Herefordshire Week 170: Tuesday 28 March – Monday 03 April 2023

Getting to grips with the greenhouse. The bird bonks begin. Phil finds a newt!

Tuesday was rainy. Good weather for computer admin in the morning – weeknotes and other stuff – then work.

Weds and Thurs were the usual work days, rainy, with a speedy drive in Hereford on Wednesday lunchtime to take Phil to the station, which left me home alone until Friday afternoon. I don’t really enjoy being on my own, anywhere. Still, I got to watch the first four episodes of House of the Dragon.


Admin first thing on (still rainy) Friday, then into Hereford for supermarkets, library, Philip Morris for leather boot conditioner, a mooch around Mountain Equipment, and an unexpected meet up with Phil.

Then to dad and Jean’s for Storage Box Project part 2 – fixing the hinge onto the lid and the box plus string to prevent over-opening and felt pads for cushioned close, then over to B&Q for storage box lid lip wood and castors, and Dunelm, where we ordered made to measure curtains for the dining room and lounge. Busy traffic, being a rainy Friday. Back home via Asda.

Part 2 of the Box Project Complete
Part 2 of the Box Project Complete

We woke to April and overcast skies on Saturday, so I spent the morning spreadsheeting retirement cashflows. To Bristol in the afternoon to pick up a bike for Phil, and later in the evening down to Yew Tree Cottage via The Old Stables in Ewyas Harold for fish and chips – a lovely evening,

Sunday was gorgeous day. I spent a magic morning in the orchard – bound up the small branch end on the Bramley Apple Tree that I broke on the first mow, sort-of-espaliered the blackcurrant bush, admired the violets, wild garlic and crazy rhubarb, and then got stuck in to sorting up out the greenhouse. My residual anxiety about finding the desiccated corpse of a small bird gradually abated as I relocated the dead lemongrass pots (they froze over winter), tidied up in the indoor pots of strawberries and set up 5 seed trays on the large base tray.

Preparing to sow this year's first seeds
Preparing to sow this year’s first seeds

Perusing my seed collection I settled on sowing stuff that needed to be indoors for a while, and so, eventually, the base tray and four sets of sown seeds ended up on the table by the main bathroom. (Since moved to the sunnier window ledge in my office.)

Sown seeds in trays indoors - get germinating!
Sown seeds in trays indoors – get germinating!

We have, left to right:

  • Onions
  • Lettuce
  • Marigolds
  • Dwarf French Beans – aka Dunlop Fresh Beans
  • Dwarf French Beans
  • Lemongrass
  • Tomatoes

There is another set of seeds on the kitchen windowsill – micro rocket – and a tray of sunflower seeds in the greenhouse. In anticipation of tomatoes, I moved the Walton Hut Chair over last year’s growbag, ready to provide a support structure for this year’s toms.

Greenhouse - Nice and tidy
Greenhouse – Nice and tidy

And once all that was done, it was time for a late lunch.

Flickered photos in the afternoon, pizza by the log stove (lit after a chilly afternoon in my office, and with the forecast promising -2C overnight.)

Monday was a gorgeous sunny day so after a bit of faffing first thing I headed out for a walk, doing the Bacton Square which I’ve not done for a long time. Cute lambs at Bacton Stud, and plenty of roadside wild garlic there too; I picked a bag full. Home via the Abbey, with a quick chat with R who looks after a couple of the gardens there too. Lots of wedding flowers in the Abbey. Even cuter lambs at Dorelands.

Dobby-eared lamb at Dorelands Farm

A couple of orchard garden jobs then lunch. Cleaned my muddy leather boots and then P and I walked down to the Abbey and back. The morning’s cute lambs had moved!

More pottering in the garden, a catch up with Val (sadly even the extended route won’t get us to Makalu Base Camp this year, so that’ll be my objective for another trek), tea on the patio under blue skies, sunny and warm. Read in the conservatory until it was time for dinner and the week’s instalment of Succession.

The first bird bonks have begun. A woodpecker hit from the east on Friday (goner), a coal tit from the west on Monday (survived) and sometime in between a tiny wren, its body almost invisible on the patio.

Phil found a newt in the small pond on Sunday, and spotted two more later in the day – and counted 73 goldfish in the big pond. 73!! Orange ones and white ones.

Phil found a newt!
Phil found a newt!

In the garden, my Japanese Quince has gorgeous red flowers and the hydrangeas that Jean gifted us from Dinedor have both survived the winter.

Japanese quince, gorgeous red flowers
Japanese quince, gorgeous red flowers

The grass is growing – time to plan in some more mows – and the first bluebell is out.

First bluebell
First bluebell

Retirement Days Tracker: 19 days to go

TV: Billions, Shetland, House of the DragonSuccession.

Podcasts: History Extra, The AllusionistSheDunnit, In Our TimeThe History of EnglandAnglo-Saxon England.

Photos: Herefordshire week 170 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-04-02.