Herefordshire Week 139: Tuesday 23 – Monday 29 August 2022

Lining up some work on the house. Bonfiring. iPhone woes. Bank Holiday Breakfast at Gwatkins.

Gwatkin Red Cow, Abbey Dore / Bacton
Gwatkin Red Cow, Abbey Dore / Bacton

Dropped Panda off with RW Williams first thing Tuesday for the rattle and daytime running lights to be investigated. Walked back, weeknotes, then work which continued as usual through Wednesday and Thursday.

Finished work at 6.30pm prompt on Thursday (plus 15 mins as V called)  for an early tea in anticipation of K&N coming round to look through the list of building jobs we’d like N to do – including sprucing up the garage (replace roof, clad the walls, improve the storage options inside), re-rendering the west wall and closing up the doorway between the lounge and the TV room. Having toured the house outside and inside we added a few more things to the list. All good things to Get Done.

As dusk fell, a louder than usual conservatory window “thump” turned out to be a tawny owl. Thankfully it recovered.

I dedicated most of Friday to bonfiring the hedge clippings and shrub loppings in the quarry. Small amounts, very carefully, to start with given how close the 5 piles of dry cuttings were to the fire, and how dry everything is still. We’ve had no rain since last weekend’s Saturday showers.

Bonfire ash pile
Bonfire ash pile

A late lunch, then cut down the berberis behind the garage in anticipation of that being rendered, hooked up some of the liberated wire to the wisteria trellis for the new shoots to wind around, potted up a couple of baby yew trees (currently they’re each just 1  sprig, but they must be hardy stock as they’ve emerged from the gravel around the bottom of the kitchen wall), cut the Boston Fern runners and potted them in compost in the hope of propagating a few more baby ferns.

Selected render and roof colours over tea and the last of the Welsh Cakes in the conservatory (sweltering).

FaceTime with S&S, with beer and crisps.

And then made dinner!

Shenmore Circular with the GVWC on Saturday, featuring a pint of bitter shandy at The Yew Tree in Preston on Wye during the lunchtime stop. Pizza al fresco, with a glass of wine, for dinner.

Bank Holiday Weekend pizza
Bank Holiday Weekend pizza

More walking on Sunday as Phil and I went for breakfast at Gwatkins Red Cow. Full English, meaty and veggie/ vegan versions. Reminded me of Walton on the Naze…

Breakfast is served!
Breakfast is served!

We took the Bacton Square route back – the stream at Bacton that runs down into the Dore is completely dry, and the sheep are sheltering in the large concrete drainage pipes down by Abbey Dore  Court. We spent the afternoon pottering, including bailing out the rainwater from the small pond in anticipation of sealing the crack that’s the cause of the leak, and swopping the picnic bench and Nana Helen’s bench, so that we can sit on the latter when watching the birds.

Bank Holiday Monday was breezy sunny/cloudy day. I shelved my plans for a walk in the Black Mountains and finished Flickring my Ladakh photos instead.

In the afternoon we walked down to the Abbey and back, calling in at T&Js for tea and biscuits, and then I had a go at getting my Apple stuff accessible on my donated Samsung Galaxy phone. Not entirely successful. Why am I bothering? Well, my inherited iPhone SE is kaput – the battery has expanded and forced open the case. I’ve an iStore appointment booked for Friday….

In contrast to last year’s glut, this year’s apple harvest is tiny. We’ve hardly any on the two trees between the ponds. This is about half the likely crop:

Not so many apples this year....
Not so many apples this year….

There are no apples, none at all, on the trees down on the lower path – home to the big Bramley and the Egremont Russett, where we had so many windfalls this time 2 years ago. No greengages there either, and a paltry plum (damson) crop.

Things look a bit better in the orchard: the Worcester Pearmain and the Discovery have a fair crop, but all small. The dwarf Bramley is laden, and the Laxton Superb has about the same amount of apples as last year. The Golden Delicious is having a quiet year though – hardly any apples there, which is a relief…..

So, I can’t see that the apple racks will be overflowing this year. Good job we’ve not yet used up all the frozen apples, and the chutney supplies are still plentiful.

TV: Ted Lasso (finished off season 2 – Oooh NATE!!!), Borgen (Season 3, Netflix reboot).

Audiobook: Alice Roberts reading her book Tamed: Ten Species that Changed Our World (excellent).

Podcasts: History Extra, World Book Club, Books and Authors, The Essay.

Photos: Herefordshire week 139 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-08-28.