Herefordshire Week 030: Tuesday 21 – Monday 27 July 2020

… will be with you next week.    Ta daaa!

Sofa Song.

Pembrokeshire, and El Anillo postponed.

Hello Walton-on-the-Naze!

Tuesday morning I walked the Camp Crossroads – Cockyard – Kerrys Gate route and then settled down for my last week at work before my first holiday of 2020.

Golds and greens
Golds and greens

The working week ended in a rush making Thursday evening’s fish and chip supper with dad and Jean rather more manic than I’d wanted. Still, The Old Stables turned up trumps again, and we polished off three cod, two large chips and one battered mushrooms in a birthday and pre quarantine celebration. Plus one bottle of wine, which ousted the traditional pot of tea for three.

Friday to Sunday were spent with Steffi in Pembrokeshire.

St David’s Head: Caerfai to Whitesands
St David’s Head: Caerfai to Whitesands

The A40 from Hay provided a winning driving route, and I was there in about 2 1/2 hours. Reinvigorated by coffee and a slice of sourdough toast, Steffi drove us over to Bosherton Lakes where we strolled around the lily ponds and along to Barafundle, Stackpole and back before returning home for a takeaway Mexican treat.

A leisurely morning in the caravan on Saturday and a leg stretch south from Newgale  before setting off north to Solva in the afternoon. There and back was 14 miles mostly under grey skies with rain arriving towards the end.

Bramble gin, bread, cheese, toms and apples for dinner.

Sunday was sunnier, and we walked around St David’s Head, starting at Caerfai and finishing off with  ice cream at Whitesands Beach aka Sussex-on-Sea.

A lovely long weekend.

Less lovely was the UK Government’s surprise announcement on Saturday night that it was reintroducing, immediately, 14 day quarantine for anyone returning from Spain.

So Picos is now postponed.

Picos postponed: GOV.UK email
Picos postponed: GOV.UK email

Having spent my weekend on the coast in the far west of the British mainland, on Monday Phil and I drove all the way east to Essex for a week in Walton on the Naze.

It was a long drive and the M25 and A12 were particularly tough – heavy traffic, with lots of lorries heading, presumably, to Felixstowe. The motorway pace itself isn’t a worry, but there are some drivers out there making manoeuvres that left no room for mistakes. No room for anything!

Anyway, we got there. And Phil made his first foray to the supermarket for a good few months, returning to stock the fridge full or treats for our week’s holiday in WON.

TV: I May Destroy You – do believe the rave reviews. I don’t think I’ve seen twenty-something life in London shown so truthfully on TV before.

After that, we went back in time to the early 1930s, with HBO’s remake of US Private Eye series Perry Mason, which we’ve powered through only to find they’ve yet to release the final pair of episodes – that’s our binge-watch blocked!

Podcasts: On sleepless nights, I often put on the earphones and listen  to a podcast or two, and on Wednesday BBC Radio 3’s The Essay featured Chris Wood‘s Sofa Song. A poignant piece about a seemingly mundane item of furniture. Lovely.

And for longer listens, I’ve embarked on the latest series from You Must Remember This exploring the life and work of Polly Platt.


…. All in good time. Work calls!

10 August 2020 – Update: Here they are: Photos from Herefordshire week 30.

Icemen: A History of the Arctic and its Explorers – Mick Conefrey and Tim Jordan

Icemen: A History of the Arctic and its Explorers - Mick Conefrey and Tim Jordan
Icemen: A History of the Arctic and its Explorers – Mick Conefrey and Tim Jordan

Easy reading chronologically ordered chapters covering the more familiar Artic Explorations including Franklin’s attempt to find the North West Passage and Peary’s claim to have reached the North Pole, and the more unfamiliar such as Andrée’s Artic Expedition by balloon and Amundsen’s by airship, and finishing up with the Artic’s role in World War II and the Cold War.

The book accompanied a BBC2 series and both date from 1998. I can’t find pages for either online.

Abebooks page: Icemen: A History of the Arctic and its Explorers – Mick Conefrey and Tim Jordan

Herefordshire Week 029: Tuesday 14 – Monday 20 July 2020

A socially distanced, social whirl, of a week. Relatively.

Major event of the week that the couple from down the road come up for drinks on Friday evening, which saw us sitting outside chatting until 11pm.

