A surprisingly busy week! A day trip with dad, walking from Ludlow to Leominster with Jo. First apple chutney of 2023. Visitors from Australia.
Tuesday was a very, very wet day. So not ideal for a day trip with dad, run by Rural Concierge (aka Liz from GVWC!): a morning / lunch in Brecon followed by a tour of Abercamlais House, which I recognised from the drive to/from Pembs.
Brecon’s small. After a desultory coffee in Coffee #1 (at least it was in the dry and had seats) we moved on to Theatr Brycheiniog down by the canal basin which provided a much better cafe with plenty of tables and chairs, and staff, and a very tasty sandwich for lunch in a lovely location. Refuelled we spent an hour or so looking around Y Gaer, Brecon’s Museum, Art Gallery & Library, where there was an exhibition of paintings from Capel y ffin and Llanthony.
Then on west to Abercamlais House for a guided tour of the gardens and the house, plus tea and cake in a large barn.
Aerobics and stretch at GV Gym kick started Wednesday, then some gardening. My plan to get the bonfiring done was foiled by yesterday’s rain having soaked the large pile of hedge cuttings and the remaining branches from the path clearing, so I had no joy with the fire starting.
So it was on to plan B: pruning the pear tree’s water shoots. It looks much better and hopefully will encourage the tree to grow out rather than up.
In the afternoon I washed the front gates in preparation for painting them…. making the most of some dry days.
VWW in the evening, sitting in the sunny conservatory.
Another trip to the gym on Thursday morning, then back to paint the gates with a steady stream of podcasts for company – mainly The History of English from Episode 157: Highlands, Lowlands and Netherlands to Episode 161: Y U and I Have a Problem via Episode 158: Planting Seeds, Episode 159: Elizabethan Voices and Episode 160: Approximant-ly English. I find Kevin Stroud’s history of the English language fascinating, combining history, linguistics and literature. It’s one of my favourite podcasts.
Late afternoon we drove to dad and Jean’s for takeaway Chinese, and some Samsung tablet migration support. We ate outside in the back garden. Not done much al fresco dining this summer….
Third and final morning trip of the week to the gym on Friday then back to give the gates a second coat of paint. They’re now looking good, even if I say so myself.
As well as podcasts, I had audio accompaniment from the swallows lined up on the overhead power lines, chattering away.
Painting done I converted some of the windfalls into two large apple crumbles and three tubs of stewed apple, and took a crumble and the tubs down the lane to TJL’s that evening. We sat outside enjoying wine, chips and dip for a couple of hours.
Up early on Saturday to drive to Hereford to pick up Jo and then on to Leominster to catch the train to Ludlow. We were recce-ing Jo’s Ludlow to Leominster route for August’s GVWC walk.
Distance: 16.70 miles
Elevation Gain: 803 ft
Walking Time: 6h 10 mins
Elapsed Time 7h 40 mins
I’ve not been to Ludlow before, and our initial mile or so around the town inspired me to go back again soon.
Nice walking with Jo, and we encountered two emus en route….
…. plus quite a lot of nettles, which weren’t so welcome for my shorts-sporting legs. The route took us through some less-than-appealing farms towards the start and the less attractive outskirts of Leominster, including a saw mill, at the end. And that was on the Herefordshire Trail.
Lots of blackberries and the odd damson / plum were scrumped en route but our plan to celebrate with tea and cake at Newton Court was foiled by a private event. Oh well.
Home for pizza and the finale of Halt and Catch Fire.
After coffee and Waitrose pains au raisin, and polishing off the current LRB (which means I am completely caught up), I spent a couple of hours on Sunday doing computer-based admin including my LPAs. Outside, Phil scythed:
And in the afternoon, I set to work on the first batch of apple chutney of 2023:
Using regular favourite Frugal Feeding’s Spicy Apple Chutney recipe, I made a double batch with Garden Railway windfalls and malt (rather than red) vinegar. That produced three large jalapeño jars, three small jalapeño jars plus a medium mayo jar. Not a lot given the two pans started off full.
We had a close encounter with a trio of hornets coming into the porch later that evening. I think they may have been attracted by the simmering chutney smell. One kamikazi’ed in one of the wall lights, the other two I corralled under pots overnight and released into Monday morning’s rain.
Monday was hectic. First task was packing my eBay sales, including my old iMac which was quite large and awkward shape when boxed and took almost an hour. Then it was off to the Post Office at Pontrilas then into Hereford where I encountered a rainy day traffic jam at Belmont roundabout. A domino of delays – queues at the Post Office, the traffic jam and supervisor authorisations at Aldi meant I was late picking up F&G from Hereford train station.
Lovely to see them both, and we nattered all the way home, with me driving them into Wales for a mile or two to tick off another country on their 2023 tour. We also stopped off at Powells to pick up a pasty (Tuesday is pork pie and scotch egg delivery day) and Dore Abbey. Back at base we made the most of a lull in the rain to potter around the garden before a late lunch. L, M & Aunty C arrived mid afternoon. Tea and biscuits and chat in the conservatory before waving them off (with a bag of apples) around 5pm.
Opted out of aerobics and caught up on email etc before dinner. My Pyrenees trip isn’t far off. Time to start piling up kit on the bed and working out how much cash to take…
The apple trees have started dropping their eating apples in earnest, particularly on breezy days. I’m collecting a bucket from the old garden railway pair most days, dodging the delirious bees and wasps as I do so. I’ve just looked up what they are: Laxton (by the big pond) and Discovery (nearer the small pond).
The tomatoes in the greenhouse are still mainly green, with just one of the beef toms gaining an orange blush. I stripped the lower leaves as recommended by Monty Don.
More baby cucumbers and courgettes have materialised.
I’ve picked the broad beans. Now I just need to find a tasty recipe….
In bird news: one bonked baby blue tit (very fluffy) by the kitchen window (the body disappeared overnight….), tawny owl night time screeches (competing with the baa-ing sheep), and young buzzards mewing.
Sheep in Kiln Field, cows in Thistly Field.
Photos: Herefordshire week 189 on Flickr.
Phil: w/e 2023-08-13.