FOR centuries rumours have abounded that Abergavenny sits on top of a huge underground network of tunnels that were once used by everyone from Owain Glyndwr to sex-crazed monks.

Over the years many amateur sleuths have attempted to prove if the tunnels exist but to no avail, until now…..

Semi-professional long-distance runner Johnny Turnip believes he has found a portal to the hidden realms of the town, and it happened by accident.

“I was trying to make contact with one of the fair folk when it happened,” explained Turnip. “I know that may sound like the ramblings of a lunatic and once I would have agreed with you. However, after my encounter with a member of the Tylwyth Teg the other week on top of the Blorenge I’m one of the wide awake gang now. I know those mythical creatures are real and if we had attempted to catch it, instead of fleeing the scene in fright we could have been kings of the world. Fairies can grant wishes see, and now we know they’re real we're going to capture one and make it do our bidding.”

Turnip reveals that alongside his brothers-in-arms, Big Tony and Puerto Rico Paul, his first bid to trap and tame a Tylwyth Teg was a failure.

He explained, “We tried Big Tony’s tactic of erecting this huge steel monolith-like structure on Hay Bluff to draw one in from the enchanted realms and trap it with a fishing net. Tony had spent a lot of time on top of Lord Hereford’s nob as a young man and said there’s always been a lot of fairy activity in that neck of the woods.”

Turnip added, “I’m not sure about the science behind it but Big Tony said a big lump of shiny steel would prove irresistible to the little folk and he knew a builder’s yard where some was going spare.

“Well, after carrying it to the top of the hill and getting it in the ground we sat there all night drinking white rum and waiting for something big to happen but all we got was a big fat nothing. We couldn’t be bothered to take it down so we left it there for the locals to look at. Not a lot goes on in Powys so we thought it’d give the natives something to talk about during the dark nights and dull days.

“Anyhow, once we’d left bow and arrow country and made it safely back to the urban sophistication of the Mardy, we decided to revert to plan B in our bid to find a portal to the fairy realms.”

Turnip explained that Pureto Paul’s mother, Pauline, or the Witch of Tudor Street as she was once affectionately known, was well-versed in fairy lore and so they visited her caravan just on the outskirts of Llanthony Priory for advice.

“Ever since they cleared the slums, the Witch left Aber and has refused to return," said Turnip, "She said it’s been overrun by beatniks and amateur chefs and not the town she once knew. She’s lived in a caravan for years, giving Tarot card readings to finance her chocolate addiction and listening to Rick Astley records. They help with her gout apparently.”

Turnip added, “However if you want to catch a fairy, she’s your lady!

“When we told her what we were planning, she was a bit dismissive and called us a ‘bunch of goons who were meddling in the higher powers,’ but it was her knowledge of the ancient ways we wanted, not compliments!”

Turnip revealed the three of them left the caravan armed with the riddle that if they ‘Wait by the tree of winter blossom tree by the stones of poetry in the meadow of swans near the river that named a town at the stroke of midnight, the oracle of spikes will lead the way to the hidden realms.’

“I knew straight away where she meant,” explained Turnip. “She didn’t have to dress it up in such ridiculous language though. She could have just said go to the grass bit near the bus station and wait. So that’s exactly what we did!”

Unsure of what exactly they were waiting for, the three friends huddled together in Swan Meadows beneath the blossom tree and spent their time violently arguing about who would make the best wish if they did capture a fairy.

Blossom Tree in Swan Meadows
(Tindle News)

“Puerto Paul said he was going to wish for a time machine,” revealed Turnip. “Apparently he wants to go back to the night The Beatles played Abergavenny to find out if Paul McCartney is really his father like he claims. I said to the dozy tart, ‘Think what you’d have to witness to prove your dad is really a Beatle. It wouldn’t be pleasant!”

Turnip added, “Big Tony had a better wish. He wanted to be the owner of the biggest construction company in the UK. It’s a nice idea for a man with a strong work ethic but limited abilities like Tone, but it still stinks of a small-town mentality. When I revealed my wish would be to become a god, you could see them growing suspicious. Failing to think big has always been their problem.”

The three musketeers’ reverie was eventually broken by a rustling coming from a nearby tree and in the moonlight what looked like a small mythical creature appeared and made tentative movements towards them.

Turnip recalled, “Big Tony grabbed his net and was about to pounce when Puerto Paul screamed, ‘Leave it alone you big lump! It’s a bloody hedgehog!’”

“You can imagine our disappointment," explained Turnip, "We came for the wings and we got the spikes! The hedgehog wandered by all brazen, and gave us a contemptuous scowl that seemed to suggest, ‘Not my circus, not my monkeys.’

“However, when we followed ‘the oracle of spikes’, we found something a lot better than a fairy, we found the secret entrance to Abergavenny’s lost network of tunnels.”

To be continued…..