Dai's walk around Wales blog - February 2023

2 February 2023 

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sunset in the Vale of Neath tonight. 

4 February 2023

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Has anyone lost £20? it was in the road and I left it there just in case whoever dropped it came back to claim it.

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5 February 2023 

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Lovely sunset in the Vale of Neath tonight. 


7 February 2023 

Beautiful sunset again tonight for the third evening in a row, I missed recording last night's show because I was on the bike but I saw tonight's coming from a distance and in the forecast for tomorrow together with the shape of the clouds, they were all lined up in a row ready for the show.


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Video on Youtube


9 February 2023


I happened to be passing through Giant's Grave on the morning of the coronation of King Gruck so I interviewed him for my YouTube channel, he was more interested in preening than anything else, clearly his intentions were to look his best for the coronation itself. The queen joined in the interview late on but flew off to prepare herself. Please click on the link or image below to watch the video on YouTube.

YouTube video - https://youtu.be/kGH6GC1ARUY

10 February 2023

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First frog spawn of the year, the last time I'd checked at this location was on 1st February so the spawn had been laid between 

1 - 10th February  


February 2023

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Sunset in the distance, flowers on a grave in Glynneath cemetery in the foreground

12 February 2023

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The temporary cross and the wilting flowers on the grave of the actress Ruth Madoc and her husband John Jackson. I've reported the council leader to the police for the cover up of the potential Corporate Manslaughter of the pair. Nothing has happened, nobody cares. Click on the link below for the report...............


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13 February 2023

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The angles were not with me as I rode home from Neath on the canal but I found a gap in the hedge to record the sun dropping below the skyline with an ivy covered  gate post in the foreground.


14 February 2023

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I managed an image that was closer to the Beware Cyclists sign at Aberpergwm. 


Some more frog spawn found and in a different pond, this spawn had been laid between 10-15 of February and some more nearby where the frogs has missed the pond. 


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Growing near it was what I believe to be some Birch Polypore fungus. The wild food UK website says of the Birch Polymore...........


The Birch Polypore (Fomitopsis betulina), grows on Birch trees and can be a parasite to living trees slowly killing them and then living on the dead tree for many years until the tree has rotted to nothing. 


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The mushroom grows exclusively on Birch naturally but can be artificially introduced to other types of tree.
It has long been known that the Birch Polypore has medicinal uses, it has been used as a tonic for the immune system, as an antiseptic to clean wounds and promote healing, a plaster that is microporus, antifungal and antiseptic and probably was used by Bronze Age man to get rid of parasitic worms. 

In 1991 Austrian hikers in the Tyrol region of the Italian Alps discovered a frozen corpse. When this was later examined it turned out to be a 5300 year old mummy that they named Otzi. Otzi had some Birch Polypore on a leather thong around his neck, he also had a parasitic intestinal worm called a Whipworm which can be cured with polyporenic acid which is one of the chemicals present in the Birch Polypore
Another possible use of the fungus by Bronze Age man was as a very good tinder that can be started with a weak spark or used to transport fire as the fungus can smoulder for a long time and can be used to take to the next camp or destination and get a fire lit quickly without the long and laborious task of lighting a fire by friction.

Birch trees contain betulinic acid which has many health benefits, there are also other chemicals in the Birch Polypore that are beneficial for being healthy. With modern research it is becoming clear that the Birch Polypore is an important mushroom to look into, tests have been carried out and so far found the following.

Antiviral. In tests extracts from the Birch Polypore blocked reproduction in HIV cells, attacked and incapacitated encephalitis infections and has proved positive in treating flu, yellow fever and West Nile flu.

Antibiotic. The Birch Polypore contains the antibiotic piptamine which has been used to treat e-coli.

Anti inflammatory. There are several triterpene acids present and these are known anti-inflammatory substances.

Anti Tumor. Betulinic acid and other chemicals in the fungi have been shown to cause apoptosis, the destruction of cancer cells while not affecting healthy cells.

Antiseptic. For cleaning wounds and being an aid to healing.

Antifungal. This mushroom does not like to share its habitat with other mushrooms and contains some powerful antifungals.

