Our week that was: Gooseberries, a group visit, germs and a gilet

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OK, enough already with the alliteration. We promise, we won’t do it again!

Before you read on, one of the other little things we did this week – along with what seems like half the world’s population – was to join Threads. We’ve not got our heads round the app yet, and we’re not sure how much use we’ll make of it… but go give us a follow if you’ve joined too.

Home-grown fruit

Bowl of home-grown gooseberries

I’ve been trying to work out my optimum gooseberry-harvesting timing – don’t pick them before they’re ripe, but don’t allow the birds to get there before me. One of our bushes was completely devoured by sawfly larvae and it produced no fruit. But another was heavily weighed down with an abundance of large, bright green gooseberries.

Gooseberry compote Gooseberry sponge pudding

I held off for as long as I dared before picking just under 500 grams, about half of the crop. Justin doesn’t like them, so I had to find things to do with it where it wouldn’t go to waste. I made jam and pickle last year, and still have jars of both left in the pantry. I decided to use the majority to make (almost) a large jar of compote and the remainder in a fruit sponge. The compote will be swirled into my morning yoghurt and the sponge – with a pouring of thick cream – made two portions of delicious dessert for me!

The Catholic Church at Henllan

Interior of the Italian Catholic Church at the prisoner-of-war camp, Henllan

Last weekend, I went on a coach trip with my local WI group to visit the prisoner-of-war camp at Henllan. After a quick stop for coffee and scone at the nearby Teifi Valley Railway, we made our way to the prisoner-of-war camp, specifically to see the fascinating Church of the Sacred Heart located there.

Exterior of the Italian Catholic Church at the prisoner-of-war camp, Henllan Exterior of the Italian Catholic Church at the prisoner-of-war camp, Henllan

Created by the Italian WWII prisoners who were housed there, the church is testament to what can be achieved with a lot of determination and very little else. The men were given permission to use one of the accommodation huts as a place of worship.

Faux marble column capital in the Italian Catholic Church at the prisoner-of-war camp, Henllan Faux marble column capital in the Italian Catholic Church at the prisoner-of-war camp, Henllan

What’s amazing is the way in which the space was decorated to make it look and feel less like a pre-fab box and more like a chapel. The ‘stone’ columns and scroll-work capitals pictured above were made using thin bits of metal (used corned beef tins), painted to look like marble.

All the murals and frescos were created using paints made from tea leaves, coffee grounds and vegetable peelings mixed with crushed fish bones… and they remain vibrant and intact over 75 years later.

One of the Stations of the Cross in the Italian Catholic Church at the prisoner-of-war camp, Henllan One of the Stations of the Cross in the Italian Catholic Church at the prisoner-of-war camp, Henllan

After the war, many of the ex-prisoners made pilgrimages back to Henllan, often bringing items to leave in the church. The framed watercolours above are fine examples of these. They are two of 14 Stations of the Cross painted by Mario Ferlito – the original muralist – that now hang on the walls around the chapel.

A trip to the dentist

Cream Berghaus gilet Cream Berghaus gilet

We’ve lived in Mid-Wales for 4 years now and still haven’t been able to see a dentist in the area. We’re on a waiting list – at least we think we are – so, in the meantime, we have to travel back to Yorkshire for our 6-monthly check-ups or any other dental work that needs to be done. That’s an 8-hour round trip and an overnight stay with family… for about 10 minutes in the dentist’s chair!

We have a regular stop off point where we stretch our legs and give the dog (and ourselves) a comfort break. We’ve not long discovered a cracking charity shop nearby where we’ve always found something to buy. This trip, I bought this cream Berghaus gilet – that will come in useful as the autumn approaches.

Fever: The Hunt for Covid’s Origin


During our aforementioned car journeys, we listened to Fever: The Hunt for Covid’s Origin, a BBC Radio 4 podcast series. The programmes are presented by John Sudworth, the BBC’s Beijing Correspondent at the time of the Coronavirus outbreak. The series investigated the possible origins of Covid-19 via interviews with scientists and Sudworth’s own courageous investigations from within China with its highly authoritarian, one party state system.

Our week that was: A day trip, a summer drink and a science fiction series

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Another week has flown by – still without any rainfall to speak of – but we’ve been promised some in the coming days. We soaked up the sun on a day trip down the coast, foraged for wildflowers and absorbed ourselves in a riveting and thought-provoking TV series.

Day trip

Adelle tasting the cake platter at The Leeky Barrel, Henllan, Llandysul

The cake platter at The Leeky Barrel, Henllan, Llandysul

The Leeky Barrel Winery and Gift Shop at Bedwen Plants, Henllan, Llandysul

The nursery at Bedwen Plants, Henllan, Llandysul

We had a dog sitter booked for Monday so that we could head out on a day trip to somewhere we hadn’t been before. We decided to head off towards Llandysul to Bedwen Plants. There’s a nursery, winery and bistro all on site. We bought a few plants, including a wasabi and had coffees and cake platter… no wine was consumed or bought on this occasion!

On our way back home, we stopped off in Aberaeron for a walk around the town and harbour and another coffee at Harbourmaster.

Summer drink

Elderflowers and lemons for making cordial

For me, summer hasn’t properly started until I’ve picked some elderflowers and made cordial; it has become an annual ritual. I try to make at least 3 batches to drink now, freeze for later and bottle to give away to friends. If you want to try making your own, this is my preferred elderflower cordial recipe.


After finishing watching the first series of The Bear, we dived straight into Severance (I got Apple TV+ free for 3 months with a recent Apple Store purchase).  The premise of ‘Severance’ is simple; employees of a company called Lumon Industries choose to undergo a procedure to have their ‘work’ and ‘home’ memories disconnected. You’d think it may be a good solution for achieving that elusive work-life balance. Each episode is more surreal than the previous one, and the series throws up all kinds of philosophical and existential questions. The sets, costumes and other visuals suggest a Mid-Century Modern, Mad Men kind of vibe, but – other than it being winter – the time in which it’s set is never referenced.

The Severance script is great, the acting is top-notch and many of the episodes were expertly directed by Ben Stiller. We can’t wait for the already confirmed second series!