboot: (porcupine)
Cardiff has a lot of parrots in it. I mean a lot of parrots, more than I've ever seen anywhere else, including Egypt and Nepal. They live in a brightly jewelled castle, full of funky carvings and neat decorations. The Marquis of Bute, who redecorated Cardiff Castle in the late 1800s picked a dazzling architect/designer, who made the place a tribute to the Marquis' interests and his own. The marquis liked biblical study, language, and medieval times. The architect liked parrots.

It wasn't just parrots, though clearly they held pride of place. Pillars with beetles and flies and seahorses painted round them, fountains of bronze beavers pointing their fish at you like little gatling guns, crabs and butterflies dotted all over the walls...I'm such a kid about this stuff.

We were in Cardiff to celebrate the 15 years [profile] greatbigshowoff and [profile] wildwinter have spent together. The party was something of a cunning ruse organised by [profile] greatbigshowoff, as her partner had no clue we were all going to be there until shortly beforehand. Then the band played, the dancing started, old friends talked and people munched at the huge was a much simpler night than their beautiful Notwedding 5 years ago, but very satisfying. We had decided to make a weekend of it in Cardiff, and though I enjoyed shopping and the waterfront (must confess I cannot be as rabidly devoted as Russel T DrWhoAteChipsHereCoolOrWhat?) the castle was the biggie for me.

One room was not medieval; it was kept very simple and elegant with portraits, including a one of a young man in the jodphurs outfit of a first world war officer. Perhaps the painter had imbued the canvas with forlorn knowledge, as I could find no date for the painting, but it had a great pathos to it; one looked and instantly knew the gentleman had died in the war. He was handsome in a terribly English way, all rose bud cheeks and blue eyes and full lips hidden under a terrifying moustache - the sort of thing a very young man attempts to look strong and older. A delicate face, eyes with a gentle expression, Ninian Crichton-Stewart, one of the sons of the house. All gone. While he lived he was wealthy and loved and I reminded myself of the millions not immortalised, poor, plain and forgotten. But still, I couldn't help a sadness for Ninian. I waited till the others went into the library, and told him goodbye before we left the castle for sunshine.


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