Other social events took place over Zoom, and there was a visit to Dinedor / ‘Winchester’ / The Taste of Raj Indian takeaway. Details below.

I’ve been better at rolling out of bed at 6am for a morning walk this week. In return, I’ve had various views of Hatterall Ridge and The Cat’s Back, and a meeting with some cows:

Morning, Cows!
Morning, Cows!

My walks were soundtracked by accumulated podcasts from Shedunnit and The Infinite Monkey Cage.

Most of my working week has been accompanied by the gentle sound of the hay field being mown and then the hay being baled and gathered in. All with antique farm machinery.

Hay Baling Complete
Hay Baling Complete

My chilli plants seem to have had a growth spurt and acquired some small white flowers, and I picked my first radish crop on Wednesday lunchtime.

My First Radishes!
My First Radishes!

Small green tomatoes are materialising too. And I have a courgette!

My first (blurry) courgette
My first (blurry) courgette

Admin on Friday morning, then a Zoom with one of my London friends which lasted until lunchtime.

Friday afternoon featured a thorough cleaning of the inside of the Tree House, aka 40B, with the assorted toys getting a wash and de-cobweb in the dishwasher. I repainted the outside on Saturday morning, listening to more of The Infinite Monkey Cage. The Anthropocene Reviewed had accompanied Friday’s deep clean.

40B - Spick & Span, with a new coat of Preserver/Paint
40B – Spick & Span, with a new coat of Preserver/Paint

Mid afternoon Phil drove us over to dad and Jean’s, where we found them entertaining some of our Abbey Dore neighbours with tea and cake. Visitors waved off, dad drove us to ‘Winchester’ to view the transformed back garden and the pergola – a v smart addition.

En route, we stopped off at dad’s favourite, General Dogsbody, to stock up on a 25kg sack of peanuts for the birds. I can see why dad likes it.

Evening at Dinedor feasting on Indian & Chinese takeaway. What a treat.

Sunday was, appropriately, a day of rest.

Monday – Skirrid in the morning:

Skirrid Views - Panoramas (N&E, S&W) from the Trig Point
Skirrid Views – Panoramas (N&E, S&W) from the Trig Point

And a tour of Abergavenny’s backstreets trying to find my way back  onto the A465 towards Hereford.

Mowing in the afternoon:

Mowing: Stage 2
Mowing: Stage 2

Photos from Herefordshire week 29.

The cows are back in Thistly Field.

The Peacock Spring – Rumer Godden

The Peacock Spring - Rumer Godden
The Peacock Spring – Rumer Godden

I bought this from Abebooks after seeing it on a list of recommended books about other places *.

I didn’t realise it was a Puffin Plus, aimed at what we’d now call “Young Adult” reader.

Too young, sadly. And too Colonial. I gave up at the point Una and Ravi meet.

Publisher page: The Peacock Spring – Rumer Godden

* Turns out it was The Guardian’s article on The book that inspired me to travel: readers’ tips. I should have realised that the Sarah Wheeler who recommended it is not the Sara Wheeler whose travel writing I enjoy immensely.

Ghosts of K2 – Mick Conefrey

Ghosts of K2 - Mick Conefrey
Ghosts of K2 – Mick Conefrey

Another history of the 20th century’s attempts to ascend, and descend, the world’s second highest mountain – K2.

K is for Karakoram, and “The Savage Mountain” as it’s sometimes called, lies on the border between Pakistan and China, in the former’s far north west, an area I visited back in 2006, and fell in love with.

So, yes, trekking to Concordia is on my wish list.

Climbing K2 is not!

Conefrey’s 2015 book culminates with the ultimately successful 1954 attempt by the Italian team organised and run by Ardito Desio, although – in my view – not truly led by him as Professor Desio spent most of the time at Base Camp, leaving the mountaineering to the mountaineers – including Achille Compagnoni and Lino Lacedelli who made it to the top. The book also discusses the long term fall out, and falling out, that ensued.

I don’t recall Conefrey describing Desio as a Count, but that may account for his management style and insistence on hierarchy – and travelling by plane whilst leaving his lowlier mountaineering companion, Riccardo Cassin, to travel by train on their 1953 reconnaissance.

Author page: Ghosts of K2 – Mick Conefrey