Saturday 19 February 2011: Get your magic potions here!
A brief shopping trip to Cardigan (Aberteifi is the Welsh name) leaves me spoilt for blipping choice. The small town has benefited from a regeneration project in recent years with face lifts for most of the old buildings. There's nice fresh paintwork and charming vernacular architecture details wherever you look.
I decided to go for this old chemist's shop in the centre of town. It was built in 1916 (the date can be seen on the lead downspouts) and the windows have Art Nouveau coloured glass inserts. Almost a hundred years later it's still a chemist's. However I have cropped off the ground floor because, although it retains its lovely, curved shop windows on to the street they are filled with gaudy posters about bargain buys rather that the traditional apothecary's bottles filled with coloured liquids.
Neuadd Meddygol means Medical Hall - which makes me wonder if the place was once used for consultations (I don't know). On the left are the words Pharmacy/Fferyllfa. Both have an interesting derivation. The English word comes from the Greek pharmacon meaning a charm, a poison, or a drug (many of which are toxic substances of course). The Welsh word Fferyllfa comes from fferyllt, an alchemist or sorcerer. That word's origin is the Welsh name for Virgil, the Roman poet who was regarded as a mystical figure in mediaeval times.
A bit of magical thinking still helps when taking medicines: only the other day I saw it reported that if you think your prescription will make you better then the likelihood is it will. Sorcery sells cosmetics too, with the promise of a magical transformation.
For added interest: there's a Russian folk-metal band that goes by the name of Fferyllt. Do have a listen to their Dance of the Druids. It's just what the doctor ordered!