thirteenfridays: Aberystwyth

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 out in brilliant sunshine on the hottest day of the year so far. Feeling a little heady with the vitamin D and finally in shirt sleeves after the long long cold of the Welsh winter we were in high spirits as we loaded the car and set off for Aberystwyth.

As we joined the coast road ready for our first glimpse of the sea sparkling in the sunshine we were a little disquieted to find it instead covered in a low sea fog. We continued our journey joking as we went that Aberystwyth was probably enveloped under a cloud. As we progressed north, we saw a strange, grey wall of fog looming ahead of us. We dipped in and out of the fog with glimpses of sunshine in between until we neared Aberystwyth and – hey presto – it was indeed enveloped in sea fog made truly eerie by the sunshine filtering through the layers of mist.

01.jpg

Undaunted, we headed for The Promenade and unpacked our picnic at the far end of the North prom underneath Constitution Hill. We have heard a number of ghost stories about the town, and our picnic spot was in a nexus between three of the sightings:

1. The Promenade Couple – A young woman has been seen leaning towards the sea from the promenade railings; a young man runs towards her but both are floating a foot above the ground. They both then run towards one another, embrace and then turn towards Constitution Hill running hand in hand along the promenade. The couple then glide down the steps to the beach and head straight into the sea eventually disappearing under the water. They are said to be the spirits of a young couple who were tragically killed in the 1960’s after becoming trapped by the high tide at the end of the promenade under Constitution Hill.

2. The Consti Woman – A woman in old-fashioned clothing who has been sighted a number of times wandering on Constitution Hill. Oddly, when we arrived and parked our car we all saw a girl dressed in a bonnet and a long plain dress – in the style of a Victorian servant – walking with her friends at the end of the promenade; we assumed she was a student in fancy dress…

3. The Ghost of Alexandra Hall – a ghostly face is seen at the windows of the ex-University Halls of Residence and there have been numerous stories of ghostly encounters by resident students. Behind the building is the derelict Boar’s Head pub which is also said to be haunted by the ghost of an ex-landlord who hanged himself, inconsolable after the tragic loss of his fiance.

02

04

03
Our feast included 13 cheese scones, 13 mini feta & spinach pasties, 13 slices of Bara Menyn bread with a 13 ingredient Suma Mushroom pâté – Water, Palm Oil, Yeast, Mushrooms, Potato flour, Onion, Corn starch, Salt, Garlic, Paprika, Clove, Nutmeg & Thyme.05A Glebelands salad garnished with 13 primrose flowers & 13 Pennywort leaves; a 13 ingredient potato salad – Pink fur apple potatoes, Carrots, Red Onion, Hazelnuts, Olive Oil, White wine vinegar, Salt, Pepper, Sugar, Seeds – Sunflower, Pumpkin, Sesame, Golden Linseed.06
13 ingredient Rocky Road made by Kirsty – Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Golden Syrup, Butter, Digestive biscuits, Raisins, Cranberries, Orange Juice, Nuts – Pecan, Brazil, Hazel, Almond and Cashew;  13 ingredient Flapjack – made by Sam.

The strange light, the fog and the location served to utterly unsettle us and even our trusty team of spook seeking hounds were on the alert…

dogs

In the evening we went along to Ceredigion Museum for the ‘Aber Shorts’ event showing a series of short films in the Coliseum Theatre space.  A piece from our 2011 Arts Council of Wales funded project in Aberystwyth had been selected to be screened. Stuart Evans, Display Designer at the museum told us about a strange experience he had whilst introducing a film in the theatre in which we were now sitting.
(Watch the film here https://youtu.be/Ko7M7q1D1BA )

We headed off home in the twilight and as we came along the coast road to the headland past Llanon we pulled into the lay by to witness the surreal sight of the late evening light playing over the fog which hugged the surface of the sea; an extraordinary experience.

