thirteenfridays: Pembrey

 

 

 

 

 

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 was our 13th picnic out and about and we headed to Pembrey where there are reports of a number of different ghostly phenomena including ghost ships seen off the coast and ghosts of the “hatchet men” seen in the nearby woods .  These were the wreckers who enticed ships onto the rocks, murdered the crews and robbed their cargoes.  There are more stories of WWII soldiers, cursed airmen, cavaliers and even a poltergeist who grabs your ankles and piles up your camping equipment!

The popular TV show “Most Haunted” visited the area some years ago, highlighting these and many other stories spending the night investigating the beach, the woods and the disused military bunkers.

We took this photograph of the woods which shows a luminous green flare!

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Finding shade in the picnic area near Cefn Sidan beach our picnic fest this week included special birthday treats for Kathryn, a bottle of champagne with strawberry liqueur and extra strawberry cakes!
We had a 13 ingredient salmon and asparagus pie (Egg, Flour, Butter, Cream Cheese, Chives, Parsley, Lemon Zest, Capers, Salmon, Asparagus, Spinach, Salt, Black Pepper); 13 ingredient tabouleh (Bulgar wheat, Vegetable Stock, Cucumber, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Flat Leaf Parsley, Mint, Red wine Vinegar, Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Soy Sauce,Salt, Pepper); 13 ingredient fennel and courgette salad (Bulb Fennel, Courgette, Red onion, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Za’atar – Sumac, Thyme, Oregano, Nutmeg, Cumin, Black Pepper, Sesame seeds, Salt)  02
Our desserts were a four tiered 13 ingredient birthday cake from Kirsten (Butter, sugar, Flour, Baking powder, Margarine, Eggs, Milk, Cream, Vanilla, Strawberry, Blueberry, Raspberry, Chocolate buttons) and 13 Strawberry and thyme mini cupcakes with Fragoli wild strawberry icing.

 

 

 

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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

 

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: 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: Nevern

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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 were intrigued by the mention of a paranormal experience at Nevern Castle in Pembrokeshire during a picnic (read article here). The article describes how picnickers at the site were disturbed to hear distressing screaming sounds from deep in the earth under their feet. There has also been ghostly sightings of a man in medieval dress.

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For our picnic feast of 13 this week we enjoyed a 13 ingredient Potato Salad (13 Salad Potatoes, 13 Baby Plum Tomatoes, 13 Asparagus spears, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Toasted Walnuts with a dressing of Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Brown Sugar, Black Pepper, Salt, served on a bed of Rocket and Spinach and garnished with Wild Garlic Flowers);  A 13 ingredient Beetroot slaw (Beetroot, Red cabbage, White cabbage, Fennel, Celery, Apple, Carrot, Tomato puree, Olive Oil, Black Olives, Lemon Juice, Mint, Black Pepper);  13 hummus & roast veg sandwiches with 13 ingredients (hummus made from Chickpeas, Tahini, Lemon Juice, Olive Oil, Salt and Smoked paprika served on Brown Sourdough Bread with Wild Rocket, Roasted Red, Green and Yellow Peppers and Roasted Courgette); 13 summer fruit topped mini Victoria sponges with 13 ingredients (Flour, Baking Powder, Butter, Eggs, Caster Sugar, Vanilla Essence frosted with Soft cheese, Icing Sugar, Vanilla, Fresh Strawberries, Raspberries and Blueberries and garnished with Mint Leaves).

It was a beautifully warm sunny day and we spent the afternoon exploring and taking a field recording on the site of the old watchtower using a mic inserted just below the surface of the ground. We’ll process this to look for any unusual sounds or spectral screaming!

Despite the bright sunshine, there was quite an atmospheric feeling at the site and a couple of times we felt a little unnerved by odd movement in our peripheral vision…

On our way home we visited St Bryach’s, the beautiful old church in Nevern village. One of the ancient (700 year old) Yew trees in the graveyard is called the ‘Bleeding Yew’. It continuously secretes an unusual red sap, an unexplained phenomena which has attracted a number of miraculous legends – the church website wryly favours the idea that it bleeds in sympathy with Jesus on the cross. There is also said to be a white-robed man who wanders in the churchyard as well as the sound of children playing at night.

The Bleeding Yew in St Bryach’s Churchyard

 

thirteenfridays: Llanfihangel Crucornau

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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.

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: 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.

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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.

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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.

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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…