Herefordshire Week 043: Tuesday 20 – Monday 26 October 2020

Packing up Walton; driving to Herefordshire; unpacking and finding a new homes for more stuff. So Much STUFF.

Plus lots and lots of washing.

Busy week!

Oh, and the mice are back.

So, yes, we managed to get everything done we needed to in Walton, and saw some of the neighbours to say goodbye.

Tuesday and Wednesday were spent packing up our flat, getting rid of surplus stuff (mainly via Facebook – a relief to find someone who wanted the king size mattress I can tell you) and cleaning.

Packing Up Walton
Packing Up Walton

On Thursday morning we headed up to Hythe (Colchester) to pick up a hire van from the ever reliable and good value Enterprise, and loaded it up over the course of the afternoon. January’s van was largely filled with boxes, which were easy to stack. Furniture proved trickier, but Tetris-like we just about managed to fit everything in.

Stormy seas on Wednesday had made for an exhilarating walk to Frinton and back, and we had beautiful weather for loading up on Thursday and for most of the drive back on Friday – heavy rain just before our lunch stop, which was good timing.

Walton Waves
Walton Waves

We’d walked to the beach hut and back before setting off; it was one of those gorgeous sunny mornings the Sunshine Coast does so well, so we got to see Walton at its best.

Our drive started off well but somewhere around Banbury Apple Maps decided to take us north to Stratford upon Avon and then west via Worcester and Hereford. WHAT THE WHAT?!! That’s not a direct route at at the best of times (and driving through Hereford at rush hour would have taken ages) and all the more so for me as an inexperienced Vauxhall Vivaro van driver.

What I’d really like in a sat nav is the ability to specify which motorways I want to avoid (M25) and what else (town centres, and roundabouts, which proved a particular nightmare), and what I’d like (Major A roads). I particularly hate the fact that it’s really hard to tell which route the sat nav has got in store for you once you’re actually driving. I’m a “plan the route on a map, then follow it” person.

But we made it, and unpacked before it got dark. Then 10 minutes of fun and games locking the van – turned out we always had one door not quite closed, and we kept setting off the alarm as we tried to work out which one. Very, very hard to find out what the problem was and how the van should lock – no manual in the van and no customer support number to call.

After all that we slept really well on Friday/Saturday night….. although we did both wake up to the sound of a mouse meeting its end in the roof 🙂

Better than an alarm clock!

Handy too as we had early start so that we could return the van before the roads jammed up, and do a supermarket shop. All done by 10am.

The rest of the day was spent reassembling the beds and chairs, unpacking and sorting….

Unpacking our Walton stuff
Unpacking our Walton stuff

And by the end of the day the spare room and the lounge were starting to feel “done”.

In London news, Terry sent us final photos of our flat, now redecorated from top to bottom. It was a bit more than “just painting”: walls and ceilings were prepped and painted throughout and water stains sorted, wooden doors and window frames prepped and varnished, dints in plasterwork smoothed out, gaps in coving and skirting filled, wardrobe doors repainted, bathroom silicone redone, a broken wardrobe rail replaced, a kitchen cupboard repaired and curtains dry cleaned! We got regular progress photos plus the whole flat was dusted and mopped clean once done.

Now we just need Frank Harris to rent it out 🙂

Sunday was a bad day. We are both really fed up with spending all our spare time unpacking, and are resenting it. Even a walk up towards Kerrys Gate didn’t help. Sausage, chips and fried egg for tea did though, and the fact that we’d “done” the sewing area, got the spare room looking less like a junk shop, put the Muji shelves into the garage as an “outside pantry” and cleared away all the packing boxes.

And we found a drowned mouse in the dustbin that catches the rain water from the leaky garage roof. Phil disposed.

I did a third (fourth?) drive down to the hospice donation station in Ross on Monday morning, then rattled through a whole load of “jobs” that I’d had on my mental to do list: called a builder about insulating/boarding out the loft, checked our Landlord’s Insurance cover, paid Terry, found a home for a big bag of hotel toiletries (Hereford Food Bank – who also want our packing boxes and some smaller jars of apple chutney – triple win!!!), arranged to return the Dore Abbey Crockery (very impressed by the new Dore Abbey website), looked into getting an eye test and flu jab in Hereford, put painting and decorating boxes and greenhouse stuff into the shed, relocated empty jars (for future marmalade, chutney, pickles and preserves) into the “garage pantry”, deduplicated the spices and condiments and put spares out in the garage pantry too, refilled the bird seed and peanut feeders (the birds are busy as I type – although the new bird seed doesn’t seem to be as popular as its Aldi predecessor), cleared weed from the pond, dismantled the tomato canes and picked and washed the final crop, pruned back the chilli plants ahead of winter ….

Chilli crop
Chilli crop

Being outside was lovely. It’s beautiful here at the moment especially when the sun comes out, which it did, lighting up the autumn leaves and their rich and wonderful colours. I’ll add some photos once I’ve put them on Flickr. <– Done:

Montage: Forty Acres Autumn Colours
Montage: Forty Acres Autumn Colours

Once the daylight went, I made a batch of Holly Jones’ Spiced Apple Chutney for the Food Bank Christmas parcels: 9 small jars.

We’re getting there… I shall be so glad when it’s all done. It feels like we’ve done nothing else for a month. We’re both ready to spend some time on other things.

I’m looking forward to getting out and about a bit more, weather permitting. There are plenty of footpaths we’ve not walked and although Wales is off limits for a while, the Black Mountains which we can see from the house are just – just – within England. The border, and a section of the Offa’s Dyke Path, go along the top of Hatterall’s Ridge that runs from Abergavenny to Hay on Wye. Next summer I’d like to walk it.

I envy friends who know their local hills already, so that heading out for a proper walk is less of an unknown (when did I lose my DIY walking – navigating mainly – confidence?) and having people to walk with.

Telly: Ghosts seasons 1 and 2. Easy viewing, which was just what we needed.

Podcasts: History Extra, The Essay.

Photos: Herefordshire week 43 on Flickr.

Phil: Weeknotes for w/e 2020-10-25