BBC Radio 4 – In Our Time, Owain Glyndwr

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the fight for Welsh independence in the early 15th century
— Read on www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00027xk

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Oh Chihuahua

What can make you move,
Chihuahua
Can you feel the groove Chihuahua
What can make you dance
Oh Chihuahua!… 
ARTIST
Album: Visions
Released: 2003
Genre: Pop

Winter Solstice

We have approached the winter solstice in our hemisphere; a day which has takes place on December 21. An anniversary to be celebrated.

We are here in Wales. The morning has come beaming down on the Gorsedd stones in Sketty bringing the longest night of the year. It is our ancestors that celebrated this season as the “Yule” before it became known as “Christmas.”

So, this is the winter solstice. It’s the onset of the seasons over the length of a full year; it is the last and the cycle in the season of our winter.

For the next three days, December 22nd, 23rd, and 24th, the Sun will rise and set on the exact same latitude, on the exact same day and the exact time and the same degree for three days.

And in this winter cycle, it is the time it takes for the Earth to orbit the sun in a year or 365.25 days.

We will celebrate our fourth cycle together in this precession of the equinoxes resulting in this day, a difference in the Earth’s orbital on this one day.

We are the measure of these cycles under this fixed background of stars; Taking a solar year for the sun to reappear again; returning to this same position in the sky again.

Could these be the same stars that appeared over 2000 years ago over a little town called Bethlehem…Oh star of wonder.

And they say there are 1,440 within the minutes of a day, and only minutes between the solar years. This is the eve of our winter solstice.

These dates have been recorded for the last 26,000 years by the ancients. Stonehenge is proof of the equinoxes and the solstices shifting and repeating backwards in the calendar.

The winter solstice are the days and nights becoming the winter under this moon and these stars above;

The winter solstice is the reference point for the timing of the celebrations of Christmas and all the times we share together here in Wales

Moon Talk

There is a harvest moon over Swansea. Makes me stay up late at night. Bedtime conversations wanting to talk about the Brexit and other things. Then when your sleeping, I talk about the moon; he tells me about the sun and all I can talk about is you.”

It’s touching to know that we’ve connected in a way that we want to remember.

Connecting with another human being is poetry to me. I think writing allows us to let others know how we feel about someone.

It’s more than words; it’s a feeling, where they are coming from, the spark and what makes the world go round and the things that breaks us too.

Every word is a piece of a puzzle; some words we look for; what I look for when I write and poetry is no exception.

Do you ever wonder if the poem your reading is about you?

I’ve always described myself as someone who can easily express feelings on paper.

I have found that through writing, that it is just my way of expression of whatever feelings we have shared.

Words that would not go on their own way, but words of affection that should not be left unsaid.

I’ve written the most about the conversations we’ve had and then later translated the spoken words onto paper; finding there is more than one way to express desire.

I will talk to the moon about us and share all my emotions and wanted you to know I can still feel everything that I’ve ever felt for you; and when the moon goes to bed and when the sun comes up again; those feelings still remain.

I just went outside last night to have a late night conversation with the moon. He just wanted to talk about the sun and I all could talk about is about was you.

Maen Ceti; Great Stone of Sketty

Cefn Bryn overlooks Maen Ceti; a chambered cairn or burial tomb also known as Arthur’s Stone.  Maen Ceti or the ‘Great Stone of Sketty’ is one of the most well known dolmens in Wales.

The stone weighs between 25-30 tons. This capstone measures about 4 metres in length, over 2 metres tall and 2 metres in width.

It stands on a northward facing slope just below the crest of the northern end of the ridge-backed hill of Cefn Bryn stretching east from the Iron Age hillfort at Cilifor Top, north across Llanrhidian Sands and west to the mouth of the River Loughor or Afon Llwchwr where it flows into Carmarthen Bay.

To the north is the Loughor Estuary which separates Gower from Llanelli and Burry Port.
The hills skyline above the estuary are composed of rocks from the Upper Carboniferous, and mostly covered in green ferns and mountain grasses.

The hills are of the common land its where the animals roam and graze freely and it’s where the ground is hilly and fertile. This belt of rich farmland meets the north coast at a prominent, rounded hill with Iron Age fortifications around its summit.

Arthur’s Stone or Maen Ceti can be found on Cefn Bryn in the Gower Peninsula. This massive stone weighs over 25 tons and marks the site of two Neolithic burial chambers, dating from around 6000 years ago. The stone is one of Gower’s best known landmarks and has long been the subject of wonder.

Standing above the Estuary on Cefn Bryn, I feel the presence of this gigantic stone and wonder about the ancients who placed it here so many  thousands of years ago

For a long time, I believed that Arthur’s Stone is a feat of engineering similar to Stonehenge, where Neolithic people used very basic equipment to move the heavy stones into position and some were carried by glaciers during the last Ice Age.

Below the alter stones, you can see the pillar stones standing to create the burial chambers below and the smaller upright stones are there as support.

Arthur’s Stone measures 4 x 2 x 2 metres, but it was once much larger than this. A big piece of it, weighing 10 tons, broke off sometime around 1690 and can still be seen lying next to Arthur’s Stone today.

 The site of Arthur’s Stone was one of the first places to be protected under the Ancient Monuments Act of 1882.

This is my favourite place in the Gower.

References:

Barber, Chris., Mysterious Wales, Paladin Books, London W1X, 1987.

