February Letters



Graham Davies R I P

Pat and family would like to thank everyone for the kind messages sent to us after the death of Graham at home on 3 January 2022. We have been overwhelmed by all the flowers, cards, letters of sympathy and support that we as a family have received.

Pat Davies.

Ann, Darren, Claire & children would like to thank friends & neighbours for all cards, flowers and offers of help during their resent sad and sudden loss of Philip. Thank you all and God bless.

Ann Dwyer

Carbon Monoxide (The Silent Killer).

I write this letter with regards to the potential hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning due to defective appliances. I write out of genuine concern for people’s safety.

It’s that time of year when central heating boilers have been adjusted from providing twice a day hot water to providing all day heating thus having to work a lot harder. If there is a fault the winter months will find it but also, as my wife and I experienced, any faults can lead to more serious issues such as a build up of potentially lethal levels of CARBON MONOXIDE. You have seen the adverts for the ‘silent killer’ but when we were suffering all sorts of symptoms we did not put two and two together. Our boiler had been a stalwart for over 20yrs and reliable so ‘ why change it’. Despite the symptoms which didn’t exactly match the normal ie we had, tingling skin, redness of complexion; apart from not being able to get up in the mornings, and a long career in the fire service we just didn’t twig it, until, on starting to put the heating on all day at this time of year the penny finally dropped as one evening we both felt awful and I finally ‘twigged it’.

What an idiot. The rest is history, shut off boiler, got emergency gas out etc. My wife and I visited our Doctors for blood tests and both had levels of CO equivalent to a cigarette smoker but neither of us had ever smoked. So it appeared that our symptoms were a very slow poisoning process which went over months until the boiler’s weakness was finally exposed, (incidentally we had a CO alarm which was testing OK but we can only assume the levels through summer months with daily ventilation etc did not trigger the lower limit sensitivity of the device, although it was an old detector).

We changed boiler of course and now have an ANNUAL GAS SAFETY CHECK (approx. cost £50 to £100) depending on Gas Safe or OFTEC engineer, but it is worth every penny to protect yourself and loved ones. Of course it is not just old boilers that go wrong so as a matter of course have your boiler checked annually.

And install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm or Alarms in accordance with the relevant manufacturer’s instructions.

The principle of course applies to the checking of all fuel burning boilers / heaters etc. but the message is the same and is simple – Annual Gas Safety Check of Appliances and an appropriate provision of Carbon Monoxide Detectors for your property.

Of course an annual gas safety check doesn’t prevent subsequent leaks but combined with a suitable provision of Carbon Monoxide Detector it is very obvious that this protection improves the odds in favour of you and your loved ones.

When installing new appliances always use the relevant Gas Safe or Oftec Registered engineers to ensure the appliance’s safety from the outset.

Just to add some footnotes to this don’t forget that if you, or anybody you know, live in rented accommodation your Landlord has a legal duty to organise a competent engineer to carry out an annual safety check of any gas boiler in the premises.

You may also wish to check that any self-catering accommodation that you book for holiday breaks eg the very popular ‘air B& B’s’ have had appropriate safety checks carried out to relevant appliances.

St Lythans resident






On a March Day in 2018 we visited Clytha and I opened my write-up of the walk with ‘snow flurries and hills dusted with white’. It was bitterly cold with icy winds which made us pull hats down to our eyebrows and on that day, we trudged through mud and flooded lanes. Four years on and a month earlier, the weather forecast was blustery with showers and heavy rain after 2pm but still relatively mild.

We travelled to the National Trust car park at Clytha Park. Our route, reverse direction to our previous visit, was described as a ‘snowdrop walk’ and we were eager to spot the gorgeous flowers which push up through the earth so early in the year and presage the advance of winter and the coming spring.

Our walk was based on a route from the National Trust website and took us on some permissive paths (allowed by a landowner) which are not shown on OS maps. We set off south, along the river Usk which was fairly full and came to a good strong footbridge, crossing a small stream, but it was tilted at about 10° – very strange. The river Usk is a designated SSSI, and a special Area of Conservation well known for salmon and trout. Otters, dippers, sand martins, kingfishers and bats live in or near this stretch of the river.

We were pleased to find our first snowdrops, a small clump on the bank of the river. Soon we found a mat of white snowdrops in the undergrowth and a spread of bright blue and pink flowers of lungwort (pulmonaria) glowing in the shade. Lungwort is named after the white splodges on some leaves which resemble diseased appearance of the lungs. It is used by herbalists to treat coughs and bronchitis and can also be used as an astringent. Nearby were tight clumps of pink flowers on bare branches of viburnum. All cheering us on a grey winter’s day, especially when we found a carpet of snowdrops under a hedge which covered about 20ft.

A long line of mole hills would suggest a good population of moles here but who knows as… ‘Mole activity is usually greatest in late winter and early spring and moles are very territorial and in many cases the mole hills seen in a garden are the activity of just one individual. ‘

Leaving the river, we followed the road to Bettws Newydd. A small village which boasts a Grade II listed, stone well ‘Erected by those who love him, to the memory of William Richard Stretton of Brynderwyn, who died 24th March 1868’. The 17th century, Black Bear Inn emanated enticing smells of bacon cooking – willpower and the threat of rain later kept us walking.

