Let The Tails Continue – Part 2

Before attending University, I also wrote a trilogy of stories, with my friend Poppy, the cat, about two baby hedgehogs called Itchee and Scratchee. The books were inspired by the hedgehogs that visit our garden on a nightly basis. We are lucky enough to see them from early spring through to the end of October or early November depending on the weather.

Four years ago we had two of the tiniest hoglets we had ever seen turn up on a freezing November night. We brought them inside and put them in a box with some cat food water and a blanket to keep them warm. Unfortunately, during the night, one of them died. The next day, however, another one arrived. We named them Itchee and Scratchee.

I then researched on the internet about how big they needed to be to survive the winter. Ideally they needed to weigh at least 750 grammes. We weighed Itchee and Scratchee on a kitchen scale and Itchee, the smallest one weighed only 110 grammes, whilst Scratchee weighed in at 230 grammes. There was no way that they would survive the winter outside so we decided to bring them into the house.

That evening we bought a rabbit hutch that we found on Gumtree from Tredegar in the next valley over. We cleaned it and put some straw in for bedding and placed it in our lounge next to the radiator. We also put some cat litter into the lid of an old shoe box, hoping that they would learn to use it. Fortunately, they were clever enough to do so. We fed them on wet cat food, crunchies and meal worms and a bowl of fresh water for them to drink. After a week they had doubled in size so we were obviously doing the right thing.

We kept blankets on top of the hutch which could be folded down to prevent them having too  much daylight. My friend Poppy, her kitten, Mini-me and her brother Tyger then decided to sleep on top of the hutch.

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One morning, when I looked in the hutch, there was a bright green lump of jelly in the litter tray. At first I thought it belonged to the boys, some sort of Alien Goo which they used to like playing with. I later found out it wasn’t, so I researched on the internet and found out it was a sign of intestinal worms. If left untreated, the hedgehogs could have died.

Once again, I returned to my computer and found a hedgehog hospital a few miles from our home, in Pontlanfraith. I rang them and they asked us to take them over as soon as possible. Itchee was infected but Scratchee needed treatment too because they had been caged together. After a series of antibiotic injections, they were kept in an incubator where they stayed until March. They were then released back into the wild.

hedgehog hospitalfor bookbaarbPopsBabyHedgehogsFramedfor book

Since then, our hedgehog population has thrived. We now have at least 15 seasonal visitors every night. They have their own plate of food which unfortunately the rats are partial to as well. We have seen a rat and a hedgehog sat side by side munching away many times. We have also gained a new black cat, Bagheera, Baghee for short, who is fascinated by our spiky friends. We are looking forward to the hedgehogs returning in the next fortnight. Last year the first ones were sighted on 16th March.

Baggy and Hedgehogs

All the books are available on Amazon – take a look by clicking on the images.

 

Return of the Hedgehogs

School for Hedgehogs

Hedgehogs book 2 long picture

Me and Poppy welcoming Itchee and Scratchee home.

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Baby Hoglets, drawn by the children of Deri Primary School and Lorna Card’s grandchildren (Tir Y Berth), and their new friends, the Owlet triplets, drawn by myself.

One evening, a couple of years ago, during the summer, we had a surprise. We were sat in the lounge, the back door was open, and we heard a strange scratching noise underneath the table. Upon investigation this is what we saw…Spiky on the books

A cheeky little hedgehog had made his/her way inside.

Happy Birthday to Baarbaara The Sheep (BBTS) Publications – Let the Tails Continue – Part 1

Today is the first day of the 5th year of BBTS publications – Not bad for a sheep – My work involves writing/editing and publishing. I also help people to understand the process of Self – Publishing or Indie Publishing as it has become popularly known. As little as 6 years ago Indie Publishing was frowned upon, thankfully today people’s views have changed for the better.If you would like more information on my services please email me at: baarbaarathesheep@hotmail.co.uk

What began as a one off publication, ‘Save Our Valleys – A Sheep’s Tail,’ printed and bound from the comfort of my field, has become a proper entrepreneurial adventure. After encouragement from friends and local people, I published the book via the Createspace Platform on Amazon.

The book was written to raise awareness of a local campaign group,  (UVAG) United Valley’s Action Group, who were opposing a proposal for an incinerator on the mountain at Ffos Y Fran, Cwmbargoed. Details of the successful campaign can be read at the following links:

Wales Online – Incinerator Battle Goes To Downing Street

Covanta Drops Incinerator Plans

Initially I wrote a story about the animals from the mountain helping the campaigners with their fight. This was to try and encourage younger people to get involved. Due to its political nature, no publisher would get involved, that is how I came to self-publish. The book now sits on the library shelves in Caerphilly County Borough.

