Herefordshire Week 159: Tuesday 10 – Monday 16 January 2023

Back to work in the week; lots of walking over the weekend as Charles and Steffi come to stay. Added bonus: we all got to practise our sheepherding skills…

Sheep on the loose Chez Loosemore
Sheep on the loose Chez Loosemore

Back to work on Tuesday, working the morning to get back on top of the inbox and to prep for an early afternoon new joiner induction. More work Weds and Thurs. VWW and Family Zooms resumed too.

Things got busier and more interesting on Friday!

The day started with coffee at Gwatkins with some of the Kerrys Gate Ladies and organised by K.

Time for a bit of a potter in the garden, mainly scooping up the leaves that had come to rest in Phil’s pond after a couple of days of gusts and high winds, before Charles arrived. Perfect timing for a walk around the garden and lunch in the conservatory, then off to Abergavenny to pick up Steffi. Home for tea, treats and a catch up sat by the log stove. Dinner by Phil.

Up early on Saturday so as to get into Hereford for the firsts GVWC outing of 2023, the Belmont Loop led by JP. Grey clouds but no rain. Very muddy….

GVWC: Belmont Loop
GVWC: Belmont Loop

Home for lunch by Phil then Charles headed over to Fromes Hill and the delights of the army and outdoor kit shop, aka the place with the tank, and the rest of us walked down to rendezvous with TJL. The six of us continued on to the very wet and muddy Riverdale footpath – wellies better suited to the submerged waterlogged sections. At Black Bush, rather than heading back up to Kerrys Gate, J persuaded us to do a new (to me and P) route to Kerrys Gate. So we continued on along the road almost to Gwatkins then took the footpaths up and over the fields to emerge opposite Bushmills in Kerrys Gate.

Riverdale - Gwatkins - Kerrys Gate
Riverdale – Gwatkins – Kerrys Gate

One to remember, but not to redo until the ground has dried out. It was very squelchy.

Back at base we all tucked into much needed tea and cake sitting around the log fire with TJL. Relaxation and chat continued through 6pm G&Ts and nibbles and dinner then early to bed.

Sunday saw a more leisurely start to the day then Charles, Steffi and I headed out to walk the Camp Crossroads – Cockyard (shorter) circuit.

Almost home when we encountered the week’s main event: Sheep on the Loose chez Loosemore!

On the last of the uphill stretch we spied sheep on the skyline… three escapees from Kiln Field.

Steffi, Charles and I managed to persuade them back along our bit of the lane, but then they veered onto the drive and embarked on a tour of the front lawn. At least that gave me time to get Phil and between us we tried herding them back up to the gate while S and C barred the lane back to the road junction. Almost there and then they bolted doing a u-turn and bombing around me and past C & S at quite a lick before sauntering off down the hill towards Quarrels Green.

Sheep! (Steffi’s photo)

While P drove to R’s I hopped over the gate into Thistly Field and keeping low and out of sheep-sight hurried down the fields to the old metal gate, squeezed between hedge growth and back into the lane below them pesky critters. Kept them in sight but at a distance until P reappeared soon followed by R’s truck…. Which the three sheep happily trotted after as far as the gate where R lured them back into the field with a magic white bucket. We will remember that trick for next time!

Such excitements!

We don’t lay such spectacles on for all our guests.

Charles, Steffi and I recovered with a mug of tea in the sunny conservatory until it was time to drive north along the Golden Valley to Dorstone for a fab Sunday Lunch at the 12th century Pandy Inn. Top marks to PR for the recommendation – great menu, fantastic food, relaxed and chatty hospitality, efficient service. You can’t ask for more.

Lunch at The Pandy Inn, Dorstone
Lunch at The Pandy Inn, Dorstone

Back at base, we all vegged in the lounge until just before 9pm when it was time to rustle up a cheese platter and a glass of wine to accompany episode 3 of Happy Valley. Then bed. After our lunchtime feast we didn’t really need the cheese and biscs to be honest…

Another leisurely start to Monday. Having waved off Charles, Steffi and I headed out to Kerrys Gate and on to do the (short) Cockyard Circuit Clockwise. Bumped into P plus pooches en route to Kerrys Gate and had a quick catch up with A&A at Cockyard.

Back home just enough time for a quick cuppa then off to Abergavenny to wave S off on the thankfully delayed train to Cardiff.

Gorgeous sunny afternoon but I’d done enough walking and so after a tour of the new expanded Abergavenny Aldi it was home for a late lunch, a visit from the Wren Kitchens surveyor, and the a lot of tea, a mince pie and the LRB.

I spotted the first flowers out on mum’s camellia on Friday morning. Elsewhere in the garden, snowdrops are flowering and bulbs are coming up everywhere – daffodils in all the usual places, tulips on the willow tree stump and things in the orchard planter (alliums and/or tulips).

First camellia of the year
First camellia of the year

TV: Narcos (season 1 / 2), Our Flag Means DeathHappy Valley (series 3).

Podcasts: History Extra.

Photos: Herefordshire week 159 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-01-15.