Tag Archives: in the news

Ystalyfera Landslip: What I didn’t tell you before!

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What I didn’t tell you in my post ‘HALLO AGAIN” – because I was trying to get back to normal!

Or – part of the reason I didn’t keep up with this blog or go back to selling earlier.

All I have managed so far are a few listings on Etsy – but more are coming soon!

my landslip photo - March 2017

I took this photo in March of this year, because it shows the landslip at the back of my house – see the dark area running down the whole hillside – half of my garden went down there! All the hillside used to be covered with mature trees, the ubiquitous Japanese Knotweed and there were no streams – just a culvert at the bottom of the hill, for the old Swansea Valley Canal which was used to bring iron ore for the huge Ironworks that used to dominate this coal rich valley. The terrace of houses you see above were built for the factory workers, and miners. Steam floated up from the Foundry and the noise echoes throughout the valley, several families lived in each house and there were lots of pubs along the terrace!

I was evacuated from the house I have lived in since 1981, with a couple of hour’s notice on 27 February, after the factory down below reported to the Council that water was running through their car park.  It turned out that the culvert was blocked by all the soil that had come down the hill, and until Council Officers knocked on my door and told me I had to leave the house – I had no idea what had happened!  Several other houses in the terrace were also affected, but not all of them.

It had been raining heavily for several days, and I hadn’t bothered to go out into the garden, nor seen anything unusual, as the houses are built ‘down’ into the hillside.  We look like two story houses from the road, but there is a third level below, which has been my cellar, and entrance to the 3 level garden.

So I packed up a few things and had a horrendous and frighting 90 minute drive thro’ a thunderstorm at night along the M4 to the cottage I was planning to move into AFTER the alterations had been made – so it was pretty basic, but at least I had somewhere to go.

I kept in touch with the council and neighbours during the next weeks, but it was frustrating because I didn’t know exactly what was going on, and I wasn’t near enough to pop back regularly. (And long drives kill my osteoarthritic knees!)

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the garden wall had fallen onto my steps

On my next visit to Ystalyfera the damage was obvious.  The boundary wall had fallen onto my garden steps, and it wasn’t possible to walk down the rest of the garden.

A stream had appeared on the 2nd level of my garden, below a stone built retaining wall, and water had gushed from underneath the house and carved a 4 foot ‘channel’ into the once pretty area, taking with it various trees, and even a heap of stones I planned to build a feature with!

It was also evident that the sewage system had broken in the garden next door, which also had a new small stream running through it, and it turned out that the whole terrace no longer had a working sewage system – so how could we live there without being able to flush the toilets!

So I went back to the cottage, and tried to find a builder to do the work I needed there. I realise now that I was in a state of delayed shock, and nothing I did in those weeks made any sense.

My neighbour phoned in her own state of shock, on the 4th April to tell me that there had been the sound of an explosion coming from my garden that morning, and it turned out that a huge volume of water had gushed out of the hole underneath the retaining wall, and more of my garden had gone down the hill!  So back I went to Ystalyfera to have a look and it was truly frightening, and even the Council Officers wouldn’t go down to have a look at the source of the stream, on Health & Safety grounds!

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the source of the stream

The Council came up with various schemes, as most of the people didn’t want to have to move out, but none of them seemed viable, and we had a meeting to discuss how they were going to find out what actually happened and why.  Despite an article in the local newspaper, hardly anyone was aware that the landslip had happened.

I am writing about this now, because in the six months since the first landslip, various things have happened and after getting various expert opinions, the council decided on the August 8th, to evacuate the whole of the terrace, and the rest of my old neighbours are having to face the loss of their home too, and I feel very sorry for the distress it has caused them, having to move into temporary B&B’s, or stay with friends and relatives.

It has been all over the local tv news this last week, and I went back to see how people were, and to collect some more stock to start listing on ebay & etsy, but I have been caught up in the whole landslip issue again these last few weeks and found it hard to concentrate on selling!

In the light of the news this week, with landslips in Switzerland and India & China as well as elsewhere, and hurricane Harvey in Texas, which have killed many people this is a much smaller event, so don’t feel sorry for me – I am lucky that I already had picked out a new home in West Wales, but its stressful nevertheless, and I had an urge this morning to get it off my chest.

If you want to know more about the situation in Ystalyfera, this is a piece from the BBC website.

And this is one from the ITV website discussing the possibility of another 150 houses having to be evacuated.

