About kathryncampbelldodd

Artist living and working in west Wales

thirteenfridays: St Dogmael’s

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Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.  This week we headed off in search on the trail of a historic haunting at St Dogmael’s Abbey in Pembrokeshire.

According to author Brian John in his ‘Pembrokeshire Ghost Stories‘ book after the Abbey fell, an inscribed stone was used as a bridge over a small brook in the abbey grounds.  ‘While it was very handy during the day, it had a fearsome reputation at night.  Many people saw a mysterious ghostly figure (referred to simply as “the white lady”) gliding over it at the witching hour of midnight.’.It was this reputation, it is suggested, that prevented the stone being lifted and broken up to be used as building material in the following years when the abbey ruins became a convenient source of stone for local buildings.  Laid facing down the inscriptions on the ‘Sagranus Stone’, as it is called, are very well preserved and the stone can be seen in the nearby parish church of St Thomas.  Read more about the stone here.

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Photo By Llywelyn2000 [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons

After wandering the abbey ruins (and not seeing any white ladies) and being unable to identify the brook’s location, we decided the most appropriate picnic site was in the old abbey church crypt.  The now exposed crypt was once underneath the floor of the presbytery, with a small stairway leading down into the space; the remains of the arches and columns are still visible around the edges. Somebody had been there before us and made symbolic markings on the floor…it reflected the original layout illustrated on the information board in the abbey…a midsummer ritual perhaps; all a bit Dennis Wheatley…

0100As we laid out our picnic feast in the late evening, the sky above us filled with swirling mass of corvids, we held our breath momentarily as they whirled around worried that they might take a fancy to the feast below.

Thankfully they settled in the trees beyond the abbey and we went on to enjoy our picnic of – 13 ingredient four cheese quiche (Flour, Butter, Eggs, Cheddar, Feta, Parmesan, Mozzarella Cheese, Salt, Pepper, Black Olives, Sundried Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Red Pepper); 13 Ingredient broccoli salad (Broccoli, Halloumi, Garlic, Spring Onions, Lentils, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Chia Seeds, Olive Oil, Black Pepper, Lettuce, Rocket); 0213 Ingredient grilled pineapple with marscapone (Pineapple, Butter, Soft Brown Sugar, Muscovado Sugar, Lemon Juice, Piri Piri Sauce, Black Pepper, Marscapone, Creme Fraiche, Vanilla Essence, Icing Sugar, Raspberries, Mint Leaves);  13 Pecan Nut Cookies.03

 

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thirteenfridays: Newtown

 

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Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

For our 11th week we decided to revisit Newtown in Powys where we had spent some time back in 2013 making work for the Be Our Guest exhibition at Oriel Davies. As well as making a piece for the exhibition called Who is this who is coming? we interviewed a number of people who had experienced uncanny and ghostly phenomena at the gallery as well as in Newtown at large.

We were delighted to make the acquaintance of Rory Evans at that time who very generously shared a great many ghost stories about the region with us. We spent the day visiting some of the locations Rory had spoken about hoping to get a glimpse of the many spectral residents of the town.

We started with gallery itself where lots of spooky occurrences have been reported from books flying off shelves to mysterious telephone calls. Rory thought the culprit may be Sarah Briscoe, a descendant of the Pryce family of Newtown who donated the clock tower (known as ‘Sarah’) to the town and died in 1901.

B06014D0-9E71-4777-83A9-CF51E73A7362We then headed into town to have a look at the haunted pubs that Rory mentioned, The Sportsman, The Victoria Vaults, The Buck and The Black Boy.

Next we drove to The Vastre, a road heading out of town towards the village of Kerry. Rory had told us some particularly unsettling stories, firstly a woman dressed in Victorian attire has been seen, apparently extremely tall she seems actually to be hovering above the ground. Also the tale of a motorist who encountered a terrifying medusa like red-headed woman appearing in the back of his car after the temperature dropped to below freezing on a warm summer’s day.

We also visited the area of Bryn Bank hill fort where Rory had told us Charles I had been taken during his visit to the town during the civil war.

We’d hoped to drop in to see Maesmawr Hall, now a hotel in Caersws on the way home. We’d previous heard tales from both Rory and our friend Rhowan about ghostly goings-on at the location, but the hotel was bustling with a Prom event happening that day, so we decided to save our visit for another day.

