Herefordshire Week 064: Tuesday 16 – Monday 22 March 2021

Phil’s birthday. Dad’s birthday. Jabs. Back to the Cat’s Back.

Got my first COVID vaccine jab on Tuesday morning. Phil drove me to the surgery in Ewyas Harold and it was all over and done with in 5 mins or so.

AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccination Docs
AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccination Docs

Timely – it’s been a year since Janette’s visit, which was all too swiftly followed by the first lockdown.

No after effects and the weather was nice, so I decided to walk back along the Dulas road. The tiny daffodils are out in Dulas Churchyard, and primroses, celandine and wild violets lined the lanes. Making the most of the good weather, I decided to walk the long way home, turning left onto Tremorithic Road at the end of Mill Lane, and walking home via Fair Oak, Bacton and Kerrys Gate. 8 miles, 784 ft ascent, 535 ft descent.

Wild violets
Wild violets

Thursday was Phil’s birthday. A lovely day – breakfast “Shepherdess”, cards and pressies, stroll down to the Abbey and back, bumping into Bob at Ray’s produced more cards. Balfour Beatty were filling in the larger potholes on the straight stretch down in Abbey Dore. Still plenty of lesser holes left mind you.

Birthday Cake at 4pm, featuring the Delia Smith Christmas Cake we didn’t manage to get to last December.

Big Boozy Birthday Cake (Very Mature)
Big Boozy Birthday Cake (Very Mature)

For dinner we treated ourselves to The Cinnamon Club Vegan Meal Kit from The Cinnamon Club restaurant. Not cheap, but delivered, chilled, in the morning and easy to “cook” plus plenty for 2 evening meals – although not of the Smoky Mumbai Manhattan cocktail…. Dinner totally tasted of Kerala.

Birthday Dinner courtesy of The Cinnamon Club
Birthday Dinner courtesy of The Cinnamon Club

I think our last meal out might have been a disappointing pre cinema burger at Wildwood back in Week 10.

Friday’s highlight was a return to Ewyas Harold for Phil to get his jab. Speedy work from our local GP Surgery.

Still taking great delighted in my Friday morning achievement: hemming the frayed cuffs on the blue ice breaker I inherited from Phil. Also been reading Michael Wood’s   very readable The Story of China.

(For Phil, I think the morning’s highlight was the delivery of six Crosstown Vegan Sourdough Doughnuts to add to yesterday’s Grassmere Gingerbread gift. Good friends.)

Saturday was Dad’s birthday – and he got his second jab that afternoon.

Phil was feeling a bit under par, so settled in front of the telly. How handy we recently got Netflix 🙂 That left me free to get some jobs done: removed the wall plugs from and polyfilla’d the small holes in the walls we’ve been living with since we changed all the loo roll holders about 6 months ago; hammered in strong stakes next to the greenhouse and reestablished the water butts. Watered the seeds – radishes and mixed salad are putting in an appearance, and indoors my Rocket Micro Greens have progressed to sprouting on Thursday to lanky seedlings on  Sunday.

Spring officially sprung on Sunday, and having been woken most of the week by the enthusiastic dawn chorus, I can confirm the days are getting longer. The blackbirds are the noisy ones, but I did spot two jays down by the railway track and on Monday Phil spotted two partridges. The squirrels are also back…

Buds on the pear and apple trees, leaves on hedges, and green green grass – meriting the first mow of 2021. Successfully started the ride on mower and completed the first “lap” of the year.

Decanted the Blackberry Whisky made last September.

Blackberry Whisky Decanted
Blackberry Whisky Decanted

Monday’s weather forecast looked promising so we set off to do The Cat’s Back and the Olchon Valley loop. After navigating the narrow country lanes, and potholes, to The Black Hill picnic car park, we had a magic few hours up on The Black Hill. Sunny, albeit with a cold wind on top, and views over Herefordshire to our east and along Hatterall’s Ridge and into the Brecon Beacons to the west.

The Cat's Back & Olchon Valley, with Phil
The Cat’s Back & Olchon Valley, with Phil

Late lunch sat outside on the patio, then spent a couple of hours dragging the last of Richard’s brash up to the bonfire, and making a start on lopping off the branches from the tree that’s fallen out of the hedge at Mower Turn, bringing the wild plum with it.

Dad and Jean delivered my early birthday present – a blackcurrant bush – now planted in the orchard.

TV: Bailed out of Stranger Things (too scary) and galloped through The Queen’s Gambit instead. Enjoyed The Ballad of Buster Scruggs as our Friday night film and started season 4 of The Crown.

Podcasts: Predominantly History Extra and The Essay plus Dressed: The History of Fashion (appropriately enough whilst hemming) and The Allusionist.

Photos: Herefordshire week 64 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2021-03-21.