Herefordshire Week 076: Tuesday 09 – Monday 14 June 2021

Guests! Glorious weather. Strimmer lesson and a close encounter with a buzzard. Backed out of the Lakes trip.

Me on the Cat's Back
Me on the Cat’s Back

Up early on Tuesday for the drive home from Solihull, taking the Worcester South / Malvern / Hereford route so that I could stop off in Hereford to do a big shop in Aldi and Sainsbury’s. Home in time for a mug or two of tea and the Cockyard Direct route before lunch. The bridge by Blackmoor Farm has been repaired.

Usual schedule for the rest of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (work, VWW and Family Zoom).

C and SL arrived for their long weekend at the Abbey Dore Pod on Thursday. Did a chunk of admin first thing Friday morning before heading down to meet them at the Pod. Explored the Abbey then took the footpath round the back of Abbey Dore Court, and along the River Dore to Riverdale and back home via Kerrys Gate. Tour of the grounds then lunch and chat for the rest of the afternoon.

Steffi arrived early on Saturday morning and we drove over to Skirrid. Surprisingly easy parking and fantastic views from the summit. On the drive home we stopped off at Rowlestone Court Farm Ice Cream Parlour – YUM – and later in the evening indulged in a feast of BBQ curated by Phil.

Skirrd panorama
Skirrd panorama

We did the Cat’s Back on Sunday – more superb views out over Herefordshire to the east and the beautiful Olchon Valley and majestic Hatterall Ridge to the west. After tea and brownies on the lawn we headed down to the Pod for dinner on the patio and farewells.

Olchon Valley and Hatterrall's Ridge from The Cat's Back, panoramic views - and Steffi
Olchon Valley and Hatterrall’s Ridge from The Cat’s Back, panoramic views – and Steffi

So good having friends to visit. As well as good company, they provide a reminder that we really do now live in a gorgeous part of the world.

Monday was a mixed day. Trying to book train tickets up to the Lakes next week failed at the mandatory seat reservation stage, and I wasn’t keen on driving the now rattling/creaking car there, around and back in the first place. The earliest I could book the car in at the garage was next Wednesday. After a lot of soul searching, to-ing and fro-ing and telephone calls (with my phone finally running out of credit midway through), I decided not to go. I’ve realised I need a bit of time off here to get on top of things and to have a bit of a break.

On the plus side, dad came over late morning and I had my first lesson with the big hand-held strimmer before mowing the “lawn” below the large pond and up on the solarium. As I was doing the area by Barney’s tree a big buzzard landed in the cut grass on the Solarium and we looked at one another for a while. Amazing.

After lunch, drove to Powells and dropped off the strimmer mower and picked up C’s chain saw (Bosch Electric). Got details of a guy who can do a 1 day chainsaw maintenance and basics lesson too…. Back at base, netted the cherry tree, cleared all the grass from inside the greenhouse and transplanted my tomato seedlings into growbags.

Tomato seedlings planted out - Batch 2
Tomato seedlings planted out – Batch 2

We also decided to postpone the garage revamp – too much uncertainty with the price and timescales largely due to scarcity of building materials. So I won’t be getting my Mazda MX-5 just yet….

In bird news, we’ve noticed a lot of juvenile birds out and about by the bird feeders – in particular a young blackbird which is a bit gormless but seems to survive. Still following dad for food!

Juvenile Blackbird
Juvenile Blackbird

Taking down the seed feeder has deterred the squirrels, but Phil’s seen at least three mice munching on the peanuts….

TV:  Ozark (finished off season 2), Hip Hop Evolution and Bo Burnham: Inside.

Podcasts: The History of England, History ExtraThe Essay and You Must Remember This.

Photos: Herefordshire week 76 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2021-06-13.