Herefordshire Week 090: Tuesday 14 – Monday 20 September 2021

Weekend guest. Abergavenny Food Festival. Chutney. Walks wet and dry.

Hay Bluff - looking along the Beacons
Hay Bluff – looking along the Beacons

Caught up on house and money admin on Tuesday morning then eased back to work. No time for a walk or to pick any apples or plums. I managed the latter on Wednesday morning before work, and we had stewed plums, very tart, for pudding that evening. VWW and Family Zooms as usual.


I spent Friday morning gathering windfalls and easy-to-reach apples and conjuring up a jam-pan-ful of apple chutney (Cottage Smallholder recipe) and a smaller quantity of spicy plum chutney, stirring furiously for four hours, and bottling just before Janette arrived in the early afternoon.

Apple Chutney & Plum Chutney - Production Complete
Apple Chutney & Plum Chutney – Production Complete

It was a lovely afternoon so we had tea and chat out on the patio then walked to Kerrys Gate – Cockyard – Duffryn – Camp Crossroads and home for dinner.  We sat out on the patio enjoying a very civilised but slightly over indulgent bottle of rosé accompanied by crisps and canapés courtesy of Phil, then pizza à la Phil in the conservatory.

Saturday saw us drive to Abergavenny to spend the day at the Abergavenny Food Festival. Another gorgeous hot and sunny day, which was smashing for strolling around the streets visiting the various venues and checking out the stalls, samples and shows – but made for rather too many people doing the same thing in confined spaces. Fine if you could put COVID to the furthest recesses of your mind, but ……

Home for tea and biscuits, a bit of a potter around the grounds, then dinner feasting on various goodies we’d bought at the Festival, accompanied by music wafting up from the Army Camp which seemed to be hosting a fun fair.

A leisurely start on Sunday, with another hot and sunny day.

Al fresco breakfast
Al fresco breakfast

Having breakfasted al fresco, Janette and I were tempted back towards Abergavenny for the walk up Skirrid. We left 40A in blazing sunshine, emerged from the woods to see a haze of rain showers engulf Abergavenny and Sugar Loaf, and got to the ridge in light rain which swiftly developed into a downpour by the time we reached the trig point (no views!!) and stayed in situ for all the descent, easing off just as we got back to the car. Pah!

And by the time we got back to the cottage – no rain, blue skies. Double pah!! After a change of clothes and a shower – we were both sodden – and a late lunch, we were lured out again by the sunshine and blue skies. This time we were luckier and had a lovely stroll down to the Abbey and back.

Waved Janette off around 6pm, then weedkillered the drive before a relaxing evening with a bit of telly. Darkness slowly falling from 7pm these days.


Monday dawned with a gorgeous sunrise over Grey Valley.

Sunrise, Grey Valley
Sunrise, Grey Valley

… and after finishing Flickring my Pembrokeshire photos I drove over to Longtown and the Black Hill to walk the Cat’s Back Backwards: Road and bridleway into the Olchon Valley, up the valley onto Hatterrall Ridge and along to Hay Bluff, and the Red Dragon Trig Point, where I watched paragliders readying for the off. Back along Hatterall Ridge via the other Trig Point (England) and down the Cat’s Back.

Blue skies, cool, smashing views.

Olchon Valley
Olchon Valley
Hay Bluff Trig Point
Hay Bluff Trig Point
Cat's Back / Hatterrall Ridge Trig Point
Cat’s Back / Hatterrall Ridge Trig Point
Cat's Back Descent
Cat’s Back Descent

I was back home by mid afternoon, which gave me time to mow. We’ve “grass cutting swirls” on our front lawn. Need to get the grass collector fixed….


Quite a lot of conservatory casualties this week 🙁  Perhaps it’s something to do with the low angle of the light at this time of year, later in the mornings and earlier evenings, but we’ve had a lot of bonks on the windows with two fatalities. Phil’s put some post it notes up.

Flowers are in a pale purple phase: autumn crocus, cyclamen, chives.

Autumn Crocus
Autumn Crocus

And I’ve a second batch of strawberries appearing in the patio pots! The runners have set fine too.

Autumn Strawberries!
Autumn Strawberries!

Mouse Wars have entered the Garage Phase: Phil 1 : Mice 1.

Phil caught a mouse in the garage… but discovered something has eaten a hole in the plastic bin we keep the bird seed in….

Mouse Wars: Garage Edition
Mouse Wars: Garage Edition

TV: Grand DesignsThe North Water, Sex Education (series 3).

Podcasts / audiobooks: Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle.


Photos: Herefordshire week 90 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2021-09-19.