Herefordshire Week 194: Tuesday 12 – Monday 18 September 2023

London to Llanthony via David Hockney and Oxford St, and the Post Pyrenees catch up.

David Hockney at the Lightroom (Video, 6 sec)
David Hockney at the Lightroom (Video, 6 sec)

Steffi and I had the day in London on Tuesday. In the morning we went to the David Hockney: Bigger & Closer (not smaller & further away) exhibition / show at Lightroom in the Coal Drops Yard redevelopment north of Kings Cross. The first time I’d been there and it’s very chichi. You can tell Google, Meta et al are just the other side of the Regents Canal.

The show was amazing. I’m not that in to art, and wouldn’t have gone myself. I’m so glad Steffi wanted to go. We stayed on to watch the first half or so of the show again.

David Hockney at the Lightroom
David Hockney at the Lightroom

In the afternoon, shopping on Oxford Street (Uniqlo and John Lewis), walking to Covent Garden and (eventually) lucking out with a soft launch late lunch at Paro Indian (recommended!) followed by a tour of the outdoor kit shops of Southampton Street, with Ellis Brigham providing a long chat about all things Nepal and confirmation that I should stick with my La Sportiva boots purchased from Trekitt.

Greek takeaway for dinner (Steffi and I are making the most of being in Deliveroo-land). Plus a bottle of wine or two…

Steffi and I enjoyed a leisurely breakfast on Wednesday, while Hazel got going WFH, then the two of us hoisted our rucksacks and made our way to Paddington, had a lovely coffee with Tom then got our respective GWR trains home.

Mine, of course, was delayed by “signalling problems in the Oxford area” and terminated early at Great Malvern. Everyone – everyone – who got off the train there had lots of luggage. Yes, we had all chosen the direct train for A Reason. GWR seem not to care.

Finally rolled into Hereford on the West Midlands Train service, two hours later than I should have. Phil is a very patient taxi driver.

Home for tea and scones, a bit of unpacking, a chat with Sonia about Nepal 2023, dinner, bed.

Thursday saw me catching up on admin – Pyrenees IOUs and personal admin that had piled up while I’d been away. Got a lot done. Plus a flying visit into Hereford for our “updating our wills” etc meetings at Lambe Corner. Made a start on the weeknotes backlog too.

Back to the GV Gym on Friday for Aerobics and Stretch, then home to tackle the Garden Admin, aka collecting / clearing windfall apples, mowing – the strimmer mower and Hunting Honda had been returned, fixed, while I was away. A lot of grass to cut and clear, and today was the only dry day for a fortnight according to the weather forecast.

Caught up with Val about Nepal 2023 at lunchtime in between Honda mow and Countax mow.

Phil’s pizza for dinner!

Yum yum
Yum yum

Saturday morning dawned misty and stayed cloudy and cool, but dry so I got out and collected more windfalls from the orchard, the garden railway line and the lower path – plenty of cookers there, although the Egremont Russets still have a while to go.

Spent the rest of the morning on the computer on weeknotes and (eventually!) Live Chat with Charles at Qatar Airways finding out about costs for changing our flights for Nepal 2023 Plan B.

Made chutney and crumble in the afternoon, and had TJL over for beer / tea and crisps late afternoon. After a pint each, all Phil and I could cope with was lentil soup and telly. I should have trained harder in the Pyrenees 🙂

Owls late at night, and early (Sunday) morning.

Sunday’s highlight was lunch at The Temple Bar Inn with Dad and Jean, followed by a lazy telly afternoon that segued into a glass of wine, cheese and biscuits and evening telly.

Sonia and I met up at Llanthony Priory on Monday for some Nepal trek training, and to chat about the trip. Val’s broken knee cap had thrown things up into the air a bit and I’d made the executive decision that we’d postpone for 12 months, but a few sleeps later the three of us (me, Sonia & Steffi) have all definitely decided we want to stick with Plan A: Kanchenjunga & Lumba Sumba.

Our route from Llanthony was determined by the very wet weather (rain, heavy at times, cloud right down into the valley and little sign of lifting – in spite of what the weather forecast had suggested): Up to Bal Bach and back, then up the steep (northern) trail onto Hatterrall Ridge and south along the ridge past the trig point and down the gently sloping track that starts by an old stone wall.

The cloud and rain did clear occasionally to give gorgeous views of the Vale of Ewyas and east over Herefordshire, and a rainbow over the Cat’s Back. But most of the time we were huddled inside Goretex.

Rainbow over Herefordshire
Rainbow over Herefordshire

TV: Drops of God, Starstruck (series 3), Ehrengard: The Art of Seduction, This Farming Life (series 6).

Audiobook: The Bullet that Missed – Richard Osman.

Podcasts: History Extra.

Photos: Herefordshire week 194 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-09-17.