Sunday, 30 September 2018

30th September 2018 - Hy Brasail - Interesting Houses

Thought for the day:"If they tell you that you can unclog drains with sodium hydroxide, it's a lye."

A strange house, a Welsh lawyer and an Italian Contessa. 

Hy Brasail...

February 11, 2018

Graham Watkins - link here

Driving to the Secret Monitor Sunday Lunch in Crickhowell we passed the most strange house as we went through the village of Vaynor - we had decided to take a trip across country as the weather was fair and I was uncertain if we had tried the road before...

And so we looked it up - and found that there was some history to go with the house...

To the north of Merthyr Tydfil, near the railway viaduct at Pontsarn, stand
s a very peculiar house. The property has been known by a number of different names, over the years, including Hafod Cottage, Vaynor Cottage, The Old Spanish House and, more recently, Hy Brasail. At the time of writing, the house, a Grade II listed, stands empty, neglected and looking very sad. What makes the house unique is the style in which it was built.

Like its name, Hy Brasail, the house, is shrouded in mystery. Some commentators have suggested that the house was named after ‘Hy Brasail’ - also known as ‘Hy Brasil’ - a mythical island somewhere off the coast of Ireland.

According to legend, the island is hidden by an impenetrable mist except for one day every seven years. In the old Irish tongue the name of the island suggests beauty, great worth and might. In 1674, a Captain Nisbet was on a voyage from France to Ireland when he chanced upon the mysterious island. According to the Captain’s reports, a colony of enormous black rabbits inhabited the island together with a magician who lived alone in a castle. It’s an unlikely tale and a strange place after which to name a house near Merthyr Tydfil.

As well as having a strange name, the house called Hy Brasail is a bewilderment of ideas. Part of the dwelling is conventional and looks like a Victorian middle class house but a strange extension has been added. Stone columns hold up an incongruous arch while, just beyond, Spanish archways support an upper floor containing stone mullioned windows, sheltering from the weather under a Welsh slate roof. Alongside the mullioned windows, an upstairs veranda sits, surrounded by carved stone balustrades. To add to the discord, two Venetian stone towers emerge, like campaniles, from the roof. Even the towers, with their pink stone columns, are mismatched; one is larger than the other.

There are several opinions regarding the origins of the strange dwelling. Although there is no evidence to support the idea, some say it was built by an owner in the style of his wife’s Tuscan childhood home. It is known that a solicitor named Mr. James, whose law practice was in Merthyr, lived in the house in 1912. At the time the house, rather smaller than it is now, was known as ‘Vaynor Cottage.’ Each morning, Mr. James walked to Pontsarn Station to catch an early train to Merthyr. Each night he returned to his empty house. That summer, he went to Italy for a holiday where he met an Italian Countessa and immediately fell in love.

Thinking the holiday liaison was something more serious than a brief romance, Mr. James returned home and added an Italian style extension to his house with the hope that the Contessa would join him in Wales. To make the house more homely, he furnished it with fine furniture, porcelain and paintings and in the courtyard, at the front of the house, he placed a large statue of an eagle sat on a plinth. Sadly, the Contessa never came to Wales and Mr. James’ dream of love remained unfulfilled. The disappointed solicitor resumed his daily train rides to work and remained a bachelor for the rest of his life.

In 1948, a butcher by the name of Bowen bought Vaynor Cottage. Bowen’s Irish wife, a teacher, wanted a name for the house that was more in keeping with its size and quirky character. It was Mrs Bowen who renamed the house ‘Hy Brasail’ after the mythical island from Irish folklore.

The eagle was either sold or stolen in the 1980s and the railway station at Pontsarn has long since closed. Today, the old rail bed is part of the Taff Trail and walkers who enjoy the path pass close to Hy Brasail, a structurally odd derelict building and one of the strangest looking houses in Wales.

It is a grade II listed building ...  and zoopla estimates that it is worth £254,000 - though it does not appear to be for sale at present ...

This photo is apparently from the John Owen Collection and is entitled Vaynor Cottage 1946

Vaynor cottage in the Snow -

Vaynor Cottage

(Postcard Courtesy of Gill Thomas, West Grove)

Vaynor Cottage and Dolcoed, Pontsarn

CF48 2TS

Oh well!!  Maybe next time we go out I will have a little more time and can take some photos..

In the meantime I will leave Susie looking through the estate agents for other properties int he area - there are some phenomenal views  ..

Ho Hum 

Cheers !