Pretty black faced sheep stood framed by the outlines of the Blorenge, Sugarloaf and Skirrid on the distant horizon, clear at the beginning of the walk but now wreathed in dark black clouds and probably heavy rain.

Coed y Bwnydd beckoned us in. It was presented to the NT by Captain Geoffrey Crawshay in memory of Sgt R.A. Owens, RAF who died aged 21 in World War II. Snowdrops carpeted the whole of the wood, breath-taking! Later in the year you can see bluebells and orchids. We climbed to a hillfort; where human involvement goes back over 2000 years and sat on a tree trunk to enjoy a well-earned lunch.

Now we were on the final stretch. We passed Clytha castle, an C18th folly, in the care of the Landmark trust and available to rent, and the Clytha Arms. It started to rain but we voted to complete the walk rather than dash for the cars which were close by. We skirted Chapel Farm with the remains of Capel Aeddan, a chapel dedicated to St Aythean, thought to be founded in C12th. All that survives is an L-shaped wall footing but we couldn’t spot it. The stone may have been used on Chapel Farm, where a substantial C17th house with stone-mullion windows was added to a C16th stone house with upper crucks.

We went down into woods where one of us was inspired to give us a short excerpt from Hamlet! Then a short walk along Clawdd Brook and we re-joined the river Usk espying a red kite soaring above us and a buzzard being mobbed by crows.

Trees had provided colour all day. Early, yellow, hazel catkins could be spotted hanging and blowing in the breeze. Birch skeletons stood with drooping branches covered in pink/ purple buds. And most notable, large clumps of Mistletoe had been a constant companion sitting high up in many of the trees. It grows in hawthorn, poplar, and lime as well as the apple trees with which most people associate it.

A lovely walk with excellent views and dry weather until after lunch with sunny spells, how lucky we are! Walk 8.7miles, 900ft. Map OL13



Considering Today and Tomorrow



Considering Today and Tomorrow

Global gas prices have seen record increases over the last 6 months, with wholesale prices quadrupling in the last year. They are set to rise further, and with the knock-on effect to electricity production, the Ofgem energy price cap is due to increase by £693 from 1 April for around 22m UK customers. This will impact all of us to a greater or lesser extent, and Government is looking at a range of packages to help alleviate the financial situation.

A recent article sparked in me a degree of hope. Oxford scientists announced that they had smashed a previous record for generating fusion energy, hailing it as a ‘milestone’ on the path to cheaper, cleaner power and a cooler planet.

Nuclear fusion is the process that the sun uses to generate heat. By forcing together atomic nuclei, at high speed, energy can be released and used to generate electricity. Operating the power plants of the future based on fusion would produce no greenhouse gases and only very small amounts of short-lived radioactive waste. Proponents believe it could one day help address climate change by providing an abundant, safe and green source of energy.

The team at the Joint European Torus (JET) facility at Oxford generated 59 megajoules of energy for five seconds during an experiment in December, more than doubling a 1997 record according to the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

That is the equivalent energy needed to power 35,000 homes for the same period of time, or boil 60 kettles. The UKAEA claim the results “are the clearest demonstration worldwide of the potential for fusion energy to deliver safe and sustainable low-carbon energy”.

Great news I thought, except that the article went on to say that the practical benefits would not be realised for 20 years, at the earliest, more likely during the second half of the century.

In the slightly nearer-term, wind and solar-power generation is developing along with better insulation projects, heat pumps, hydrogen boilers, energy efficiency schemes and community energy generation, they are expensive but will eventually ease the economic problems and help to address global warming.

So, what can be done to help bridge the gaps in the meantime? Various websites offer a range of energy- (and money) saving tips that can help.

The Which website offers 10 key ways to save on energy bills, see below (with more detailed information on their website). The eco-friendly habits website (also below) offers 37 specific tips for both money-saving and energy conservation, and the

U-switch website (also below) offers a staggering 98 tips. We hope some of these will help.

  1. Review your energy bills: small savings are available
  2. Choose energy-efficient appliances
  3. Add to your insulation
  4. Consider a new boiler
  5. Replace light bulbs with low-energy options
  6. Install / make use of your central heating controls
  7. Fit draught proofing
  8. Use less hot water
  9. Find out if you could get energy efficiency grants or free cash

10.Consider the wider range of quick energy-saving tips


Finally, if you want to be part of the ongoing Forum discussion and help to shape any future schemes for Wenvoe, please get in touch, via gwenfo.forum @gmail.com.

For further reading / information:






In the meantime we’ll be keeping a look out for schemes available in Wales to help those finding energy price increases difficult to manage. We will put information on our Blog site https://wenvoeforum.wordpress.com/

Any Wenvoe community member is welcome to join the Forum meetings, via Zoom, held at 19.00 on the second Thursday of each month. Next meeting 10th March. E-mail gwenfo.forum@gmail.com if you wish to come along.



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