Page 303. " the Rhondda has lain in shadow these past few weeks "
Looking south east down Cwm Rhondda, the legacy of the old industry of this area can be seen in the form of the landscaped spoil tips at right. The modern industry is represented by the industrial unit at centre, with the town of Maerdy in the background.
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLooking south east down Cwm Rhondda, the legacy of the old industry of this area can be seen in the form of the landscaped spoil tips at right. The modern industry is represented by the industrial unit at centre, with the town of Maerdy in the background. - Credit: Phil Williams

The Rhondda is a valley in Wales that used to be a centre for coal mining between 1845 and 1925. It has Wales' fourth largest urban population, numbering about 72,500 in 2001. At its peak in the industrial mining era the population reached over 160,000, with immigrants coming mainly from England and other areas in Wales to take part in the boom. 

Rhondda in Wales
GNU Free Documentation LicenseRhondda in Wales - Credit: illmarinen, uploaded by Interfector
 
Page 318. " looked at a particularly fine Landseer painting "
Public Domain"Saved" - Credit: Edwin Henry Landseer, 1856

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer (1802-1873) was an English painter and sculptor. He is best known for his paintings of animals, particularly horses, dogs and stags, and his sculpted lions in Trafalgar Square, London.  He was regarded as one of the foremost animal painters of his time. Reproductions of his works were commonly found in middle-class homes, and he was commissioned by Queen Victoria to paint numerous portraits of her family and pets. He was rumoured to be able to paint with both hands at the same time. His paintings of dogs in the service of humanity were so popular that ‘Landseer’ became the official name for a variety of Newfoundland dog (the breed pictured in his painting 'Saved'). 

Page 323. " the large beeches near the ha-ha "
Modern Ha Ha in Lydiard Park, Swindon
Creative Commons AttributionModern Ha Ha in Lydiard Park, Swindon - Credit: Brian Robert Marshall

The ha-ha may have originated in deer parks during the 18thCentury. In large lawns and gardens sheep and cattle were useful to keep the grass at a manageable length but problematic if one wanted to keep them away from the ornamental areas of the gardens and the out of the house. A ha-ha served to prevent animals from accessing certain areas of the gardens. A trench was dug into the lawn and one side reinforced with a stone wall. Because the trench is below ground level, the barrier created by the ha-ha doesn’t interrupt the sweeping view of the landscape. A good ha-ha is not visible until one is right next to it. This might cause one to exclain in surprise “ha ha” - hence the name.

Rear View of ha-ha at Castle Ashby
GNU Free Documentation LicenseRear View of ha-ha at Castle Ashby - Credit: R Neil Marshman