thirteenfridays: Llanelli

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).

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thirteenfridays: Llanfihangel Crucornau

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.

May the Fourth was with us for our picnic in the shadow of the Skirrid Mountain (Ysgyryd Fawr) near Abergavenny. It is also known as the Holy Mountain or the the Sacred Hill. The Welsh word Ysgyryd describes the shape of the mountain as having been ‘shivered’ or ‘shattered’.

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For this weeks 13 picnic feast we had a 13 ingredient Couscous salad (Couscous, Stock, Fresh tomatoes, Cucumber, Parsley, Capers, Olive oil, White Wine Vinegar, Lemon Juice, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Salt, Pepper), a 13 ingredient bean salad (Beans: Kidney, Black Eye, Haricot, Borlotti, Sweetcorn, Red Pepper, Chickpeas, White Wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Coriander) 13 slices of a 13 ingredient special loaf from Bara Menyn (ing?), 13 cheese & wild pesto twists made with 13 ingredients (Wild Garlic Leaves, Wild Garlic Mustard Leaves, Parmesan, Walnuts, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt Pepper, Flour, Butter, Egg, Cheddar Cheese, Sesame Seeds),  a vine of 13 cherry tomatoes, 13 Banana and Walnut Muffins using 13 ingredients (Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Butter, Banana, Caster Sugar, Muscovado Sugar, Milk, Egg, Walnuts, Vanilla Essence).

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After our picnic of 13 we headed for the infamously haunted Skirrid Mountain Inn for a pint. The pub is in the village of Llanfihangel Crucornau and reputed to be one of the oldest pubs in Wales. The inn is said to have been standing for over 900 years, having been recorded during the Norman Conquests of the 11th century. The wood of the ancient front door has been carbon dated at around 1,500 years old.

The Inn is steeped in history and legend and, perhaps unsurprisingly, has a serious reputation for hauntings. The pub was used as a public meeting place, a courtroom and place of execution with an oak beam still installed above the stairwell reputedly scorched and scarred by the rope. It is believed that between 12th and 17th Centuries around 180 miscreants met their end on the premises. The ‘hanging Judge’ Judge Jeffreys known for his royalist bias and the severity of his punishment was reputed to sit at the Skirrid during 17th Century.

There have been many reports of ghostly sightings and experiences at the pub, from the spectres of the hanged, loyal past staff (especially Fanny Price who died aged 35 of consumption in the 18th Century) and the soldiers who were brought to the pub as a temporary hospital. On the day we visited there was a convention of ghost hunters meeting in the dining room.

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Photo from Flickr by Viv Lynch https://flic.kr/p/bS22YP (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

We didn’t knowingly encounter any spooks during our visit; the bustle of a Bank Holiday weekend very much filled the pub with the revels of the living. It is an immensely atmospheric building however with the wide Tudor fireplace darkened by the patina of centuries of smoke, the oak beamed ceilings and panelled walls (the timber reputedly salvaged from ships of the 16th and 17th Centuries) and the old timber windows seats and Welsh settle.

thirteenfridays: Llangrannog

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 third thirteenfridays picnic we headed to the picturesque seaside village of Llangrannog.

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Llangrannog is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a sailor known as Huw Puw who died in the 18th Century and is still said to wander the shoreline.  We watched out for ghostly figures while enjoying our picnic beneath the cliffs near Carreg Bica.

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As a smaller party of two this week, we enjoyed a slightly smaller feast of 13. We were delighted to have a specially baked 13 ingredient loaf baked by Jack from the wonderful Bara Menyn bakery in Cardigan – (White flour, Spelt flour, Rye flour, Wholemeal flour, Natural wheat leaven, Water, Sea Salt, Oats, Seeds: Pumpkin, Sunflower, Poppy, Sesame, Linseed)With a 13 ingredient Caponata (Aubergine, Celery, Onion, Tomatoes, Capers, Olives, Garlic, Red Wine Vinegar, Oregano, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Parsley), a 13 ingredient Hummus (Chickpeas, Tahini, Garlic, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Water, Salt, Pepper, Sumac & four seed mix topping: Sunflower, Sesame, Pumpkin, Golden Linseed, Sumac)A green leaf salad garnished with 13 wild garlic mustard leaves and 13 vine tomatoes.  

