Herefordshire Week 169: Tuesday 21 – Monday 27 March 2023

7.30pm and it’s still light!! Summer’s on its way!

First mow of the year – both mowers started and I’ve done a “full mow”.

Cowslips emerging, primroses too and first grape hyacinths are out by the old railway track route.

AND – tadpoles!

Tuesday morning, I read another chunk of The Ink Black Heart then headed over to A’s for tea and bara brith. Back in the sunshine between the showers. Big news at the small pond – tadpoles have emerged from one batch of frogspawn!

If you squint at this photo, you should see some small black squiggles – those are the tadpoles….


Finished work ‘early’ on Tuesday – 5.30pm – so that we had time to drive down to Ross on Wye to meet dad and Jean, N&T for dad’s birthday dinner at No. 3. A real treat. Dad has been telling us how good No. 3 is for a while now, and it more than lived up to the hype.

Usual work week, although noticeably not as hectic as some. VWW but no Family Zoom. Instead, and with Phil’s help, I got my new iPad up and running.

Headed over to dad and Jean’s on Friday morning for Part 1 of the Rucksack Storage Box project. AKA dad and I are making a box to put at the end of the spare bed in my office and in which I’ll keep my rucksacks and on which visitors can put suitcases / bags when they stay.

Rucksack storage box - dad's plan
Rucksack storage box – dad’s plan

Once I finish work I won’t need two desks / two computer set ups, and I’m planning to reorganise the room to put a desk and computer in the alcove and moving the beds to be where the computer desks are now. The wardrobe will go, which means we’ll need to have replaced our bedroom furniture first, which has been on The List for a long time. But comes with Replace the Carpet upstairs… so not a small undertaking. is a boon.

Anyway, I had a lovely time with dad – first stop, B&Q for the MDF, which was cut to size instore by a very nice man, plus strengthening battens and a piano hinge. And compost, seeing as I was there.

Back at dad’s, we got the power tools out and glued and screwed the sides together, and prepped the base, by which time it was time for lunch and dad took Jean and I out to Radway Bridge. V tasty. Another 30mins more back in the garage workshop and the base was in. Part 2 will be attaching the hinge and the lid, and adding castors. Paint to be applied back here.

Rucksack storage box - all the sides are "done"
Rucksack storage box – all the sides are “done”

Caught up with L in the late afternoon / early evening. It’s been a long time.

A day in the garden, Saturday.

Cleared the ivy by the vastly reduced evergreen bush by the tree house (can you tell I don’t know what it is?), raked the bare earth to loosen it and spread grass seed there, raked up camellia flowers and picked up wind blown twigs. Then to The Forge to get fresh petrol for the ride on mower.

After a late lunch, I took the Honda mower for a tour of the edges and tricky spots, and to use up some of last year’s petrol. The mower coped with that, however the “power” bit is erratic, so there was a lot of manual pushing and hauling. Quite a work out….

A quick tea and Kit Kat at 4 o’clock watching the birds on the bird feeders, then time to see if the ride on mower would start…. It did after more tries at turning the key than I’d previously given it. Not sure I’d set up the trickle charger correctly, but hopefully a couple of hours mowing recharged the battery. Lots of shuttle trips to / from Mower Turn – 7 loads of grass cuttings there, 1 in the orchard, 1 ½ from the solarium including a lot of leaves and some brown stripy feathers – signs of a battle between birds of prey?

It was lovely being outside, if a little chilly by the end. Touring The Estate meant I had time to see spring flowers transitioning from “white ones” to the “yellow and blues”, and leaves starting to appear on the trees, hedges and bushes. Cowslips are coming through below the big pond, primroses are on the willow tree stump and the corner verges, grape hyacinths blooming by the old railway route; there are leaves on the clematis, and leaf buds on the crab apple, pear, apple and cherry trees, and on the hazelnut trees too.


