A Quiet Place in Dust and Dirt

18th August 2016


A Quiet Place in Dust & Dirt: Ruined Farms and Cottages in Ceredigion
'A quiet place in dust and dirt' is an appraisal, travelogue, personal exploration and appreciation of the ruined cottages, farms and other dwellings throughout Ceredigion with photographs illustrating the houses therein mentioned. Also other non-domestic dwellings such as the various lead mines, chapels, churches, schoolhouses are covered and aptly illustrated.

Below is the introduction and table of content to give some indication what and where the book covers. Available late August 2016 via Amazon.

Approximately 70,000 words and 240 B&W photographs

Buy on Amazon UK by clicking here:A QUIET PLACE IN DUST & DIRT
or Amazon US by clicking here: A QUIET PLACE IN DUST & DIRT



INTRODUCTION

This volume is by no means an academic or even concise exploration of the ruins within Ceredigion. It can be seen as a part monologue, part travelogue, part historical, part personal snapshot of places visited and explored with information of photographs made at these sites. I am first and foremost a photographer; the historical significance often comes at a later date, forcing meaning to the pictures, etching details within the grain of the subject matter. Neither am I a writer but I confess to enjoying coming home from a day’s travelling and recording my thoughts and experiences. I acknowledge that I am often found wanting for a better word, a better expression and it is rarely satisfied. I will win no literary awards but perhaps this is not so important. The message can still be deciphered. I should perhaps also add at this juncture that any errors of any kind are mine and solely mine and I apologize in advance. This declaration can be found in any reference volume and is an admittance that all author’s must make but perhaps I more than any other since I am entering a subject matter that I am only partially expertise in; that is of the technical aspect of black and white large format photography. The other aspects of this book are somewhat further from my expertise; of travel writing, local and national historical accuracy and even, at times, basic grammar. Furthermore I must apologize for there is also a distinct lack of any chronological order. Chapter one was written visiting a ruin in October 2015 whilst chapter two in 1977 and thus it continues. I have yet to decide whether to include a comprehensive index but rather allow the reader to delve, at random intervals, to see what they may find of interest. I wrote this book in this haphazard manner, with the chapters and years drifting in and out of my memory as I wrote. This worked for me whilst writing it but I can only hope it reads well for you.

Found here are my ramblings; factual and private thoughts, sometimes taking in my innermost fears and insecurities. It is also, unavoidably, part biographical returning to my early childhood and when my family first moved to Ceredigion in 1983 and also thereafter to present day. I am not ashamed to show these elements of my personality in public, photography has after all has acted as a kind of therapy for me over the years and I calculate patterns and times of my life through the images have taken, pretty much as a family may ponder their lives through their own photograph album.

I have, since a teenager, loved exploring the ruins around my home and local area. It does not take long, on any car journey, especially back then, in the early 1980’s not to find and be impressed by the amount of ruined farms and cottages and mine workings around Ceredigion. My collection of Ordnance Survey maps tell their own story. There are circles wherever I find a potential location and over the years these circles have multiplied somewhat dramatically. It seems in every corner of almost every field there is something to be found, be it a roofless dwelling or just the remnants of a chimney and a pile of rock and rubble. Sometimes these piles of rubble are recorded onto film, sometimes not. It is not my intention to create a database of former dwellings in Ceredigion. I merely photograph which seems of interest, pretty much as any photographer does. There is of course an element of ticking off properties to photograph. That is unavoidable but mostly, in the majority of cases, each property photographed was worthy of recording, aesthetically and emotionally. The reasoning is not often prevalent at the time but sometimes comes a little later on in the intervening years.

