Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Welsh Wanderings and Malvern Marvels

I thought I would add some of our pictures to the vast myriad of pictures already here, although as I combined my attandance with my first study school for the MSc Information and Library Studies (no I'm not embrarssed!) there are also some shots of Aber.

The Study School was great, an I very much enjoyed meeting all my contemporaries on the course. It was a grey few days in Aber, but I happen to find moody coastal skies rather beautiful...
It's a bit small, but that's Aber's old building on the right. We were escorted around Aberystwyth very graciously by a charming Polish student... which we all found a little odd considering the adjustments we had been making to our surroundings already.

Probably every student at Aber has photographed these... or am I mistaken? I think they should have anyway!
So I am now a student once again, only this time I'm working 20hrs per week on top of my nearly full time job. The first full day of the course focussed soley on coping strategies for distance learning, which sounds dreadful but it was reassuring to know how experienced the University is in supporting students like myself. It was an intensive week, and I actually needed to take naps in the day once I got to the Malverns just to recover!

And now for something completely different...

The Malverns!

So, there was a lot of walking, note Trev in his signature hat... :o)


Lovely views,

a cave,
And Martins (birds) but my particular expertise is spotting the behaviours of an altogether different species of Martin....
They really had no idea they were doing this... until now!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Scotch eggs - I'm a convert!

Just returned from Herefordshire. Two relaxing weeks with family in the middle was perfectly lovely. A few more pictures are included.

Trev beside a large mouse sculpture at Charlecote Park en route

Won't go on too much about it but points of interest include the local butcher round the corner who sold home made scotch eggs not the least like they were at school.

Herefordshire drivers make French drivers look good. There is hardly any dualed road in the county and a lot of tractors so there is a lot of overtaking. However do they really have to wait until the blind bend to zoom out of the stream of traffic. Mind you another thing we learned is that the tea shops close rather early (one in Malvern before 3!) so maybe they are in a rush to get a cream tea.
We aimed to climb a mountain near Hay called Lord Hereford's Knob!! Unfortunately, the weather defeated us and we only got up Hay Bluff. That was in a bit of a gale but somebody had put a picnic table at the top so we felt we ought to have a windy picnic up there.
Waitrose car park in Great Malvern.  Quite the view.
Alice the Mycologist and a very windy picnic on Hay Bluff

It was cider apple harvest and potato harvest while we were there so, as I have said, there were a lot of tractors towing trailers overflowing with spuds or apples. Infact our lane became strewn with escaped apples and most of our walks smelt rather appley which is a smell that takes me back to my childhood. Our cottage was a converted cider press infact so it had a huge press in it. It also had crazy plumbing and both Alice and I managed to flood one of the bathrooms. Taking wet rooms to the extreme.
So many buzzards! They are fairly rare in Essex so we were excited at first but got a bit bored with them later. Although seeing a flock of rooks mob one was fascinating.
Bishop's Frome walk before we all got lost thanks to annoying misdirecting farmer. We had our revenge by scrumping his damsons!  Ha!

One of the many black and white buildings in the county

The cider press in our cottage

An exciting hand pulled ferry.

Lastly, I am enamoured of the Malvern Hills. Only 9 miles of them but absolutely lovely views and all publicly owned so no annoying farmers removing waymarks (As in the Bishop's Frome walk). Also when we were there the house martins were busy filling there little bellies before the journey south so were spectacular to watch.
A very rural and rather old fashioned part of the world

Monday, September 19, 2011

Weekend in the Malvern Hills

The view to the Vale of Evesham from the Malvern Beacon
Where are we going?

Climbing over one of many stiles on a walk from Bishops Frome

This is - we decided - a stuffed woodpecker which someone has nailed to a tree.  We looked for a good 5 minutes and it never moved

Alice coming down a very steep hill

Brian, Alice and Kieran in the cafe at St Anne's Well

Here we are on top of the Malvern Beacon (in the rain),  looking towards Wales
We had a lovely long weekend in Herefordshire with Boo, Trev, Kieran and Alice.  We did some lovely walks in stunning scenery and less than wonderful weather.  However it never poured on us, just showered sometimes.  From up on the top of the Beacon you can see miles and miles to east and west.  It's not an area I had ever visited properly before, though I have driven round it, and it is beautiful in a very  hilly way!