 

 

Advertisements

thirteenfridays : 13 picnics

This year has two Friday 13ths and like 2013 (when we started the thirteenfridays project) there are 13 weeks in between!  In celebration we are planning a new series of events.

13picnicslogo_edited-2

The series kicks off on Friday 13th April with a road trip suggested by the Pembrokeshire Beyond website.  Equipped with Polaroid camera, audio & video recorders, an open mind and a picnic feast of 13 we aim to visit all of the seven spooky sites around Pembrokeshire, stopping for a snack and a search for paranormal activity at each location (some are haunted roads so might not be possible to stop).

The series will continue with each Friday taking us out to different haunted locations with different 13 themed picnics, to explore sites and stories of strange and supernatural goings on around Wales.

thirteenfridays: Portuguese Portents

Friday 13th October 2017 is the centenary of ‘The Miracle of the Sun‘ in Fatima, Portugal.  We took this as a sign to create a Portuguese style thirteenfridays meal with an added sun theme.

Sardines
13 Spooky Sardines – Simple and tasty with 13 lemon slices.

Sides
We served both starter and main course with a 13 ingredient salad of rocket, spinach, watercress, celery, fennel, cherry tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, sprouts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, capers, red pepper, and olives along with a side dish of 13 cornichons and more green olives.

Stewandpotato
Paranormal Punahou – A 13 ingredient Portuguese Bean stew (modified to be vegetarian) – red kidney beans, white kidney beans, stock, onion, carrots, potatoes, chopped tomatoes, macaroni, pasata, savoy cabbage, garlic, water and seasoning.   Served with 13 Batatas a Portuguesa (Portuguese fried potato).

Tarts

13 Petrifying Pastéis de Nata (Portuguese Custard Tarts) – A must have Portuguese dessert!

Sweets
Evil Espresso Thirtinis & Scary Sunflower Seed Brittle – a little extra dessert to celebrate the sun theme!

thirteenfridays: Hen Galan, Radios, Opera & Bernard

Friday January 13 2017

The first Friday 13th of 2017 and we decided to combine three celebrations into one to celebrate in fine thirteenfridays style.

We started the evening by setting up a radio experiment to commemorate the first public radio broadcast made on January 13th 1910 and at the same time pay homage to Jacob’s Grandad Bernard Jones, born on January 13th 1914, an inventor and pythagorean, interested in using technology to communicate with the other side. Bernard was one of the inspirations for setting up the Absent but not Forgotten project back in 2010, so we wanted to send him birthday greetings across the great divide.
Bernard was interested in EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) so we set up a detuned radio to play white noise into a Latitude 150 walkie-talkie (446.00625-446.04375 MHz)) while a Sennheiser EW100 wireless microphone kit (830-866MHz) picked up the noise at the other end of the walkie-talkie and sent the noise to a reciever where an Ipad webcast live to youtube. Bernard would undoubtedly have enjoyed the new technologies we could bring to the experiment.
Using 2 radio frequency transmitters and receivers potentially increases the chances of paranormal communication…the experiment ran while we dined in the adjacent room, the result is below. The intermittant transmission is the result of the frighteningly poor upload speeds in rural west Wales rather than any spooky goings-on we fear!

During our thirteenfridays meal we listened to the opera Cavalleria Rusticana which is cited as the first public radio broadcast in 1910 and included this song by Enrico Caruso. Not natural consumers of opera we were feeling quite high brow,  but it must be said that not all our guests appreciated the cultural adjustment (you know who you are…).

Hen Galan is the Welsh New Year or the old new year as it was before the calendar change of 1752. Still observed in the Gwaun Valley not far away, our thirteenfridays menu took a Welsh turn in celebration.

