July's stroll was a special event. It was the anniversary walk as the group has been meeting, strolling, chatting and drinking coffee for a year. To celebrate this, Bethan made cup cakes. The group enjoyed the refreshments BEFORE the walk to store up enough energy to get around the lakes in the intense sunshine!
Three new people joined the stroll in July. Hopefully they will return for the August walk: even though no cakes are promised as they are only available on anniversaries!
Cosmeston in the sun is a truly splendid place. We managed to keep in the shade for most of the walk, and enjoyed the birds on the two lakes.
If you would like to join us in August, just turn up at Cosmeston Information Centre at 10:30am, on the first Thursday of the month. We are really friendly!
Snowdon and Beddgelert.—Wednesday morning in Beddgelert dawned sunny and bright with many of us choosing to eat breakfast alfresco.
Seven of us plus a dog drove to Llanberis and used the Sherpa bus service to Pen y Pass (free to Welsh bus pass holders!) for our walk along the Pyg track heading for the summit of Snowdon. It was warm and clear as we began our ascent on a relatively easy stretch. The views along the valley were excellent and we admired the craggy peaks around us. As we progressed the day got hotter and hotter, the paths are all reinforced with rocks so although you can hardly lose your way, it is unforgiving in heat. Frequent water stops were the order of the day.
It was a sociable walk. We met students from Swansea University who had decided to see something of Wales before leaving. There was a party of 8 year olds from Birmingham which had left school at 7a.m. They had regular stops for refreshment but some of the children really struggled, the patience and support the teachers showed was amazing. Every one of the children made it to the top and was grinning from ear to ear when we talked to them about their achievement. Apparently for some of these children it is their first venture away from their home town. A lady walking alone turned out to be Belgian, a regular visitor to the area she had decided to go up alone since her husband was not fit enough.
As we progressed our party stretched out maintaining visual contact with the person in front and behind us. As we climbed we looked down on the Miners track below as it wove its way past Llyn Llydaw and Llyn Glaslyn. We could clearly hear people shouting to one another as they played in the water, even though they looked like ants. The first peak we spotted wasn’t Snowdon but Crib Goch, another craggy summit. At Igam Ogam zigzag the path becomes a scramble up rocks as the Pyg and Miners tracks merge.
A wall of gabions provided an excellent final rest before the push up to the col at Llanberis pass. Then after 10 minutes or so you step up onto the col, to cries of congratulations from your friends and an unbelievable view. It was as though the whole world opened out in front of you and you could see forever: the whole of Anglesey, the Lleyn Peninsula,
and even the Saddleworth Moor fire outside Manchester were very clear. It was also our 1st view of the Snowdon Mountain railway, climbing the mountain at 45o angle here. After rest and refreshment (an apple proving a real pick me up) it was a short, steep walk on an excellent path to the summit, at 1085metres. It was like Piccadilly Circus at the top, with people staying to enjoy the views and the glorious weather. There was reminiscing about other times people had been up here with very limited visibility, we were well rewarded for our efforts today.
A large cup of tea and a pasty from the cafe (£5) went down a treat. Then it was time to descend. We split into 2 groups; the first group taking the Miner’s track using walking poles to help them through the steep sections. They arrived at the bottom with time for a quick well earnt pint before getting the bus to Llanberis to collect the cars.
The rest of us came down the Llanberis path which is a slightly longer but gentler route. We met a man who was completing the 3 peaks challenge – Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon in 24 hours. We also spotted a small tornado and grass fires started by sparks from the trains.
At Halfway House we enjoyed refreshments and our first shade of the day in a strong breeze, wonderful. The lady who works here walks up from her farm daily and was planning to climb to the summit when she finished work at 5.30pm.
Misty, the dog, had to rely on water fed to her until we were near the end of the walk when we found our first stream and she had a good wallow. Soon after we found the only other stream with a husky sat in it. Then we were meeting cyclists coming up, they are allowed to climb Snowdon after 5pm and it typically takes them 2hours up and 15 minutes down! We walked 7.5-8 miles and climbed 2372ft.
