Herefordshire Week 123: Tuesday 03 – Monday 09 May 2022

Glorious garden and lush green lanes. A day out in Malvern. Ladakh visa progress. Restored hooks.

Purples and Blues: A montage of Orchids and Dead Nettle
Purples and Blues: A montage of Orchids and Dead Nettle

Up early with girded loins on Tuesday, all set to sort out my Indian Tourist Visa application. COVID-complicated, not the process’s fault, but all the online info is inconsistent / potentially out of date – as is Exodus’ guidance. Not reassuring.

The e-visa option isn’t available to UK citizens at present and the standard Tourist Visa application involves attending an appointment at the VFS centre in London. Handy when you live in Hereford. So I’m biting the bullet and paying an agency to do  it for me.

After spending far too long looking at Exodus’s two recommended visa agencies (in two different places – deliberate or oversight?), I opted for Travcour. Partly because I’ve used them in the past and partly because their website was less pushy/polished than the alternative and their online chat / email contact were both responsive.

Anyway, filled out the forms and posted everything off from Pontrilas Post Office, which entailed taking the MX-5 for a spin. It does need a wash….

Then work. Not long to our two day KM Consulting Meeting. I am looking forward to that, and all the other London plans.


Before starting work on Thursday morning (we’re now waking up  / getting up nice and early), I heard my first cuckoo of the year and watched a hot air balloon floating towards us from Hatterall Ridge.

Blackbird on the font
Blackbird on the font (not a cuckoo or an air balloon)

I spent most of Friday at the RHS Malvern Spring Festival with Jean. We had a fab day out and returned with lots of goodies including a seed bird feeder, bean cane ring thing, seeds, darning mushroom, Worcestershire honey. We saw Princess Anne, although only recognising her on the second occasion.

One highlight was coming upon a small stall where a lady – The Wheat Weaver – was patiently making corn dollies. Amongst the examples she had on display were a trio of what I now know are Hereford Lanterns. We have one hanging on our landing.

In the evening, pizza à la Phil – the new dough + pizza stone is a crispy winner! – paired with Ozark. Just right.

(In the background: did a COVID test first thing; all clear.)


Busy day on Sunny Saturday. First up, washing the cars then a bit of Malvern-inspired pottering in the Orchard staking out the broad beans, which are going Jack and the Beanstalk bananas.

Broad beans staked
Broad beans staked

A late lunch, sat outside, then down to Abbey Dore Village Hall for the plant sale. It was bustling, inside and out. I splurged £3 on a variegated hosta, a baby lavender and two pots of geraniums – one large, one small. Relaxing with coffee and cake on an outside bench, Peter R spotted us and did various intros so I’ve more faces to go with names.

Down the lane for tapas al fresco at TJs that evening. Our contribution – apple crumble – meant we were a little late; chopping up two dishes of apples from the apple racks took longer than expected. Doesn’t it always? Still, it means that we have dish no. 2 providing pudding every night this week.


Lateish start on Sunday and a bit of admin triggered by an email and invoice from Travcour plus news of an appointment date. A relief to know that Tuesday’s post reached them – even if it felt weirdly scammy to get an email from the / a Director on a Sunday morning….

A gorgeous day – hot and sunny – so after doing the Cockyard circuit, another late lunch was followed by a lovely afternoon sat on the lawn reading the LRB, listening to podcasts and – yes – snoozing.

The hedgerows and verges are in their beautiful green and white stage – cow parsley, greater stitchwort, may flowers and dandelion puffs.

Green and white: A montage of mayflower, pheasant's eye daffodil, dandelion puff, cow parsley.
Green and white: A montage of mayflower, pheasant’s eye daffodil, dandelion puff, cow parsley.

Dad and Jean called in en route to Compline at the Abbey to see the orchids and clematis in their short-lived glory.

Climbing Clematis
Climbing Clematis

Lots of buttercups glowing yellow on lawn, overpowering the cowslips which are fattening with seed.


Cloudier and cooler Monday. Just right for a trio of chats. In the morning, as I walked to Cockyard, a lovely catch up phone call with Blast from the Chester Past. Tea and cake with A in Cockyard then home for lunch. Admin in the afternoon with a break for stroll up to Kerrys Gate with T.

In the evening we joined a special screening online of a restored cut of I Know Where I’m Going. A different experience from other shared viewings, which tend more towards the Eurovision end of the spectrum. Also, WhatsApp has replaced Twitter as the backchannel. And I am still loathe to use WhatsApp.


In other news, the Utility Room repaint is 95% complete and Phil’s painstakingly restored the hooks to their original (ish) glory. They look fab.

Utility Room redecoration - hooks restored to their original glory
Utility Room redecoration – hooks restored to their original glory

Please note those horizontally-aligned screws!


My daily routine currently includes a morning stroll to the greenhouse to put out the baby plants, repeated in reverse every evening to put them back into bed.

They’re coming along very nicely. The first set of lettuce seeds I planted are looking more like lettuce, and most of the tomato seedlings are looking very healthy. The runt of the February sowing gets to stay inside the greenhouse 🙂

Montage: Greenhouse plants, and our visiting pheasant
Montage: Greenhouse plants, and our visiting pheasant

The second planting comprised more lettuce plus sunflowers, and they’re all going great guns. Last year’s strawberry plants (four, small) produced runners which are now in four small pots. Flowers and fruit already showing in all eight. Along the west side of the greenhouse the sage and gooseberry cuttings and oak tree saplings are various shades of green. Closer to the house the wild garlic is in flower. I think it likes its new home.

And we have a resident pheasant. Noisy chap, struts across the end of the lawn, around the orchard and visits the bird feeders for seed and nut droppings.


TV:  Severance (Apple TV – double meh), Ozark (final season, part 2….), Better Call Saul (real time weekly viewing!), I Know Where I’m Going, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Podcasts: History Extra, Great Lives, Lingthusiasm, Books and Authors, Bookclub.


Photos: Herefordshire week 123 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-05-08.