Musings On Friendship


‘The only way to have a friend is to be one’
Ralph Waldo Emerson


‘Love demands infinitely less than friendship’
George Jean Nathan

‘The severest test of character is not so much the ability to keep a secret as it is, but when the secret is finally out, to refrain from disclosing that you knew it all along.’


‘It is easier to find fault with others, but it is not so easy to live so that others will not see faults in us. We tend to criticise our friends for doing things we could do no better.’

‘Yesterday is but a reflection
Today is now
Tomorrow is a bonus.’
Jim Billingsley

‘Choose your friends with care, that you may have choice friends.’


‘I breathed a song into the air,
it fell to earth, I know not where;
For who has sight so keen and strong,
that it can follow the flight of song:-
The song from beginning to end,
I found again in the heart of a friend.’
(Excerpt) Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

‘The anxiety of some people to make new friends is so intense that they never have old ones.’

‘People are lonely because they build forts instead of bridges.’
Joseph Fort Newton

‘Who ceases to be a friend, never was one.’

‘A real friend never gets in the way, unless you hap-pen to be on the way down.’

‘True friendship is like sound health, the value of it is seldom known until it is lost.’
Charles Caleb Colton


‘Life is not so much what each individual makes of it, but what we make of it for each other.’

‘Shared joy is double joy and shared sorrow is half-sorrow.’

‘Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.’

‘Do not save your loving speeches

For your friends till they are dead;

Do not write them on their tombstones,

Speak them rather now instead.’

Anna Cummins



Wenvoe Garden Birdwatch 2024

Wenvoe Wildlife Group


Whilst we were disappointed with only 7 households taking part in our first Wenvoe birdwatch the results are still interesting and give us a small snapshot of the birds in our own community.

Here are the total number of birds seen :

1. Great tit: 15
2. Long Tailed Tit 14
2. Blue tit: 14
2. Wood Pigeon:14
3. Robin :9.
4. Carrion Crow:8
4. Goldfinch :8
5. Blackbird:7
5. Coal tit:7
6. Collared Dove: 6
6. Chaffinch:6
6. Dunnock:6
7. Rook:3.
7. Magpie:3
7. Herring Gull:3
8. Wren:2
8. Pheasant:2

There was one siting of a Nuthatch, Moorhen and Greater Spotted Woodpecker. In total 20 different species of birds were recorded.

In the UK RSPB birdwatch results for 2023 the most seen bird was the House Sparrow but no House Sparrows were spotted in our admittedly limited sur-vey. We know there are House Sparrows in the par-ish but we are aware that nationally since 1966 22 million of them have been lost. The only bird in RSPB’s list not seen in Wenvoe is the Starling.

More analysis is being undertaken of our Wenvoe results to plot where in the village specific birds were seen and these findings will be published later.

If during the year you spot an unusual bird in the parish please try and take a photo and send it in to the Wenvoe Wildlife Group with the date the photo was taken and a postcode or location description.


River Taff

River Taff

January and the start of February have made life difficult for walkers with lots of rain and boggy countryside. This walk was mostly firm underfoot taking in the Taff trail and an old railway. We parked Northwest of Merthyr Tydfil in Cwm Taf Fechan.

The beginning of the walk was along the Taff trail heading north and we were immediately impressed by the amount of water in the river as it powered along beside us. The area is quite rocky up here and the water tumbled and roared as it negotiated its path. Even streams coming down the hillside were in strong flow and created decent waterfalls. Dippers were spotted flying onto the rocks of the river. We all watched our step, as anyone going into that river would come a cropper. It was dramatic though and reminded me of a saying from the Chinese Tao Te Ching ‘Nothing under heaven is softer or more yielding than water; but when it attacks things hard and resistant there is not one of them that can prevail.

A dead tree in an open area was covered in moss, lichen, ferns and fungi. Was it the amount of water in the atmosphere that sustained them? It was obvious that a lot of maintenance had been done on the steep banks at the side of the river, so we were more aware of the plants and even mineral deposits.

A footbridge took us over the river and almost straight away we were faced with a steep climb up from the river via an apparently unending flight of wooden steps. At the top we gained views of the surrounding area and the extent of a huge landslip.