The following day we went to a viewing point to appreciate our Snowdon walk before visiting Swallow falls and Bettws y Coed and then returned to Beddgelert to walk along Afon Glaslyn past Gelert’s grave. We stopped on a bridge to see the West Highland Railway steam train with its Pullman coach. The path becomes a scramble over rocks before reaching a car park. Most of us continued on uphill for excellent views of Snowdon and on towards Llyn Dinas before returning via a different stretch of the Afon Glaslyn which descends from the lake below Snowdon. (5.75miles) and another 1200ft). A couple of us doubled back early in order to try out the award winning ice cream parlour in Beddgelert regrettably the shop was closed by the time the rest of the walkers returned.
It later transpired that Porthmadog, just down the road was 30.5o C on the day we climbed Snowdon and 33o C on our second day, the hottest anywhere in Britain so far this summer. Mad dogs and Englishmen springs to mind, though of course a few of us were Welsh.
It has been a challenge to all gardeners trying to keep all their plants alive during the heatwave and the community plants are no exception, but some devoted members of our team are managing to do a bit of watering. This lovely weather has its’ downside for we who long for some good solid rain. Watering is hard work, especially at the allotments where hosepipes are not allowed.
At our July meeting all the roses were pruned. No meeting in August.
Our team were saddened to learn of the death of Len Currie, known to us all as Len 2. A long time member of the team, he turned out when his health permitted and it was a privilege to have known him
St. Mary’s Parish Church News
Good News…. The “French Drains” are in and the work completed with the church path to the porch restored with tarmac laid where the “soak aways” were dug.. The bones which were discovered during the “dig” have been re-interred near to where they were found, this is always a problem when work is done in the churchyard, and the reason why an archaeologist is always in attendance, and his report will be received in due course cataloging the finds. The next phase of work necessary will be on the top of the tower, both internal and external, to clear away an accumulation of foliage and silt etc and to examine the roof timbers for signs of rot and infestation of any beetle activity.
The churchyard is looking good, but is suffering from the long spell of dry hot weather with the grass being parched. It is at times like this that, patches appear in the turf showing that a gravestone lies underneath.
On Sunday 15th July, we said farewell to Rev, Canon Robin Morrison and his wife Linda as they are moving to live in West London to be near their daughter. Robin, since his retirement, has been a regular member of our congregation as well as taking services when Jon has been on holiday. He presided at the 9.30 am Eucharist and in his address he reminded us that we are called with the three “P’s”… we are to be Pastoral, Prophetic and Priestly, how God reaches out to us in everyday life as well as in the church. We will miss him, for he has been a good friend to St Mary’s and we wish him and his wife every happiness in their new home.
Every member of the congregations of the six churches in the Ministry Area has been invited to submit their favourite book of the Bible, or favourite verse from the Bible, in preparation for the recording of BBC Wales programme “Celebration” which will be broadcast on Bible Sunday October 8th (with a rehearsal on Oct 1st). Jon will be taking these suggestions to form a service around them. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the Ministry Area and how by drawing people together, with praise and hymns, the Good News of Jesus is taken out from within the church to the world around us.
The summer Session of “Messy Church” was held on Saturday 21st July when the theme was “Jesus Feeding the Five Thousand”. A good time was enjoyed by the parents and children, with craft work, storytelling, singing and of course the feeding at the end. Thanks are given to all who help to organise these events which have been very popular during the year, and of course there are more to come.
Ministry Area Confirmation Service took place in Llandaff Cathedral on Wednesday 18th July with Bishop June presiding, The candidates from Wenvoe are Adam, Jacques, Erin, Christopher, Celyn, Maisey, Tia, Nathan, Harry, Lucia and Poppy. They were well supported by parents and friends together with others from within the Ministry Area churches.
July has been a very busy month at St. Mary’s with two memorable funerals of John Custance and Gwyn Rees of Wrinston Farm and looking ahead August will also be a busy time with three weddings planned in Wenvoe. Our little church is doing well at present with good congregations and a welcome awaits all who come to church perhaps for the first time. The Wednesday morning Eucharist services are especially well attended when refreshments are available for a time of friendship and social chat. Similarly the monthly “Chattery” in the Church hall is an opportunity to meet up with friends and those who are not in the congregation and chat over all the local news. A warm welcome awaits all in this very friendly gathering on the second Thursday of the month.
