Herefordshire Week 209: Tuesday 26 December 2023 – Monday 01 January 2024

Boxing Day in WTM. Relaxing in WIV. Relaxing at 40A. Colds. A lot of reading.

Hello 2024. Hello snowdrops.

Snowdrops
Snowdrops

My weeknotes week kicked off with Boxing Day. We spent the morning with J&J doing a few odd jobs then drove over to Wivenhoe. Huge relief as the car pulled out of the drive free from any broken suspension related clunks and clanks.

A relaxing few days back in WIV spent strolling around the village / town, snoozing, and a surprising amount of successful reading of books rather than screens: Curtis Sittenfeld’s page turner Romantic Comedy and Benjamin Myers’ lovely The Perfect Golden Circle. The River Colne proved relatively sheltered from Storm Gerritt’s high winds on Wednesday and Thursday.

Wivenhoe Wander
Wivenhoe Wander

We dined on Christmas dinner leftovers (Phil), Co-op food bargains and Indian takeaway from Saffron with the Moorgate M&S cheese-related treats saved until my cold had fully cleared and my taste returned.

Boxing Day Bakery Bargains
Boxing Day Bakery Bargains

Tom came over on Thursday evening and we treated ourselves to a pint in the pub before dinner.

Beers at The Black Buoy
Beers at The Black Buoy

Drove back to Forty Acres on Friday. Easy drive, despite slow traffic on the M42 plus heavy rain there and on the M5. Stopped at Rugby Moto for a Pret lunch, loo and a leg stretch, and again in Ross for a Morrisons shop, including a pack of raspberry jam doughnuts to go with our “we’re home” cup of tea. It took just over 6 hours, including those two stops. So, say, 5 hours without them. Not Bad.

Settled on the sofa and read Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like These in one go. RG’s recommendation, and quite the right time of the year to read it. I’m struggling to come up with how best to describe it. “Wonderful” doesn’t sit right; “great” is too banal.

Gs&Ts with Christmas cashews in the lounge, then cheese, biscuits and bits for tea watching the final few episodes of Only Murders in the Building.

Slow start to Saturday. Watched a fox (the fox?) jog across Kiln Field. Pottered around the grounds and picked up some of the wind blown twigs and small branches, and rebaited the rat trap. Phil made a couple of loaves then we strolled down to Hill Farm sheep, stopping for a nice chat with CG en route.

Rain arrived on Saturday afternoon and settled in for the rest of the weekend.  We booked a week in hopefully sunny Walton on the Naze, staying in a Beam bespoke 1 bedroom caravan back in our old stomping ground, Naze Marine Caravan Park. Read on the sofa until it was time to drive into Hereford via Dunelm (textile take back = big tick) and Lidl (no post Christmas bargains = boo) then on to dad and Jean’s for dinner – a lovely evening. Phil stayed at home with what turned out to be a worse version of The Cold I’d had over Christmas.

Sunday – NYE – saw Phil spend the day in bed as The Cold did its worst. I spent the day reading, finishing All The Light We Cannot See, and then watching telly programmes Phil didn’t want to see. So it was a very quiet New Year here at Forty Acres.

Phil was on the mend by Monday morning, and the skies were blue, so we headed out to walk the Bacton Square, which we haven’t done for a long time. Back home, fry up for lunch and an afternoon of reading and weeknotes.

Bacton Square scenes: Caspar
Bacton Square scenes: Caspar

The first snowdrops are out, in the usual sheltered spot. Daffodils are up – but not out – in their usual spots along the old garden railway line. Green shoots crunch underfoot beneath the bird feeders.

Phil replenished the bird feeders Friday evening and by Saturday morning the various tits, sparrows, dunnocks, chaffinches, nuthatch, red woodpecker and robin were back. And the rat.

Over the course of the rest of the week we saw blackbirds, a jay and a cock pheasant. Plus pigeons and magpies around and about.


TV: Top Boy (Series 3 if you watched the BBC original; season 1 for Netflix), Doctor Who (“2023” season 1 – aka Disney money – HELLO Ncuti Gatwa!!!!), Only Murders in the Building (finished season 1), Murder Is Easy, Men Up, Top of the Pops: 2023 Review of the Year, Reservation Dogs.

Podcasts (and BBC Sounds streams): Gone Mediaeval, Eras: Kylie Minogue, A History of Rock in 500 Songs (just right for the long drive back from Essex), History Extra.


Photos: Herefordshire week 209 on Flickr.

Phil: f/e 2023-12-31.