19.10.10

Herefordshire break

After our
last disastrous attempt to go on holiday, we planned the next one very carefully. We booked an annex in a 15th century farmhouse in rural Herefordshire, one of the last few un-spoilt areas of England. It is just a county away from us, so not too far on the bike and the weather was set fair. Our landlady was lovely and so was the cottage. A mediaeval traditionally built timber frame with original cruck frame construction inside, dating back to the early 1400's and far older than our little 240 year old stone Cotswold home.
Unfortunately it was also on the edge of a busy road, with a constant stream of heavy traffic which barely stopped except for a few hours at night. It was a bit of a change from our own peaceful little lane. However, we had lots of outings planned, Andy had almost every detailed map of the county and had Googled the backside out of Herefordshire, so walks and little trips to historic towns would keep us busy. Neither of us had been here before and walking round the village we were charmed by the plethora of historic timber framed houses, part of the famous
Black and White Trail.

For
Phil Rickman fans, this is Merrily Watkins territory, the mysterious, shadowy Borderlands between England and Wales. He is one of my favourite writers, so this was a bit of a pilgrimage for me.
On our first full day last Sunday, we biked over to the pretty village of Lingen to do a big circular walk through woods and fields. It was about then that we began to fall in love with the Herefordshire countryside; I felt distinctly unfaithful to my beloved Cotswolds. Not only is it stuffed with interesting and beautiful buildings -


- but it is plumply cushioned with trees - even more than we have and most of them deciduous; nice mixed native woodlands hummocking the gentle swells of the landscape.
It was a last echo of summer and we happily strolled for about six miles, noticing the differences in flora and fauna, soaking up the warm autumnal sunshine. We stopped to share a pork pie and watch a Red Kite hunting over the ploughed fields. It had been, we hardly dared say it, the most perfect of days, full of interest and pleasantness. Life seemed very sweet indeed and we were destined to have a wonderful holiday. Oh
hubris! Oh fickle Gods!
We were about half a mile from Lingen, where the bike was parked, coming along a woodland path, Andy ahead as usual, with me pottering behind. Then I came across what was to be my final hurdle. Instead of the usual stile with handy stepover, there was a cobbled together construction consisting of a wooden fence panel and a resty metal gate, the only way past being to climb over precariously or squeeze round the tiny gap at the edge. Not wishing to turn one of my ankles as I'm prone to do, I began climbing the slim posted hurdle. At some point gravity and I had a disagreement because somehow I found myself falling backwards, landing directly onto my shoulder and slamming my right arm - my
working arm - into the hard earth.
I screamed twice, loudly. Poor Andy came running up the track, white and frightened. I almost fainted from the sheer agony of trying to sit up, but we eventually managed it and he called 999 for an ambulance. At this point, even though I was practically vomiting from the pain of every step forward, I was determined to get on the back of the bike to be taken to hospital, a barmy idea I quickly gave up as I stumbled along the last of the footpath, cradling my useless arm. Andy ran ahead to Lingen, coming across the dispersing congregation of the Methodist chapel, who had just finished their Harvest service.
A nice man with a soft Welsh accent drove his Landrover up and drove me back to Lingen, to the pub. Soon I seemed to be the centre of attention, with concerned villagers cooing over me. The local nurse arrived to look after me until the ambulance arrived. I have never in my life come across such collective kindness.
To cut a long and sorry saga short, I was whisked to the county hospital, (looked after by super ambulance medics) where eventually a fracture of my right shoulder area was diagnosed. As it was impossible for me to ride pillion on the bike we had to stay overnight in a city motel and the next day, after a proper sling was fitted, I somehow managed to get painfully back to our holiday cottage via country bus and taxi. With no other transport than the motorbike, I was confined to a couple of short village walks for the rest of the week, feeling terrible at ruining our holiday with my clumsiness. Andy's parents heroically drove down from the North to take me back to the Cotswolds by car at the end of our stay, which was wonderful. Thank you again - I know you read this sometimes.
Ten days on, my right arm is healing but useless. I am sleeping upright on our saggy sofa, as lying down is too painful. I can't work at anything and can barely lift a can of beans - needless to say I am bored and grouchy as hell and going loopy with inactivity. I wish I could be more graceful about it, but I am afraid I make a very bad invalid.
However the memory of the good will of the people of Lingen village is the shining bright light in the gloom and I've even managed to stay in contact. High on gas and oxygen, I shoved a Moo card in the nurse's hand before the ambulance took me away and have been able to update her and thank everyone. It was lovely to know that my recovery was toasted at the pub that evening, the Royal George and Andy has written to the Lingen village website, where his email has been posted on the front page. We have rather fallen in love with the area - and next year we will return.


(Typed with one hand and a pain killer).

45 comments:

clare said...

Your holiday location sounds and looks wonderful. Such a shame you had the accident on the first day. What lovely kind folk live there. Wishing you a very speedy recovery.
xx

The Pea Pod said...

Oh my word! Get well soon. You don't have much luck with your holidays do you, better luck with the next one xx

Southern Lady said...