Its holiday time, so enjoy it and let us hope the sun continues to shine though a little rain in the nights would not come amiss.
With every blessing to all readers
Being on holiday with my family is something I’ll never get old of. Especially if it’s after a hard two years of A-Levels. Of course, my brain is telling me I must worry about results day but my heart is telling me to jump into the sea and never look back. On holiday, I prefer the latter – always.
Sometimes I think maybe our family is weird. I’ve spoken to so many other people who all suggest they want to get as far away as their families as possible and can think of nothing worse than two weeks abroad with their parents and siblings. But not us. We enjoy each other’s company, and I prefer that. It means we can get drunk on cocktails at 6pm and name all of the stray dogs at the hotel happily; or it means that when Mam falls off the boat, bum first on a day trip, it’s entirely okay to laugh (a lot). It also means that you can have the best (sometimes weirdest) conversations sat inside the beach bar when the rain is hammering down and the pool looks desolate and bleak. Answering Trivial Pursuit cards has never been as fun as when you’re slightly drunk at night and extremely sunburnt (thanks Factor 50 ☹).
When we finish our holidays, we normally come home feeling closer. As we try to continue the rest of the summer, there’s still that glimmer of the holiday left, with sitting outside after everyone’s finished with work or trying the Trivial Pursuit cards again, only to realise you went through them all on holiday and somebody always remembers the answers. But it’s nice. Because we want to feel that close – we don’t want to run or escape from one another.
Now I’m home and Results Day looms, I can’t help but want to hold on to the holiday either. We waited two years for the holiday, and it felt like it was over so quickly (the 12 hour flight, however, I will not miss). I wish sometimes there was something akin to a holiday all of the time so that I wouldn’t have to think about school. Sometimes, though, I’m not sure I necessarily want the holiday itself (I burn incredibly easily, it’s embarrassing and inevitably always hotter again because of the sunburn) but rather the family time. I genuinely like my family, and hoping that I do get in to University, I don’t know what I’ll do without them next year.
I wish there were as many families who are just happy to be around one another in the same way we are. It’s great and I would highly recommend it. I’m not saying I’m best friends with my parents, but I’m saying I highly enjoy their company. Life when you enjoy your parents’ company is far better than life when you don’t.
Enjoy your holidays, ladies and gents!
By Tirion Davies
By the time you are reading this, we will be well into the summer holidays and in relaxation mode.
Over the summer term we have been very busy developing the Village Hall garden here at Playgroup and I must admit it looks blooming marvellous.
Who are we? – Wenvoe Playgroup is a registered charity, managed by local residents and parents of the group. We were originally set up in 1969 by a group of parents/residents to offer care to Children of pre-school age (We celebrate our 50th Birthday in 2019 so watch this space).
The Person in Charge on a day to day basis is myself Sandra Morgan. I was born in Rectory Close here in Wenvoe (let’s say over 50 years ago) and came to work for Wenvoe Playgroup in 2008 to save it from closure. I have worked with pre-school children for nearly 25years, adjusting to many childcare & education changes along the way.
Over the years the group has been lucky enough to have numerous fantastic Committee members, who have supported the groups needs with their fundraising efforts and support.
Of course, we wouldn’t have such a successful playgroup if it wasn’t for the wonderful, dedicated staff who support the children on a daily basis.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the staff; Kim, Fran, Jeannette, Charlotte, Heulwen & Marilyn for their hard work and dedication over the past years and to our current Committee, Jody, Amy, Emily & Sarah for their dedication and support to the group at this time. A big thank you must go to Lisa and Darren who have supported the group behind the scenes for many years and hopefully for many more years to come.
From this September we are expecting high numbers of children and I would urge anyone thinking of joining the group to contact us to show their interest. You can contact us by visiting our new website www.wenvoeplaygroup.co.uk
There are many photographs on our new website to view along with other information which you may find useful.
On the website you will find ‘The Statement of Purpose’, this will show our operating times & costs, along with everything you need to know. If you need a little explanation on how we can support your children with Gwenfo Nursery then send us an email or pop in and see us on Wednesday 5th September when we are open from 9am until 3.15pm.
(If wishing to telephone please do so when we return on Wednesday 5th September from 9am).
