Caroline and I had a happy fortnight's holiday in the Marches. We spent four nights in a bed and breakfast by the River Wye, in West Herefordshire: Winforton Court - thoroughly to be recommended. After that, we moved into one of the National Trust's holiday cottages on the Croft Castle Estate in the North of Herefordshire, for six nights. From there, we drove, via Hereford, to stay a night with our good friends Marius and Clare Gray in Kentchurch, in the South-West corner of the county. Finally, we spent last weekend in a mews cottage right in the centre of the small town of Presteigne, just over the border into what was Radnorshire.
Means of transport (this was supposed to be a low-carbon holiday!): OK, so we did drive 466 miles; but taking our bikes on the back of the car: we had three days' cycling round the villages - no punctures and not too many hills; and we had a number of longish walks - along Hergest Ridge above Kington and in the woods at Croft.
Sunshine? The swimming trunks I took for all those refreshing dips in cool river pools came back unworn. It seemed to rain most days, but never for too long that we were in danger of losing our sense of humour. The worst moment was listening to the actor playing Richard III say "All the clouds that lour'd about our house" were "in the deep bosom of the ocean buried" whilst sitting on a plastic chair in a pool of water.
Food: we liked all the pubs we visited for lunches (and some suppers) out - and the little Hat Shop Restaurant in Presteigne. There was much emphasis placed everywhere on local produce. It's not quite the same as being in France of course, but the food was just as tasty - and probably cheaper.
Best bits: the landscapes; the villages; churches, and their embellishments; little things that catch the eye; the architecture; the gardens; the trees; the windows and doorways; the friendly natives; the history - including lots of Davis family history, inevitably (boring for poor Caroline) - and being an hour's drive from the nearest dual carriageway.
For Norman Lloyd
6 hours ago