We set out today to go and see Paul with a view to getting some hens to live in the Hen-house on Wheels. We set out in good time - something Alan is very keen on doing and me, well something I'm not very good at. (I'm a bit of a last minute merchant and am usually to be found careering desperately to my appointments having found something vital which prevented me leaving In- Good-Time.) Today we found ourselves with about 45 minutes in hand - we'd been to the tip, the bank and got the newspaper. To pass the time we decided that rather than go to Cheap Charlies new 'Country Store' and check out the gee gaws which are to be found in his garden centre we'd go and walk round the Nature Reserve just along the road instead. Lovely day, sun shining etc - see the geese and the great crested this's and that's. Parked up and set out on the trail in this small but perfectly formed site of which half is water. Not many paces on Alan discovers he hasn't got his car keys.......and yes, you've guessed - on returning to the pick-up there they were - locked inside along with all the worldly goods you don't need for a walk round a nature reserve. And as no one anticipated the need for a phone on a hen buying expedition neither of us had brought a phone. Dumb and dumber.
To cut a long story short and after an exchange of looks which spoke volumes I set out for home leaving Alan in the car park with the pick up. With nothing but the scruffy gardening clothes I stood up in and hopefully the powers of persuasion......
It was, in a way, a mini adventure in the best fairy tale tradition. Hero sets out on quest, beset by perils and pitfalls but, ultimately and by force of their inate goodness, overcomes all hurdles and reaches their goal. In my case the spare set of car keys. Hmm.....
First stop was a nearby garage where the cashier - Perfect Stranger No 1- made phone calls for me but to no avail. A kindly gentleman whom I approached on the forecourt - Perfect Stranger No 2 - changed direction and gave me a lift back into Welshpool and the deserted offices of the YelloCabs - all the taxis were out on the school run. But a kindly Perfect Stranger - No 3 - tried to call an alternative taxi company on his mobile for me. And still no taxis appeared on the horizon. Perfect Stranger No 4 said he'd ask his boss at a neighbouring company if he could drive me up the hill and home. Which bless him he did. Fortunately our neighbours were home so I was able to pick up our spare door key get in the house and collect the spare pick-up key. Then back to the car park in my own car - where a slightly sheepish Alan emerged from the undergrowth and gratefully unlocked the door. We went home - hen buying mission aborted.
But many, many thanks to my 4 Perfect Strangers who offered help to a stranger without question. There are good people out there and yesterday they were in and around Welshpool.
Later that evening the WI had a visit to Glansevern gardens just outside Berriew. Alan became an honourary Woman for the night and came along to make up the numbers. The weather which had threatened rain earlier, cleared and was perfect for enjoying the grounds of this country house. We walked round the lake, through a marvelous collection of unusual mature trees and shrubs and had a quick walk through the more formal gardens closer to the house. Unfortunately time was not on our side and we were unable to spend as long there as we wanted. The planting was exhuberant and colourful - there were some good combinations of colour, form and texture. The warmth of the evening intensified the scented plants and the air was heavy with the sweet smells of Wisteria and Philadelphus in particular. Could have spent a lot longer just going into the planting detail. We missed the walk down to the River Severn completely so will have to go back one day to do that. We had a simple supper of salad and Pavlova - all from beautifully fresh ingredients, a last glimpse of the courtyard and home through the twilight. The sky in the west was a rosy pink - boding well for the following day - and a couple of stars were twinkling.
We reached home shortly after 10.00 - still light - 2 weeks to go before the longest day.