Summer 2013 – Week 6 – The Marches

Sunday 21st July 2013

After a restful night we drove into Ross-on-Wye to my old place of work Ross Labels. We wandered round the store chatting to old friends. I popped back into the van to see if I could get into the suit Robin had loaned me for the wedding in Florence. Although I had made some progress in reducing my girth the suit was still going to be a tight fit, especially to sit down in so I bit the bullet and bought a similar one. Jo also bought a new dress. We just need some where to try them out.

Along familiar roads up to Hereford we turned north east along the A4110 as far as Ken and Carol’s new place at Leintwardine. I thought they were going to buy a turrnkey house this time but those who know Ken will know that is too easy and he has got another doer upper.I remember a camping weekend here many years ago. Leintwardine is the only village left with a front parlour pub. The old lady who used to run it died but some of the villagers have bought it.

Ken got the timing of supper wrong as the Tour de France was having a late finish so we sat and watched that and ate off our laps. No fifth win for Cav but Froome had done well.

Monday 22nd July 2013

Ken had to go to the hospital in Hereford quite early so Jo went to the village for supplies and we both then went to find a geocache in the village.

Pleasure over we set about the front garden filling several bags of weeds. Good turn done Ken & Carol drove us to old friends and fellow Severn Bore John Llewellyn who I had not seen for many years,

, for some excellent home made cake.

Supper was Ken’s world famous fish pie.

Tuesday 23rd July 2013

We had a slow start as we were not in a great rush and the next stop, stepson Paul’s house, was probably less than an hour’s drive away. We stopped off at the Discovering Shropshire Centre in Craven Arms and headed out to the park to do some geocaches followed by lunch.

Paul lives in Churchstoke just inside Powys and he and Kim bought a doer-upper a couple of years ago. Last time I saw it fifteen months ago there was a long way to go but both have worked hard and the house is looking very good and filled with appropriate furniture and Paul’s eclectic collection of signs, nick nacks and books. Kim is also a good cook and we sat down to some excellent food.

Wednesday 24th July 2013.

Paul is a keen paraglider so he knows his way around the local area so he arrangd a day off work and took us up some very narrow lanes over the Long Mynd and once on the top we took him to some parts he did not know about in the search for some geocaches such as the wartime peregrine falcon training centre, although whether the falcons were being trained to keep airfields clear of pigeons and the like or to kill German spy carrier pigeons I couldn’t find out.

We descended to the Carding Mill Valley for tea and cakes and a walk to the bird hide. A nuthatch to add to Jo’s list and a plethora of Austin Healey 3000’s and Frog-eyed Sprites to add to my list of classic cars.

The beautiful lines of the Big Healey - Austin Healey 3000

The beautiful lines of the Big Healey – Austin Healey 3000


Richard, Paul and Kim examining an Austin Healey 3000



The trig point on Pole Bank, Long Mynd

The trig point on Pole Bank, Long Mynd

Walking on the Long Mynd

Richard, Paul & Kim walking on the Long Mynd

Home and a BBQ. Ken and Carol had asked me to get it organised and make sure they got an invite. Fellow Severn Bore Geoff came with Helen. John and Shirley could not come and Mike was working so a trip to Harry Tuffins and enough in the trolley to get a 10p per gallon fuel discount voucher.

The rain held off long enough to enjoy some banter about our younger days especially our long distance walking trips.

Yes, a thunderstorm later, the only rain we have encountered in our UK trip so far.

Thursday 25th July 2013

A morning spent on catching up on paperwork, finances etc. Paul was at work in Hereford and Kim was in and out of her office before going out. We walked to Harry Tuffin’s to stock up on stuff we could take home such as gluten-free stuff, goodies we can’t buy in Spain etc.

Friday 26th July 2013

Time to say “Goodbye” We had actually got up very early to say “Goodbye” to Paul as he sets off for work at some ungodly hour. Kim is not in such a hurry especially as school has broken up and there is no requirement for a taxi service from son Danny.

We only stopped about five miles up the road at a wholefoods shop just before Craven Arms. Jo returned to the van grinning from ear to ear with an armful of gluten free goodies except that the fruit cake actually said “NOT suitable for coeliacs”. She hadn’t spotted the NOT word so I am in for a treat. I’ve been told though, that I must eat it out of Jo’s sight!

We made a diversion to see Mike and Julie. Mike, like my brother in law, Dave, is one of my oldest friends. I have known them both for over forty years. Mike’s new hobby is modelmaking. He has built a number of boats but his current project is a 46mm(?) gauge model railway in the garden. Model railways are rather more sophisticated than when I was a lad and running my Hornby Double-O.

Moving on to Dave and Anne’s at the foot of the Lickey Hills initially to catch up as we have not seen each other since their visit to Spain last October.

Saturday July 27th 2013

Anne has been geocaching with me in the past so she suggested a picnic and some geocaching so out with the bikes and down the hill to the Rea Valley Route which goes all the way into Birmingham along roads, pathways and canal towpaths. We went as far as Cannon Hill Park for a picnic followed by ice cream. Today was not going to be competitive unlike a couple of years ago as Jo was nursing a bad back and Anne was competing the next day. Beside there were geocaches to find on the way back.

Supper in their garden watching their woodpeckers and later a young fox looking for some scraps.


Mr Fox waiting for some scraps

Heavy rain during the night.

Sunday 28th July 2013

An early start. I mentioned Anne was competing. She competes in “sprint” triathlons; 400metres of swimming, 20km of cycling and 5km of running. Anne has always been a good swimmer, started running a few years ago and has now taken up cycling seriously so why not combine the three. She won the veteran’s class (Over 60).

Anne finishing the cycling section, Droitwich Triathlon 28/07/2013

Anne finishing the cycling section, Droitwich Triathlon 28/07/2013

Anne during the running section Droitwich Triathlon 28/07/2013

Anne during the running section Droitwich Triathlon 28/07/2013

When they came over to visit me last October we went cycling and rode over 50kms one day and I didn’t get left behind. I was inspired to cycle more. This race has also tempted me. I can swim a bit, I have a decent bike and I used to run cross country. I just need to clock up some miles!

A beer on the terrace at the Victoria in Barnt Green, reminiscing about the days when Jo lived round here, a geocache, then home, lunch and writing up the blog.



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