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: 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…

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.’

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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.

thirteenfridays – Lupercalia special

A meal for Friday 13th of February.
Apparently our modern St Valentines day has its roots in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia and the start of Parentalia. For this thirteenfridays meal we combined modern and ancient Italian dishes, packed with aphrodisiac ingredients to stimulate and arouse the spirits!

Spooky Scallops
Spooky Scallops served on 13 Oatmeal cakes with a Roman cumin sauce for shellfish. Salt meal cakes were apparently prepared by the vestal virgins to burn as offerings on Lupercalia.

Lupercalian Lasagne
13 ingredient Lupercalian Lasagne (onion, leek, carrot, squash, pasta, tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano, bay leaf, vegetable stock, white sauce & cheese), a classic modern Italian dish with an ancient roman vegetable twist.  This was served with a 13 ingredient Warm Aphrodisiac Rocket Salad (rocket, 13 baby plum tomatoes, pine nuts, capers, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, red onion,  garlic, brown sugar, dijon mustard, 13 chopped green olives,  salt & pepper).

Violent Violet Truffles
13 Violently Violet Truffles – Violets and flower garlands were (according to Ovid) laid as sacred offerings at family tombs during Parentalia.

Frightening Fig Cake
Frightening 13 Fig Cake (13 ingredients – Flour, baking powder, vanilla extract, salt, milk, sugar, rosemary, orange zest, butter, olive oil, eggs, honey, fresh figs).  Figs are a staple of aphrodisiac cooking and we all know how the romans loved a fig!

Rose Petal Wine

All accompanied by a Roman favourite – Rose Petal Wine!

13 aphrodisiac ingredients – Scallops, Mint (cumin sauce), Basil, Tomatoes, Rocket, Pine Nuts, Honey, Figs, Rosemary, Vanilla, Chocolate,  Violets, Rose Petals.

thirteenfridays – Strawberry Moon Special

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St Anthony is the patron saint of lost things, how appropriate for Absent but not Forgotten that in 2014 his feast day of 13th June is on a Friday.  Coinciding with a full moon, known as a strawberry or a honey moon, a great excuse for a thirteenfridays special.

So cheese ( because that’s what the moon is made of…), fish and bread for St Anthony’s feast day, honey and strawberries for the June moon and our usual thirteen-ness in ingredients and numbers. Blue Moon beers and honeyed mead to tipple.

HaloumiHair-Raising Halloumi
13 barbequed Halloumi Bruschetta with green pesto and basil on grilled slices of french bread.

Kebabs
Killer Kebabs
Barbequed prawn kebabs – 13 items per skewer.

Cod
Creepy Cod Salad
13 chunks of cod barbequed with fresh herbs and served with 13 salad leaves and baby tomatoes.

Cheesecake
Full Moon Cheesecake
Thanks to Kirsten for the Full Moon baked Cheesecake served with 13 strawberries and honeyed cream – totally delicious.

Drinks
Terrifying Tipples

Moon themed playlist:

Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon, Echo & the Bunnymen: Killing Moon, Debussy: Clair de Lune, Feist: My Moon, My Man, The Waterboys: The Whole of the Moon, The Police: Walking on the Moon, Captain Beefheart: Blue Jeans & Moonbeams, Boby Vinton: Blue Moon, T-Rex: By the Light of a Magical Moon, David Bowie: Moonage Daydream, Nick Drake: Pink Moon, Tom Waits: Grapefruit Moon, Cliff Edwards: It’s Only a Paper Moon, Tim Buckley: Tijuana Moon, Ozzy Osborne: Bark at the Moon, Tamsin Archer: Sleeping Satellite, The Doors: Moonlight Drive, Captain Beefheart: Moon Over Vermont, Rolling Dtones: Moonlight Mile, Bombay Bicycle Club: Luna, Andy Willimas: Moon River, Amy Winehouse: Fly Me to the Moon, Beethoven: Moonlight Sonata, Little Feat: Spanish Moon, Neil Young: Harvest Moon, Lykke Li: I Follow Rivers (Live on the Moon)