BEWARE FAKE ROYAL MAIL NOTIFICATIONS
PC Gareth Jordan from Dyfed Powys Police states that they have become aware of fake Royal Mail notifications being sent out via email.
The scam involves an email which claims Royal Mail has tried to deliver a parcel – and then asks you to pay £1.99 to arrange redelivery. The style of the email and the low fee makes the scam appear legitimate. The email directs you to an official-looking page where you will be asked to give away your bank details.
Do not click on the link. Forward the email to firstname.lastname@example.org (this reporting service is run by the National Cyber Security Centre and aims to take down fake websites).
- Anybody who receives an email claiming to be from the Royal Mail must remember that they will never be asked to pay a redelivery fee.
- Never input your bank or card information after following a link on any emails that claims it is from the Royal Mail, because it will result in your card details being stolen by criminals.
- If you have reason to believe that you may have been tricked, it is essential that you contact your bank and cancel your card at once; additionally check your statements for any signs of unauthorised transactions.
- If you have been the victim of a payment scam, report it to your local police.
Vandalism and Crime in Wenvoe
Since our last report in October we have been made aware of acts of vandalism and crime occurring recently in Wenvoe.
- New park being misused by teenagers.
- Fly tipping in various lanes throughout the area with one incident being a van dropping the rubbish out of the back door as it was driving along Walston Road.
- St Lythans Park and The Grange have been victims to house burglary, cars broken into and theft of garden lights.
- A car parked on Walston Road had its petrol tank drilled and drained of fuel.
- Nitrous Oxide (laughing gas). These silver canisters have been found in many areas around the village, Twyn yr Odyn and the golf course. This seems to be quite a problem all over Wales.
As a general point there seems to be more use of the footpaths around Wenvoe during the pandemic. Families with children are using the paths and dog walkers are reminded to ensure their dogs are kept under control on paths.
Call for Co-ordinators in St Lythans estate
The St Lythans estate is fully established and we urgently need more Co-ordinators for the estate. The role of a Co-ordinator is not onerous and would suit a person who is prepared to help their fellow residents. You are asked to keep an eye open in your local area or street in the estate, and in the event of any unusual or suspicious activity to inform the police or the Watch Secretary.
If you wish to help please contact Jackie Gauci, tel 07876 207843 or email@example.com
WENVOE COMMUNITY LIBRARY
Tel: 02920 594176 – during opening hours or firstname.lastname@example.org
Like and follow us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/WenvoeCommunityLibrary
Click and Collect. We are pleased to be back to pre-circuit breaker hours. Call us between 10 am and 12 noon on Tuesdays or Thursdays and we will do our best to help you with your book orders. When your book has arrived, we will call you to make an appointment to collect the book. The return of books can be anytime between 10 am and 12 noon on Thursdays without an appointment. There will be a box in the foyer for you to drop your books into.
Storytime on Facebook – In order to keep the momentum, we need more participants. An introduction to a favourite book or a story of your own or a song would be wonderful. Please bear in mind that we need to work within the copyright parameters. For further details, email us at the library address (above) and we’ll get back to you. If you would like us to video your story outdoors, we’ll happily come and do that on location.
Clwb Clonc – This Welsh conversation group is still going strong on Zoom. If you wish to join and keep up your Welsh language skills, then sign in on Mondays at 11 am. Please note that the login details have changed but they will be the same each week. Meeting ID: 343 147 0372. Pass code: Heulwen
Sylvia’s Film of the Month
A review with a difference this month – it’s a film The Trial of the Chicago 7 shown on Netflix. What was supposed to be a peaceful protest turned into a violent clash with the police. What followed was one of the most notorious trials in history. A gripping courtroom drama. Among the cast are Sacha Baron-Cohen, Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance. I would give it a high recommendation; the acting is excellent, and it is literally gripping.
Your contributions – We would love to receive a review or synopsis of a book you are reading. Please email your contributions to email@example.com.
Library Advent Windows
To coincide with the village initiative, we shall be posting a Facebook Advent calendar. Each window will contain a reading, story, song, poem or carol read or sung by members of the community.
We have been informed of recent thefts at the allotments, including tools. We are extremely saddened by this. We suggest you do not leave valuable items at the allotment.
The details have been passed onto the Community Police Officer. However, he has asked if a theft takes place, that the plot holder reports it to 101 so they are immediately aware.
NEW ALLOTMENT HOLDERS
A very warm welcome is extended to new allotment holders, Margaret and Ian.
They are pictured here on their new allotment at Twyn Yr Odyn.
Clerk on behalf of the Allotment Wardens
The Village Gardener Tips for December
Victoria of the Walled Garden. Tips for December.
