The International Steam Pages

England's Green (and Yellow) and Pleasant Land, 2012

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:

This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.

Having explored west into the Forest of Dean and east towards Gloucester in 2011, we have looked north into rural Herefordshire in 2012. Actually, we don't have to go very far to change counties, as the border is just one mile from Mitcheldean. This part consists of low rolling hills, which are perfect for low energy cycling along the lanes. Both these first pictures were taken from a lane connecting Bromsash and Aston Crews, the first looking back towards Wigpool Common above Micheldean and the second towards the Penyard and Ross-on-Wye.

Historically, Yuehong is best described as a 'reluctant cyclist' but if there's a garden or garden centre on offer, that's another matter altogether. Here's she's racing towards Bromsash with the latter:

The nursery is a small family run business, the experience for her can best be compared to letting me loose in a beer festival. My implacable rule is 'No Annuals':

Even when that is taken into consideration, 'spoiled for choice' does not do justice to the offerings.

Fortunately, we are limited to what can safely be carried in the bicycle panniers, the results of her investments here and in similar institutions will hopefully make our own garden a treasure in years to come. We always try not to retrace our steps and in this case it meant climbing a significant hill towards Aston Crews:

We had been to this village before in January when I had introduced Yuehong to the liquid joys of the Penny Farthing Inn. Now just when I could have murdered a pint, the freshly scrawled notice was not good news at all. :

So yet another rural pub bites the dust... A week or so later we were back in the area, this time it was for an open garden at the Old Corn Mill mid way between Aston Crews and Lea. It's a very large traditional English country garden built around a former water mill - sadly it was so derelict that no trace of the actual mill now remains. The current house is a very attractive restoration which was receiving a steady trickle of visitors under the 'National Gardens Scheme': The setting is idyllic:

Some idea of the scale can be had from this diagram, it must be a full time job to keep it under control:

Showing off your garden is a bit like baring your soul to all comers, but it's also a way of sharing your pleasures and the cakes were delicious...

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson