When Mr Rowlands constructed his hay barn, about seventy-five years ago, his wife and daughter were not impressed; it was rather a dangerous contraption, in their view.
Over recent years the farmers in the Dinas area have taken to new ways of storing the hay and although the corner posts of Mr Rowlands’ barn have remained more or less vertical, the garden has crept upwards. Soon there will be little to remind passers-by of their original use.
When I first noticed these poles, by the lane that takes you from Bwlchmawr to the quiet little bay of Aberbach, the barn had been abandoned for some time; I could only guess at its original shape and the reason for the family’s misgivings.
My travels this summer, however, gave me an answer when I saw this beautiful hay barn near Svetvinčenat in Istria. The poles, pulleys, chains and corrugated roof were all still in place so that the roof could be raised or lowered to fit snugly over the hay that was being stored.
All the associated buildings of an unoccupied farm by us are getting rather delapidated: the corrugated iron of the Dutch barn is coming adrift and in the wind provides a rather discordant musique concrete, like some giant Aeolian harp gone manic with its aleatoric composition. Mr Rowlands’ barn however seems to have gone well past that stage!
I don’t think that Mr Rowlands’ barn will sing again, but as someone with a fondness for tragic operas, Welsh hymns and Jacques Brel I appreciate the poignant beauty of loss when I see it!