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Friday, 14 December 2018

Hand-dryers, Miracles and St David's Cathedral.

It is hard to get drunk on a pub-crawl in St Davids, because there are only three pubs.
One of them, however, has an interesting hand-dryer in its toilets. It roars like a jet engine and flays the skin as it dries.

I enjoy hand-dryers – innocent enjoyments for simple minds, I suppose. I'm not talking about those where you slip your hands down into a glorified letter box. No, the ones I love are those that blast down on the hands.  These cause the skin to pucker and move; it’s like watching low dunes ripple in wind and beats much of what is on TV. Sometimes I linger longer than I should until my hands are super dry and I feel like I've just experienced a Turner Art Prize Installation. 

 But the one in St Davids was a different beast, with enough power to flay the skin from your hands as you watched. The skin rippled in sheets, puckered and rose into the air – or at least seemed to. I withdrew hurriedly and without shame, hands still damp but otherwise intact. But moving on from the trivial to the sublime. The landscape speaks for itself. So does the cathedral if you let it sink in. 
Most people know it was founded by St David in the C6th - the Dark Ages were hand dryers were in short supply. He was born in a storm from the womb of St Non, whose well is just a mile away on the coast. It looks unhygienic but has restorative properties, so they say. The Cathedral was constructed much later as were the legends  which accrued about him. My two favourites tell of him preaching, the ground beneath him rising so that those at the back could both see and hear him — a white dove landing on his shoulder as a sign of God's presences. The second legend tells o of how on his death the monastery was filled with singing Angels accompanying his spirit to heaven. 

There is something magical running on sand or diving into the sea - even on a cold say.

Part of the coastal path that encircles much of Wales

Wild horses. They are periodically rounded up and driven
to other areas of the coast where they keep grass and gorse
under control. 

                                           Posing pony. Watch out Kim Kardashian. 

A small herd . . . and is that Kim?

St Davids Cathedral

Stained glass commemorating the murder of
St Thomas Becket. 

The wooden roof and a man lost in his own thoughts. Medieval earth tremors and the naturally
swampy ground made a stone roof impracticable. Several pillars are already at a slight angle, and the weight of a stone roof would have caused the walls to buckle. Hence the beautiful roof of Irish oak, painted above one of the altars. 

The painted roof

Relics and bones of St David and St Justinian (reputedly)

Edmund Tudor's tomb chest. Despite being the grandfather of Henry VIII he was moved from his grave in Carmarthen Abbey during the dissolution of the Monasteries and ended up here. Much more salubrious, I think.

And finally a minor treasure. How to make a well known prayer even more magical.

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