Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Getting sorted


This rather splendidly threatening sky was encountered on the Llandovery road yesterday, as Tam and I headed towards the Irfon Forest for a short exploratory walk.

Looking across to the Eppynt range.

It was a short walk (just about 1 1/4 miles) starting at White Bridge, through the trees and beside the river.

We got back to the car before it began to spot with rain, although there was thunder and lightening (about 10 miles away) as we walked. 

This is a good swim area - it's called the Wash Pool, as it's where they used to wash the sheep before shearing.  This practice continued long after it was necessary, but the worry of losing 1/3 of the value of because of the fleece being unwashed was  a worry.  Nowadays, when farmers are paid less than 50p a fleece, some farmers burn the fleeces.  When you think - England's wealth was born on the back of sheep farming in Medieval times.  Nowadays a ball of good wool is as much as 10 times the cost of the entire fleece! Crazy.

As you can see we did get some rain, but not for long enough.  Overcast here today and a little rain overnight.

    Today a local company are coming to sort out the wasp nest.  Money well spent.  It became a priority as yesterday we also had a visit from the carpenter who is going to do our sash windows (cords need replacing).  He is quite possibly going to slot us in later this week (it's just a day's work) and it is hardly fair to expect him to work beneath a wasp nest.

        I'm not feeling my best this morning (hence the short post) as I slept badly so I'm back to bed now.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

We have Lodgers! and welcome guests as well.


Yes, a Wasp Nest.  Absolutely lovely to look at and I could ignore it except we are having a chap here next week to give us an estimate for doing the sash cords on the back windows.  He won't be pleased to see this!  Can't deal with it ourselves, as Tam and I don't do heights, and Keith, who does, can't do ladders these days.  Can't get to it through the window - as it doesn't open!

This is another "I've never knowingly seen it before" plant - growing (x 4 on the bank in our new garden.  It is fairly unusual.  It is a Broad Leaved Helleborine. Mostly gone to seed but hopefully there will be more next year.

Above and below: this Fritillary is one which has been hurtling round the garden in the sunshine this week, but never stopping until today, when it was sat on the Marjoram,  happily feeding.  It's a male Silver Washed Fritillary I have been told.


"Tess" loves the sunny position in our yard. Now I need to get some trellis up as she's a climbing rose.

Ebb Tide has also been flowering really well.

Gladiolis from two packs I bought very cheaply in Morrisons earlier in the year.

The homestead under gloomier skies today.  The wasp nest can just be seen under the apex of the biggest upper window (a bit of tree over that dormer).  My new herbaceous border is all planted up - I just have to straighten the edges as a little out of alignment. You can see from this photo that the bottom windows are in alignment with the lawn. Some folk wouldn't like this but I love having the birds on the lawn just outside. The cats also like to come in when the window is open!

Friday, 23 July 2021

Church-crawling thwarted - Cascob, Discoed and Cregrina


Well, Eldest Daughter and I had a disappointing afternoon church-crawling yesterday.  As we were heading up towards Presteigne, I found a number to phone to see if Cascob church would be open.  Chap not sure - but Discoed would be, and that was just a couple of miles down the road.  We decided to chance it but unfortunately the Church was locked, and when I went across the lane to the cottage opposite to get the key, there was no reply (though cars outside).  A notice said to shut the gate, as sheep were grazing in the churchyard.  Here is one of them.

We particularly wanted to see the interior of this church because of the ABRACADABRA witch spell.  There is a link HERE which tells you more, but no illustration.  The church is dedicated to St Michael by the way.

The Yew tree here is rather special, and probably a thousand years old.  It's female, and was one of a pair but sadly the other fell in a gale in the 1990s although a sapling has been planted to replace it.  The girth of this one is 762 cm (25 feet) in circumference.

The church probably dates from the 13th C and this mound has been considered to be either a tumulus or a Norman castle motte in the past but is more likely to be rubble from a collapsed/rebuilt church tower.

As we knew Discoed was open, and very close by, we paid that a visit next.  As you can see from the view below, it's in a very rural setting.  It's another one dedicated to St Michael.