I am so sorry about your misfortune. It sounds as though you did find a wonderful area for a holiday. Isn't it amazing how total strangers will pitch in to help when we need it the most. I am praying for a speedy recovery for you. God Bless! Carla

Sue said...

Absolutely understand your sudden falling-in-love with Herefordshire, I experienced it myself the first time I went and now have a sort of small ache for it most days. Get well soon :-)

Natasha said...

I'm so sorry this happened especially after the last holiday. I hope your arm heals really quickly and you can get back to work and sleeping lying down.
xxx

curiouscrow said...

Herefordshire is just gorgeous I know - you might also like it over towards Knighton - but what a terrible thing to happen. I once had my working arm in plaster for 12 weeks, up to the shoulder so I can well imagine exactly how frustrated and miserable you must feel. It's horrible, but maybe when you are in less pain you could try a little drawing with your left hand - it might relieve the creative frustration if nothing else (and I always find the concentration needed to draw with my non-dom hand is a welcome diversion from other things !). I hope you have better luck with your next holiday.

rossichka said...

Dear Gretel, what a malchance! It's not fair for such a thing to happen and spoil your holiday! But... if this accident had not occurred, maybe you would never had known how sincere and friendly Lingen's people are! So... this is the "good thing" in the "bad thing"!:)And one more reason to wish to go there again.
I wish you less pain and discomfort and to recover soon! I'm sure you'll find something different and interesting to entartain with during these long days of healing!

Lynne said...

Oh! I'm so sorry about your injury! I once completely dislocated my left shoulder (after a dog pulled me down on hard pavement) and it was horrible. I did have to have surgery: twice. I assume you won't need any? Lucky that!

On the other hand, the countryside of your visit is absolutely beautiful and so very quaint. Picture perfect! No wonder you fell in love, but did you have to go head over heels about it? :)

Wishing you a speedy recovery!

d. moll, l.ac. said...

There are so many things to say. First and foremost multiple wishes for a speedy recovery. Secondly, I am impressed by your left handed and pharmaceutically handicapped typing and word smithing too. Thirdly, OMG the black and whites, I love them so. Must start saving pennies so I can come and visit them in person.

Francie...The Scented Cottage Studio said...

Oh darlin' !!!! Here I stop in to see how you are and goodness... I hope you will heal quickly. thinking about you from across the pond.
(())

jfidz said...

Looks like it will have to be third time lucky regarding a holiday this year! Glad to hear you're on the mend and that perfect
strangers can still be relied on to come to our aid in times of desperate need - good on'em.
Rest up!

Caroline B said...

Wow, you really weren't meant to have any kind of holiday this year were you! So sorry this happened to you - hope it heals speedily and you can at least sleep in a bed again soon. There is nothing worse than enforced inactivity...perhaps exploring just what you can accomplish with your left hand might alleviate the boredom? It's always been a great fear of mine (I trip over alot!) that one day I will break an arm/hand - you have my sympathies!

Sheeps and Peeps Farm said...

So sorry to hear of your accident, especially after such a lovely beginning to your holiday. Wishing you a speedy recovery and hoping that you will be able to re-visit the beautiful Herefordshire countryside very soon. Wonderful pictures!

Cissie said...

Oh blimey, rotten luck. I had a fractured collar bone once so I know how much it hurts. Comfrey leaf tea is a good bone knitter, it saved the day for me.
Feel better soon.
Cissie

Gerry Snape said...

you are right Gretel, it is one of the hidden gems of England. But when something like that happens all you need are lovely people and that seems to be also what you found. Get better soon my dear and think of this as a well earned [ I was going to write break!] rest and time to look forward to what you no doubt will be doing next. Can't wait to see what all this thinking time gives us from you.

BumbleVee said...

Oh, no..... not your working hand!! I'm so sorry to hear that Gretel.... I can't even imagine how frustrating that is. Well, a little bit I can, because I've been whining and grumpy with just a little surgery on my left...

big hugs ...and hoping you recoup well and as quickly as possible... although, having said that .. please do exactly what the surgeon tells you... and absolutely do NOT rush things. It has to heal properly.... has to!

The photos of the quaint and crooked old buildings are lovely ... what fun it would be to see the area. And... so nice that the townsfolk were so wonderful...

best wishes

Vee
xxx

Casey said...

I'm sorry to hear about your accident!
your pictures are lovely!

Frances Tyrrell said...

Very best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery! I am so sorry that you were hurt, what an unfortunate mishap in the midst of your lovely holiday.

frayedattheedge said...

What an awful thing to happen on your holiday - but good to read about how helpful people were in your hour of need! Isn't it funny how we wish for 'idle' time - but when it is forced on us, we can't cope with it. Take care of yourself and do what the doctors say!!

Tonia said...

Oh you poor thing! Fractures are incredibly painful, I know - hope the painkillers are damn good ones! Glad you fell in love with Herefordshire though -it is the most beautiful of counties.
Get well soon!

French Knots said...

What a terrible thing to happen to your working hand. Even though inactivity is frustrating it has to rest to heal.
Heartwarming how people rally round in a crisis.