Hawkes, Jacquetta., A Guide To The Prehistoric And Roman Monuments In England And Wales, Cardinal, London, 1975.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cefn_Bryn

*The Gower Society, A Guide To Gower, The Publication Committee of The Gower Soc., (orig. prepared 1965. Edt. 1989).

Applesauce Recipe ~ Wynberg House

There is a collection of apples trees in Singleton park in Sketty. They fall freely from the trees; sweet, juicy and ripened. Organic and ready for collecting. Max and I go and collect them everyday.

Organic Apples vary in their sweetness level, depending on the variety and how late in the season they are found. This recipe is just a guideline and the amount of sugar can be adjusted to your taste.

You can use less sugar than this recipe suggest, and by adding squeezed lemon juice brightens the flavor of the apples and balances the sweetness.

Try using ground cinnamon when you can cook the apples or with a stick of cinnamon, just remove it before puréeing.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 to 4 lbs of apples (about 7 to 10 apples, depending on the size), peeled, cored, and quartered.
  • 2 squeezes of lemon about 3 Tbsp lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Up to 1/2 – 1 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Method
  • Prep the apples; Rinse the apples with cool water. Peel all the apples using a sharp vegetable peeler or paring knife and cut away the outer peel. Then quarter the apples and use a paring knife to cut out the tough core parts from the quarters.

    Boil peeled, cored, quartered apples with lemon, cinnamon, sugar, salt in 1 cup water: Place the peeled, cored, and quartered apples into a large pot. Add the lemon juice or vinegar, cinnamon, sugar, water and salt. (You might want to start with half the sugar at this point and add more to taste later.)

    Bring to a boil on high heat, then lower the temperature, cover the pot, and maintain a low simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the apples are completely tender and cooked through.

    Once the apples are cooked through, remove the pot from the heat.

    For a smoother applesauce you can either use a blender or the cooked the apples 10 – 12 more minutes.

    If the applesauce is too thick, add more water to thin it out and cook a bit longer and stir.

    If not sweet enough, add more sugar to taste. If too sweet, add more lemon juice.

    This applesauce is delicious. I serve it with breakfast as a fruit starter. It is delicious either hot or chilled. It pairs well with pork chops for savory dishes, it’s terrific with cottage cheese as a snack or light lunch, and it’s great with vanilla ice cream or yogurt.

    Freezes well and will last at least a year in a cold freezer. If you freeze it, make sure to allow enough headroom in your jar for expansion. At least an inch.

    If you want to can your applesauce in jars; just spoon in the sauce, add the lids, then place the jars in an water bath on high heat for 10 minutes and tighten the lids and the jars will seal. Refrigerate after opening.

    Elephant

    While in Sri Lanka, we hunted and collected a few treasured from Galle and Kandy. While in Sri Lanka; we found some rare old Antique Petrus Regout Royal Sphinx Tea Cups, some old British empire spoons, climbed Sigiriya Rock and rode an Asian elephant.

    The bowl looks like a small tea bowl or waste bowl; called spongeware. It has crescent moon and star inside. This particular piece of Spongeware was made for the Middle East, a tea bowl made from c.1883 to 1900.

    It seems British and Dutch Empires were expansive with many diverse cultures serving in these Empire expeditions including the many religions who were Islam, Buddhist and Christian. As a result many types of pottery were made to serve these cultures during the colonisation of these empires.

    Galle is a city on the southwest coast of Sri Lanka. It is known for Galle Fort, the fortified old city founded by Portuguese colonists in the 16th century. Stone sea walls, expanded by the Dutch, with architecture reflecting Portuguese, Dutch and British rule.

    Ceylon was the country’s name then, known now as Sri Lanka. A British Crown colony between 1802 and 1948; a Buddhist nation but with a growing population of the Islamic people. The British ruled on the island and it lasted until 1948 when Ceylon gained it’s independence.

    This old cup, considering the distance it has traveled and the age it is; it is amazingly in good condition and it remarkable it has survived. This bowl has fork marks. There is a small chip on the rim; but no cracks. There is crazing.

    Most of the painting is still brilliant and on the outside and clear with the red crescent moon and star on white background inside. Glaze is good.
    The Royal Sphinx stamp mark is clear on the base; Petrus Regout & Co. Maastricht Made In Holland.


    Petrus Regout, in Maastricht, Holland. In 1836 Regout built a modern steam-powered pottery and was soon able to make ceramics that could compete with the best English products.
    From 1880, his exports took off worldwide. From order books and correspondence with agents and buyers in the firm’s extensive archives, Petrus Regout sold these wares in Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Sudan, Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Iran, British India and Indonesia.

    More photos at:

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?mpre=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ebay.co.uk%2Fulk%2Fitm%2F263425059723

    What Is Spongeware?

    Traditionally spongeware was created on earthenware, which is defined as “some of the earliest clays used by potters, which is highly plastic, easily worked and containing iron and other mineral impurities.” Earthenware is usually fired at a lower temperature than stoneware, roughly 1745°F and 2012°F (950°C and 1100°C).

    The earthenware provided a great base for the decorative spongeware to adhere to. Spongeware pieces are typically very functional, often things like mugs, bowls, vases and pitchers for use in the kitchen. For this reason, many pieces were made in molds. Once the piece was ready, a glaze was then applied to the surface piece in sporadic or in a deliberate fashion, dependent on what look the potter was going for.