Morlais castle came into view at the top of a nearby hill and there was an option to climb to the castle ruins. It was built around 1288 by Gilbert de Claire, Lord of Glamorgan who had already built Caerphilly castle. Humphrey de Bohun, Lord of Brecknock disputed de Claire’s claim to the land and the battle of Maesvaynor ensued which Bohun won. In the 13thcentury it was briefly used as a stronghold by rebels in the fight for Welsh independence. Edward I destroyed parts of the castle to prevent it being used as a stronghold ever again. Today only the crypt and moat are recognisable. Surprisingly, no-one opted to do the climb but most of us had visited it in the past and probably didn’t fancy tackling the muddy slopes up to it.

We were walking along an old railway and came to the platform at Pontsarn station. Pontsarn roughly means ‘the bridge over the long road’, the long road being the Roman road from Gloucester to West Wales. Once a busy place on the Brecon & Merthyr railway with its own Station Master and Porter, today nature has reclaimed it, and it is quiet. From here we could see the spectacular Pontsarn viaduct, supported by seven stone arches it is 455ft long and 92ft high and built entirely of local limestone.

The viaduct is an historic listed structure and is within the Taf Fechan Nature reserve which has SSSI status for its ancient broadleaved woodlands. In the past the railway brought many people from the iron and coal industries of the South Wales valleys to enjoy this beautiful location. They were able to visit the Pavilion tea rooms and head down to the river under the arches of the viaduct to play games. Today when we arrived, we could observe the men toiling away to secure the hillside after the recent landslip and look over the sides at the river and land far below us.

Continuing we reached Morlais tunnel. In 1873, Dowlais was the western terminus of the London and Northwestern Railway’s Abergavenny branch. The next objective was Merthyr Tydfil and the tunnel, 1037yards long and 80ft at its deepest, was created. Heavy engineering penetrated the hill, driving through limestone and millstone grit, with three shafts sunk to expedite progress. In 1876, Rees Jones – one of the sinkers working on the shafts – was found guilty of stealing two waistcoats off a washing line and sentenced to 21 days imprisonment with hard labour. The tunnel closed in 1958. Walls have been built across both entrances with access doors and ventilation holes. Half-a-dozen cars – now burnt out – were driven into the tunnel before it was secured.

We found an opening but due to the heavy rain of this winter it was flooded with several inches of water and, as we peered in, cold wet drips went down the back of our necks. Enough of a deterrent to put us off trying to enter.

The landscape altered now, and we walked alongside a rocky escarpment where we were dwarfed by the cliffs of Morlais quarry. We could see the viaduct below shrunk to the size of a normal bridge by the vast landscape around it. Now all we needed to do was follow a track downhill and across fields passing Welsh mountain cattle, back to the cars.

A brief journey took us to Cyfartha castle where we enjoyed refreshments.

Walk 6.2miles 500ft. Map OL12


What Is Everyone Looking At?


So..  what is everyone looking at….a very unusual sight on the Carers walk……a lonesome swan on the sea. He must have lost his way en route to the lake in the Knap gardens!! No lonely walkers though, as everyone chatted on the scenic and storm free walk around Barry Island in very mild weather




Encouraging Mistletoe To Grow

Wenvoe Wildlife Group

Project Balder has involved encouraging Mistletoe to grow on trees in the Village. Currently there are only two clumps of the plant recorded as being alive in the County – one in Dinas Powys and one in Wenvoe. There are several clumps in Cardiff and many more to the north-east and east of the City. Last year we invited residents to contact the Group if they wished to try propagating it and during February berries and instructions were distributed. This involved over 100 berries with an accompanying kit purchased from the English Mistletoe Shop. Mistletoe is notoriously difficult to grow and if we get just a couple of new growths, particularly if one is female it will have been worthwhile. With at least one male and one female we would hope that nature can take over. Our thanks to Chris, Vicar Lyndon, Annette, Shirley and Eleanor who have placed seeds on trees in the Rectory, various Wenvoe gardens, one in Dinas Powys and the Elizabethan Orchard. There are several species of insect, beetle and fungi which are associated with Mistletoe. And Balder was the God of Light in Norse mythology who was associated with Mistletoe although not in a way that he would have appreciated!

Visitors to the Upper Orchid Field will have appreciated the annual cut and clearance of vegetation carried out by John Crockford. We can look forward to a grand display of Spring flowers, particularly Primrose and Cowslip. Rhys has been deploying wildlife cameras around our sites and early footage is revealing the hidden world of wildlife including Field Mice, Birds and Foxes. One particular fox, Stumpy, has no tail but seems healthy enough.