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13 falafel made with 13 ingredients (Chickpeas, Spring Onions, Garlic, Ground Cumin, Ground Coriander, Fresh Coriander Leaves, Flat Parsley, Nutmeg, Black Papper, Salt, Baking Powder, Sesame Seeds, Sunflower Oil) and 13 Pistachio and lime squares also with 13 ingredients (Plain Flour, Caster Sugar, Butter, Salt, Ground Pistachio Nuts, Eggs, Soft Brown Sugar, Lime Zest, Lime Juice, Sunflower Seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Oats, Baking Powder).

As we finished our picnic and began to pack away the beach started to fill with children from the nearby Eisteddfod Urdd campsite site.  There are stories from other children who have stayed on the Urdd site of a black nun who transforms into a crow and torments the campers!  We made our way through the hordes and up onto the cliff path to take in the view and look for for the spectral figure of Huw..

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Quote of the week:  “Is that you Huw?…”

Absent but not Forgotten: V – Halloween at the Abacus

To kick off a series of events for ABNF V (celebrating our fifth year of Absent but not Forgotten) we held a one night only retrospective exhibition in The Abacus, Cardiff.  An amazing space to show in, we were able to include a number of works from the last 5 years.

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As well as the installations and artworks we offered evil home-brewed refreshments and toasted the event with our special reserve ‘666’ blackberry wine (brewed from 666 blackberries). Live Halloween sounds were created by Jacob Whittaker and his vinyl loops of horror and a new performance from invited artist Ian Watson, a truly terrifying blend of electronic noise, mask and sportswear!

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Our interactive corner invited some homespun ghostly shenanigans – thanks to all our Sheet n’ Tweeters!

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The Essay – The Further Realm

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We really enjoyed Radio 3’s The Essay in the week leading up to Halloween. Novelist, Andrew Martin shared his thoughts about ghosts and ghost stories in five 15 minute episodes called The Further Realm – his introduction was particularly pertinent for Absent but not Forgotten:

“Anyone who has the dubious pleasure of getting to know me is likely to be asked at some point ‘Have you ever seen a ghost?’. It is not something to be asked of doctrinaire empiricists and sometimes I miscalculate. I once pitched an idea for an article about an apparent haunting to an editor I thought I saw eye-to-eye with, ‘Sorry’ he replied, ‘we are a ghost free zone’. I should have guessed, because he’s also a humour free zone. I’ve never heard from him since. I suppose he assumes I believe in ghosts, which to his mind is like believing in fairies.

Do I believe in ghosts? I certainly believe in, that is to say I appreciate ghost stories whether avowedly fictional or purporting to be factual.

The ghost story writer M.R. James once said: ‘I am prepared to consider the evidence and accept it if it satisfies me’ and that goes for me too; and I enjoy considering the evidence.”

Andrew Martin – The Further Realm: Episode 1 – Radio 3 The Essay first broadcast Monday 26 October 2015

 

Made in Roath 2015

RSTFor Made in Roath 2015, Absent but not Forgotten were lucky enough to be able to work with Rose Street Flea Market to install existing work as part of the festival on 11 October and will also be undertaking a mini ‘residency’ in the building on 7 & 8 November.

For 11 October we started to get a feel for the location having met with proprietor, Frank a few times to chat about the flea market and his experiences of being in the building over the last 4 years.

The flea market is an amazing warren of objects collected together by proprietor Frank from a lifetime of magpie finds and house clearance. What appears to be a completely eclectic muddle of things we found to be actually quite carefully thought about and placed. It has the satisfying illusion of chaos which allows the visitor to feel like an explorer discovering everything for the first time.

We wanted our first foray into the building to be unobtrusive. We decided to select a number of framed-up prints from our ‘ghost-in-a-sheet’ series of lo-fi and Polaroid images to place discreetly amongst the existing framed pictures and photographs for visitors to happen upon.

Thanks to Frank for hosting us (and for getting under a sheet for a quick snap!) and to Made in Roath for finding us such a great venue.

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