He had got into trouble when he took a large steel nail and a hammer and chiselled his name into the doorway stone of the barrack room he had used for the last two years. The quarry manager had looked upon it with some disdain, this new idea of adding an identity and 'ownership' around the towns and countryside. Apparently it was referred to by the council as 'graffiti'. For whilst it was common for the quarry workers, many of whom came in from all over the world, to tap their initials and the year date into stones around the vast Dinorwic quarry, the manager thought the quarry owners wouldn't want the face stones of their property wantonly defiled.
Born 19th March 1815 In Talysarn Emlyn Dare was the youngest in his work gang that had bought the rights to take slate from Sinc Bach Braich. They were a good band of men that included three slate cutters from Caithness, one from France, an Egyptian and two locals from Snowdonia. Together they were accommodated in two ‘cottages’ within Anglesey barracks. It was really cramped, the small fireplace being the centre of life and nourishment. The Caithness lads had a knack of buying sheep’s heads down in the local market and with some herbs and pearl barley, turnip and potatoes made a thoroughly warming stew or broth including everything from the head: cheeks, lips, brain and eyes helping them to have the strength to work and fight the cold outside. They enjoyed some good banter in the evenings, telling tales and singing by candlelight. The small Egyptian, Mohamad, was the butt of many jokes, the flash of his teeth in a smiley face kept him popular, whereas the Frenchman appeared sullen, and was suspected to slip out at night to share the bed of another French worker in a neighbouring cottage. Sometimes they went out, normally on the one rest day per week, Sunday, down to the nearby village of Llanberis for a beer but otherwise the week was mainly made up of work and sleep.
But Emlyn was different. He was the only one in his barrack who could read and write, and most nights after the others had settled and it was quieter he would pull out some paper and start to write. Of course the others, even when they could see the pages he produced had no idea to its content and a theory had arisen that he was writing love letters to the girl he had his eye on at Dorothy’s tea shop in the High Street. They had noticed how some Sundays he would abstain from the group going for a beer and had been spotted promenading with the girl on several occasions in Llandudno and Bangor. It meant he got a bit of a ribbing and they would demand regular updates on his love life, volunteering their advice on courtship. Not that as a 24 year old lad he felt he needed any help, but some of their suggested wooing techniques had yielded benefits, particularly the flowers. His pay at the quarry was a pittance. Basically he had to work for three weeks ‘free’ before he started to earn anything in the final week of a month, and then it only amounted to a shilling or two…two if they had had a good month. He hadn’t told the girl the beautiful bouquet of colourful flowers he presented to her at the last meeting had materialised courtesy of the quarry owner’s fine gardens at Penrhyn Castle, but the gardens were on his route cross country to Bangor. Yes, he had to flee the land labourers and gamekeeper and his dogs who chased him out of the castle grounds but his girl only had eyes for the flowers and didn’t seem to notice the muddy stains on his knees and up his backside from where he fled through a cow byre.