Complete Cover Save Our Valleys

Click on the Image to view the book on Amazon

The second publication was a poetry anthology by locals to raise money for another, ongoing, fight. A new opencast mine opposite the existing black hole at Ffos Y Fran. Nant Llesg is an untouched site of natural beauty. The habitat is perfect for migrating birds. Rhaslas pond, situated in the middle of the site is of historical interest as well as being a spectacularly beautiful part of the area. Despite Caerphilly Council’s unanimous decision against the proposal in August 2015, the company involved, Nant Llesg Ltd, a subsidiary of Miller Argent, have decided to appeal. The most recent opposal by UVAG has been against Nant Llesg Ltd’s intention to fence off the area.

Rhaslas Pond Blog and Photos

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More about the Campaign (Americymru)

Black Hole Cover Image

Click on Image to view book on Amazon

Details of the ongoing campaign by UVAG against Nant Llesg can be read on the links below:

Best Outcome for Anti-Opencast Campaigners

Wales Online – Thousands Pen Objection Letters

Victory to Anti Opencast Campaigners

After the success of the first two books, I was encouraged to go to University by a friend of mine who had just completed her BA Honours in Creative and Professional Writing. To be honest, I didn’t think I stood a chance of getting in. The last time I attended school was over 30 years ago. But to my surprise I was accepted on the initial course which was a two year foundation degree in English and History at Lambridge University, formerly Glamorgan, Treforest, and now known as The University of South Wales.

 

Part 2 coming soon…. Watch this space.

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE! Nant Llesg Victory – Objections urgently needed against new proposal to fence off the area!!!

This gallery contains 14 photos.

After the second hearing in August, Anti-opencast campaigners were delighted that the local counsellors upheld their unanimous decision to vote against the Nant llesg surface mine proposal. Miller Argent (Nant Llesg Ltd.) put in an appeal just prior to Christmas. But this is where things get strange. It has been confirmed that Miller Argent have […]

The TARAGGAN Tale – Bargoed

Doris and her six hoglets

***  Doris and her six baby hoglets  ***

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The TARAGGAN Tale

A concrete jungle atop a mountain,

You made it beautiful, you made it bountiful.

 

Red and yellow and pink and blue,

A rainbow of colours and an Eco-loo.

A green-fingered glory with quite a story,

About those who have tended it and those who inhabit it.

 

A haven for the hedgehogs, who help keep slugs away.

After dark those spiky balls will all come out to play.

There’s Brychan and Gwladys and Doris and her brood,

Tummy’s grumbling they’ll wake up and search the grounds for food.

 

In the daytime welcome feathered friends, like Cheeky and his mates,

Who fly around and feast on fat-balls, nuts and juicy gnats.

And don’t forget Mice Manor, where voles are welcome too,

And the great Buggingham Palace, with creepy crawlies running through.

 

Buzzing bees and pollinators visit for the wildflowers,

And the sensory garden full of herbs with healing powers.

 

The bottle greenhouse is impressive, it’s the biggest of its kind,

Aluminium tool-sheds are packed with tools for you to find,

To till and sow and work the land

And grow great things by your own hand.

 

New potatoes, old potatoes,

Red and orange Tiger tomatoes,

Russian Kale and cabbage green,

Big orange pumpkins for Halloween.

Artichoke heads blowing in the breeze,

Fragrant flowers on tasty sweet peas,

Carrots that help you see in the dark,

Radishes that give your taste-buds a spark,

Onions for frying, so good you’ll be crying,

Beetroot for boiling and juicing and pickling,

A wonderful variety of lettuce hearts,

Succulent strawberries for jamming and tarts,

Fruit bushes laden, ripe for the picking,

Gooseberries, raspberries, blackcurrants for tasting.

 

Aesthetically pleasing and teaming with life,

Once wasteland, now fertile and blooming with growth.

A station for sitting, a scarecrow for scaring,

A spade man, planted, at the entrance, for guarding.   

 

As you stroll along the log lined ash path,

A feeling of peace comes to pass.

Touch the standing stones before you go,

And salute this project that continues to grow.

 

The TARAGGAN Tenants And Residents Association

Green Gym And Nursery, you are an inspiration.

