All of the photos in this blog are courtesy Dru Marland, apart from the two that she's in, mainly because I upset a cup of tea over my dressing gown before we set out and my camera was in my pocket and subsequently got a bit stroppy.
Our first stop was Cwmbran, which might not seem like an obvious destination. There is this lovely pub sign at The Crow's Nest, which is all the more pleasing because Cwmbran means Crow Valley, but the concrete of the new town is over-powering.
The impetus for the visit was a collaborative travelling exhibition at Llantarnam Grange in Cwmbran, between the poet Menna Elfyn and the artist Iwan Bala. It's on at this location until 4th May.
I loved this mix of words, worlds, layers, lost places, maps, names, memory, much in Welsh, of course, which almost awakened in me my old itch for learning whichever language I encountered (and led me, at one point, to study French, German, Latin and Russian simultaneously). Thankfully, I'm more at ease with the unfathomable now.
There was also a small exhibition of work by Jennie Sharman-Cox, which comprised wonderfully textured and very Gothick jewellery and four 'Boxes of Curiosity' which were just fascinating, oh and so very very covetable.
From Crow Valley we headed north, through what will surely one day be known as Dru Marland country, for it was there she spent much of her childhood.
As we advanced, there was a magical change from bitter grey cold to snowlight, freezing spring to still winter, the clock falling back just a few days before it was due to spring forward. Obviously photos had to be taken.
With Jan Lane and Colin Brown
Then we resumed our journey to Blaenavon and Big Pit. More about that anon.