Caldey Island Monastery

Posted by Lidya Endzo Kun iLLa
I have produced another Tenby area drawing this weekend,this time of the monastery on Caldey Island, off the coast of Tenby.  The journey to this small island wasmemorable, mainly because of the difficulty of boarding and landing passengersat both ends.  The boat from Tenby beachhad a long ramp and tractor to enable people to reach it on foot.  About 100 yards from Caldey Island, passengerswere transferred an amphibious vehicle which ferried us through the shallowwaters to the island. 

Once there, the island had a peaceful atmosphere and atimeless feel.  The monastery itself wasa building of great character with outdoor staircases, turrets and highwindows.  The lower floor was hidden by ahigh wall and greenery.  In the right foreground,you can see one of the small group of tourist orientated buildings.  There was a post office (with museum), whereI bought some special stamps from the island.  These were in addition to the normal Post Office ones and posting fromthe island ensured franking with the words “delayed by storm” or somethingsimilar.  There was a cafe (with playarea) and a souvenir and perfume shop, although nothing on sale was to my taste. A long footpath at one side took usuphill to an ancient chapel with a leaning tower at one end, and a quadrangleof old farm buildings around it.  There wasalso a ruined watermill, and a privately run chocolate bar shop selling milkand plain souvenir bars, which you could see being produced as you queued to beserved. 

There were also separate buildings at the opposite end ofthe island to the monastery, where religious retreats took place.  And that was about all there was to theisland – enough to fill half a day.  I madea special journey back to photograph the monastery, which I did from the otherside of the small duck pond, so that the greenery (palms etc.) gave theforeground extra interest.  The overalleffect was not particularly colourful, it seemed a good subject for a drawing.

At art group, milder weather saw the return of somerecently absent members, eager to see what hardier individuals had been up toin their absence.  Karen continued withher large tiger painting, while Kevin and Barbara were both producing drawings ofcountryside scenes.  Sue was working onone of her small dog, Rosie, a “Lancashire Heeler”.  This breed was traditionally used to round upcattle, biting them on the ankles to move them along.  Kevin and Barbara told us about their holiday in Dublin, particularly how different it was from this country, even though it is so close geographically.  There were many souvenir shops selling green-coloured knick-knacks, none of which appealed to Kevin.

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