Pizza by Phil for tea as we watched all three episodes of Waco on Netflix. Not as good as the longer Storyville documentary series – Waco: Madman or Messiah – we’d watched a while ago. I really didn’t like the tone of the Netflix series – too much revelling in the drama in the opening sequence, and too much macho self justification / self glorification from most of the FBI and ATF men (and it was, tellingly, all men). They seem to have lost sight of the fact that the seige resulted in the deaths of over 80 people.

The clocks sprang forward overnight. I’d not slept well even after all Saturday’s exertion so it was a sluggish start to Sunday.

On the plus side, it was raining, which provided a good excuse to read and potter.  I spent a happy hour or so translating Val’s outline itinerary for this autumn’s Nepal trek into a spreadsheet and looking up the route on my map. It turns out that my Kanchenjunga paper map doesn’t go far enough west, so there was some online map searching too. Hopefully we’ll be trekking all the way over to the Makalu-Barun National Park, into the valleys the other side of Sherpani Col, which I saw from the west while we were trekking north through the Hongu Valley towards Amphu Lapsta in 2019. Which means I really should be calling the trek “Kangchenjunga to Makalu”. Cor!

Took advantage of lulls in the rain to get outside and to redistribute the piles of mown grass. Too lazy to bother with the windblown wood on the paths, but did have the energy to suggest bubble & squeak with a fried egg for lunch. Yum Yum. And finished off The Ink Black Heart.

Mid afternoon P drove us to Hereford to pick up his latest bike exercise machine, then back home to read on the sofa – starting the next in my Library Hardback Haul, Barbara Kingsolver’s Demon Copperhead.

It was light until gone 7.30pm. Summer’s on its way!

On Monday, I drove down the Wye Valley to rendezvous with Sonia, Sara and Grace for another lovely day walking together. This time we made good use of having 2 cars and did a section of the Offa’s Dyke Path, from Monmouth to Brockweir.

Offa's Dyke: Monmouth to Brockweir
Offa’s Dyke: Monmouth to Brockweir

A beautiful day. It felt like the clocks having changed brought summer with it.

Late lunch in Brockweir’s Community Shop & Cafe – where I bumped into one of guys I’d walked and talked with during the CWF earlier on in the month.

Strava Map & Graph: Offa's Dyke: Monmouth to Brockweir
Strava Map & Graph: Offa’s Dyke: Monmouth to Brockweir
  • Distance: 10.68 miles
  • Time: 3h 50m
  • Elevation Gain: 1,527 ft

Spent a happy hour outside collecting the windblown twigs and branches between the paths to/from Mower Turn.

In the evening it was time to indulge in the long awaited return of Succession. We warmed up for season 4 by watching the last episode of season 3 as a refresher, and then watched the first episode of season 4.

Retirement Days Tracker: 21 ½ days to go

TV: The GoldThe Gold: The Inside StoryWaco: American Apocalypse, Succession.  We gave up on The Flight Attendant.

Podcasts: History Extra, The AllusionistSheDunnit, In Our Time.

Photos: Herefordshire week 169 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-03-26.

Herefordshire Week 167: Tuesday 07 – Monday 13 March 2023

Quite a week!!

Snow AND three more Crickhowell Walking Festival walks – this time with S, R & J for company.

Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Bryn and Carn Pica
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Bryn and Carn Pica

It took all of Tuesday morning to flickr my CWF photos and to do last week’s weeknotes. The most recent OS upgrade has killed my 2017 iMac.

KMCA drinks and LED Trustees Meeting – both over Zoom – in the evening.

Snow arrived on Wednesday, slowly but surely turning the countryside into a gorgeous Winter Wonderland.


We had to pick up our car from the garage in Ewyas Harold mid-afternoon, so we did the fast route via Dick’s Pitch. Definitely didn’t want just one of us walking up over the Common with the visibility as low as it was.

Phil on the footpath down to Ewyas Harold
Phil on the footpath down to Ewyas Harold
Forty Acres at dusk, at the end of a snowy day
Forty Acres at dusk, at the end of a snowy day

S, R & J were due to arrive on Thursday afternoon / evening for a long weekend’s walking with the Crickhowell Walking Festival, however Wednesday’s snow continued overnight into Thursday, turning to heavy rain as the day progressed. Phil and I had gone out into the garden first thing to take photos (and to clear the snow from the car).