Saturday, 29 September 2018

29th September 2018 - Road Trip...

Thought for the day:"Seems I may need new glasses – I said Okay – send me the specs"

Bit if a long day really ...
Lliedi RAM Installation last night and then jump into the Bothy and a trip up to Newmarket - which is sort of Cambridge really and a 5 and a half hour journey - or would be if they did not decide to close the M4 at Port Talbot for road works - and Cardiff - and Newport !!!  So arrive in Newmarket at 2am - check out the local Lon Stay car parks which for some reason only have up to 7 hours for £2.50 or a week  for £10  - neither making much sense. But up a side street is a place called Tattershalls - which may or may not have a connection with horse-racing in the area - but also does have a Bothy sized area which for some reason does not have a double yellow line...

And so the Provincial Meeting of East Anglia for the Order of Athelstan - and one of four "distinguished" guests...

Return trip - Sat Nav suggests that returning over land through the midlands seems a good idea - as it seems to be about the same journey time....

Of course - the A14 for Kettering is closed for roadworks...  And so I follow the detour signs rather than the Sat Nav ...  not necessarily the best idea ...  I find myself heading for Peterborough for goodenss sake and a 45 minute detour - sure there would be a better way .. but I do not carry a map these days  - sort of needed a Susie as my alligator ...

But back home now after a busy weekend -

Sunday Lunch tomorrow  - Crickhowell and Secret Monitor for South Wales...

Best to keep busy I suppose..


Friday, 28 September 2018

28th September 2018 - Commemorative Jewel

Thought for the day:"proud member of Dyslexics Untied"
A good day at St Teilo yesterday. Went very smoothly despite the Master not being there. Phil Hall opened and did the main proclamations - Roger Jones the obligations and I did the inner working. Upstairs, John Jones was available to play the piano so I sang the Master's Song and the Visitor's Song - all seemed to go well..

We have adapted the Master's Collar presentation quite a bit - so I place it here so we have it in the future. It is not official ritual - but only by convention...

Presentation of the Commemorative Jewel

Worshipful Master:

Upon the occasion of the 75th anniversary of this Lodge – in the Millennium Year 2000, I had the pleasure of presenting a Master’s Apron to this lodge – to be worn by the Master of the Lodge – in commemoration of 75 years of continuous Masonry in this Lodge.

[You – Worshipful Master – already wear the badge of your Provincial Rank and therefore have no need of this regalia – which I place into your charge – so that you will be enabled to invest your successor at the next installation.]

During the Ceremony of installing you into the Chair of this – the St Teilo Lodge, you have had the honour of being invested with the collar and jewel of your Office.

In addition to the Square, this collar is adorned with the Commemorative Jewel – which indicates that the members of this lodge fulfilled their obligations – by assisting in establishing a fund to commemorate the preservation of Freemasonry through two and a half centuries!

The income from this very substantial fund, has been placed at the disposal of the “ROYAL COLLEGE OF SURGEAONS OF ENGLAND” – to further research in the Science of SURGERY, as a real and practical contribution to the betterment of the health and happiness of Humanity.

The design of the jewel – embodies the central theme of arms – first granted to the “HOLE AND CRAFTS AND FELLOWSHIP of MASONS” in the year 1472.

I feel sure, Worshipful Master, that the members will always have a sense of great pride and satisfaction : in that – this adornment to the Master’s Collar – marks the participation of the lodge in that great Enterprise.

You will also see a Tercentenary Ornament upon the collar.  This will serve as a reminder to ourselves and our successors of the importance of the meeting, of four Lodges at the Goose and Gridiron, on 24th June 1717.  A meeting which laid the foundation for the Regulation and Governance of Speculative Craft Freemasonry as we know it today., and may the Craft thrive far into the future.

So today we have the installation of the Royal Ark Mariners at Llanelli - a busy week as I am then off to East Anglia for the Provincial Meeting on Saturday Morning ...   Ho Hum. 



Thursday, 27 September 2018

27th September 2018 - Installation Changes

Thought for the day "Decided to take up fencing. Neighbours say they will call the police unless I put it back."

A Little video of the wedding...   Lisa-Marie Sings

On other news - I was thinking about Crime Prevention ...

 Seems Legit...

and on the subject of crime - a short video for empowerment ..

And so we come around to the start of another Masonic Year for the Craft in St Teilo Lodge No 4755.
Start of my 35th year in Craft Masonry ...