Tales of his exploits only enhanced his reputation so that on this Thursday morning he was already on a high when he grabbed the sheets of paper he had written the night before and quickly folded them, pushed them into an envelope and wrote the address on its front. Grabbing his coat he cheerily shouted behind that he was popping down to the post room down at Padarn to mail his latest letter. Outside the sun was already up and he knew he would have to hurry to get there and back before the shrill steam whistle would echo across the valley and signal the workers to start. He positively bounded down the rough and uneven steps from the Anglesey Barracks towards the slate zigzags. Below he could see the lakeside workshops, engine houses, supervisor’s houses, hospital and little shop. On his way he passed many quarry workers coming uphill to work. Many greeted the happy lad as he flew past with a grin on his face, hob nailed boots clacking and scraping on the stone. The PostRoom was located at the other end of the shop and he swung through the door, letter in hand. Cheekily he reached past the few men stood in front of him at the counter, waving his letter towards the bespectacled Mr Reynolds. Shouting over them, and ignoring the waiting men’s scowls he called, “Mr Reynolds. First Class for this one too, please!” and let the white envelope fall on to his desk. Mr Reynolds looked up at the familiar sound of the lad’s voice, picked up the envelope and said “Rightyo Kid, I got it. You owe me Tuppence Ha’penny now!” But he was already on his way out the door, sprinting for the bottom of the incline by Vivian quarry. He had to hurry. He didn’t want to be in a trouble again. But he had to push his way through the stream of men starting the climb up into Dinorwic quarry. He was younger though, fitter and lighter and took most of the slate steps two at a time, racing upwards. It was called the Killer Mile up to the main quarry and he arrived up at Sinc Bach Braich only slightly breathless to find all the rest of his gang already starting the day’s work. One of the locals lads called Titmus made to comment at his tardiness, but then the Frenchmen muttered ”Le monde doit attendre un homme amoureux” and then translated for the benefit of the others: “The world must wait for a man in love!”. It made a few of them smile and turn to look upon Emlyn with brotherly affection. “C’mon lover lad, get up there" one shouted, and he sprang up onto a chunk of rock and leapt up to catch the tail of a thick hemp rope that was tied to a steel pin which had been hammered into the rock face about thirty feet above. Like a scruffy circus acrobat he twisted in mid air to coil the rope around his arm and waist so that he could pull himself up onto a ledge on the rockface they last blasted the day before. He deftly caught a steel crowbar thrown up to him, and immediately set to lever the loosened and cracked slate so that it would topple to the quarry floor. It was dangerous work, especially in springtime after the months of winter rain, ice, snow and gales had opened fissures and cracks in the face created by the dynamite. It meant they had to watch out for each other and Emlyn was vigilant and protective to his ‘brothers’ working below.
The shard of rock was roughly four feet long and a foot in diameter, said one of the men. It was a light grey green colour with symmetrical light and darker stripes like a humbug sweet, quite beautiful in its formation, like marble. It fell from the edge of the cliff upon which Bonc Refail was sat. It’s end where it had broken away was splintered into spikes and by the time it had fallen vertically for seventy feet, the impact was enough to explode the top of Emlyn’s head with a spray of bright red blood all over the cliff face where he stood. He never heard it come, was never even able to utter a sound or scream, as he was killed instantly, falling with the rock to the quarry floor below, dead.
His was not the first death, or serious accident, some had seen, but the men were devastated by his loss. They buried him at Llandeiniolen Church the week after. Many of the slate workers attended the funeral, as did the pretty girl from the Dorothy’s Tea Shop, as well as a complete stranger to them all. It was Titmus again who sidled over to the stranger later as the crowd started to disperse and enquired who the gentleman was. He had to describe how he had worked with Emlyn Dare, in his gang, and shared a barrack room with him before the gentleman revealed Emlyn was a client of his. This surprised Titus who could not comprehend what business Emlyn had done with this man. Baffled, he asked, what the business was. The man turned to face Titus more directly. He put a hand up and removed his top hat, squared himself up a little in his long black coat and said, “ I’m a publisher. Mr Dare had just sent me the last pages of his first novel, “Death in Dinorwic”
Scribbled whilst I was at work
Tags: dinorwic story slate quarry north wales snowdonia tale gwynedd anglesey barracks
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Hi everyone!..its been a while, hope you're all ok... managed to get out for an hour with the camera this morning... for a change!
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A city worker washes a sign that reads "hope"
Tags: adult blue collar bright bright future bucket city clean downtown essential essential worker future hope inner-city man metaphor monument one man one person positive pride renew restoration restore rope wash washed window washer worker
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An inverse tower somewhere in Munich.
I was crawling over the ground for a longer time to find the right position. The 10mm lens was at it´s limit here.
A special thanks to Moni E. She knows why.
Every comment and criticism is very much appreciated.
Tags: Sony ILCE-7R3 Voigtlaender Voigtländer Hyper Wide Heliar 10mm Angle Munich Architekture Round Eye Tower Inverse Turm München Invers Lines Vaninshing Point Fullframe Colors Sky
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A Classic East Coast sunrise down at Blast Beach this morning as the tide rushes in.
Tags: Blast Beach Seaham dawdon County Durham Canon 760D Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6 EX DC HSM ND Hard Grad 0.6 Sunrise Tide tidal flow rocks Morning
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