British Intelligence and the Ukraine War


February Meeting of Wenvoe W.I.

The recent meeting of Wenvoe WI was interesting and topical, in that our speaker was Mr Peter Cox ( formerly from GCHQ, Cheltenham). Mr Cox’s subject was ‘British Intelligence and the Ukraine War’. Apart from itemising military requirements for efficient intelligence gathering and supplying in modern day combat in the theatre of war, Mr Cox provided us with two videos of the vulnerability of certain items of Russian warfare and how these could be ‘taken out’. Perhaps the most interesting of all, was a transcript of a mobile phone conversation between a Russian conscript and his wife, highlighting the conditions in which these soldiers serve their country.

Our next meeting will be held on Thursday 7thMarch in the Church Hall at 7pm, when our speaker will be Mrs Gillian McCabe, a local physiotherapist. New members and ‘tasters’ are always welcome.

Jan Young ( President)


A Beautiful February Morning


A Beautiful February Morning

A beautiful February morning brought a good contingent out to plant primroses, cut back the roses and shrubs plus replant a holly tree to a suitable spot.

As an environment group we are involved in sorting out all sorts of issues. Noise pollution was a first for the group. An incident was brought to the attention of the team from people living on Old Port Road and Station Road East, where in the vicinity of the Community Centre there were complaints of revving engines and inconsiderate behaviour on Friday mornings. A team member attended the area the following Friday and issued a verbal warning and spoke to their families. A threat of care home residency by their next of kin seems to have done the trick.

Apparently the Barrista had locked them out of the Hub by mistake.

All being well we shall meet at the top of Walston Road on March 11th, 9.30


February Forum


Considering Tomorrow Today


Just when we had all got accustomed to looking on the Wenvoe Community Facebook page for Glenys Tucker’s reminder about what recycling to put out and whether its black bag day, there is more, much more to think about. It seems there are 4 Rs before we even get to recycling and this year the Forum has decided to focus on the theme REUSE and we include REPURPOSING within that. We’ll be trying to find opportunities to lighten the load for the recycling teams on their visits to Wenvoe. To kick us off I asked forum members to give me some good examples.

The first things that came to mind were children’s toys, and of course with that the need to be safety conscious. Toys need to be in good condition and well cleaned. Both givers and receivers have responsibility here in ensuring safety.

“Toys these days are expensive especially when you buy well-known brands; children often grow out of them as toys have to be age appropriate. While we live in this era of technology, more and more children turn to iPad and computer games, but in our house, we encourage time with toys.

In the current economic climate to pick up a bargain in a charity shop or a table top sale is so rewarding. Not only does a new child benefit from the toy and its learning, but the charity shop gains too.

“We are fortunate that people in the village often sell or give toys away, I have been lucky to pick up lots of items like wooden puzzles, books, trucks, garden toys to name a few. I then pass them on to others.” You can either sell or give items away by advertising in What’s On or put it onto the Wenvoe Community Support Group Facebook page. Both are free adverts placed easily on the internet. Baby Basics in Barry have a Facebook page appeal for things such as buggies and Moses Baskets. They donate to young mothers referred via midwives or social services.

“In parts of Australia they have a wonderful method of passing used and unwanted items on to their neighbours. They place unwanted goods on their driveway on a designated morning, neighbours walk around and take what they need. Any uncollected goods are brought in before the following day.”

Plastic plant pots should definitely be reused precisely for the purpose intended. Pass them on to the school, new gardeners, busy gardeners to be washed to avoid contamination before being reused.

“My metal indoor rubbish bin is looking a bit worn. When I replace it I shall save the inner black plastic bin as it’s nice and deep and I will attempt to grow


The humble toothbrush seems more like a magic wand. Did you ever imagine that there would be so may ways to repurpose one.

As with the toys hygiene is vital. We stick them in the cutlery basket in the dishwasher to start with, then they go into the pot by the sink with all the other brushes and cloths until all their bristles are completely squished.

Follow the directions for Milton (other brands are available!) and they can be re-used for a short while on dentures, removable braces, sporting mouth guards etc

We use them for brushing the cats’ faces – they love it and it cleans around their eyes and ears also between the pads on paws. As with all pet brushes, do not use the same brush for both eyes in one grooming session, and clean/disinfect, then dry them thoroughly in between each use.

Then there’re all those little places that they can get into to clean in the house – around taps, inside bottles and fiddly equipment like coffee machines, the choices are myriad, once you start they become an essential!