PS: 7 November 2017 this post has been linked to : https://julzcrafts.com/2017/11/07/christmas-fabrics-are-back/

The 40 kilo/ 88 lb merino fleece – yes they sheared the sheep!

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Yesterday, I told you about the unsheared merino sheep in Australia, well here is the follow up – and how they sheared it!  Again, copied from the BBC News website.

If you’re not familiar with how the merino sheep normally looks, or what its wool looks like when prepared for spinning – it is the most popular fibre for hand spinners – have a look at my post on Merino Wool HERE

Overgrown Australian sheep Chris ‘breaks world record’

  • 3 September 2015
  • From the section Australia

An overgrown Australian sheep affectionately named Chris has set a new unofficial world record following a hair cut from five shearers.

Welfare crews warned it risked death because it was so woolly from living in the wild for several years.

More than 40kg (88lb) of wool was removed in what the RSPCA says is the heaviest wool haul from one shearing.

National shearing champion Ian Elkins was urgently called in on Wednesday to tackle the mammoth merino.

A heavily overgrown sheep near CanberraImage copyrightRSPCA
Image captionChris the sheep was spotted outside of Canberra on Australia’s second day of Spring
Kangaroos look at the camera behind one of the woolliest sheep in the worldImage copyrightRSPCA
Image captionKangaroos outside Canberra are dwarfed by the woolliest sheep in the world

 

Mr Elkins described Thursday’s marathon sheering session as one of his biggest challenges, saying he had never seen anything like it in 35 years of work.

Chris the sheep on his back as Australian shearers remove wool which has apparently broken a world recordImage copyrightRSPCA
Image captionChris’s hooves appear damaged after coping with the excess wool weight

Chris the sheep had to be sedated during the very delicate operation.

Chris the sheep had is sedated during the very delicate operation.Image copyrightRSCPA
Image captionThe difference a day makes: Removing the excess wool cut Chris’s weight in half

Mr Elkins said he was proud Australia had claimed the title from New Zealand, likening it to “the rivalry on the rugby field”.

Weighing the world's biggest wool haulImage copyrightRSCPA
Image captionSpring clean: Chris’s world-record breaking wool is weighed

The massive bundle of fleece tipped the scales at more than 42kg (92lb), but was revised down to 40kg (88lb) to counter the weight of the bag.

New do: Australian sheep 'Chris' shows off a lighter look, complete with pink antiseptic stainsImage copyrightRSPCA
Image captionNew do: Australian sheep Chris shows off a lighter look, complete with pink antiseptic stains

Animal welfare officials said Chris was “four-to-five times its normal size” before going under the knife.

The huge haul of wool removed from Chris the sheep's tiny frameImage copyrightRSPCA
Image captionLightening the load: More than 40kg of wool was cut from Chris’s tiny frame

Ever wondered what a Merino Sheep would look like if it wasn’t sheared?

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Found this on the BBC website this morning after seeing a piece about it on the news!  Oddly enough I’d also saved the piece about Shrek yesterday, another sheep in New Zealand that hid for years and was discovered and finally sheared about 10 years ago – link to that article below!

Australia urgent plea to shear overgrown sheep

  • 2 September 2015
  • From the section Australia
A heavily overgrown sheep near CanberraImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe merino sheep is “four-to-five times its normal size”, animal welfare officials say

Australia’s national shearing champion has been urgently called in to help after a heavily overgrown sheep was found near the capital Canberra.

Ian Elkins responded after animal welfare officials warned the life of the merino sheep could be in danger because it was so woolly.

Sheep can develop serious health issues if they are not regularly shorn.

The animal – believed to be male – was “four-to-five times its normal size,” welfare official Tammy Ven Dange said.

“It’s definitely one of the biggest sheep we’ve ever seen,” Ms Ven Dange, head of the RSPCA in the Australian Capital Territory, was quoted as saying by the AFP news agency.

She added that the animal was “pretty stressed out” around human beings after what was probably years of solitude.

A heavily overgrown sheep near CanberraImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe animal is believed to have spent a number of years on the loose

RSPCA officials had initially wanted to shear the animal themselves, but later decided to wait for an expert.

Mr Elkins, a four-time Australian Shearing Championship winner, said removing the fleece “could be one of my biggest challenges yet”.

In 2004, Shrek the New Zealand sheep was found after six years on the loose.

The animal – also a merino – later lost his giant 27kg (60lb) fleece in a televised shearing broadcast live around the world.

The country’s most famous sheep died in June 2011.

See also my earlier post on Merino Sheep.