Forty Acres in the snow: Looking west from the front lawn
Forty Acres in the snow: Looking west from the front lawn
Forty Acres in the snow: The house from the large pond
Forty Acres in the snow: The house from the large pond

The weather meant that the CWF schedule was up in the air until 3pm, and complicated all our best laid travel plans with S’s trains running late and R&J on a 3 hour drive from home.

I finished work early, drove to Abergavenny in heavy rain, only for S’s delayed connection from Cardiff to be cancelled and for her to be on a later train that turned out to not be stopping at Abergavenny to make up time. A speedy shop and a speedy drive to Hereford later, we finally managed to rendezvous at 6.20pm, almost 2 hours later than scheduled.

We arrived home with a few minutes in hand before R&J rocked up and we could at last relax into our long weekend, catching up over a glass of wine sat in the lounge with the log fire Phil had got going in my absence.

Phil made Angela Hartnett’s tagliatelle with pine nuts, capers and kale for dinner, having already produced two loaves of bread and a batch of scones during the day – I’m a very lucky lady.

Up early on Friday for breakfast, packed lunch prep and to clear another inch of overnight snow off the car before the drive to Tal-y-bont and the 9.30am rendezvous in the cafe there. We’d been checking the Met Office Brecon Beacons weather forecast and the blue skies arrived but the winds – and wind chill – did not, and we had a magical walk in the snow.

  • Walk: Bryn and Carn Pica
  • Time: 6 ½ hours
  • Distance: 11 ½ miles
  • Ascent: 2,610 ft
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Bryn and Carn Pica
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Bryn and Carn Pica
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Bryn and Carn Pica
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Bryn and Carn Pica

Home for J’s chilli, and cheese and biscuits.

Saturday’s walk, Abergavenny Twin Peaks – aka a circular walk taking in both Skirrid and Sugar Loaf, turned out to be Skirrid and a partial ascent of Sugar Loaf. We didn’t go all the way to the top because the cloud was right down making it cold and wet, snowy and icy.

Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Abergavenny Twin Peaks - 10 seconds of tinkling trees as the ice melts (video)
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Abergavenny Twin Peaks – 10 seconds of tinkling trees as the ice melts (video)

A long day. Skirrid was smashing, but from the Llanvihangel Court lunch stop onwards it was a soggy slog, particularly the route from the slopes of Sugar Loaf back to the car park.

  • Walk: Abergavenny Twin Peaks
  • Time: 7 ¾ hours
  • Distance: 13.8 miles
  • Ascent: 2780 ft

Home for showers, warmth, tea and scones, then fish and chips from The Old Stables. Yum yum.

Sunday was dry but there was a lot of snow melt making for wet feet for almost all of our final walk, Astride the Grwyne Fawr Valley.

It’s a good walk from Grwyne Fawr, but it was very windy on the first ridge north from Bal Bach so having dropped back down into the valley we stayed low and returned via the banks of the Grwyne Fawr (literally, for a stretch) rather than heading up to the second ridge, Pen y Gadair Fawr, Pen Twyn Mawr and Disgwlfa.

  • Walk: Astride the Grwyne Fawr Valley
  • Time: 5 hours 20 mins
  • Distance: 8.9 miles
  • Ascent: 1650 ft
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Astride the Grwyne Fawr Valley
Crickhowell Walking Festival 2023: Astride the Grwyne Fawr Valley

Then home for showers, tea and scones, G&Ts and dinner. A lovely evening, and a lovely end to having friends to stay.

Leisurely start to Monday, breakfast then farewells to R and J. S and I whiled away the rest of the morning chatting and Pyrenees planning. An early lunch then Phil, S and I drove into Hereford to drop off S at the station and for Phil and I to go to The Courtyard for the last of this year’s Borderlines films – only for One Fine Morning to be cancelled. A bit annoying, but nice to have the afternoon free to Get Things Done.