Kids crafts and brushes for experimental painting effects!

Cleaning running, golfing, football and rugby boot, spikes or cleats, walking boot treads.

Then there are the uses in the garden! You can pull out the bristles with pliers if you like, using a twisting motion, and they become dibbers for seeds and small plants.

Our toothbrushes are also bamboo and so can be used to write on for plant labels.

A household essential, that can be reused time and time again! “


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St. Mary’s Church News March


We have on our church notice board the words “Croeso I bawb” that is “welcome to all” and that is what we offer to our congregation whenever we gather for worship in church. Our church is a welcoming church to all who wish to join us in worship to the One true God and His son Jesus Christ. We are now in the penitential season of Lent, that period of forty days leading up the great festival of Easter. You will notice that the church is a little bare, with the flowers taken away and there are less brass ornaments on the altar and sacristy. We do not have as much singing in the service as usual, the message being that in Lent we give up doing the usual pattern of a sung service to a more simple form. Lent is a time of not only giving something up, but of going that further mile in helping someone you know who would appreciate a little gesture of friendship, help with an everyday task, a telephone call to make sure they are O.K. a donation to the Food Bank to help those in greater need than ourselves, Lent can be used as a means of helping others, try it, you will e following our Lord, as he went about, seeking out the lost and the lonely.

Ash Wednesdays

The first day of Lent was kept in the Wenvoe and Sully churches as we began our journey through Lent with a solemn Eucharist and Imposition of Ashes. As Lyndon wrote “This is the day we begin our penitential season of Lent with the remembrance that we are mortal symbolised by receiving ashes on the forehead” our Lenten study will continue on Tuesday evenings on ZOOM at 7 –8 pm Email Vicar Lyndon for ZOOM info at lyndontssf@ The Lenten Weekday Eucharist on Wednesdays at 10.00am 1st and 3rd Wednesday in Wenvoe and 2nd and 4th Wednesday in Sully. See full details of the services for HOLY WEEK 2024 on the notice boards in the church porch.

Jude Billingham has been outlining the plans for this year’s Christian Aid Week in May ( full details in next month’s What’s On) and in the meantime wearing her Food Bank Hat, Jude has been letting the congregation know how desperately the food banks need our gifts as they find themselves overwhelmed with the demands on them, whilst at the same time donations of food and other essentials have dried up. You can leave your gifts in the containers in the church porch, and there is a list of items they need most. Jude and Nigel then take them to the Food warehouse in Barry on a Thursday morning A big thank you to all the regular givers, your gifts are really needed. Another way to help is to give a cash donation, which enables the team in Barry to go out and purchase items in most need. You can leave your donation in the secure post boxes in the church porch and the church hall porch. Thank you.

It has become our custom in the month when there are 5 Sundays to meet as a joint congregation in our churches on a rota basis. However this year the 5th Sunday in March happens to be Easter day and it was felt that each congregation would want to worship in their own church, the following Sunday the 8th April we will be gathering at St. John the Baptist church in Sully at 10.00am Do please join us and meet up with new friends. Refreshments and fellowship to follow the service.

The Chattery

Has met on the 2nd Thursday of the month in Wenvoe Church Hall and has increased in numbers, with lots of chat and NEW Beakers for the hot drinks and plenty of posh biscuits and numerous FREE raffle prizes. Make it a date in your diary, next meeting March 14th. All are most welcome.

Have you seen the display of miniature daffodils planted by the Wenvoe Branch of the Women’s Institute to commemorate their 100 years in Glamorgan. The planting takes the form of a underlined “W.I” and is a very good floral addition to the larger display of daffodils now In bloom.

Maundy Thursday March 28th

AGAPE SUPPER at 7.00pm in the church Hall incorporating the Holy Eucharist concluding with a Watch Service in Church. An appeal for soup makers to provide an assortment of soups. (please contact Sandra Davies) Donations in aid of Christian Aid. All are welcome.

It has been our custom for many years to decorate the church with extra flower displays for Easter Day to commemorate loved ones who have passed to their greater glory. Donations please with names to be recorded by Palm Sunday March 24th.

Palm Sunday March 24th

9.30am Eucharist and Palm Procession from the Church Hall Car Park will have a donkey to accompany us and will also be in the churchyard following the service. ”The Holy Journey through the Cross to the Resurrection begins with the Palm Procession recalling Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem”

There is a warm welcome for you in church God Bless……



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