Herefordshire Week 005: Monday 27 January – Sunday 02 February 2020

The first weekend in February; the snowdrops are running wild and down by the small pond they’ve been joined by the first of the sunny yellow winter aconites. The bird feeder is busy with blue tits, coal tits and robins, and the sheep are strolling around the field opposite in search of tasty patches of grass.

February Flowers at Forty Acres: Snowdrops, Aconites & Daffodils
February Flowers at Forty Acres: Snowdrops, Aconites & Daffodils

And the first of the daffodils are out… amazing.

February Flowers at Forty Acres: Snowdrops, Aconites & Daffodils
February Flowers at Forty Acres: Snowdrops, Aconites & Daffodils

I was feeling a bit down in the dumps at the start of the week. I think that the prospect and actuality of being in London for work – and being away from Phil – was part of the cause, plus getting to the stage where I need to work on meeting people but not being there to do it. I do like to get things done. And I’m not good when I can’t.

On Monday, after doing last week’s weeknotes, I tried to walk the blues out of my system, following the road up to Kerry’s Gate, down into Grey Valley and past Blackmoor Farm (along what Google tells me is Stone Street), then up to the “main” road and back towards Cockyard before returning to 40A via Jury Cottage Farm and Quarrels Green. It helped.

We were up early on Tuesday morning to allow enough time for the morning rush hour traffic jam along the Belmont Road. I had a slight panic before we left, when I thought the dusting of snow was more substantial than it proved to be. No black ice, but we did need to scrape frozen snow off the car windows. We were at Hereford Train Station with 45mins to spare (but it had been slow from Belmont even at 7.30am) and I had a good journey to Birmingham and on down to Euston. Dropped my bag off at the flat, changed into smarter clothes and headed into work.

Strange being back in the City. Scaffolding had come down from the building at the busy Moorgate/London Wall crossroads, the skeleton of the building above the entrance to Crossrail at Moorgate Station had gone up another floor. The office was the same, and I was soon settled back in at my desk.

Being back in London has meant I got to go to Wine Wednesday with Hazel, Catherine and Fiona, which was lovely. My wine tolerance has definitely dropped mind you 🙂

By Thursday evening I was feeling a bit better – my London work week was done, I’d had a really nice meal with Tom before catching the train to Walton to check that everything was OK there, which, thankfully, it was. And the first couple of visits to Herefordshire by friends had firmed up, for March and April.

Then on Friday it was aaaaaaall the way back to Hereford: I was walking on the beach shortly after dawn and looking out over the Black Mountains at dusk. The trio of train journeys went smoothly, and I walked through Hereford and out to Belmont to meet Phil at Tesco’s to do some shopping before driving home. A long and tiring day, but I was home. AND we had super home made pizza for dinner. Oh yes, Friday was 31 January 2020: Britain exited the EU.

One of the other downsides of the day was having to check my work Blackberry constantly to sort out my flights to LA after the initial options all came in at over three grand. That work trip firmed up late on Thursday afternoon and means that this month I’ll be spending more time away from Herefordshire than in it. Getting my head around that didn’t help my mood. I’m rubbish being on my own.

It was a real effort to join Herefordshire Ramblers on their Hardwicke walk on Saturday. But I am so glad that I did – I was made very warmly welcome and had plenty of people to chat with all the way round the 9 mile route up to Mouse Castle and returning via Little Mountain. As advertised, it was “A varied walk over fields, lanes, woods and some common land”. Very muddy in parts, but with some magic views out over the Wye valley. Beautiful. Sadly no photos.

I drove us both to the the Ramblers rendezvous – Small car park by bus shelter on B4348 close to junction with B4352 – and Phil continued on to spend the day in Hay on Wye. The walk finished later than I’d expected – it was almost 3pm by the time we returned to the car park – so it was straight home for tea, toast and cake….

… and the first three episodes of Succession season 1. We normally limit our TV to 2 eps/night, but it was sooooo good!

Sunday was another good day, of getting through jobs: polyfilla-ing and sanding down the holes left behind by hooks in the kitchen and bathroom and the curtain tracks by the front door; mastic-ing the leaky tall door/window in the hall; cleaning my extremely muddy boots; planting the fire bucket of demon hot chillis from Jean; cleaning the porch; packing for Manchester; buying a return train ticket to get me home from LHR at the end of the month; applying for a Coventry Building Society cash ISA to transfer in my matured Virgin Money consolidated set; emailing Cathedral Building Services to ask Chris to come and take a look at the gutters again (I think we may need to replace the ones facing the drive as they’re not draining in spite of the clean); clearing some of the weed and leaves from the small pond; watering the orchids and removing the dead leaves from my frilly green pot plant (a Boston Fern or Sword Fern, I learn); packing up two boxes of stuff to go to the Hospice charity shop, and putting “Dad’s treasures” into the roof; boiling up three jars of January’s marmalade with an extra mug of sugar in an attempt to get them to set – which was A Success.

Marmalade - microwave reboiled batch 1
Marmalade – microwave reboiled batch 1

A good end to the week.

You can never see enough snowdrops:

February Flowers at Forty Acres: Snowdrops, Aconites & Daffodils
February Flowers at Forty Acres: Snowdrops, Aconites & Daffodils

28 April 2020 Update: Easy access to my Herefordshire Week 005 photos on Flickr.