Herefordshire Week 091: Tuesday 21 – Monday 28 September 2021

New car! (But you’ll have to wait to find out what…)

More Chutney. Some Apple Cider Vinegar plus Damson / Wild Plum and Blackberry Gins.

Pembrokeshire with Hazel and Steffi.

Panorama: Hazel, Steffi, Rainbow
Panorama: Hazel, Steffi, Rainbow

Garden-wise we have a bumper crop of wild plums, and stacks of apples – mainly from trees that were quiet last year.

I need to remember to keep more time free at this time of year to make the most of the autumn harvest. Turning the apples etc into useful things takes an age, let along picking and washing them. There is no room left in the freezer now. On top of that, the veg patch is untended and the third bed awaiting my attention.

I’m going to try a few new things this year – Janette sent me the apple cider vinegar recipe she uses. I’ve thought about making it before as a lot of my apple chutney recipes use it, and I tend to just chuck in malt instead because it’s cheaper. I’m eying up a couple of chutney and gin options, working on the basis that our very tart wild plums are equivalent to damsons,  and I’m hoping to find time to squeeze in Blackberry Gin making too.

Anyway, Friday was set aside for all that.

Into Hereford on Tuesday morning for shopping and library, Wilko for pop top bottles and Poundland for cheap reading glasses. And General Dogsbody for more peanuts for those greedy garden birds. (We love them really.) Then coffee with dad and Jean at the bungalow, sat out on the patio, and taking receipt of a black chilli plant gifted from Annette and Michael.

After the afternoon at work, we drove to Brecon to look at a new second hand car, and settled a part-ex purchase with collection set for Monday 04 October. I can’t reveal what it is yet because Phil is taking bets soliciting guesses as to what it is.

Up early on Wednesday. Morning dew on the spider webs adorning the front gate.

Spider's Web
Spider’s Web

And enough time to collect windfalls and make apple cider vinegar following Janette’s recipe before work. VWW after.

Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar

The Welsh Water engineers didn’t materialise on Thursday to look for the leaks they think we have, and after Family Zoom I headed out to collect blackberries as the light faded and managed to get a jar of blackberry gin underway.  Phil is on sugar dissolving shaking duties once I’m in Pembs.

A busy day Friday.

The day’s preserving began with getting three mayo jars of Allotment Garden Damson Gin underway – handy tip to freeze the fruit so that it splits so you avoid the need to prick.

Apple Chutney, Damson Chutney & Damson Gin: Allotment Garden Damson Gin - step 1
Apple Chutney, Damson Chutney & Damson Gin: Allotment Garden Damson Gin – step 1

Next up, chutneys, apple and plum / damson:

Batch 1

  • Holly Jones’ Spiced Apple Chutney (with star anise and mustard seeds, from pickled cucumber vinegar)
  • Anglo-Indian Apple Chutney (microwave version)

Batch 2

  • Frugal Feeding Apple Chutney (with jalapeño vinegar)
  • Delia’s Spiced Damson Chutney (her favourite!)
Apple Chutney, Damson Chutney & Damson Gin: Controlled chaos in the kitchen
Apple Chutney, Damson Chutney & Damson Gin: Controlled chaos in the kitchen
Apple Chutney, Damson Chutney & Damson Gin: Delia's Spiced Damson Chutney - damsons (front), everything else (back)
Apple Chutney, Damson Chutney & Damson Gin: Delia’s Spiced Damson Chutney – damsons (front), everything else (back)

The second batch was left to cool temporarily mid-afternoon as we nipped into Hereford to test drive the Mazda again. Hot and sunny afternoon made for a lovely top down drive (even with the Friday traffic) and I remained tempted, but we reached stalemate on price. Stopped off at Asda on the way home to fill up the car and mower petrol cans – the fuel delivery crisis was starting to stick around in the headlines and lingered for a week or so. There were “Out of….” signs / covers around at Lock’s Garage and The Forge and various petrol stations in Pembs, but we were fine.

Back to base to finish simmering and bottling the chutneys. The overall tally for the day was 29 jars. That should last us a while:

Friday Chutney Lidded and Labelled: Total tally 29 jars
Friday Chutney Lidded and Labelled: Total tally 29 jars

Last job of the day was to clear the lounge and dining hall – all bar the sideboard and table – in anticipation of the new flooring being laid Monday week and for Phil to repaint the walls and skirting boards before then.

Downstairs cleared and ready for new wooden floors
Downstairs cleared and ready for new wooden floors

After all that, a well-earned evening of pizza and Grand Designs.

Out walking Saturday with the GVWC, on a 12 mile circular route around Kilpeck, Garway and Kentchurch. We arrived at the trig point on the top of Garway Hill in heavy cloud but occasional breaks gave glimpses of the views. A fast pace meant we were enjoying medical rehydration in the beer garden at The Kilpeck Inn by 3.30pm.

GVWC: Kilpeck - Garway - Kentchurch Circular
GVWC: Kilpeck – Garway – Kentchurch Circular
GVWC: Kilpeck - Garway - Kentchurch Circular: Route map
GVWC: Kilpeck – Garway – Kentchurch Circular: Route map

Deleted my Tuffmail account under Phil’s supervision then flickered photos and packed for Pembs. In the evening, collected Hazel from Hereford train station and fish and chips from The Old Stables in Ewyas Harold.

Leisurely start Sunday, breakfast in the conservatory and then off to Pembs for a week of walking (and drinking). Not quite Trekking in Nepal, but we should see seals and seal pups (you don’t get those in the mountains), and culminating in an Everest Get Together with D&G at the weekend.

A good drive – no sheep this time – and a late lunch at the van after a miscommunication on rendezvous location meant H and I surprised M and M at Mayhem, while Steffi waited for us at the van. Speedy trip back into H’west to do the food shopping and still time for a windy stroll on the beach before G&Ts and puff pastry tart for dinner.

Monday morning was cloudy but dry, so we drove to Stackpole Quay and, after waiting out a heavy shower, walked along the coast path to Barafundle Bay, Broadhaven South and Bosherton Lily Ponds, with a late lunch at Mrs Weston’s – still not serving cheese on toast.

Barafundle Bay: Rock Arches
Barafundle Bay: Rock Arches

A couple of showers early on – with a rainbow curving over the coast and into the sea – then a lovely breezy and sunny walk.

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

Podcasts / audiobooks: History Extra, Boudica: Dreaming the Eagle.

Photos: Herefordshire week 91 on Flickr.

Phil:w/e 2021-09-26