Last week I visited three cities across the UK in one week. Well four if you count two commutes to London to top and tail the travelling.
Tuesday was Cardiff, a city I love and having worked there in the past know well. The arcades are one of my favourite places, Haussmann with a Welsh twist. They have gradually been gentrified and the quirky second hand shop where I bought 30’s textiles has gone and the model railway shop with assistants dressed like geography teachers has disappeared too but there is plenty of interest including a pop up gallery.
The train from Cardiff to Birmingham hugs the banks of the River Severn for several miles and in the early evening light it was a beautiful ribbon of pale then deep blue the birds swooping down, and suddenly the Severn Bridge rising high over river and railway. A dancers lift into the cloudy sky more modern dance than ballet, angular and precise.
What was there before the bridge was built in the 1960’s? I googled and found a map of the ferry route and an evocative picture of cars waiting for the boat to load. It reminded me of a short ferry trip from Tadoussac to Baie Sainte Catherine in Quebec when we drove our car on to the ferry and before we had time to settle we had arrived slightly flustered on the other side.
The ferry crossing, a safe place to traverse between Aust and Beachly since the 12th Century stopped very shortly after the bridge opened and now the pier lies rotting on one side and the ferry boat gently rusts on the far shore.
But something else caught my eye as I looked from phone screen to the river on my right, wide then hidden, blurred then sharp. It was a photograph of Bob Dylan waiting to cross the Severn at Aust in 1966. The ferry was an event, a pause for a photograph whilst the bridge is just a link of passage albeit far more convenient!
I took my headphones off and heard an announcement that the train was to be diverted adding 30 minutes to the journey and then that signal congestion outside Birmingham would add more delays.
My phone vibrated, it was a message from the other half of TheBigForest who was working his way through thirty orders and commissions. It was a photo of a beautiful felt dog looking with soulful eyes like it needed feeding and a good sleep. And frankly, dear reader, so did I.
Photographs – Severn River and Cardiff – TheBigForest
Map – sabre-roads.org.uk
Ferry loading 1965 and Bob at Aust Ferry – Wikipedia creative commons