Tuesday 14 October 2014

Ancient Yew trees, and "Still here . . ."

Do you sense a "but" coming?  Last week's terrific storms seem to have damaged our phone line.   Whilst I have broadband (at the moment) and can make phonecalls, we cannot receive any.  We have had the usual threat from BT that if the fault be found on our property, we have to pay them £129.99 for them to fix it.  And it IS a threat, the way it is couched.  I would like to take the powers that be inside BT by the scruff and give them a good shaking.  What is more, we could not be sure we had reported it by dialing 151 as that seems to set you on a loop, where you never speak to a human being.  Having broadband still, I reported it online . . .  We have tried 3 different phones and none can take incoming calls.  I note, they now say that should the fault be caused by pets, or builders, or trees (etc)  inside the curtilage of your garden you will still be charged,  I am starting to think that BT is run by money-grubbing aliens . . .

In the meantime, following Thursday night's storms (when I heard a hell of a "crack" which I thought was the trip going in to bank of electrics switches in the kitchen, but must have been a lightening strike on the transformer thingummys on the house wall where the BT line is fixed) we had a quieter - but wetter - day on Friday, when we went to an auction at Brecon.  On the way home we stopped at Defynnog near Sennybridge, to look at the oldest yew tree, recently proven to be 5,000 - 6,000 years old, in the graveyard of St Cynog's, which would make it an ancient Christian site too, as St Cynog dates to the late 4th C. (he was born in 434).    The link gives some excellent photos.  In the porch was an ECM (Early Christian Monument) - Romano-British, dedicated to Rugniatio Livendonio, and it has remains of Ogham on the edge.  My husband says that there were German mercenaries from a German tribe called the Rugii and wonders if this chap had been descended from one.

No photos, as I forgot the camera, but we will return.  There are several yew trees surrounding the church but the ancient one is two trees which sprang from a vast central tree long rotted away.  The yew tree is known for its powers of regeneration even after the core of the tree has rotted, and it will put out fresh growth on the shell (which can be seen in these trees too.  You could stand inside them and they were truly magical.

Meanwhile, the small hexi patchwork runner is coming along nicely and I shall post a photo later.

Yer 'tis . . .

Coming together nicely now.

The finished item in the magazine.

Meanwhile I have been using leftovers to make soup:

Leftovers were some veg from tea last night, half a pint of really tasty gravy from the weekend's steak and kidney, half a pack of stir fry mix (from which I removed the beanshoots and red peppers), and two peeled potatoes which had been sitting in a jug of water waiting to be used.  Fresh was an onion, and from the freezer, home-grown  leeks and half a dozen runty home grown tomatoes which had finally turned red.  I hate waste.  I hate chucking anything away.

Add half a pack of steak mince, browned.  (The other half is cooked up for my husband's tea tonight and tomorrow, either as a Shepherd's Pie or perhaps a pizza topping (he doesn't do the standard tomatoes/onions/peppers etc).

Result, a really tasty soup.  When I was hoovering up cluster flies in the attic, the soup aroma had made its way up there and I had to come down and have a bowlful . . .


  1. I am familiar with that Yew Tree as I used to have friends who lived near to Sennybridge. It is such a lovely part of the country.

  2. The yew tree sounds amazing - would love to see a photo when you return :) Good Luck with BT - I hope you get the phone line sorted out.

  3. Pat - fancy you knowing it too! That whole area is a very ancient site.

    R. Robin - I am still kicking myself! We go that way regularly though, so we will definitely take lots of photos next time.

    I will keep you all updated about the latest BT shinnanigans . . .

  4. Living where we are right now, we hardly notice any weather, storms, wind, driving rain...all a thing of the past now that we are away from the coast. Hope you get your line sorted.

  5. Hope the phones get to work both ways soon and you don't have to pay exorbitant sums. Looking at the Fortinghall yew the other day, which is pretty old and has the same prehistoric background as Defynnog. That soup makes me hungry, you made me remember the tomatoes I had absentmindly shut in the drawer, just pulled them out all going red in two days - they need darkness!

  6. thelma - we have been to Fortingall - many years back now, in my Pictish (Uni) days . . . It was a Pictish monastery, from what I remember. Defynnog isn't that far from Llangorse Lake, an area which was peopled by Irish incomers at one point, and I do wonder if Defynnog was a centre of learning too, perhaps for early Celtic Christianity - St Cynog was such a very early Christian saint

    Suzie - ah, not such bad weather inland. I know there is a lot less rain where my friend lives near Ross-on-Wye, she says she sees huge rainclouds approaching and then they seem to get drawn away along the Brecon Beacons. Dryer would suit us!

  7. Join the club. Just back from a week away without broadband but with a crackling phone! x

  8. Em - oh dear. I shall be glad when ours is fixed (hopefully without any ransom . . .)