Rarebit.jpg
Worrying Welsh Rarebit – 13 slices of local Bara Menyn 5 seed bread topped with classic Welsh rarebit made with Welsh cheddar and served with a foraged garnish of 13 pennywort leaves and 13 wild sorrel leaves.

fishpi
Pastai Bysgod Peryglus – Welsh fish pie made with 13 ingredients – Cod, Smoked Salmon, Mussels, Potatoes, Leeks, Fish Stock, Parsley, Bayleaf, Dill, Flour, Butter, Egg, Pepper.  Served with 13 New Potatoes, 13 Purple sprouting Broccoli and 13 Kalettes.

welsh-cakes
13 Twisted Welsh Cakes – 13 crushed cardamom pods and dried cranberries providing the twist on the classic.

Bernard’s birthday cake was a Lemon Drizzle with 13 drizzle holes and 13 candles. In memory of the stories by Liz Whittaker about a strange series of events on another of Bernard’s birthdays some years ago, we had a helium balloon and phone at the table throughout the meal…

thirteenfridays – Lemuria special

The ancient Roman festival of Lemuria is thought to be a pre-christian antecedent of All Saints Day.  Taking place from May 11th to 13th, feasts and rituals took place  ‘…to exorcise the malevolent and fearful ghosts of the dead from their homes. The unwholesome spectres of the restless dead, the lemures or larvae were propitiated with offerings of beans.’ (read more)
MackerelOatcakes
13 Homemade Oatcakes with Manes Mackerel Pate, served with a 13 ingredient seasonal salad – Red cos, Green Batavia, Spinach, Rocket, Little Gem lettuce, Wild Sorrel, Pennywort, Jack in the Hedge, Wild Garlic & Violets dressed with Mustard, Honey, & Olive oil.

BeanPot
Bellona’s Bean Stew, a 13 ingredient stew with Black Turtle beans, Pinto Beans, Cannellini Beans, Green Beans, Tomatoes, Stock, Onion, Garlic, Worcestershire Sauce, Carrots, Celery, Chilli, Olive oil.

PearPudding
13 ingredient Plutonian Pear Pudding – Passum, Honey, Hazelnuts, Plain flour, Caster sugar, Butter, Baking powder, Bicarbonate of Soda, Eggs, Vanilla, Dark chocolate, Cream, Milk.

So having dined on oatmeal cakes (a nod to the Vestals’ ‘Mola salsa’,) Passum poached pear pudding (passum was a sweet raisin wine with honey), garnishes of wild violet flowers and more honey we continued the evening with a short and effective ritual –

Ovid notes that at this festival it was the custom to appease or expel the evil spirits by walking barefoot and throwing black beans over the shoulder at night. It was the head of the household who was responsible for getting up at midnight and walking around the house with bare feet throwing out black beans and repeating the incantation, “I send these; with these beans I redeem me and mine” (Haec ego mitto; his redimo meque meosque fabis.) nine times. The household would then clash bronze pots while repeating, “Ghosts of my fathers and ancestors, be gone!” nine times.’

Save

Thirteenfridays: The Last Gallery

tabledarkTo celebrate the end of our fifth birthday celebrations, Absent but not Forgotten revisited our Thirteenfridays project, initiated in 2013, in which we celebrated Friday 13th with thirteen themed meals.

Our very first exhibition was in The Last Gallery in Llangadog, Carmarthenshire in 2010 so we prevailed once again on Mick and Julie Ann at the the gallery to host a finale meal for our 2015 events.

We invited thirteen guests to join us on Friday 13 November to enjoy a feast of thirteen. November the 13th is also the saints day for Homobonus – patron saint of shoemakers amongst other things, which is particularly relevant to our location – an ex-cobblers shop.

We started the evening by welcoming our guests in from the cold with a Swedish glögg – warm spiced fruit juices, fruits and nuts and a tot of Absolut vodka: Red grape juice, apple juice, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, star anise, ginger root, almonds, raisins, prunes, orange quarters, sugar, vodka.

