Herefordshire Week 216: Tuesday 13 – Monday 19 February 2024

Another wet week, with occasional sunshine.  Pancakes and fish & chips for Shrove Tuesday and Valentine’s Day. Two good walks and our Hobby Chainsaw Course.

Hobby Chainsaw Course: The First Cut
Hobby Chainsaw Course: The First Cut

Wet Tuesday – but a hare did lollop out through the drive gate before I set off to the gym. PT then home to spray the houseplants with hydrogen peroxide solution – repotting has brought the small flies back. Grrrr.

Admin and a flying visit from dad to take the corrugated coiled black pipe that’s been merging with the hedge between the conservatory and the crab apple tree. Lunch, then weeknotes 215 (late) and more admin – getting through the To Do list. Bailed out of pilates and did some more Nepal 2023 photos and notes – we got to Ghunsa.

Phil made six excellent pancakes for dinner. Thank you Delia!


Gym on a Wet Wednesday featured Valentine’s Day chat. I didn’t mention my special surprise EH Shop Chocs 🙂 Back to power through emails and admin before lunch, with an amuse bouche of planting some lettuce seeds into pots in the greenhouse and snipping back the ivy from the thin part of the hedge where I’ve planted the small holly.

More work on the Nepal 2023 trek photos and notes in the afternoon and a visit from Dad, Jean and  Annette who came over for a damp stroll around the garden looking at the snowdrops, aconites and camellia. And the fish.

At dusk, I watched a bat zooming around high above the hollow, occasionally disappearing into or behind the big yew tree that’s home to the swing.

Phil and I decided on fish and chips for our Valentine’s Day Dinner. Perfect.

Happy Valentine's Day Dinner
Happy Valentine’s Day Dinner

Computer admin first thing Thursday, to the gym for PT then back home to chop out the lower sections of ivy from the hawthorn tree the looms over the small pond and where the birds like to sit-for-the-view. Dad’s suggestion during yesterday’s tour.

After lunch I settled down to do more Nepal 2023 photos and I got us up to 4,400 m (14,435 ft) at the Jannu Viewpoint on our second acclimatisation day and back to cosy Khambachen before stopping to make veg chilli for dinner.

Me, Steffi and Sonia, Charlie's Angels at the Jannu Shrine
Me, Steffi and Sonia, Charlie’s Angels at the Jannu Shrine

To the gym again on Friday for aerobics, stretch and then coffee in the GV Cafe. Very sociable. Home to wheelbarrow yesterday’s ivy cuttings to the bonfire and to rake up a few leaves. Felt too pooped to do much in the afternoon, so adjourned to the telly room for a bit of vegging with Nolly on the telly.

On Saturday Phil and I headed over to Holme Lady for a one day Hobby Chainsaw User course run by Hereford, Ludlow and North Shropshire College. It was great – just what we needed to demystify the machine and to give us confidence in using it safely for the sort of wood chopping we need to do, which is cutting long branches / trunks into chunks we can use in the log stove.

We spent the morning taking our chainsaw apart and learning how to fix various easy things and how to sharpen the chain teeth, and then in the afternoon we headed outside to get in some practice at fuelling and oiling the chainsaw, starting it from cold and warm – and stopping it again, and finally cutting logs.

Hobby Chainsaw Course: Cleaning the oily sawdust gunk out of the insides
Hobby Chainsaw Course: Cleaning the oily sawdust gunk out of the insides

I feel much more confident now. We just need to get dad’s chainsaw looked at as we couldn’t start it, in spite of the morning’s maintenance, probably because it’s been sitting on a shelf in the garage unused for the past 3 years. Time to call Ron Smith!

Sunday was the GVWC’s Fownhope Circular & Social led by JP, with sandwiches, tea and cake in Fownhope Pavilion afterwards from B&Co.A good walk, albeit extremely muddy in places, and a super social. The rain stayed away and most people made it there and back in spite of the road to / through Fownhope being closed.

Talking of which…. I had an “interesting” alternative cross country route supplied by Google Maps. Clearly they still need to work on understanding that “on a country road a 60mph speed limit does not mean you can actually drive at 60mph” when it comes to their time estimates: 33 mins took me closer to 50 mins, and I didn’t even get lost. Potholes, flooded roads and narrow lanes kept my speed closer to 15mph a lot of the time.

Back home mid afternoon for a spot of sawing at the main ivy trunk with the pruning saw, washing my boots and gaiters then relaxing in the conservatory.

A lovely day out with SP on Monday, walking in the heart of the Brecon Beacons. We met at the Blaen y Glyn Uchaf car park then walked up past the waterfalls to the ridges that skirt the edges of Gwaun Cerrig Llwydion (“bog of the grey rocks”, yes indeed) along and around to Fan y Big. Very windy once we were on the northern escarpments. Photos at The Diving Board, then down to the Taff Trail and back to the car park. Smashing weather for February, not many people and a pot of tea and a fruit scone at the Talybont Stores at the end.

To The Diving Board! Brecon Beacons Panorama
To The Diving Board! Brecon Beacons Panorama

The lovely snowdrops are starting to fade but the daffs by the bird feeders are now out, in addition to the ever growing number down by the old garden railway line. The camellia is in full bloom, purple crocuses are flowering as are the primroses on the willow tree stump. And – still very satisfyingly – the daffodils and tulips we planted on the verges are coming through.

In other news, I am SO BORED of turning off 100+ individual Legitimate Interest toggles. Tedious and sneaky. I only make the effort for sites I really want to use – and resent that. For all the others, it’s a back click and sayonara.

TV: The Newsreader (finished season 1, started and finished season 2), Nolly (meh), This Farming Life, Our Flag Means Death (more of season 2), One Day (loving it; it’s my era)

Podcasts: Mythical Creatures, Americast, The Today Podcast, History Extra, The History of England , Gone Mediaeval, Shedunnit, The Rest is Entertainment. <– yes, some of those were insomnia listens

Photos: Herefordshire week 216 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2024-02-18.