thirteenfridays: Carmarthen

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.
IMG_7940This week, to find out more about the ghostly sightings and stories of Carmarthen, we preceded our picnic with a Wednesday evening “Creepy Carmarthen” tour courtesy of Nick Brunger.  Starting outside the guildhall, the towns court, we heard about the history of Carmarthen as a near lawless place akin to the ‘Wild West’, with many a highwayman and vagabond facing justice in the court before their final destination at the gallows in the castle.Walking from Guildhall sq up st Mary’s st we stopped outside the Andrew Price hair salon where Nick regaled us with the story of a contemporary haunting and an experiment in psychic communication. Using cards showing letters of the alphabet the spooky experiment revealed the name of the little girl who haunts the premises as Alice.The tour’s final destination is also the castle, which became the town police station and gaol. Over the years it has been the site of many spooky encounters, even as we gathered in the entrance room and listened to Nick telling the grisly history of the building a door to the upper floor’s old police barracks opened inexplicably.

The most frequent encounters, however, take place in the old gaol cells, where people have reported hearing sobbing, felt a hand on their shoulder and a presence in the room…our group crowded into the small, unlit, dank room to hear of these encounters but nothing was stirring in there that evening…

Having thoroughly enjoyed the tour we struggled to find a suitable location for a picnic in the castle grounds, the opening hours being affected by maintenance work.  So instead our picnic destination was decided by unrelated stories of strange movements and encounters with an apparition of a soldier in the chapel of the former Bishop’s palace, now Carmarthenshire county museum in Abergwili.


01For our picnic we had a 13 ingredient Pesto Pasta salad (Pine nuts, Pasta, Water, Pesto, Basil, Spinach, Tomatoes, Salt, pepper, Feta, Mozzarella, Cheddar, Olive oil ); A 13 ingredient Beetroot & Lentil salad (Puy lentils, Beetroot, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Fennel, Garlic, Flat Leaf Parsley, Kalamon Olives, Red Wine Vinegar; Olive Oil, Lemon Juice, Salt, Pepper); A 13 ingredient Cheese and Potato pie (Flour, Butter, Salt, Pepper, Water, Potatoes, Cheddar, Milk, Mozzarella, Mustard, Nutmeg, Oregano, Thyme); 13 mini Sosmix Sausages; A green salad with 13 baby plum tomatoes.02

Following the savouries we enjoyed a 13 ingredient Rhubarb and Almond tart (Plain flour, Salt, water, Rhubarb, Butter, Caster sugar, Ground almonds, Egg, Brown sugar, Cocoa, Baking powder, Flaked almonds, Icing sugar) and 13 Strawberry and Cream sponges..03

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thirteenfridays: Craig-y-nos

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…