We also served a platter of 13 Anti-Christi appetisers: Black olives, green olives, sun dried tomatoes, roast peppers, bell peppers, cornichons, artichokes, baby beets, silverskin onions, pickled garlic, cherry tomato and cucumber.

antichristi1The table plan was determined by a lottery of numbered badges which corresponded to a numbered bottle of home-brewed country wine at each place. During the evening we swapped and tasted each to try and guess the flavours – one each of: Plum & Damson, Elderflower, White & Blackcurrant, Meadowsweet, Grape, Lemon, Elderberry, Lavender, Elderberry & Blackberry, Kiwi Fruit, Blackcurrant, Marigold, Blackberry.

2015-11-13 21.10.05The main course was a thirteen dish buffet of vegetarian and fish dishes:

main

13 ingredient tabouleh – Bulgar wheat, stock, olive oil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, parsley, mint, cucumber, red onion, tomatoes, salt, pepper

13 mini egg tortilla – Caramelised red onion and goats cheese and stilton, spinach and baby tomato

13 chilli lime prawn kebabs

13 hallumi & fig crostini – garnished with pomegranate and fresh coriander leaves

13 vegetable, sage and Parmesan pasties

13 ingredient winter slaw – carrots, fennel bulb, radishes, celeriac, white cabbage, red cabbage, red onion, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, dill , Greek yoghurt, mustard,         black pepper

13 ingredient superfood salad – sweet potatoes, olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, quinoa, broccoli, walnuts, pomegranate, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mixed sprouts, fresh coriander, avocado

13 ingredient Mediterranean vegetable tart – olive oil, onion, garlic, aubergine, courgette, red pepper, goats cheese, Parmesan, tomatoes, capers, smoked paprika, flour, butter

13 ingredient lentil loaf – lentils, egg, olive oil, garlic, onion, vegetable stock, green pepper, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaves, smoked paprika, cracked pepper

13 wild salmon fillets with tomato salsa

13 ingredient bean & brown rice salad – Short grain brown rice, black beans, red onion, garlic, red pepper, kidney beans, grated carrot, lettuce leaves, baby plum tomatoes, parsley,  cucumber, caraway seeds, sesame seeds

13 couscous stuffed peppers

13 pieces of rosemary focaccia

During the evening we projected a series of film clips onto the gallery wall which included dining scenes from 13 black and white horror films

insideOur evening spectacular were the 13 desserts all made by ‘Queen of Cakes’ Kirsten Hinks – a truly amazing spread introduced by the ‘Omen’ soundtrack from Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana.

Roger (one of our guests) commented:

“I think I ate all thirteen cakes, cracking. What a delightful sugar high. The company was wonderful and the food. I ate a focaccia that was the very apogee of human baking. When art and stomachs mingle…”

dessertgroup

The tradition of thirteen to dinner carries with it a curse – the first to leave the table is the first to die. To mitigate this sting in the tail a 14th place must be laid for an unseen guest – our unseen guest dined in the window of The Last Gallery.

outside

Thank you to our lovely guests for their company, to Mick and Julie Ann Sheridan at The Last Gallery for hosting us and Kirsten Hinks for three straight days of cooking.

thirteenfridays: Elaphebolion Special – A Ghoulish Greek Feast

PsarosoupaParanormal Psarosoupa – Greek style fish soup with 13 ingredients (Potato, Carrot, Leek, Celery, Red onion, Cod, River cobbler, Water, Olive oil, Parsley, Lemon, Peppercorns, Salt)

13 Meze13Meze113 Mythical Meze platter – Hummus, Tzatziki, Thyme infused mushrooms, Dolmades, Tabouleh, Pitta, Cummin roast carrots, Cauliflower & Halloumi salad, Greek beans, Kalamata olives, Feta stuffed green olives, Grilled aubergine with lemon & thyme,
Taramasalata

Baklava13 Bedazzling Baklava

CakeAs a nod to the traditional offering to the goddess Artemis during the month of Elaphebolion we also had 13 slices of Haunting Honey Cake.