P.S. Frogspawn

Frogspawn in the small pond
Frogspawn in the small pond

P.P.S. More daffodils and tulips coming through on the corner verges. Very exciting and satisfying.

Retirement Days Tracker: 26 ½ days to go

TV: The Last of Us (end of season 1), Mystery Road: Origin, The Flight Attendant.

Podcasts: History Extra.

Photos: Herefordshire week 167 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-03-12.

Herefordshire Week 166: Tuesday 28 February – Monday 06 March 2023

Borderlines Film Festival films and Crickhowell Walking Festival walks.

Strava Elevation Graph: High Hills, Leaning Towers & Bloody Revenge
Strava Elevation Graph: High Hills, Leaning Towers & Bloody Revenge

Rain arrived briefly on Tuesday as did the blues. Drove to KG to deliver plant pots and to EH to post last eBay sale. Home to emails and making soup. Canns Hill – Wellfield – Thistly Hill walk with Phil before lunch, and then work.

The Mary Loosemore Retirement-ometer cheered me up.

No VWW. Family Zoom.

Friday morning, Phil and I sorted flights to Italy for a September wedding, I checked the Brecon Beacons weather forecast for the upcoming walks with the Crickhowell Walking Festival.

Into Hereford early afternoon for more bird seed and the library, then onto the train to Malvern for the first of this year’s Borderlines Film Festival films: Corsage.

Malvern doesn’t get any easier to navigate – not even finding the customer entrance to Waitrose – but at least we found this good coffee shop: Abbey Road Coffee.

Coffee and Blueberry Bakewell
Coffee and Blueberry Bakewell

Saturday, Sunday and Monday were my first trio of walks in this year’s Crickhowell Walking Festival. AND more Borderlines Films!

On Saturday I drove to Pantygelli and into the Mynydd Du Forest to start the Grwyne Fawr Reservoir & Waterfalls Walk from Blaen y Cwm Car Park.

A steep woodland ascent from the car park and brought us out onto open moorland and more up to Blacksmith Anvil on the Chwarel y Fan – Rhos Dirion ridge, then a steep descent to Capel-y-ffin in the Vale of Ewyas.

A visit to the chapel, then an easy walk up the gently rising valley to the west of Darren Lwyd – road giving way to track giving way to trail and with plenty of waterfalls en route (well, in theory – it’s been a lot drier than normal so only two were flowing).

Grwyne Fawr Reservoir & Waterfalls Walk
Grwyne Fawr Reservoir & Waterfalls Walk

We emerged onto one of the bluffs between Twmpa and Rhiw y Fan with a view over the Wye Valley.

Heading west along the escarpment brought us to the trig point at Rhos Dirion and a little further on we turned south on the trail down into the Grwyne Fawr valley and the Reservoir, returning on along the old railway track from the reservoir to the car park.

Time: 6 ½ hours
Distance: 12 ½ miles
Ascent: 2180 ft

A fast drive home to pick up Phil, and on to Hereford for Godland at The Courtyard. Grim!

Sunday took me to Pengenffordd, and back to Dinas Castle and the Dragon’s Back, going up it this time which was hard work.

A North West Passage: The Dragons Back from Dinas Castle
A North West Passage: The Dragons Back from Dinas Castle

Once up on the tops (albeit into cloud) it was easier going on the escarpment trail above Cwm y Nant and Mynydd Bychan, past the trig point at Rhos Dirion and up Twmpa / Lord Hereford’s Knob where the cloud kindly lifted to provide Wye Valley views.

Lunch in the shelter of the Rhiw Wen descent and down on to easy paths at the foot of the escarpment, returning to Pengenffordd for a pint or pot of tea at the pub – a lovely warm welcome at the Dinas Castle Inn, Pengenffordd.

One to do again in better weather.

Time: 6 hours
Distance: 11 ½ miles
Ascent: 2140 ft

Thankfully I had time for a pot of tea and a hot cross bun, and a shower, before driving to Bromyard for this evening’s Borderlines film, Emily, which I really enjoyed.

