A Not-much-workday in Laugharne!


Last Sunday a group of us gathered in the hills high above Laugharne, a small town famous for being once the home of Dylan Thomas and inspiration for Under Milkwood, and as the setting for the the recent S4C & BBC 2 drama series ‘Un Bore Mercher’ / ‘Keeping Faith’. We were visiting Peter and Alison who organise the Carmarthenshire network and who live in a Passive House on a large plot which was carved from a farm which is run by Alison’s brother. They have glorious views but it is very windy up there so tree planting has been important. They do make a positive out of the problem by having a wind turbine!

Four years ago their son, who lives with them, planted an area of woodland for coppicing on the far side of a ploughed field where it would not affect the wind flow over the turbine. He had chosen a wide variety of species for 3 different rotation lengths giving a  range of material in the future. He had cut back most of the trees in the short rotation area over the winter and our task was to chop up what he had cut and lay it down around the trees as mulch. The trees had been quite small so with 8 adults and 4 children the job did not take long.

Then it was time for the usual shared lunch. We were supposed to barrow compost in the afternoon but it was such a glorious day that we helped plant out a few seedlings and then enjoyed wandering through the gardens. Peter and Alison have each created a forest garden and as I had seen Peter’s very recently walked with Alison through hers. A lovely way to spend a sunny afternoon!

My contribution was scones. With no eggs or milk this recipe is suitable for vegans if made with dairy free spread. However gluten free flour does not work in it for me.

1 lb / 500g self-raising flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

4 oz / 250 g butter or dairy free spread

4 oz / 250g sugar

a generous handful sultanas (optional)

chopped candied peel (optional)

fizzy lemonade OR lemon juice and sparkling water


Rub the butter into the dry ingredients, add the fruit if using, then mix to a soft but not sticky dough with the lemonade or a good squirt of lemon juice and the water. Turn onto a floured board and roll or pat to 1.5 – 2 cm thick and cut into rounds. Gather up left over dough and make more until all is used but do not knead or work it too much – be gentle. Place the rounds on a baking sheet and bake at 200 deg for 12 – 15 mins until lightly golden. Cool on a rack.


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