Herefordshire Week 181: Tuesday 13 – Monday 19 June 2023

Smashing summer Party BBQ. A rotten cold. Rain.

[I can’t get the photos off my camera, so you’ll have to wait until I’m on the Mac Mini for those]


Tuesday was another hot day. I spent the morning in the greenhouse transplanting the beef tomatoes, cucumber, courgette and pepper plants I’d bought at the Plant Sale, and planted some more lettuce seeds in the superior compost I’d discovered.

Courgette, cucumber & peppers
Courgette, cucumber & peppers

In the veg patch and herb bed I finished setting up the sticks for my peas and beans, and planted out the french dwarf bean and the lettuce.

Finally finished setting up the canes for the beans and peas, and planted out the last baby lettuce
Finally finished setting up the canes for the beans and peas, and planted out the last baby lettuce

Dad materialised early afternoon to help with party prep: getting the tables and chairs out of the shed and giving them a bit of a clean. We also found time for a run through the “new” Honda mower aka the one we inherited when dad and Jean moved house. It’s SO EASY to start. I can’t quite believe it…. No more yanking the starter cord!

Lesson on the "new" mower from dad
Lesson on the “new” mower from dad

Made curry in the evening to see us through the next couple of dinners.


Wednesday brought another early start, and Phil did some scything before the heat of the day set in while I transplanted my tomato seedlings into a tomorite growbag and a large planter in the greenhouse and planted out my (10) onions.

Transplanted tomato seedlings thriving in the Tomorite
Transplanted tomato seedlings thriving in the Tomorite

The rest of the day saw more party prep, ticking things off the checklist: to Wormbridge for petrol to power the ride on mower for a final trim in the orchard, the hollow (at last – a name for the area from Nora’s Rose Garden past the log shed and the site of the old garden railway down to the windbreaking yew trees! Thanks dad!), behind the big pond hedge – disturbing an adult frog / toad in the process – and up the swings slope. And a lovely man came from Swansea to pick up Jean’s Kenwood Chef mixer.

In the afternoon, dad came over with the party supplies and Phil and I set up the tables and chairs down in the hollow, finished putting out the crockery, cutlery, glassware etc on the dining table, defrosted the sausages, boiled the eggs…. Tick Tick Tick on the checklist.

Popped down to Yew Tree Cottage to swop cushions for milk and had a lovely long chat with R en route; he was on his tractor coming out of the long meadow opposite YTC.

Tom and Jo arrived a little before 6pm. A lovely evening, looking for newts, strolling around the grounds, relaxing with Gs&Ts&Elderflower Cordials on the patio before dinner al fresco.


Thursday was party day. The forecast remained full of sunshine and temperatures in the mid to high 20°C. Cushions out, sunshades up, tables set. Dad arrived 10.30ish and got the BBQ going. Guests started arriving from 11am. A lovely, lovely day. Plenty to eat and drink. Lots of catching up.

After final farewells around 6pm, Tom, Jo, Phil and I did some tidying up and then managed to find space to squeeze in some of the leftovers… just tidying up!

A relaxed start to Friday morning, Tom and I had our field admin meeting, Jo and I put away the tables and chairs, then we all headed over to the Red Cow for brunch. Yum Yum.

Brunch at Gwatkins Red Cow
Brunch at Gwatkins Red Cow – it’s a big plate

Back at base, more relaxing. Tom and Jo headed over to dad and Jean’s around 2pm.


I spent Saturday and Sunday in bed with a rotten cold. Mostly sleeping, with The Forum podcast for company (although I did sleep through most of them).

On the mend by Sunday afternoon – well enough to sit at the breakfast bar and watch the birds – tree sparrows (rather than hedge sparrows), chaffinches, blackbirds, robins, blue tits, great tits, the pheasants – and by evening my fuzzy head and too-tired-to-read eyes were gone and I felt like eating something more than apples and oranges for the first time since Saturday morning.

Rain overnight.


Monday was a lovely sunny day. Breezy. Pottered around in the morning – I’d told DH that I couldn’t do the HWF walks today and tomorrow. Prepped these week notes sat in the conservatory, did some email, read about Vikings. Bug sprayed all the indoor plants outside. Dug up two small oak seedlings from the front lawn and planted them in pots. Fingers crossed.

House martins busy under the eaves at the front of the house. Noisy!


In rare shopping news, in the week my Anker 7 port hub arrived followed by my Mac mini, sandwiched between the IKEA extras order and running shoes (for walking / gym, not running).


I have a baby cucumber!

Baby cucumber!
Baby cucumber!

And we have what looks like a “normal” orchid on the front lawn.

Dragonflies and damselflies are busy laying eggs in the big pond.

Summer Party: Dragonfly
Summer Party: Dragonfly

Phil dealt with the full spectrum of bird bonks on Wednesday morning: 1 dead blue tit, 1 stunned and shivering great tit and 1 less stunned bounce. He put the stunned bird into a shoe box with an old T shirt and a water bottle, and some seeds and water in there too, with the lid propped open so the bird could get out once it felt better, which it did.


TV: Annika, Beef, Hip-Hop Evolution, Ghosts (US), The Diplomat (Enjoying season 1 very much).

Podcasts: Books and Authors, Empire, The Forum.


Photos: Herefordshire week 181 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-06-18.