- Secure your climbers to walls and supports.
- Tie up conifers to stop them spreading in high winds or snow.
- Prune apple trees by cutting out crossed branches and thinning out the middle.
- Stay off the soil in wet conditions to avoid compaction.
- Keep watering to a minimum in the greenhouse, especially the pelargoniums.
Pete Ferris. Gardening on a wet day.
- Check on the wine you made in the autumn.
- Sample the wine
- Share your spoils with friends
- Realise you are not supposed to meet up, pity.
- Enjoy spoils and wine by oneself.
What a year it has been, with all that’s gone on in the world, the garden has been a refuge from bad news. People who work on the land, whether farmers or gardeners, always knew the benefits of working with plants and the soil. Joining local walkers or the Wildlife Group with all their activities, will get you closer to nature and improve wellbeing. If you want to join one of these groups, the numbers are in the front of this magazine. We are all looking forward to a better time in 2021 when hopefully groups can start to meet again. I will be looking forward to the Wenvoe Open Garden event and an Autumn show.
Even at this time of year the green house is quite full, with plants that need protecting against wind or frost. If you can, put the plants outside on a mild day and give it a thorough clean. This will help keep the plants free of disease.
There is one thing assured this year and that is the amount of cardboard that we will need to deal with coming up to Christmas. It can be used a lot around the garden in a variety of ways. The compost bin will benefit from cardboard as it adds carbon and will help when you have lots of grass clippings to break down. It is brilliant for putting on ground that you need to clear, as by the time it rots down the weeds will have died. Putting cardboard down where you need a path, then covering with bark also stops weeds.
At the start of November quite a few new people started work on their allotments. Under the watchful eye of councillor Colin, they were getting stuck into the tasks at hand. These days we must be careful of thieves who see the allotments as a chance to pilfer. So, take note from some of the other allotment holders and don’t leave any tools on site. There is one thing the new starters will never be short of and that’s advice from the other plot holders.
Thanks for all your comments throughout the year. None of us are ever too old to learn, unless you go by the name of Gordon Jones who can give sound advice on everything. Special thanks to Joyce Hoy for being able to name any plant I show her.
Take care and have a lovely Christmas and a great new year.
Footsteps on the Severn Bridges
Our plan to walk between the two Severn bridges, was postponed due to lockdown so we were going to go for it despite a wet weather forecast. We parked at Portskewett and set off in a north-easterly direction on a course parallel with the river but a short distance inland, we caught glimpses of the 2nd Severn crossing (the Prince of Wales bridge). The route took us through fields and past huge electricity pylons ‘marching’ across the countryside.
On a slight rise there is a group of stones and we climbed to look at them. We watched a group of long tailed tits flitting between trees. A herd of bullocks with their mothers and gorgeous coats of various warm shades of brown followed us along a fence. We climbed onto a low bank and found a small harbour with 6 boats stranded in mud – it was low tide. Starlings flew in clouds and landed on one of the electricity pylons, even knocking each other off to claim a chosen perch.
Now we headed towards the railway. This is a mainline, we had heard quite a few trains, and were careful crossing but as the track is straight, although misty rain was falling, we could see a long way.
Reaching the river, we were on the Wales Coast Path and could see the 1st Severn bridge to the north and the 2nd crossing (completed 1996) to the south. Looking towards England we caught glimpses of brightness coming our way through very dark clouds. Nearing the new bridge, there is a small island with a beacon and the nuclear power station was just visible.
Rocks underlying the Severn estuary are old red sandstone and carboniferous limestone, the same ancient rocks which form the Brecon Beacons. 15,000 years ago, this area was untamed grassland and forest. Early Britons lived and hunted here but global climate change at the end of the last Ice Age transformed it. Increased temperatures caused Ice sheets to melt, leading to major rises in sea levels and the result is the estuary we see today.
It is easy to forget as we trundle across the bridges to England that crossing the River Severn has been a challenge for centuries – even the Romans were regular users ferrying legions across to Aust. The Severn Railway tunnel was built by the Victorians, connecting Sudbrook with England, at a cost of £2 million, it opened in 1896.
At Black Rock we stopped for lunch and the heavens opened, rain hammering down. It was here that the ferry, established in 1930s, crossed to England. This avoided the drive up to Gloucester though at times queues (possibly of several hours if you missed the tide) could mean no time was saved. It stopped when the bridge opened in 1966 (initial toll 2s6d – 12.5p).
