Wednesday 19 August

A slightly disturbed night. We both woke up about 2am hearing a sort of scratching sound in the loft space above. I wondered if it was squirrels. Anyway it stopped after a while. We mentioned it to the hosts today, who live at the other side of the garden, and they said there had been mice and would check. I have to say, it sounded like mice with hobnail boots on.

Absolutely cascading rain today. So we looked for indoor entertainment. I discovered Eastnor Castle on the edge of Ledbury. It is in private ownership, and is a fake castle, in that it was built as a family home in the early nineteenth century.

The family furnished it with all kinds of antiques: tapestries, paintings, furniture, armour. Like many Victorians they were clearly avid collectors. Normally it would be a massively popular wedding venue, everything cancelled. They have lost millions in revenue.

I have to admit we did not spend too long walking round the grounds. There is a lake, an arboretum, but it was sloshing underfoot, so we moved on to Tewkesbury. I had not been to the abbey before. It dates from 1121 and is a fine of example of Romanesque architecture. Round pillars, round arches and a squat tower.

There was a service taking place so we could only stand at the back, but I found the way that the the seats were spaced out in little groups of twos and threes, or singly, most intensely moving. I found it tragic that the little congregation, there were 20 there, should be distanced from each other. It really impinged on me how lockdown is far from over. The abbey is only open from 9.00 to 13.00 too.

We walked round the town, some lovely black and white traditional buildings, but the tourist information closed, the museum closed. We had a coffee, half price, courtesy of Rishi. He is clearly gaining popularity round here. Seen on Wetherspoons:

This evening we patronised the local hostelry, The Crown and Anchor. Very nice, and Dishy Rishi operates here today. I asked the landlady how it was going and she said they do not get the refund from the government till the end of August, and in the meantime she has to pay her staff etc. Not entirely a silver lining.

But today at Eastnor Castle I found the ultimate anti Covid mask:

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