I look forward to seeing everyone in September
So what might connect a Wenvoe garden with the small island of Craigleith in the Firth of Forth? The answer – Tree Mallow. Gardeners will be familiar with the various Mallows grown in gardens and sold by Garden Centres. Or you might have tasted Marshmallow flavoured originally with an extract from the root of the plant that grows on our coasts, particularly Gower. The Tree Mallow is quite unmistakeable growing typically to 2 metres and even reaching 3. If you are visiting Gower there are a few near the Youth Hostel at Port Eynon and these are around 3 metres. One turned up unannounced in our garden so out of curiosity we let it grow. It is currently 1.40 metres and still shooting up vigorously but not yet in flower. It is native to the Mediterranean and Atlantic coasts, in Britain mainly in the South and South West.
But why Craigleath? This small island near North Berwick and others close by are a haven for sea birds, especially puffins but in the early 2000s it was clear that the numbers were plummeting and the cause was – yes, you've guessed! – Tree Mallow. The plant can grow out of control forming a thick mini-jungle and preventing birds like puffins getting to their nesting sites. Few other plants can survive under the dense foliage. But the good news is that as volunteers have started clearing the Mallow the puffins are returning.
But how does a plant associated with the South West end up on remote islands in the North East? In this case it was introduced by soldiers serving on nearby Bass Rock because it was used to dress wounds. Also lighthouse-keepers elsewhere have planted it for similar reasons, to use in poultices and in ointments to treat burns. So there is your conundrum – if one turns up in your garden do you let it grow and risk it taking over and keeping out the puffins or remove it and lose a useful ingredient in nature's medicine chest?
The main problem facing gardens in this country at present is the illegal importing of plants, either by businesses or travellers bringing in specimens they have bought or found. These plants often harbour pests and diseases. In the UK large areas of forestry have been decimated. Southern areas of England are having a huge problem with a disease affecting Fuchsias which will soon spread to the rest of the UK.
A bacterial pest, Xylella Fastidiosa, is the latest threat that is nearing our shores and it restricts water movement in plants. This bacteria will affect up to 350 different type of plants, such as Lavender, Rosemary and flowering cherry.
When buying plants please make sure that they are British sourced and grown and take care when purchasing plants at car boot sales, market stalls, fairs or garden centres. If you suspect there may be a problem please tell the environment dept DEFRA.
The RHS top ten things to do this month:-
1. Prune Wisteria.
2. Don't delay Summer pruning of fruit trees trained in a restricted form.
3. Keep dead heading plants to prolong the flowering season
4. Continue watering, particularly new plants and those in containers, using grey water where ever possible.
5. Collect seeds – it's always worth it.
6. Harvest vegetables as they become ready. There's nothing quite like it.
7. Continue cutting out old fruited Raspberry canes.
8 Lift and pot up Strawberry runners.
9. Keep ponds topped up.
10. Feed plants with green manure.
Pyracantha, along with Wisteria, can be pruned now. Hebe and Lavender can have a light prune after flowering. Quite a few people cut the Lavender back at this time of year to where new growth started but the idea now is to leave well alone and cut back in the spring after the frosts. The seed heads help protect the plants. Glenys makes lavender shortbread biscuits with the flower heads. Rambling Roses need to be trimmed now. Be careful how you do this and think about the way you want it to grow next year.
When planting shrubs and other large plants, especially at this time of year, be sure to give them plenty of water. The Beech Grove Garden recommends a length of pipe 2''-3'' in diameter be placed alongside the root ball with the top of the pipe just above ground level. The water will then go directly to where it's needed most.
August is the time to get plants ready for Christmas. Cyclamen that have been resting can be brought back to life by replacing the top layer of compost and watering. Hyacinths, Paper White Daffodils and Freesias should be planted in bowls now. Once they have an inch of growth, they can then be put in a cool room, then back into the warmth to be ready for the festive season.
Next month sees the village show at the community centre, it's a great day, and amazing how all this super sized veg appears from well hidden plots in villagers back gardens. Brian Foster of Church Rise was picking his first tomatoes at the end of June. How do some of these people manage to be eating their veg when the rest of us are still buying produce brought in from all around the world?