Frances said...

Oh PG, I do hope that you will have a steady, successful recovery. What a huge bummer to have this accident while on a rare and wonderful holiday.

However, how really wonderful that so many folks rallied to your assistance! Readers like me know what a grand person you are, but it's very reassuring to learn that others got your beauty right away.

You really are a sweetie to post this through pain. (Some of the landscape photos do look like they might be kinfolk to your watercolors.)

xo

Twiglet said...

Oh bless you that sounds so painful! I do hope its mending nicely and a quick recovery is round the corner. It must be so frustrating. Yes Herefordshire is lovely isn't it - next county to Shropshire - equally as quaint and beautiful, I think. All the best. Jo

hidingplainsight said...

oh dear! As a fellow artist I feel your boredom...

But it's a lovely tale and one day you will look back to that fated gate and be thankful for all the friends it brought you.

Cynthia in Seattle

Jill said...

What an adventure - I do hope you have a rapid recovery. What a beautiful part of the country - much under rated I think.

Yarrow said...

Oh Gretel! I'm so sorry you had another holiday disaster. Being a normally busy person, you must be sooo frustrated. I'll send you some healing wishes.

Love and hugs to you.x

Mike Woodcock said...

What a major bummer! Sorry to hear about your painful and incapacitating injury. Take time to read all those books you keep saying you'll read, drink tea, catch up on sleep, create in your mind all the wonderful things you can create with your hands when you recover. All the best!

Vintage Tea Time said...

Ooh, sorry to hear of your accident - hope you're healing well. I live in Herefordshire :) It is a delight, isn't it? Hope you haven't been put off!

green phoenix said...

Gretel, so sorry to read about your accident, must have been horrible.
Hope you get better soon,

xxx

beckasharpe said...

Wishing you a speedy recovery! I'm sorry to hear about your accident, but glad to hear about the lovely place and people. Your blog is so atmospheric, I feel a little like I've been there! Best wishes, Becky

Over the Garden Wall said...

What a miserable thing to happen to you Gretel, but how fortunate that Andy was within screaming distance,that you were conscious and could scream, and that so many good people came to your aid.
I do hope that you are recovering well with lots of nourishment and nurturing.
I am impressed that you still created such a lovely blog.
Those beautiful lopsided houses
that seem to have settled so
comfortably into the ground are balm to my soul.
Here in Ontario the developers tear down anything that comes on the market that is more than fifty years old.

Take care, get well soon.

Chrissie said...

Oh Gretel, what a sorry saga. I do hope you will heal very soon and have no lasting effects. When I made a nasty mess of breaking my leg a few years ago I found that doing exactly as I was told in the recovery period was the best way forward - think you can manage that?!!
x

Isabelle said...

Oh, poor you! So sorry.

Beautiful pictures, though.

Jane said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jane said...

Oh dear, senior moment there Gretel, got your name wrong. Opps.
Anyway, I would just like to add my good wishes for a speady recovery. I hope you feel better soon.
jane

Rosie said...

Sending you lots of sympathy. No working arm? You must be going mad! The photos make me want to go there. What wonderful houses and countryside. Just palms and pines here.

Debbie said...

I`m so sorry for you!
Wishing you a speed recovery!
Great photos of the countryside.

DEBBIE MOSS

acornmoon said...

Hope you are on the mend and feeling better soon. Sending you my love x

Florrie said...

The word Herefordshire caught my eye as I was doing a little blog hopping..........as I live in the beautiful county of Herefordshire........so glad you enjoyed your visit to this area, only sorry you had a mishap. Hope you're feeling better soon.
florrie x

veryberryhandmade said...

I am so sorry to read about your shoulder - you poor thing. Hope it heals very successfully for you.

(I love Merrily Watkins too - great stuff :D)

Trailshome said...

Miss you and hope that your healing is going well. Vacations seem to be dangerous for you, poor thing. It's been a while now and hopefully you are feeling better and up and around. I just wanted you to know that your beautiful pictures and thoughtful comments are missed. You brighten each of our days when you post and we feel bad that you're still not back with us. I wish you a strong, speedy and full recovery. With much affection from an American gardener friend.

Jackie said...

Oh dear. I have so many blog friends with injuries..broken ankle, broken toes, broken leg, operations and now you with your terrible painful shoulder. I'm hoping you will be able to resist working until its completely better. The Herefordshire countryside looks beautiful I've been to Bromyard festival in the past in September and always wanted to have a better look around the county. I love the apple trees everywhere.
I love the idea of googling the backside out of it.
Get well soon.

Vickie said...

So sorry about your shoulder! I hope it heals fast for you. I did so enjoy the photos and your story though. It looks lovely there!

Karen said...

Somehow I managed to miss this post Gretel?
So sorry to hear about your fall. How awful. :(
At least you found a special place out of it. I Passed through Herefordshire once and thought it looked beautiful.
Wishing you a super speedy recovery! x

Puddock said...

Hope you're on the mend now Gretel. It looked as if the holiday was going really well until this happened.

Take care and get well soon.