Victory to Anti – Opencast Campaigners – NO to Nant Llesg

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After years of campaigning against a new opencast mine in the Rhymney, Fochriw, Bedlinog, Pontlottyn. Deri, Abertwsswg, Valley campaigners were delighted with the decision by the local council planning committee to recommend against the development unanimously. 

Passionate speeches from members of UVAG, GVA, FOE, RSPB and local community representatives covered the following issues in relation to the detrimental effects of opencast mining:

  • Health and well being
  • Loss of clean jobs and future inward investment
  • Wildlife habitat
  • Biodiversity
  • Water pollution
  • Visual impact
  • Light pollution
  • Noise
  • Dust
  • Climate change
  • Tourism

  Those who spoke up against the mine covered all issues through thorough factual research: 

United Valleys Action Group (UVAG). Some of their members having experienced first hand the detrimental effect of a mine close to their community in Merthyr. The existing mine at Ffos Y Fran has caused nothing but hardship since it opened in 2006. Dust and  noise prevail despite Miller Argent’s promise that the mine would have no impact. The desecration and visual impact on the area has to be seen to be believed. 

Green Valleys Alliance (GVA). Local business man Mitchell Field has supported the campaign all along. He has put his money where his mouth is and paid for studies undertaken by Cardiff University to look into the lack of inward investments to areas that have opencast mines. After thirty years in the area his business, Richards & Appleby, which makes cosmetics for outlets that include Harrods, was under threat.

If the mine went ahead job losses for locals would have devastated the communities. He can now plan to bring back an investment which went to Italy which could create another 50 jobs. 

Friends of the Earth (FOE) have worked closely with campaigners from the time that the existing mine in Ffos Y Fran was put forward in 2006.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released facts about the detriment of unseen airborne particles and diesel fumes from the monstrous Komatsu trucks used on site.

Climate Change Cymru have documented the adverse effects of carbon emissions from digging and burning coal.

RSPB are concerned for the loss of natural habitat for birds which nest, wade and use the area as a migratory path. These include: Lapwing, Ring Plovers, Great Crested Grebes, Dunlin, Curlews, Snipe, Skylarks, Meadow Pipit, Reed buntin, Moorhen. Also the Long Billed Dowatcher has been spotted by the many ornithologists which frequent the area around Rhas Las pond.

 On the small ponds there are many species of Dragon Fly and  Damsel Fly. Great Crested Newts, a protected species, have also been spotted in Rhas Las. Rhas Las pond is the largest remaining feature of the Dowlais Free Drainage system. it was built around 1818 and was used to feed water to the various local iron works as well as Fochriw and Rhymney pit engines. In later years it was also used by the Ebbw Vale steel works. Since being de-industrialised Rhas Las has become an integral part of the moorland eco-environment. The unique, marshland and moorland habitat to the South, West and East has been untouched since time began.

The water from the Nant Llesg stream was used to make beer by the Rhymney Brewery because of its high quality and purity. This would be spoiled or completely destroyed.

There are also many historical stories attached to the area that is under threat:

The Bargoed History Society produced a book last year telling the story of King Arthur’s time in the area, The Coming of Caliburn. This was supported and funded by Caerphilly Council.

Today International Financiers are disinvesting from coal. Last month the G7 under the chair of Angela Merkel stated their intention to stop burning coal in the next decade. Global warming caused by burning fossil fuels is causing untold world suffering among the poor in the third world.

It was suggested that Caerphilly County Borough Council live up to their slogan, A Greener Place to Live, Work and Visit, and turn Nant Llesg into a nature reserve extending from the Brecon Beacons National Park to the North and Parc Cwm Darran, itself a former colliery, to the South. This would attract much needed tourism to the area. 

Visit Caerphilly.com       

SPRING

SPRING
Hosts of golden daffodils.
Trees adorned and ripened hills.
Royal purple, petals bright.
Red tips, brown spots, cabbage white.
Snuffling hedgehogs mating dance.
New lambs frolic, ponies prance.
Bluebells carpet, mossy bed.
Thorny roses, crimson red.
Fine fern fingers, curly tips.
Queen bee buzzing, nectar sips.
Majestic kites cavort sky high,
Dandylion floating by.
Catkins wave, wind blows softly.
Copper beech, gleaming brightly.
Cuckoo, murmur, starlings flight.
Blue tits cheep in evenings light.
Swathes of green, primrose yellow.
Heather sprung, spring says hello.

May 2015

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