Monday’s walk was the most strenuous of the three, taking in 14 miles of “High Hills, Leaning Towers & Bloody Revenge”.

A steep ascent up from Llanthony Priory onto Hatterrall Ridge, then turning south to walk along the Offa’s Dyke Path with Herefordshire and England on our left, Monmouthshire and Wales on our right. Surprisingly clear views given the cloud.

We left the Offa’s Dyke to drop back into the Vale of Ewyas along the spine of Hatterrall Hill.

High Hills, Leaning Towers & Bloody Revenge: Church of St Martin, Cwmyoy
High Hills, Leaning Towers & Bloody Revenge: Church of St Martin, Cwmyoy

Lunch at the wonky church in Cwmyoy, then across the valley floor and up through woods and a short stretch of road between stone walled fields to the Twyn y Gaer Iron Age Fort – scene of many a bracken battle in my childhood.

From the fort we headed north west along the ridge, climbing steadily toward the Revenge Stone and beyond to the Bee Hive Cairn at Gant Wen and on towards Bal Bach, turning right at the pile of stones / crossroads at the foot of Bal Bach and dropping back down to Llanthony alongside the Cwm Bwchel on a section of the Beacons Way.

Definitely strenuous at quick a brisk pace!

Time: 7 hours
Distance: 14 miles
Ascent: 2895 ft

No film this evening; pizza and telly instead!

I’ve not mentioned birds for a while. At the bird feeders, we seem to have lost the nuthatch(es), but gained long tailed tits and sparrows to add to the blue tits, great tits, robins, chaffinches, dunnocks, blackbirds, thrushes, red woodpeckers and magpies. There are pigeons and the occasional jay on the pond side of the house, plus lots of greenfinches. Over the woods and valleys, buzzard and red kite glide and soar.

Squirrel count: the max single sighting is now up to 4. Grrr.

Retirement Days Tracker: 29 days to go

TV: The Last of Us,  Julia, Mystery Road: Origin.

Podcasts: Lingthusiasm,  The History of England, The Memory Palace.

Photos: Herefordshire week 166 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-03-05.

Herefordshire Week 162: Tuesday 31 January – Monday 06 February 2023

It’s official – I’m retiring.

A haircut. Manchester. Tremorithic. Fabulous sunsets. Olchon Valley / Cat’s Back Circuit.

Quite a week!

Hello Hawfinches!

Cat’s Back Circuit: Panorama - Cat’s Back, Olchon Valley and the southern stretches of Hatterrall Ridge, from the zig / zag turn on the path up to Hatterrall Ridge
Cat’s Back Circuit: Panorama – Cat’s Back, Olchon Valley and the southern stretches of Hatterrall Ridge, from the zig / zag turn on the path up to Hatterrall Ridge

Busy morning in Abergavenny on Tuesday: Dentist, posted eBay items, haircut (first since July 2021 – and that’s not a typo), then the train up to Manchester to spend my working week with the KM Ops team there, and to do all the comms around my departure.

Such a relief for my news to be public at work – and here too. Roll on June.

Train home Thursday evening – Transport for Wales not affected by the strikes.

Spent Friday morning on admin, including catching up with last week’s weeknotes, a chat with Val about Kanchenjunga later this year plus the usual random stuff that seems to crop up week to week.

Who knows where the day goes?

Made butternut squash curry for dinner.

Exciting start to Saturday, spotting large birds hopping around down by the rose garden (that’s a very loose description). They didn’t look quite like jays, but similarly colourful, so I got out the binoculars for a better look and scared them off…. but they returned and I had my camera the ready.

Hmmmm. They weren’t in the Usborne Spotter’s Guide to Birds which so far has helped us to identify everything we’ve seen in the garden …. so I paged through the RSPB Birds A to Z online guide and spotted them – Hawfinches!

My photos aren’t great, but it’s brilliant to have them here.


Then back to the mundane: made soup mainly to use up the brown lentils in the pantry cupboard and the carrots at risk of rotting in the fridge.