900th Meeting - 2016

And so I will be doing the inner working and the commemorative jewel address and playing the organ  - at least I get to sit down most of the time ....

For the purposes of historical record - this will be the first year in our Province that they have decided to change the format of the Installation Ceremony. Installation Format.
For as long as I recall - the Lodge has been opened in the first second and third degrees - at which point the Provincial Team enter. The lodge is dropped in short form to the second for the obligation of the Master, and raised in short form to the third and then a Board in Installed Masters is opened.

For some reason - this year the Provincial Team have decided to come in during the First Degree and sit in for the whole Ceremony. I have hear that they think that is speeds things up. Personally, as a Provincial Officer having to do 27 Installations in a year I think that I would prefer to stay out a little longer! I cannot see that much time is saved by not dropping to the second in shortened form - but that is what they have decided to do. All my Installation notes are now out of the window !! But I shall keep them for posterity.

I think this must have been in 2000 - Past Provincial Standard Bearer... and Master 

Cheers !

Wednesday, 26 September 2018

26th September 2018 - Medieval Costume and Pirates

Thought for the day:"I called my horse Mayo – and sometimes Mayo Neighs"

In case the jargon confuses - here is an aide memoire..

I found a site today with free downloads of Medieval Costume - though best to keep it somewhere where I can find it again . Medieval Costume Patterns

Meanwhile - I finally manage to get some Pirate Wedding Photos listed

Facebook and Flickr links

And so the books are out for the inner working for the installation tomorrow

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

25th September 2018 - It just gets better - and Cheesy !

Thought for the day :"An unemployed jester is nobody’s fool"

Today I watched Trump stating that he was going to work with the the new leader of Columbia to eradicate the Cocoa plantations in his country...   !!

So - saw this...
Had to do it....

and for interest...
Look at the right one - and they all turn the opposite way 

It's not an optical illusion - it just looks like one ...

But today is also an anniversary - the Cheese Riots of Carmarthen...

200th Anniversary.
The Carmarthen Cheese Riot occurred on 25th September 1818. It was a disturbance that happened when a crowd of people prevented a consignment of cheese from being loaded onto a ship docked at Carmarthen. A second attempt was made two days later, this time, however, not only were the goods stopped from going on board, the vessel was also ransacked.
Cheese had become a vital part of many people's diet as a substitute for meat as a source of protein. To see it being sent for export instead of being made available to the people of Carmarthen was the flashpoint for the riot. Order was only regained when the merchants decided to distribute the cheese locally.

The background to this incident lay in the difficult and challenging economic situation at the time, which was impacted by many issues.
The Enclosure Acts which had been introduced since 1750 resulted bigger privately owned estates and the only way for the vast majority of people to continue farming was through tenancy. By the 19th century approximately 90% of agricultural land was being farmed this way. The arrival of farm produce from Europe increased dramatically following Britain's victory in the Napoleonic Wars. This resulted in a decrease in the price of Britain's home grown produce which combined with a series of poor harvests and the additional financial burden of toll-gates and Church tithes drove many tenant farmers into poverty and resulted in a shortage of food.
Which may be the source of the famous Welsh Rabbit (rarebit)

It must be the dawning of the Age of Asparagus...#

Monday, 24 September 2018

24th September 2018 - Binders and Stuff

Thought for the day:"A friend went to court and was found guilty of being egotistical. He says he is appealing."

Time for a song I think ... From the Vaults May 2017 - at CP Event 1 ... 

 the Other side of Norsca

Also found a few "life Hacks" that I decided were worth sharing... There were 101 uses of a binder clip - but since I already do most of them, keeping wires tidy, hanging earphones etc I decided to just share two ... The first was a delight - as though we do not keep many bottles in fridges - when I do - they always fall over and will not stack...
This seemed a bright idea...

The other was a neat little idea and since I sometimes have the responsibility for installations and formal dining - I decided that I would also keep this one here to remind me of an option as it would take very little to decorate a couple of clips for a particular meeting...

In other news - I am off to Penarth tonight to see a friend initiated into the Crystal Lodge. Looking forward to it - though I shall probably end up responding for the visitors...

Another day - another dollar ...

Also a Monday - so really should change the profile pictures....

Cheers !

Sunday, 23 September 2018

23rd September 2018 - 2012 and Cows with Balls

Thought for the day:"Propaganda – Cockneys taking a close look " RIP Chas!!

Saw a short video of a cow playing fetch with a ball...  Thought I would share it....

