Herefordshire Week 059: Tuesday 09 – Monday 15 February 2021


Until Monday, when it was a balmy 12C and I was able to take off a layer…..

It’s been a cold, cold week, so we made sure our bird feeders were kept topped up peanuts, bird seed and fat balls, and put a flower pot saucer of water out once the day got warm enough.

Both ponds froze and the ground was rock hard, genuinely “in the bleak midwinter “.

Two new arrivals tempted by the bird feeders – a male Bullfinch and a Redwing. No buzzard this week though.

Blackbird - Robin - Bullfinch
Blackbird – Robin – Bullfinch

I had a lovely icy morning walk on Tuesday, before knuckling down to work for the week.  A cautious descent into Abbey Dore with Phil, meeting  a new neighbour down at Yew Tree Cottage, past Tan House Farm and into Dore Abbey churchyard. Phil headed home and I took the footpath up to Ewyas Harold Common, then Tremorithic Road to Fair Oak Farm before dropping down to Bacton (the iciest stretch, as expected) then back via Riverdale to Abbey Dore to avoid the cold winds up at Kerrys Gate.

Fair Oak, with Hatterral's Ridge and Hay Bluff behind
Fair Oak, with Hatterral’s Ridge and Hay Bluff behind

Worked Friday on a big document automation project that had been eluding me for the past couple of weeks. A gorgeous sunny day, and I would rather have been able to get outside in spite of the cold.

But still.

Birds busy at the bird feeders.

And Imogen West-Knights’ account of “Lawyer Cat” in The Guardian made me laugh so much that I cried. Haven’t done that for a while.

Still cold on Saturday, it didn’t get above -1C all day, so we lit the log stove and hunkered down with reading for the day. Living the dream – really. This is what I hoped our Forty Acres lives would see more of. I’m finding it harder to get stuck into reading though – not sure if that’s COVID uncertainty or an iPad reduced attention span.

Sunday brought the end of the cold spell, and rain. We managed to get out for a walk in the morning (Bacton) after a catching up with Carl. The rain really got going in the afternoon so it was back to the lounge, log stove and reading.

Dale and his team turned up bang on 8.30am on Monday to start our boiler replacement project which also entails removing the cold water tank from the roof and the hot water tank from the kitchen. We hit a slight snag with low water pressure, but they can install a pump to fix that. They’re coming back tomorrow to finish up.

That will set us up for the plumbers to return in April to replace the shower in the en suite and main bathroom with MORE POWERFUL ONES! At last. We are planning to get a bigger shower enclosure in the ensuite, and moving the sink to make room for that. We’re also replacing the radiator with a towel rail one.

Spending money – what’s come over me.

Our mature handyman came over on Monday afternoon and we put the slabs down in the greenhouse and bolted together the frames for the staging (greenhouse jargon for work bench / shelves / tops). I’ve still to nail the wooden slats together, but that should be OK. And I think we may need to shove a bit more sand under some of the slabs to eliminate wobbles.

Then I have to work out what to plant….

TV:  It’s a Sin (heartbreakingly wonderful), This Farming LifeHip Hop: The Songs That Shook America, Lady Macbeth, Young Adult and started season 5 of Justified.

Podcasts: The History of EnglandIn Our Time, The Missing Cryptoqueen.

Photos: Herefordshire week 59 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2021-02-14.