Styptic. The fungus has styptic properties (it staunches bleeding).

The mushroom has very beneficial effects on the immune system and many people drink a tea made from the fresh or dried fungi and swear by its positive effects.

A plaster can be made from the underside of the mushroom, a strip needs to be cut and carefully removed from the pore membrane. This provides a microporus, anti fungal, antiseptic and self sticking plaster, much better than can be purchased from the shops.
A corn or blister plaster can be easily fashioned from the flesh of the mushroom by cutting some flesh into a doughnut shape of the right size and applying to the corn or blister.

The common name Razor Strop Fungus comes from the use in old barber shops of cutting a strip from the underside of the fungus, drying it and sticking it to a piece of flat wood. This was used to give the final finish to the cut throat razors that barbers used. Iím not sure if they were aware of the fact but in doing so they were giving their blades an antiseptic, antifungal and styptic wipe!
The fungus has also been used in the past as very fine emery cloth to polish metals, making ink blotters and even bases for mounting insects for collections.

Truly the Swiss Army knife of mushrooms.


17 February 2023 

Men-up - PC - I worked in a production with a working title "Men-up" about viagra trials in Swansea during the 1990s. My role was as a police constable but you'll only see the back of me. 

Wales on-line say of the production...............

"Game of Thrones star Iwan Rheon films in Swansea street transported back to 1994 for new drama Men Up
The film will follow the lives of five ordinary Welshmen as they go through an extraordinary journey which ultimately, and quite accidentally - led to the creation of the erectile dysfunction drug - Viagra

A Swansea street was transported back to the nineties with a world famous actor at work there. BBC crews were spotted shooting a new drama called Men Up - the story of a world first medical trial at Morriston Hospital in 1994 - which follows the lives of five men taking part.

Crews were spotted along Victoria Avenue, together with other areas of the city like Swansea promenade, with Game of Thrones actor Iwan Rheon - who played evil Ramsay Bolton in the show - filming scenes in the city's streets. For the Victoria Avenue scenes, the street was filled with cars from 1994.

Residents living there were sent letters informing them of the filming, with the Boom Cymru and Quay Street Productions project, described as "following the lives of five ordinary Welshmen as they go through an extraordinary journey through the trials and tribulations of the revolutionary program. A drama about masculinity, mental health, family, friendship and love."

More to follow once the programme has aired at a later date.......................


18 February 2023

Sunset on Baglan Beach, not for the first or the last time (hopefully), I chatted with this young couple and they were happy for me to photograph their pooch who's name I forgot to ask. He's clearly the star of this photoset so if they are reading this, please send me his name. 


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22 February 2023

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Sunset and the first hedgehog in the garden

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On the lower slopes of Fan Brycheiniog I came across this millstone like rock that I would suggest is definitely not a natural occurrence. There's not a mill in sight and we know that there was bronze age activity close by in the Fan Foel barrow so what is it? 

Is it a weight into which the centre pole of a dwelling was driven?

Is it the model of a big cheese that was rolled down the hill?

Is it the wheel off a stone age chariot?

Is it a natural rock that somehow developed a regular pattern and the mice made the hole in the middle?

Let's check out what Wikipedia says about the geology of that area...............


Video upload to YouTube = https://youtu.be/1QNHZ5FfzIU

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25 February 2023 - Llyn y Fan Fawr sunrise walk 

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Beacons sunrise from Llyn y Fan Fawr & frozen frog spawn in a tiny pond next to the lake

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25 February 2023

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A came across a group of toads crossing the road near Rheola Pond about an hour after sunset. One pair were in amplexus while a female was on her own with her partner looked to have been flattened by a car close by. I took a video which I've only uploaded to FB.




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26 February 2023 - Tata Steel Fishing Club contest on Aberavon Beach at sunset. 

Thanks to the guys for putting up with my questions and for providing me with excellent subject matter in front of a beautiful sunset


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28 February 2023 - local wildlife walk

I took a walk around the outskirts of Glynneath where I saw that the local wild life had been partying in a field and managed to come across a load of additional frog spawn in one of the ponds. 

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