Herefordshire Week 058: Tuesday 02 – Monday 08 February 2021

First daffs. A lot of wood wrangling. Grumpy grief.

A good start to the weeknotes week, with a walk down to the Abbey and back with Phil first thing on Tuesday – spotting a deer below Stockley Coppice. Then out into the garden to haul wood down to the bonfire for the rest of the morning, Got through the hazelnut tree main limbs (firewood to be) and two piles of apple prunings (bonfiring to be).

The buzzard is still visiting most mornings, looking for worms etc down by the willow stump, which we can see from our bathroom without scaring it off. Sometimes it perches on Jean’s wisteria trellis, just behind the yew tree, or on a bare branch of the gangly bush behind the coppiced hazelnut. Not managed to get quick enough to get a photo before s/he flies off.

There are yellowy-green buds on the daffs in the garden by the bird feeder tree and plenty more green shoots coming up through the grass. Having to be very careful not to walk on them – every now and then there’s an ominous crunch!

Heading out on Sat to relocate the apple tree prunings to the quarry, I spotted the first of the small daffs by the train is in bloom. And we have a primrose in the orchard. Spring is here!

Primroses in the Orchard
Primroses in the Orchard
First daffs!!!
First daffs!!!

As is Storm Darcy – not quite the Beast from the East of 2018, but definitely cold, cold, cold – and quite a wind chill. No snow, apart from the occasional stray flake.

I was snow shoeing in Northern Italy / Southern France when the 2018 BftE hit. Great snow, great trip! Talking of trips, I caught up with Val on Saturday evening and she’s hopeful of getting to Nepal in November, although where will depend on their COVID and tourism recovery circs. She’s written off Peru this summer.

Another winter lockdown special social week – VWW Weds, Family Zoom Thurs, chat with Tom and Jo Fri, Val sat, Carl Sunday and Jane Monday. As an introvert, I find the idea of calls / Zooms tiring, but they’re usually OK. One to one is easier, more than that and I unconsciously slip into host mode. Phone is better than Zoom too – don’t have to think about my facial expressions and where best to sit to use the tech.

Very, very grumpy on Friday morning. Phil soaked up a lot of anger and frustration. On top  of a baseline of grief and the intense work week, I added two large chunks of admin which I knew would be annoying to complete, and so they were.

Setting up the LED / Just Giving Campaign page for Just Giving Campaign page for Val’s Huayhuash Circuit Challenge  took over an hour of trying to upload the mandatory campaign image using Safari and Chrome on my Mac, and my work laptop too – Chrome and Edge. NO joy anywhere. Eventually got Phil to try on his Mac. Success. I suspect it’s ad block settings on my mac and security settings on my work laptop.  Creating the blogpost on the website was quicker: Val’s Huayhuash Circuit Challenge 2021.

I then embarked on my Nth attempt to complete Scottish Powers FIT change of ownership form. MPANs, MCSs, FITs, Export Meters, Import Meters…. WHAT DO THEY ALL MEAN??? Having emailed Scottish Power to ask, all I got back was they have two MCS extensions on record for here. No explanation as to what these two new numbers actually were. I eventually worked out that the “record” must be dad’s. Fortunately dad has a very organised filing system and had already given me the papers relating to the installation here – where I spotted one of the MCS numbers on an MCS Certificate (who knew?) and when dad dug out the MCS certificate for Dinedor, lo and behold, there was the second number. Both certificates show the address, so why SP can’t see that they’re different installations is beyond me.

Felt better after doing the Cockyard Circuit in the afternoon, and chatting with Tom and Jo before we tucked into the second of the reduced M&S pizzas for dinner. 89p – down from £5.50!!! Loosemores love a bargain. Phil’s back on Friday Pizza Duty next week.

Spent Saturday outside dragging more tree cuttings down to the bonfire. Another grey day.

Sunday morning saw me spend another happy couple of hours moving / lopping the walnut tree trimmings. Cold, but sheltered. Then back inside for elevenses – coffee and stollen bites sat by the log stove.

A quick walk with Phil down to the Abbey and back before lunch, then an afternoon sat by the fire reading, chatting with Carl and a bit of online shopping – we’ve treated ourselves to winter gardening gloves (Ejendals Tegera 295 Waterproof Thermal Work Gloves), roofing panels to repair the log shed, a boiler suit (lugging lopped branches usually means my clothes get muddy / greeny) and are pondering treating ourselves to a small chainsaw / pruner…. Peeled 8 bulbs of our Christmas garlic plait to freeze. Who knew you could do that? Domestic bliss.

Bonfire wood piles.....
Bonfire wood piles…..

Monday – another cold day. Pottered inside the morning. Big shop and library click&collect in the afternoon. A bit of snow, and a cold week ahead:

Cold week ahead
Cold week ahead

I listen to Radio 3’s The Essay series, and they’ve just had a week of essays called “Odes to Essex”. They’re only 15 mins each.

Metropolitan Essex: Singer-songwriter Billy Bragg on the borderland between London and Essex that fuelled his childhood imagination.

Washed Up in Essex: In the next in a series exploring the joys of Essex, AL Kennedy takes on a watery journey through the rivers, mudflats and reedbeds of the county she calls home.

The Refusal of Place: Celebrating the joys of Essex, surely the most misunderstood of counties, writer Lavinia Greenlaw takes us back to the formative landscape of her childhood.

Brightening from the East: In the next in a series celebrating the joys of Essex, surely the most maligned of counties, social historian Ken Worpole explores Essex as a place of retreat and refuge.

The Essex Way: In the last programme in a series celebrating the joys of Essex, surely the most maligned of counties, writer Gillian Darley explores the unsung delights of Mid Essex.

I’m not sure we’ll even manage to get to WON this summer.

TV:  The Serpent. Grand DesignsThis Farming Life (would love a series set in the Welsh Marches). Plus next episodes from BBC Four’s Winter Walks and Hip Hop: The Songs That Shook America and Film 4’s American Animals.

Podcasts: The History of England, History Extra, In Our Time and David Tennant Does a Podcast With….

Photos: Herefordshire week 58 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2021-02-07.