Why have I written this book? I cannot say except to say it was a pleasure to relive some of the walks I went upon and the surprises that I stumbled across. Such are the pleasures of rambling, often without a direction or purpose. It is not solely a book on ruined farms and cottages within Ceredigion. I have also spoken about areas of my life; working as a library assistant in Aberystwyth for many years, working as a postman in Tregaron, living in Brighton and Nottingham, the landscape photographs I’ve taken (I began my photographic ‘journey’ as a landscape photographer and considered myself first and foremost a landscape photographer for many years) and also a few bits of random life and thoughts in between. I do hope it is all coherent and of some interest. It is not good to be self-obsessed and I do hope I haven’t stepped over that line and come across that way. I will leave you to consider this.

  • TABLE OF CONTENT

    • CHAPTER ONE – CLAMBERING UP, SLIPPING OVER
      CHAPTER TWO – EARLY YEARS EXPLORING 1977
      CHAPTER THREE – THE PLANNING STAGE
      CHAPTER FOUR – FORMATIVE YEARS FROM HAFOD TO TEIFI POOLS
      CHAPTER FIVE – OLD LIKE THE HILLS
      CHAPTER SIX – CLAERDDU AND CLAERWEN
      CHAPTER SEVEN – THE LEAD MINES OF CWMYSTWYTH
      CHAPTER EIGHT – FREEDOM OF THE ROAD TO THE MYHERIN FOREST
      CHAPTER NINE – 1989 - 1993
      CHAPTER TEN – ASPECTS OF THE CAMERA
      CHAPTER ELEVEN – BUYING A CAMERA
      CHAPTER TWELVE – PIVOTAL YEARS 1993 - 1995
      CHAPTER THIRTEEN – ABERGWESYN MOUNTAIN ROAD
      CHAPTER FOURTEEN – THE NOW SILENT HILLS OF LLANDDEWI-BREFI
      CHAPTER FIFTEEN – MANSIONS; PILLARS, COLUMNS, HALLWAYS, IVY AND DRIZZLE 1996 - 1998
      CHAPTER SIXTEEN – THE QUIET YEARS (1998 – 2004)
      CHAPTER SEVENTEEN – IN AND AROUND PONTRHYDFENDIGAID
      CHAPTER EIGHTEEN – BACKTRACK TO BRIGHTON
      CHAPTER NINETEEN – A TRIP OVER THE THRESHOLD IS HALF THE JOURNEY (2010 – 2016)
      CHAPTER TWENTY – A POSTMAN’S VIEW
      CHAPTER TWENTY ONE – OH TO TRESPASS
      CHAPTER TWENTY TWO – TY’UNNOS/THE OVERNIGHT HOUSE
      CHAPTER TWENTY THREE – LLANGEITHO, LLWYNPIOD AND LLANIO
      CHAPTER TWENTY FOUR – PONTRHYDYGROES TO ABERMAGWR
      CHAPTER TWENTY FIVE – OBJECTS, OTHER BUILDINGS AND SOUTH CEREDIGION
      CHAPTER TWENTY SIX – HAFOD ESTATE
      CHAPTER TWENTY SEVEN – HAFOD MEMORIES
      CHAPTER TWENTY EIGHT – MOONLIT WALKS AND DAYTIME BADGER MEETINGS
      CHAPTER TWENTY NINE – WINTER MONTHS – HIRLWM – THE LONG BARRENESS
      CHAPTER THIRTY – ABERAERON AND COASTAL
      CHAPTER THIRTY ONE – THE WOOLLEN MILLS OF TALYBONT
      CHAPTER THIRTY TWO – NORTHERN CEREDIGION TO NANT-Y-MOCH
      CHAPTER THIRTY THREE – LLEDROD
      CHAPTER THIRTY FOUR – HEADING HOME
      CHAPTER THIRTY FIVE – THORNSCRUB
      CHAPTER THIRTY SIX – CHAPELS AND SCHOOLS, OF ROOTS, OF TREES
      CHAPTER THIRTY SEVEN – COMING TO AN END
      BIBLIOGRAPHY
      LIST OF PROPERTIES THROUGHOUT CEREDIGION PHOTOGRAPHED

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