0102We picnicked in the dappled shade of the trees on the bank of the river Severn near the Oriel Davies gallery.  We had 13 smoky spiced mini bean burgers with 13 ingredients (Kidney Beans, Onion, Garlic, Carrot, Tomato puree, Chipotle smoked chili, Cumin, Oats, Soy Sauce, Pepper, Oil, Lime Juice, Salt); a 13 ingredient rice salad (Rice, Red Pepper, Green Pepper, Pickled Jalapeno; Garlic, Coriander; Sweetcorn, Cumin seed, Lime Juice; Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Salt, 13 slices of Avocado) a 13 ingredient sweet potato salad(Sweet Potato, Onion, Garlic, Tomatoes, Coriander, Chilli, Salt, Black Pepper, Spring Onion, Caraway Seeds, Black Onion Seeds, Mustard Seeds); 13 arancini with 13 ingredients (Eggs, Parmesan, Parsley, Black Pepper, Oregano, Salt, Sundried Tomatoes, Olives, Mozerella, Stock, Rice, Breadcrumbs)

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Our desserts this week were a 13 ingredient apricot and raspberry tart (Flour, Butter, Eggs, Caster Sugar, Ground Almonds Almond Essence, Apricots, Raspberries, Apricot Jam, Salt, Water, Flaked Almonds, Icing Sugar) and 13 aztec chocolate mini cupcakes with 13 ingredients (SR Flour, Egg, Granulated Sugar, Butter, Cocoa powder, Chili powder, Milk, Kahlua, Icing Sugar, Cinnamon, Salt, Water, Vanilla Essence).

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thirteenfridays: Kenfig

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Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

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This week we visited Kenfig in the borough of Bridgend.  Our decision to visit was guided by finding this article by artist Kristian Evans and reading about other hauntings and spooky goings on in  the area.  According to local folklore there are many phenomena to encounter in the area – ghostly music at the Prince of Wales inn; phantom funerals at nearby Porthcawl and Maudlam;  phantom lights and the unearthly sounds of cyhyrraeth at Sker and Tusker – as Kritian suggests “Kenfig is plagued by ghosts. Things have reached epidemic proportions.”. 

The dunes at Kenfig cover a wide area and an ancient village, the top of the castle keep can be seen poking out of the sand, perhaps the evocative idea of a lost village accounts for some of the stories in the area.  Read more about the history of Kenfig and the abandoned village here.

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Now a national nature reserve, we picnicked near the visitor centre with fewer dishes this week as it was just two of us.  We enjoyed a 13 ingredient potato and fennel salad (Potatoes, Fennel, Onion, Garlic, Hard Boiled Eggs, Parsley, Dijon Mustard, Chive Flowers, White Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Sugar, Black Pepper); 13 stuffed baby peppers with 13 ingredients (Peppers, Rice, Cheddar Cheese, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Olives, Capers, Onions, Black Pepper, Oregano, Thyme); A 13 ingredient courgette caponata (Celery, Red Onion, Courgette, Garlic, Baby Plum Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, Capers, Black Olives, Oregano, Thyme, Bay Leaf, Black Pepper) all served with slices of Bara Menyn bread and a green salad with nasturtium flowers.02

For our dessert this week we had 13 mini lemon meringue pies, so lemony, so good…03

 

thirteenfridays: Craig-y-nos

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Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

This week we went to visit the notoriously haunted Craig-y-nos Castle, a Victorian Gothic country house on the south-east edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park in the Upper Swansea Valleys. The house is surrounded by 40 acres of parkland, Craig-y-nos Country Park, which gives onto common land on the Brecon Beacons.

Craig-y-nos was once home to the internationally famous opera singer Adelina Patti who lived there from 1878 until her death in 1919.
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We ate our picnic in the country park; 13 ingredient feta and spinach filo pastry pie (Filo Pastry, Feta Cheese, Spinach, Sorrel, Spring Onions, Pepper, Parsley, Pine Nuts, Walnuts,  Nutmeg, Eggs, Olive Oil, Sesame Seeds); 13 ingredient salad (Spinach, Rocket, Red Gem Lettuce, Cress, Fennel, Radish, Tomatoes, Coriander, Sorrel, Sesame Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Linseeds); 13 ingredient potato salad (Potatoes, Green Beans, Black Olives, Gherkins, Capers, Caremelised garlic, Olive Oil, Coriander, White Wine Vinegar, Salt Pepper, Chives, Sesame seeds);

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13 ingredient pistachio cake (Pistachio Nuts, Almonds, Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Black Pepper, Butter, Caster Sugar, Vanilla essence, Eggs, Lemon Juice, Cream Cheese, Icing Sugar, Honey); 13 ingredient nut brittle (White Sugar, Cashew Nuts, Almonds, Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Peanuts, Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds, Sesame Seeds, Linseeds, Salt, Black Pepper, Cardamom).

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We followed our picnic with a walk around the country park, once the estate of Craig-Y-Nos Castle, where we discovered an Oak tree planted by Adelina in 1914 and a games pavilion where Adelina would sometimes sing to entertain guests after a game of croquet.  The ghost of Adelina apparently responds to the sound of her favourite song ‘Home sweet home’ which she recorded in the house in 1905.  We played the song as we wandered the grounds but presumably Adelina was otherwise engaged…

thirteenfridays: Llandysul

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Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

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This week we visited Llandysul on the borders of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion and took a stroll along the side of Afon Teifi.

There are a number of paranormal encounters reported along the banks of the river Teifi.  We had heard the story of a harpist who had drowned in one of the many pools along the river near Llandysul, it is said that harp music can still be heard emanating from beneath the water. That part of the river is called ‘The Pool of the Harper’ but we’ve never been able to discover exactly which part of the river this refers to, so we decided to take a wander along the banks, listening…

We tried a little underwater sound recording hoping to hear strains of harp music in the depths of the river.

