Herefordshire Week 100: Tuesday 23 – Monday 29 November 2021

Wardrobe wrangling. Chutney cupboard reorganising. A cold snap. First frost, sleep and snow. Some nice walks.


One hundred weeknotes.

Squirrel in the Yew Tree
Squirrel in the Yew Tree

Woke with a headache on Tuesday morning, so after Phil and I had driven to Ewyas Harold to post off this week’s three eBay sales, we set out on the Bacton Square for some fresh air. Cloudy and cold, so we wrapped up warm for the first time this autumn. Good to be outdoors.

VWW with H & R (good Picos Planning opportunity) but no Family Zoom. Internet behaving itself this week. Thanksgiving meant work a bit quieter this week. Nice winding down to year end.

Tuesday and Thursday were gorgeous blue sky days (and the army camp helicopters were busy) (as were the SQUIRRELS), and Friday morning was the same, so I ditched indoor / admin plans and, leaving Phil making bread…..

Phil's loaf - perfect timing for lunch.....
Phil’s loaf – perfect timing for lunch…..

… set out on the Cockyard Circuit, Quarrells Green first. Val phoned while I was out and we had a good long chat. Clouds loomed over Hatterall Ridge and double rainbows over the Golden Valley. Beautiful.

I got back just in time as from lunchtime we had showers and occasional heavy rain. Good weather for sorting out the spare room, decommissioning the tall narrow wardrobe and moving the oak bureau up in its place.  Made a batch of apple chutney in the afternoon – The Yellow One – and managed, eventually, a FaceTime with Jenny. Lots of catching up.

Four more jars of Apple Chutney - "The Yellow One" (it's spicy!)
Four more jars of Apple Chutney – “The Yellow One” (it’s spicy!)

Pizza and The Harder They Fall in the evening. We didn’t make it to the end.

Storm Arwen arrived overnight. Strong winds woke me up a few times – they’re noisy in themselves plus the bargeboards over the white wall rattle. The winds continued into the morning along with sleet flurries and grey clouds, so, with the log stove adding extra warmth to the house, I settled down to do some admin.

The morning’s greatest achievement, however, was moaneuvring (I know that’s a typo, but I like it) the tall cupboard downstairs, Freegle having delivered a taker in a matter of hours yesterday.

At many stages I was convinced we’d never get it out of the house – the size and weight of the thing, the tight angles of the old landing, the narrow stairs, the tricky corner turn at the bottom of the stairs, only 10cm or so clearance between the top of the cupboard and the dining room ceiling (so no tilting), the getting it back up into the staircase’s awkward bottom turn and angling the descent into the hall rather than the dining room…. I’m still amazed we managed it. And without damaging the new wooden floors! (I don’t know at what stage the floor will stop being new and precious. Probably when we damage it for the first time!)

High fives all round.

And then a grey and gusty drive into Ewyas for Phil to get his booster, a few tilting trees en route and one horizontal but helpfully from high up on a field bank. Back for lunch, with short but essential stops at Neil Powell’s (Pork Pie and eggs) and The Forge (milk).

A satisfying afternoon on the Grand Chutney Cupboard Reorganisation – chutneys (and jams, mincemeat and vinegars) are now distributed evenly between two kitchen cupboards. Then a pot of tea and a biscuit reading Katherine Langridge’s essays analysing the Narnia books she’d loved as a child after an adult reread. Excellent. She’s made me realise why I loved them too – strong female characters (absent Susan) and realistic child-centred narrative and characters – from feelings about death to attitudes to right, wrong and justice. What I’d not remotely fully appreciated were how often the plots, characters and scenes draw upon fairytales, myths and legends.

The tall cupboard collection went by without a hitch and we settled in for a cosy film night. Clear and cold outside.

Saturday night weather
Saturday night weather
Sunday morning weather
Sunday morning weather

Sunday morning was clear and cold – a beautiful morning for Tremorithic, footpath edition. A scattering of snow on Hatterall Ridge and Hay Bluff. Blue Skies. Green fields. Lots of sheep. A few buzzards. Hardly another soul out. Peaceful. 8 miles, 2 3/4 hours.

Spindle tree berries
Spindle tree berries
Kerrys Gate, Cockyard and the Malverns, from the footpath
Kerrys Gate, Cockyard and the Malverns
Buzzard in a tree
Buzzard in a tree
Hatterall Ridge and Hay Bluff - with a scattering of snow
Hatterall Ridge and Hay Bluff – with a scattering of snow

Light lunch, catch up with JC then over to Dinedor for a late afternoon Sunday lunch feast with dad and Jean.

Back to an evening should have been snoozing in front of the log stove but ended up being rejigging December travel plans to have a bit more time in Witham and rebooking Premier Inn for Picos – I realised I’d booked the wrong LGW hotel.

Another cold night.

With the log stove adding extra heat to the house, I spent Monday morning on admin, including reporting broken stiles and road holes to the council using FixMyStreet. Snaps to whoever set that up!

Quick lunch then out on the ride on mower for the final mow of the year and to pick up some of the leaves Storm Arwen kindly whipped off the trees. Collected storm-blown deadwood sticks and twigs to use as kindling too.

Inside as dusk settled in I finally got around to turning some of the endless windfalls into Nigel Slater’s apple and sultana pastries. No poppy seeds so I blitzed some of the Pembrokeshire Pecans and used those instead.

Apple and Sultana Pastries - Cooling off
Apple and Sultana Pastries – Cooling off

YUM! We had two each, just for quality control.

Gave the Christmas Cake its first feed and prepped the first crop of the Albutt’s Red Chillies to turn into It’s Not Complicated’s Preserved Chillies in Oil.

Then relaxed….

TV: The Billion Dollar Code (excellent if you like German dramas and remember the 1990s) plus The Harder They Fall  and The Rhythm Section.

Podcasts: History Extra, Lingthusiasm and The Allusionist.

Photos: Herefordshire week 100 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2021-11-28.