A restful Sunday for a change - though the day seems to be slipping away form me ...
I should be doing the accounts of course but somehow should and achieving are two different things.
Sad to say - we succumbed yesterday to the temperature and despite deciding that the heating should not go on until October - it was chilly enough to  put the thermostat up a bit... and it was a delight not to have to worry about the pump and the tank and whether there would be any heat ion any of the radiators.. Of course I may still have to bleed some of the radiators - but at least I can be confident that they will work - and all of them !!  It was a good idea to fix them last year ...

A day for a bit of reflection as well - here is 2012 summed up...  In actual fact - it is a facebook photo book that a company called re-snap would like me to buy for £60 plus - thought I think that there is a discount somewhere, but still a substantial amount of money... So - having viewed it it seemed a better idea to pop the pictures into the video editor - and then we get "those were the days"


So - that was another piece of procrastination ....
Maybe later - after a nap !!


Saturday, 22 September 2018

22nd September 2018 - A Trust for helping those needing Hospital Transport

Thought for the day :"I went to an AA Meeting – but they had no batteries at all!"

Provincial Meeting of Athelstan - Province of Magonsætan today in Aberystwyth.
We had an excellent double instruction last night in Hywel Dda Court - very impressive with all the officers working really hard at their ritual - impressive for our guests from Northumbria..

A high point was giving some cheques to Nerys, daughter of Dr John Benjamin Lloyd..

It is our hope to support her in setting up a Trust which will assist those in rural areas who find themselves at the wrong end of the NHS transport problems...

Dr John was a prominent Freemason and a mentor to many of us who have interests in that area. He was also a GP and spent his working life with the NHS. In his last year he underwent treatment and was visibly weaker - but still enthusiastic for his hobby and supportive of many through the charitable works associated with Freemasonry in many Orders.

He was returned to hospital in June of this year, and after examination he realised that there was nothing that could be done for him and that he would only receive palliative care. Something that his own medical knowledge told him, I understand that the staff at the hospital were less than informative.
John decided that he would prefer to return home, and be in his own environment, among his own family, and have a level of control of his last days. Sadly, it was Friday afternoon by the time that decisions were being made - and to get back to Aberystwyth, he would require an ambulance - and none would be available, certainly over the weekend, and possibly into the week ahead.
How many times are people faced with this problem? Not only for palliative care - but also for anyone else ready for discharge, but being informed that no transport is available so you have to stay in the Hospital. As Nerys says, it is very short sighted of the hospital, as it means that beds are tied up when unnecessary, stopping others from having treatment....

And John, weak in a hospital bed, would be unable to sort anything out or provide any alternative...
In his case, Nerys was able to make arrangements. They were lucky that they were able to afford to get a private ambulance for the journey. Instead of the whole weekend, a private ambulance was booked for the next morning and he was able to be at home on the Saturday... John was lucky that he had someone to help and organise, and also that he was in a position for the family to afford the costs which are not minimal.

Sadly, John passed away on the Sunday - but happily he was able to be home - and not sitting in a hospital ward wondering if he would ever get home.

The John Lloyd Trust is being set up by Nerys to fill that void. To provide the finances for those who are in a similar situation and cannot afford to fund that transport. To assist people who are at a stage of life where being told that you have to wait in unacceptable. Yes, I know that in a better world the NHS would provide that care and and make sure that the interests of the patent and the family are accommodated, but in the current world where we now live - this seems to me to be a very worthwhile step in the right direction.

On Friday Night we handed a cheque from the Hywel Dda Court for £250, and the Provincial Grand Master of the Order of Athelstan give a similar cheque from the our Province of Magonsætan.

And colleagues were there to offer a further cheque from the Order of the Secret Monitor helping to boost the start of this fund...

Our collection in the Provincial meeting ( a rare collection in this order as all members must be fully subscribed members of the Craft and the Holy Royal Arch where Charity contributions are already in place) also raised over £200 for the funds...

We all wish Nerys well with her task ahead ...

Friday, 21 September 2018

21st September 2018 - Susie through the Ages

Thought for the day:"Kids are upset because I put ginger in the curry I made. Didn't think they were that fond of the cat."

A marathon of Photos from the wedding completed and uploaded to Flickr and Facebook ...
Some nice ones of Susie are worthy of sharing ... added them to "Susie through the Ages" gallery..

Aberystwyth today for Hywel Dda Court for Athelstan and the Provincial Meeting tomorrow ..
Busy Busy ..

Cheers !