Sunday, 5th July, Bromyard to Cradley, 10 miles
It’s Sunday morning but I want to get through Bromyard before the gala gets going.
By 6.30 am Tommy and I are heading out through Fuff’s lower field and into town where it is so quiet, we are able to ride down the one way high street the wrong way, and soon out into the countryside the other side of town.
Although I have managed to reduce Tommy’s bags to just 10 kilos in weight, Fuffy has kindly offered to transport them for me and she arrives with her friend, Jinty, shortly after we arrive at our destination, a beautiful field near Cradley, aptly named, Coombe Beauchamp. Jinty is keen to meet Tommy and communes a while with him in his new paddock. (This picture below reminds me of the very famous painting of Christina Olson by Andrew Wyeth (1917 – 2009)). She tells me Tommy will get us safely home.
I am staying in the neighbouring hay meadow in a shepherd’s hut for 2 nights
I feel extremely privileged to have been offered this romantic accommodation by my host, Angus, as this is his own private retreat. He bought this 12 acre plot of land some 11 years ago and lovingly nurtured it into a wildlife haven. He shows me around the orchard and the pond he has created
and points out all the different wild flowers in Tommy’s paddock. This sort of thing matters to Angus and he picks a handful of Yellow Rattle flowers from which he has been collecting seeds to scatter over the bald patches in his meadow and tells me he is delighted to see the Burnet Moths feeding on his thistles.
He also makes an instant connection with Tommy and asks to be able to sit on him. A first for Angus, and I guess maybe a first bareback rider for Tommy!
My delightful hosts, Angus and Bridget, have organised a BBQ so that I can meet the lovely people, Penny and Gerry, who made this pit stop possible, via a mutual friend of their daughter. Having brewed a cup of tea for Fuffy, Jinty and me in true bush-ranger style, and sent them home with a bottle of his own apple juice,
Bridget arrives with the picnic. After a delicious lunch which Angus has cooked on the BBQ under a huge oak tree, the party head over to make a fuss of Tommy,
before everyone departs and I am left alone to dwell on the day’s events and watch the sun going down.