Monmouthshire (Wales) Photos

I may have told this story, apologies if you've heard it already. 

I moved away from Monmouth when I was 19 with an ever decreasing set of reasons to go back, heck I had the whole world at my fingertips even if it started just over the border in Gloucester.

My first proper job, 198something, at St Ivel in Swindon as the world slowly opened its doors to me.

St Ivel, at the time, had extended it's graduate program to the likes of me. A year of learning how to "be in business", a few secondments, and quite a number of workshops away from the confines of the offices and factories.

One such workshop was hosted in Tintern

Tintern Abbey
Tintern is famous for two things, it has an Abbey that, whenever we drove passed, my Dad would point out the window and grinningly proclaim to anyone listening, "It'll be nice when it's finished!"

The second famous thing is that The Poet Wordsworth spent some time wandering and pondering before writing some evocative words ... not really my thang.

It's also a mere 20 mins down the road from Wyesham, the part of Monmouth I am from. For me Tintern was what it was, a nice but sleepy place to which we were dragged once a year allowing my brother and I plenty of opportunity for boredom amongst the ruins, but maybe have an ice-cream to make it all ok.

During this particular St Ivel graduate course I was seeing a wonderfully kind and extremely beautiful woman called Angela. Of course I told her that the family home was just down the road and she was keen to pop down to Monmouth after the course finished, have a few beers in its many pubs and, well, you know, get to know each other a little better.

It was Saturday morning and we were walking down to town and she said something like, "Wow Mike, this place is just so beautiful, so so gorgeous". I looked around at the same old hills, the unchanging trees, the road well travelled, and the people with the same old same old look in their eyes. 

"Really? S'pose so, it's just hills and trees really."

"What! Stop, just stop. Look at it through my eyes, listen to what I'm feeling. Try again Mike."

Monmouthshire, in all its quirks, in all its majesty, in all its uniqueness is a stunningly beautiful place. It took an outsider to pull me up sharp and to really see it.


And I've never forgotten what Angie taught me. 
I always look up, I try to notice colours, the shapes, the people ... everywhere deserves a visitors eye.

Each and every one of my photographs owes something to Angie.

Mike and Angie

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