Herefordshire Week 109: Tuesday 25 – Monday 31 January 2022

Lots of gardening. Tremorithic with new boots and new lambs. Marmalade Manufacturing Marathon.

Tremorithic on a sunny day: Snowdrops
Tremorithic on a sunny day: Snowdrops

We were in Abergavenny at the start of the week for our wedding anniversary at The Angel Hotel. Dinner on Monday evening hadn’t left much room for a big breakfast on Tuesday but we did our best.

Tuesday is market day in Abergavenny and the town was bustling. The cloud was right down, so we didn’t feel too guilty about not doing any walking while we were there, and after making the most of Morrison’s it was back home to get stuck into work for the afternoon.

Another busy week workwise. VWW and Family Zoom ensured a 6.30pm finish both days. Sunny enough to lunch in the conservatory on Thursday, and I watched three buzzards circling and soaring on thermals.

Thoroughly enjoyed the audiobook of Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, which has been my bedtime “reading” this week.

Two pieces of chainsaw PPE safety kit arrived courtesy of eBay – helmet (with visor and earmuff) and chainsaw trousers. Now I just need boots and gloves…

Spent Friday morning pottering around the garage and garden, clearing some of the garage shelves as I want to sort out and reorganise all the stuff in there while the ride on mower is away for a service. The battery is definitely shot – I’d had it recharging for a good few hours on Thursday afternoon and it still wouldn’t start on Friday. Thankfully another couple of hours did the trick. The man who came to pick up the mower on Friday remembered delivering it 🙂

The morning’s other job was creosolving the long planter dad and I built (called the Coffin, because that’s what it looks like) ahead of relocating it into the orchard in place of the the third veg bed dad and I built a while ago – I’d never really figured out what to do with it.

After an early lunch, P and I headed off to help dad move bookcases from Jean’s study into the bungalow, stopping off en route to pump up the Panda’s tyres at Lock’s Garage – we’d have done it sooner if I’d realised they had an air pressure pump. During the afternoon I managed a quick trip into Hereford to pick up library books and purchased some reduced cheeses from M&S and generated some £1 coins buying more cheese in The Butter Market.

Dad treated us to an early tea of fish and chips (and mushy peas) from their Tupsley local Traditional Fish & Chips, then Phil and I headed home via Aldi and Sainsbury’s where – at last! – we found Marmalade oranges.

Caught up with S first thing on Saturday then spent the rest of the day outside – washed both the cars (felt somewhat obliged to wash the Fiat Panda as Phil’s done all the car washing here from day 1), pruned one of the apple trees in the orchard, cleared the dead grass and flag leaves around the pond, had a bonfire, pruned Jean’s wisteria, chopped back the green shrub that grows like a triffid by the old railway.

Busy weekend: Clearing around the pond
Busy weekend: Clearing around the pond

Plenty to do. Lovely to be outside, although I smelled of bonfire and the green shrub for the rest of the evening. And stung my right hand a lot underestimating baby nettles.

Another brave robin came to an untimely end – tempted by the peanut butter in one of the mouse traps in the garage  🙁

In the evening I booked onto three walks in the Crickhowell Walking Festival:

Pizza for dinner. We’d had the last of the Bargain Sainsbury’s Mince Pies at teatime.

Saturday Night Pizza!
Saturday Night Pizza!

Another lovely sunny day on Sunday, so after I’d worked out how to check and clear the dishwasher filter and pump so that the standing water would drain out, we headed out to walk Tremorithic, footpath version. First lambs of the year were frolicking and feeding at Black Bush. Lovely.

Tremorithic on a sunny day: Strava Map & Photos
Tremorithic on a sunny day: Strava Map & Photos

Once home, Phil and I moved the Coffin to the Orchard and after lunch (and after setting the dishwasher loose on 20 jars in anticipation of Monday’s Marmalade Marathon), I settled on where to site it – parallel to the existing veg beds – and filled it with a mixture of compost heap compost, and soil from the bags that dad has been bringing round from Winchester. Hopefully all that digging in the compost heap will have convinced the rat(s) to find a new home.

Busy weekend: Relocating & installing The Coffin Raised Bed
Busy weekend: Relocating & installing The Coffin Raised Bed

Sawed down the dead alder between the compost heap and the shed and then decided to check on how much of the green shrub cuttings yesterday’s bonfire had consumed before taking a break fo tea and cake…. and ended up getting the embers to relight the remnants, which kept me there for another hour. Tom called as I was on the final stage raking the remaining twigs into an ever smaller pile; a nice chat. Then it was time for tea and cake – 6pm!

Very windy overnight.

Monday was given over to my annual Marmalade Manufacturing Marathon. A little more marathon this year as the 2 bags of Seville Oranges we’d got from Sainsbury’s turn out to be 1.5kg each, and the Denton Family Recipe (aka Magimix Marmalade) is based on 1kg. Seeing as I’m on the last of last year’s jars, I am sure the 26 jars I’ve made this year won’t pose a problem. (Other than finding cupboard space in which to store them).

Montage: Monday Marmalade Manufacturing Marathon
Montage: Monday Marmalade Manufacturing Marathon

Each batch used:

1.5kg Sainsbury’s Seville Oranges
1 sweet orange
1/2 lemon + 2 glugs lemon juice
1.5kg White Sugar
430g Dark Brown Sugar
70g Demerara Sugar
2.5l Water

Sugar and lemon combos determined by what I had in the cupboards / fridge.

Batch 1 went into Janet’s Jam Pan; batch 2 was split between the aluminium pan and my blue Le Creuset (ready first – smaller pans). It wasn’t until I checked the recipe while blitzing the last oranges that I realised I should have allowed for a 20 min simmer before adding the sugar. Oh well! I’m sure it’ll taste fine. (Update: Batch 1 is a little runny. Oh well.)

Frustrating late afternoon – the printer that I got as my leaving present from S&S in 2005 finally gave up the ghost, so no marmalade labels. (Update: Phil fixed it!) We’d also cleared the porch and utility first thing ahead of OneStick arriving tomorrow to tile them both. Except the tiles won’t be available until Weds, so they’re coming then. Oh well.

TV: Friday Night Lights.

Podcasts: In Our Time, Books and Authors, The History of England.

Audiobook: The Thursday Murder Club (EXCELLENT!)

Photos: Herefordshire week 109 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-01-30.