We have also read about two female spirits who haunt the banks of the Teifi. One woman, who wears green emeralds, is said to protect hidden treasure. The other is a woman dressed in black who drifts along the river bank in search of something.

We unpacked our 13 picnic on the site of an old cottage, Plas y Dderwen, now just a ruin which has been turned into a picnic and barbecue area next to the river.

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02.jpgA special 13 ingredient sour dough loaf from Bara Menyn bakery, 13 Devilled eggs with 13 ingredients courtesy of Kirsty…she was particularly chuffed about the ‘devilled’ bit…(Eggs, Mayonnaise, Butter, Vinegar, Mustard, Chilli flakes, fresh Chilli, Salt, Pepper, Chives, Paprika, Sesame seeds, Ras el Hannout); 13 ingredient Asparagus tart (Flour, Butter, Egg, 13 Asparagus spears, Marscapone, Parmesan, Fresh Basil, Lemon Zest, Salt, Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Olive Oil, Wild Rocket); 13 ingredient slaw with ginger (Beetroot, Red Cabbage, White Cabbage, Carrot, Apple, Celery, Red Onion, Sushi Ginger, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Parsley, Salt, Pepper ); organic salad leaves from Glebelands Market Garden garnished with 13 olives.
04.jpgWe went a bit overboard with the sweet things this week…13 Black pepper, cardamom and chocolate cookies/cakes (Butter, Sugar, SR Wheat flour, SR Gluten free flour, Cocoa Powder, Egg, Cloves, Cardamom, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Salt, Vanilla Essence, Almond Essence); 13 chocolate dipped strawberries; 13 ingredient malty cheeescake…another wonderous contribution from Kirsty…(malted milk biscuits, butter, caster sugar, full fat soft cheese, double cream, white chocolate, milk chocolate, Horlicks powder, Salt, Maize starch, Yellow colouring, Egg, finished with 13 Maltesers).03.jpg

thirteenfridays: Llanelli

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Our 13 week picnic marathon started on Friday 13 April, we’ll be visiting a haunted location every Friday until Friday 13 July 2018.  Each week we set off armed with sound recording equipment, digital cameras and an original Polaroid camera – to take an unfakeable and unique Polaroid image at each location.

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Photo by Dara Jasumani / Parc Howard museum / CC BY-SA 2.0

This week  we headed off to Llanelli to visit Parc Howard Museum and Art Gallery.  Our regular thirteenfridays guest, Sam Knight, is a fantastic woodworker and he has a beautiful handmade chair in a curated exhibition Pair //Pâr showing in the museum until July. Serendipitously, Parc Howard is also said to be haunted by a number of ghosts. So we popped in to the exhibition keeping our eyes and ears open at the same time for any uncanny fellow visitors.

The building was used as military hospital in both world wars and it is said that the ghosts of a nurse and a soldier are seen together on the main stairs. There has also been scratching and scraping noises at the back of the building which is said to be the ghost of a young man; a lover who hid in the chimneys of the house to avoid detection but who became disoriented and trapped, subsequently losing his life in the narrow network of passageways. Lady Howard herself is also said to wander in the house seen as a ghostly white lady and sometimes appearing at the windows. Lights have also been recorded at night in the empty house after the building has been locked by staff.

We unpacked our 13 themed picnic in the grounds of the house.

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13 Crustless mini quiches flavoured with a selection of 13 ingredients (Spinach, Rocket, Asparagus, Red Chilli, Green Olives, Tomato, Cheddar, Parmesan, Basil, Oregano, Sundried Tomatoes, Spring Onion, Black Pepper) served with 13 slices of cucumber; 13 ingredient smoked chilli salsa (Red onion, Garlic, Green chili, Chipotle chili, Sun dried tomatoes, Red pepper, Lime Juice, Tomatoes, Smoked paprika, Salt, Thyme, Parsley, Sugar) served with tortilla chips; 13 ingredient vegan slaw (White cabbage, Red cabbage, Carrot, Fennel, Celery, Olive oil, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Green Olives, Parsley, Lemon juice, Salt, Pepper); special 13 ingredient Bara Menyn sourdough loaf; 13 baby plum tomatoes on the vine; 13 ingredient ginger and walnut loaf with dates and figs (Flour, Baking Powder, Brown Sugar, Ground Ginger, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Golden Syrup, Butter, Eggs, Milk, Dates, Walnuts, Dried Figs).

Tŷ Distaw (Silent House)

TD02During the two weeks between Halloween and Friday 13 November 2015, Absent but not Forgotten explored making new work; experimenting with various ideas, locations and techniques.

Tŷ Distaw: Bangor Teifi is the first in a planned new series of video works located in derelict buildings in west Wales which utilise projection and re-filmed footage which make reference to the aesthetics of early silent horror film.

We debuted the first cut at Gwrando’s Open Screen Night at Small World Theatre in Cardigan – an opportunity to see the piece projected on a large screen and gather some responses from the audience.

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