"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 7 August 2022

This and That


Recent Reading

Orchard is a book I keep at the caravan along with all the other Herefordshire books, some church books and a few wildlife id guides.  It is a book I bought years ago in Weobley when D and I came for the day to visit some of the "black and white" trail villages. Its a lovely book. There is little text but just photos from a Herefordshire Cider Orchard through the seasons.

I think I spotted this book on Rosie's blog "Corners of My Mind" and I really enjoyed it as it made a change from crime and mystery novels.  It is a fictional account of why Jane Austen's sister Cassandra may have burned Jane's letters and delves not only into the content of the imagined letters but fictional accounts of the Austen Sisters' past. It is very moving and imaginative.

Another Logaston Press I bought for the caravan!  Fascinating book of ghost stories on my favourite county.

You may recall the jumper and scarf and hat I knitted myself recently. Deborah of Country Ways and Cottage Days had the brilliant idea that I should knit Timothy a jumper and scarf in the same wool so here he is posing in the finished products. The jumper is a bit too long like mine!!  I am making another jumper for myself now in the same chunky marble wool but different colours and will try and make the jumper and sleeves shorter this time - you live and learn!

The Passion Flower in the garden at home is flowering again this year which is great news.

I usually do several Garden Butterfly Conservation Butterfly Counts each year but unfortunately as I seem to spend so much time in Herefordshire at the moment I've only done one this year! 

The results are as follows:

Peacock x 1

Small White x 1

Holly Blue x 1

Speckled Wood x 1

Large White x 1

We've just come back from another few days in Herefordshire as we had to be there for a gas boiler service and gas safety check appointment.  So a few posts to come on a few places visited. We did return to places visited before for various reasons but this time I did visit the interior of Berrington Hall where resides the most amazing restored Georgian dress.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

Wednesday, 3 August 2022

Short Visit Herefordshire - Part 1: Hampton Court Castle Gardens and Aardvark Books Brampton Bryan


D and I popped to the caravan for 3 night two weeks ago just for another short break.

The Herefordshire Oak

Thursday was dry with some sunshine and not too hot. It was noticeable how much cooler and fresher it was in Herefordshire especially overnight.

We visited the gardens of Hampton Court Castle. I've been twice before but this was D's first visit.

The present gardens are located in two walled gardens designed by Simon Dorrell and David Wheeler from Chadburn Ltd of Bath in 1996/98.

The landscaped park was designed many years ago and Humphrey Repton was consulted in 1795 and 1810.

The Walled Gardens

One of the Water Pavilions

D and I decided that the sculptures scattered round the gardens and park are characters from fairy tales.  

The Dutch Garden

Due to covid the maze had been closed on my last two visits but it is open now.

We found our way to the Gothic Tower at the centre which you can enter and climb the stairs to the top but this door was locked :( Try as we might we were stuck in this section of the maze and failed to find our way to the other three quarters and the open door.  To be honest it was getting a bit hot by now and I think we had both had enough of constantly re-tracing our steps!

Fairy door in tree in the parkland

Croft Castle is a castellated country house and the older part which includes the chapel dates back to 1427.  The castle has been altered since it was built and additions made.  The most recent owner is Robert Van Kampen - an American billionnaire who bought the castle in the 1990's.

I think there are organised tours of the house interior on various days but I haven't yet been inside.

D and I did the riverside walk.

Hedge Woundwort

When I've done the walk before it was circular but this time part of the route was closed to access so we ended up re-tracing our steps.

Pleached limes back in the Walled Garden.

Rain was forecast on Friday although initially it was mainly dry with some drizzle. I suggested a visit to a village called Brampton Bryan which has a good second hand bookshop called Aardvark Books.

We spent quite a bit of time browsing and buying!

I planned to take a photo of the bookshop when we left and pay a quick visit to the church! (Always a church wherever I visit!) and see if we could see Brampton Bryan Castle from the churchyard but as we left it was tipping down with rain. We waited 20 minutes but it just got heavier and heavier and there was no sign of it stopping so we decided to leave.  The roads especially the initial B roads were awful like rivers!  A result of poor drainage and this huge deluge of biblical proportions!  By the time we had got to Wigmore it had more or less stopped and when we arrived back in Leominster the pavements and roads were completely dry so we were just unlucky. Bookshops are not B's cup of tea so hopefully I can return with D and visit the church and see the castle.  There is a legend attached to Brampton Bryan castle and Lady Brilliana Harley who lived there during the Civil War successfully, with just a handful of servants, kept the castle safe and secure when it was under siege from Royalist troops.

On Saturday we came home around lunchtime. Hopefully we will be going back fairly soon.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera. (I don't particularly rate most of my photos but if anyone wishes to use one I would be grateful for an email first - thanks).

Saturday, 30 July 2022

Back to Herefordshire - Part 5: Riverside Walk at Leominster


Friday was thankfully cooler and B suggested we try and find a riverside walk.  A bit of googling revealed a Riverside Route in Leominster taking in two rivers.

We parked in the car park by the Priory and B went over to check the River Kenwater which runs along one side. Unbelievably he saw yet another Kingfisher and oh joy! I saw the same bird a few minutes later.

We cut out the first part of the route through the town centre and picked it up by Leominster Priory.

I've not seen the Priory House on previous visits.  It is one of the few surviving buildings built by the monks of Leominster Priory. Others include Fobury Chapel and of course the Priory Church itself.  Priory House was probably built in the mid 1100's although there have been alterations over the years.  Some researchers think it was used as an infirmary by the monks to treat the sick. Alternatively it could have provided lodgings for the prior. When the monastery was dissolved in 1539 it was kept as a private residence.  

From 1836 until the early 20th century it was used as a workhouse for the poor. It then became a hospital and then offices for the County Council. Today it is used as a youth hostel.

This area is known as The Tranquil Place.

This archway and sculpture is by Walenty Pytel who lives locally.

At this stage we had to walk across a terrifyingly high railway bridge to cross the railway line (I don't like heights!) before emerging into woodland.

This dragonfly mosaic was made by local people and sadly it now looks rather worn and damaged.

Into Easters Wood

Before retracing our steps through the wood and across a meadow to reach the River Lugg.

From this bridge we saw another Kingfisher!

Walking back along the River Kenwater  I was chuffed to see a Dipper.

Rowan berries 

Worryingly on this large buddleia I saw just one butterfly - a White.

It was a pleasant walk and took about two hours although we did dawdle at times.  

A nice way to end the break - we came home at lunchtime the following day.

I hope everyone is staying safe and well.

All photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera.  (I don't particularly rate my photos but if anyone ever wants to use one I would appreciate an email first thanks)