Gardened for a bit with Phil (not mundane!), raking up / collecting leaves, digging up and hauling a barrow load of compost to the orchard for relocating the rhubarb into the square planter dad and I made last year, and then relocating the gooseberry bush Jean has gifted us from Dinedor into the long planter. Will have to work out where to move the everlasting sweet peas to.

Scoffed soup – late lunch – then walked to Kilpeck – 1 hour 15mins, road route – to rendezvous with dad and Jean at the village hall for the Kilpeck Winter Fair. Returned with an excellent haul of goodies: chocolate brownies and biscotti, two jars of raspberry jam and a large jar of piccalilli. Strolled around the garden with dad and Jean, admiring the snowdrops, aconites and camellia, then inside for tea and cake – Phil had got the log stove going to welcome us home.

Now that I know what I’m looking for, I spotted a whole flock of hawfinches on Sunday morning, down by the log shed foraging for stuff that falls from the yew tree I guess.

Hawfinches galore!
Hawfinches galore!

Super sunny so we headed out to walk Tremorithic road route, returning for a late lunch. There are lambs at Black Bush Farm.

First lambs
First lambs

A couple of hours of gardening: dug up the nettles I’d spotted yesterday by the old railway track, tipped the last wheelbarrow of bonfire ash onto the slope, raked twigs and branches on the swing slope and wheel barrowed them to the quarry for bonfiring at a later date.

The superb sunset lured me out onto Canns Hill to take some photos of the pink skies over Hatterrall Ridge, Hay Bluff, Skirrid and Sugar Loaf. Glorious and gorgeous.

Fantastic sunset in the West - Hay Bluff from Canns Hill
Fantastic sunset in the West – Hay Bluff from Canns Hill

St Andrews Ladies catch up over zoom early evening, then telly and tea: The White Lotus, The Last of Us YouTube extras and then we joined 10 million others and watched the Happy Valley finale…..

Monday was another gorgeous sunny day so I drove over to Longtown and up to the Black Hill Picnic Spot / Car Park for a smashing walk in the Black Mountains: The Olchon Valley – Cat’s Back Circuit via Hatterrall Ridge and Hay Bluff.

I joined up and adapted a couple of routes: the road / footpaths down into the Olchon Valley then up onto Hatterrall Ridge (from last year’s HWF Olchon Circuit) and north along the Offa’s Dyke Path for a few miles (new). Up to Hay Bluff for Wye Valley Views and back via the Black Hill and the Cat’s Back (a favourite).

Cat’s Back Circuit: Hay Bluff views
Cat’s Back Circuit: Hay Bluff views
Coming down The Cat's Back
Coming down The Cat’s Back

Distance: 9.79 miles; elevation gain: 1,583 ft; active time 3h 18m; walk time 4h 18m.

A magic day.

TV: Narcos (started season 3, not sure I’ve got the guts for all the gore), Shaun the Sheep (needed some light relief after Narcos), The White Lotus, The Last of Us, Happy Valley (series 3 – The End).

Spotted a lot of casting crossover between Narcos (Pedro Pascal) – Lotus (Murray Bartlett) – Last (Pedro Pascal & Murray Bartlett). Plus Con O’Neill, Neil in Happy Valley and Israel in Our Flag Means Death, was originally cast as Bill in The Last of Us.  Pedro, Con and Bella Ramsey (The Last of Us) were all in Game of Thrones. What a small world!

Podcasts: History Extra, In Our Time, The History of England.

Photos: Herefordshire week 162 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2023-02-05.

Herefordshire Week 139: Tuesday 23 – Monday 29 August 2022

Lining up some work on the house. Bonfiring. iPhone woes. Bank Holiday Breakfast at Gwatkins.

Gwatkin Red Cow, Abbey Dore / Bacton
Gwatkin Red Cow, Abbey Dore / Bacton

Dropped Panda off with RW Williams first thing Tuesday for the rattle and daytime running lights to be investigated. Walked back, weeknotes, then work which continued as usual through Wednesday and Thursday.