This stunning stained glass window is dedicated in memory of Judy Hiam, and installed in 2017.  One of the nicest stained glass modern windows I've seen.

At the other end of the church was a more traditional window - the sun streaming through made the colours so beautiful.

It wasn't an ornate church - no pews and a new floor and  the socially-distanced chairs set out gave it not a great deal of atmosphere.

Not a poet I had heard of - though he lived in the Fens most of his life until suddenly upping sticks and moving to Wales!  You couldn't get more difference in scenery.  HERE'S a link, if you're interested. 

This is a stunning Tudor manor house, recently traditionally restored.  Thank heavens that the oak is the colour it should be -sun-faded to grey and not painted black (I hate it when timbers aren't left as nature intended).  It is called Upper House and HERE is a worthwhile link to the restoration work with amazing photos.

An even more venerable Yew tree here, which is an amazing 5,000 years old and is one of the five oldest in the British Isles.  It has a girth of 37 feet and is male.  There is a female tree elsewhere in the churchyard. The fact there is a spring at the gateway to the church suggested to Tam and I that this was a place of ancient worship, far predating Christianity.  

Finally, on the way home we had noticed that Cregrina Church was just 2 miles off the main road, so we headed there.  We couldn't get in and thought the door was locked but apparently it is never locked and you just have to give it a hefty heave with your shoulder . . .  It was once on a main cattle drover's road, and is largely 13th C  and dedicated to St. David.

This morning the chap from the Council is coming to test the water for the 4 properties which are on it.  This could be interesting!  Whilst our supply comes through a UV filter, which we maintain, there is still a lot of sediment and we were left instructions to "boil all drinking water" by the previous occupant.  It should have been tested in 2019, but wasn't, and couldn't be tested before we bought the house last year because of Covid restrictions.  Fortunately the charges are shared between the 4 properties.

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Deeply into our Manx family history


Looking down towards Builth just after 7 a.m. yesterday morning.  

I know - I should be doing housework.  I HAVE to do some later on but for the moment I am in a delightful steady frenzy (IS there such a thing?!) of family history research involving people and places in the  18th C on the Isle of Man.  I am like a dog with a bone!    I have solved a family mystery which has been neglected many years and research is so much easier now that so many more links and documents are put on-line.    I am currently perusing the actual parish registers which have been scanned - AMAZING!

  As I only had snippets of names and very sparse details which had come down from Keith's dad,  who sadly died when Keith and I were just friends, it was not a very easy journey.  BUT yesterday I made a huge breakthrough and have found the family holding and what was happening there around the 1890s from a book written in 1945, reliant on wonderful memories from the oldest people in the parish who knew everyone who lived everywhere, even in long-ruined cottages and plots.  It also looks like I have been researching in the wrong parish for some of "his lot" as they appear to be hefted elsewhere.  I still have to trace beyond g.g. grandfather though and that hasn't been easy.  No cast iron links - just guestimates until today, but now I am confirming notes I made back in 2000 when the only tool I had on the internet was the basic IGI (it is now MUCH improved and called Family Search).

Fascinating to see the the common folk (our lot and their neighbours) chose family names for their children - John, William, Philip, Patrick, James, Ann, Mary, Margaret with the occasional more exotic Isabel or Elinor.  The Royal Naval births, however, really went for originality - how about Victoria Sophia Alfrida?  Or Belvedira Clarissa Eliza?  Or John Adolphus Frederick?  So, I am immersed in Kellys, Cowleys, Quayles, Christians, Sayles and Shimmins . . .
Anyway, yesterday very early I went for a long walk, right to the very top of the hill this time, so my fitness levels are definitely improving.  Today I treated myself to "Walking the Old Ways of Radnorshire" - a companion to the book in the same series which is of Herefordshire.  I hope there will be soon one of Breconshire too, which is actually the county we live in, although it is part of Powys now.  So, lots of photos and not much in the way of writing, but you probably know I just LOVE to research and so I am like a terrier down a rabbit hole and keeping cool at the same time.

Hedge Woundwort, and below, Yarrow.

Right at the top of the hill, a choice of 3 bridleways.  We've walked one (below) up through the woods, when we first got here.  Can't wait for it to cool down so we can explore the other two.