Herefordshire Week 207: Tuesday 12 – Monday 18 December 2023

Featuring a dry spell, so quite a bit of gardening, and a day without water (in the “coming out of the taps” sense).

A lorra, lorra leeks in the herb bed and veg patch
A lorra, lorra leeks in the herb bed and veg patch

Return of the rain overnight, handily, as admin occupied most of Tuesday until Pilates in the evening. Sorted our car insurance and did weeknotes, and went for my follow up physio appointment – I need to rest my muscles after 25 day trek. Oh, alright then. So I’m still focusing on glute bridges and clams. Check out my physio vocab!

Put up the tinsel indoors and the twinkly lights outdoors. That’s as Christmassy as we get.

Gym on Wednesday morning, and vegan brandy apple mincemeat making (using up some of the softer apples from the apple racks), then into Hereford to take advantage of the Christmas Shopping free parking after 4pm, and to collect library books (success) and to look for replacement trainers in Trekitt and Mountain Warehouse (failure). VWW followed by telly and tea rounded off the day.

We lost water supply overnight thanks to a burst water main somewhere in the Golden Valley, and the drought continued throughout the day and into the evening on Thursday, with each hoped for “resolved by” deadline passing … “lunchtime”, “3pm”, “6pm”, “9pm”, and so dinner with JP was rescheduled.

Gym in the morning then speedy computer admin to allow time out in the garden, making the most of the dry and occasionally sunny skies.

I pulled up the plum shoots and roots at the far end of the lawn, cut the annoyingly low branch off the red hazelnut tree, snipped brambles from the holly bush by the small pond, and raked up a lot of leaves. One rubble bag topped up the leaf mulch bin Phil made for me. Another awaits its fate. Lots of bulbs sending up green shoots to avoid.

Under the “Wooden wendy house”, I’ve moved some of the dry logs inside and stacked the soaked wheelbarrow of logs in their place, resting on some of the cut branches from the quarry, to keep them off the ground / air circulating.

Phil returned from his emergency “tea time is approaching and Dwr Cymru have just pushed back the ETA to 9pm” bottled water run to Tescos with a box of their Finest mince pies, so we coped.

Our water finally returned around 9.30pm, but the water pressure remained quite low for a while. Hey ho.

Too cloudy to see the asteroid showers.

Final gym visit of the week for Friday morning stretch then back via Ewyas Harold shop for more dry weather gardening. Phil and I took the second rubble bag of leaves round to the orchard – balanced on the wheelbarrow with freshly pumped up tyre – and put some into the compost bin and the rest on the compost heap.

Solo, I pulled up brambles I’d spotted by the oak tree at the far end of the lawn and tied up the wild rose that grows there too, snipped and dug up brambles under the damson trees and hedge, pruned the railway apple trees – up as far as I could reach at least – cut back the annoying low branch from the red berry tree by the small pond (thereby removing another mowing obstacle) and cut back the ivy from its trunk, and pruned Jean’s wisteria.

Is it the right time of year to do any of these things? I’ve no idea!

Early evening LED Trustee call then off to KG for a catch up over a glass of wine or two (too many….).

Saturday started early (unfortunately) to get P to Hereford station for his 07.39 train to London (with a change at Worcester Foregate Street – thank you GWR for your fabulous service to our part of your network. Not.).

The day turned out sunnier than advertised, and not feeling up to a walk I did feel up to washing the car and doing some more gardening: planted some onion seeds, cut back the brambles on the shed and wheelbarrowed them to the ever increasing bonfire pile in the quarry, pulled up the big nettles by the large pond, snipped back the baby brambles I’d spotted in the Green Shrub, lilac and rambling rose.

A butterfly - brave, foolhardy or fooled by the (relatively) warm weather?
A butterfly – brave, foolhardy or fooled by the (relatively) warm weather?

Late lunch then did some cleaning. What’s come over me??

Lovely pink clouds as the dusk settled between 4pm and 4.30pm.

Non-Phil telly in the evening: Doctor Who and Vigil.

Sunday was gloomy and overcast, so had a slow start then did the Cockyard Circuit keeping an eye on the rain clouds. In the afternoon I drove into Hereford for shopping and late lunch with dad and Jean. A nasty crash had closed the A465 so I took the old Tram Inn route there and back. Nice late afternoon and evening with cold-stuffed dad and Jean.

I didn’t surface until after 9am on Monday, and spent most of the rest of the morning catching up with A over coffee and stollen. Got the log stove going after lunch and lounged on the sofa reading LRBs until the KMC catch up at 6pm. Phil’s GWR train missed its connection at WOF (surprise surprise) but someone there sorted out taxis and I met Phil at HFD only an hour late.

Spotted long tailed tits on the bird feeders where they joined great tits, blue tits, coal tits, chaffinches, a nuthatch, red woodpeckers, blackbirds, a swarm of sparrows and a robin. Magpies and ravens are less loved visitors.

Green woodpecker on the front lawn. Owls hooting to one another just after dark.

TV: Fleishman is in Trouble, Doctor Who (eps 2 & 3, enjoyed a lot more than ep 1), Vigil (season 2, with a made up Middle Eastern country not a million miles away from Saudi Arabia).

Podcasts: History ExtraThe Rest is Entertainment, Empire, In Our Time, Bookclub, The History of England.

Photos: Herefordshire week 207 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-12-18.