Finished work at 6.30pm prompt on Thursday (plus 15 mins as V called)  for an early tea in anticipation of K&N coming round to look through the list of building jobs we’d like N to do – including sprucing up the garage (replace roof, clad the walls, improve the storage options inside), re-rendering the west wall and closing up the doorway between the lounge and the TV room. Having toured the house outside and inside we added a few more things to the list. All good things to Get Done.

As dusk fell, a louder than usual conservatory window “thump” turned out to be a tawny owl. Thankfully it recovered.

I dedicated most of Friday to bonfiring the hedge clippings and shrub loppings in the quarry. Small amounts, very carefully, to start with given how close the 5 piles of dry cuttings were to the fire, and how dry everything is still. We’ve had no rain since last weekend’s Saturday showers.

Bonfire ash pile
Bonfire ash pile

A late lunch, then cut down the berberis behind the garage in anticipation of that being rendered, hooked up some of the liberated wire to the wisteria trellis for the new shoots to wind around, potted up a couple of baby yew trees (currently they’re each just 1  sprig, but they must be hardy stock as they’ve emerged from the gravel around the bottom of the kitchen wall), cut the Boston Fern runners and potted them in compost in the hope of propagating a few more baby ferns.

Selected render and roof colours over tea and the last of the Welsh Cakes in the conservatory (sweltering).

FaceTime with S&S, with beer and crisps.

And then made dinner!

Shenmore Circular with the GVWC on Saturday, featuring a pint of bitter shandy at The Yew Tree in Preston on Wye during the lunchtime stop. Pizza al fresco, with a glass of wine, for dinner.

Bank Holiday Weekend pizza
Bank Holiday Weekend pizza

More walking on Sunday as Phil and I went for breakfast at Gwatkins Red Cow. Full English, meaty and veggie/ vegan versions. Reminded me of Walton on the Naze…

Breakfast is served!
Breakfast is served!

We took the Bacton Square route back – the stream at Bacton that runs down into the Dore is completely dry, and the sheep are sheltering in the large concrete drainage pipes down by Abbey Dore  Court. We spent the afternoon pottering, including bailing out the rainwater from the small pond in anticipation of sealing the crack that’s the cause of the leak, and swopping the picnic bench and Nana Helen’s bench, so that we can sit on the latter when watching the birds.

Bank Holiday Monday was breezy sunny/cloudy day. I shelved my plans for a walk in the Black Mountains and finished Flickring my Ladakh photos instead.

In the afternoon we walked down to the Abbey and back, calling in at T&Js for tea and biscuits, and then I had a go at getting my Apple stuff accessible on my donated Samsung Galaxy phone. Not entirely successful. Why am I bothering? Well, my inherited iPhone SE is kaput – the battery has expanded and forced open the case. I’ve an iStore appointment booked for Friday….

In contrast to last year’s glut, this year’s apple harvest is tiny. We’ve hardly any on the two trees between the ponds. This is about half the likely crop:

Not so many apples this year....
Not so many apples this year….

There are no apples, none at all, on the trees down on the lower path – home to the big Bramley and the Egremont Russett, where we had so many windfalls this time 2 years ago. No greengages there either, and a paltry plum (damson) crop.

Things look a bit better in the orchard: the Worcester Pearmain and the Discovery have a fair crop, but all small. The dwarf Bramley is laden, and the Laxton Superb has about the same amount of apples as last year. The Golden Delicious is having a quiet year though – hardly any apples there, which is a relief…..

So, I can’t see that the apple racks will be overflowing this year. Good job we’ve not yet used up all the frozen apples, and the chutney supplies are still plentiful.

TV: Ted Lasso (finished off season 2 – Oooh NATE!!!), Borgen (Season 3, Netflix reboot).

Audiobook: Alice Roberts reading her book Tamed: Ten Species that Changed Our World (excellent).

Podcasts: History Extra, World Book Club, Books and Authors, The Essay.

Photos: Herefordshire week 139 on Flickr.

Phil: w/e 2022-08-28.