There is a large wooden sculpture of a lave fisherman and a salmon towering over the area. The Estuary has the second highest tidal range in the world. Knowledge passed down over generations allows the lave fishermen to wade out into the estuary to fish for salmon with their lave nets. Fishing can only take place for 1.5 hours either side of low tide. It was first recorded on the Severn estuary in the 1700s, but almost certainly predates this time. The craft was featured in a BBC Countryfile programme about the Gwent Levels earlier this year. We were disappointed that birds seemed to be in short supply, as we could have expected to see migrating birds at this time of year but enjoyed the call of the curlew and a flock of terns.
Sudbrook village was created, between 1883 and 1876, to house the 3000 workers, with their families, who built the Severn Railway tunnel. As well as houses a school, mission hall, two hospitals, a coffee house and reading room were constructed. In 1883 a 6ft tidal wave flooded the village and people had to be rescued from their single storey homes.
During construction, the Severn tunnel was completely flooded by a breach of the Great Spring and the project was saved by a diver, Alexander Lambert, who had to walk through the drowned workings in complete darkness to seal it off. Sudbrook pumping station was built to extract water from the Great Spring; it still pumps millions of gallons of water daily.
Following the estuary, we came upon the ruin of Holy Trinity Chapel and then walked under the 2nd Severn Crossing before travelling inland towards Portskewett. We walked through the Cornfield project which is an open space maintained and enjoyed by the community. An historic map of the village is on a notice board near St Mary the Virgin C12th church.
Driving home the motorway had speed restrictions because of heavy rain and standing water affecting visibility – we were very lucky to have escaped with only one short heavy shower.
A flat walk of 6.5 miles
OFF THE SHELF
“The Confession” by Jessie Burton
A young girl called Elise Marceau, life model, meets the dazzling, older and alluring Connie Holden. Connie is a very successful author and Elise is easily encouraged to follow Connie to the glamorous and glitzy Hollywood, as her latest book is being turned into a film. Elise is unsettled and an event changes her life’s direction which has many consequences.
The narrative switches to the future where Rose Simmons, another lost soul, is seeking answers to the disappearance of her mother. After realising that Connie Holden, now a reclusive novelist, had a connection to her mother she entangles herself in a story to find the threads of her past.
The themes of the book are concerned with motherhood, pregnancy and independence and the characters of Rose and Elise do mirror each other. Given these themes it is surprising that we all agreed the relationships are rather unconvincing. You do not get the impression that the characters actually really care for or love each other. Having said this, we all enjoyed the book possibly because Jessie Burton knows how to hook you into a plot. It does have a slow start but definitely worth a read. We gave this book a score of 8/10.
The Welsh Have No Use For Orchards nor Gardens!
(The Welsh) have no use for orchards nor gardens’. So said Gerald of Wales, the 12th/13th century historian and archdeacon of Brecon.
We described in the previous two issues something of the background and history of the sweet apple – so did Wales really miss out? You will often come across old farmhouses called Ty’n y Berllan (the house in the orchard) and apples feature prominently in Welsh mythology. In the Mabinogi collection, Pwyll’s men are ordered to ‘wait outside the court in the orchard’. King Arthur’s Avalon derives from the Welsh ‘afallen’ or apple tree.
The Welsh king, Hywel Dda, set out in the 10th century the values of different assets and a sweet apple tree was worth 60 pennies, equivalent to 60 lambs or 15 pigs. There are many references in the Middle Ages to apple-growing whether in poetry, land-use records or folk traditions. There were 12 acres of orchards on the lands of Llanthony Priory and even this far back vines, pears and other Mediterranean fruit were grown. St Donats featured orchards which were ‘fair things to behold’. The Physicians of Myddfai (visit our Welsh orchard to find out more) praised the medicinal value of apples.
By the end of the 18th century the colourful Iolo Morganwg was compiling a list of 147 apple varieties then growing in Glamorgan and Gwent. From the large country houses to the small peasant cottages, apple trees could usually be found and all the way from Glamorgan to Anglesey. By 1899 there were 6,500 acres of orchard recorded of which 4,000 were in Monmouthshire. Love spoons were often carved in applewood and the old custom of wassailing was celebrated. Even David Lloyd George was praised for the quality of the apples he grew. Many varieties were of Welsh origin such as Cissy and St Cecilia. Others like Morgan Sweet were a favourite with the miners (which they enjoyed with Caerphilly cheese) as the juice, which was tangy yet sweet, was refreshing when working down the pits.
All of these can be sampled in our Wenvoe orchards with St Cecilia judged the top apple this year. Did Gerald of Wales get it right? What do you think? Much of the information here is taken from a little book called the Apples of Wales by Carwyn Graves, published in 2018 and a great read if you find the topic interesting.
And finally, just to get the little grey cells working, where are the ruins featured in the photo and what is the connection with this article? A clue for you – it is less than 10 miles from Wenvoe.