Last weekend was a Bank holiday in the UK. Unfortunately for me I was on-call so couldn’t go away anywhere too far from home. On the Sunday we popped over the border into Herefordshire to do a walk. We started at a little village by the side of the River Wye called Hoarwithy. Although it is a tiny place it still retains it’s pub, and has a remarkable church – St. Catherines. It is wouldn’t look out of place in a northern Italian village, with its huge square bell tower, and it’s decorated covered walkway.
We took a peek inside and I immediately spotted that they had an old piano. So whilst my wife had a wander round I had a little play. It wasn’t the most in-tune piano I’ve ever played, but also not the worst. The piano was a “Crane and Sons – Wrexham and Liverpool”, but having spoken with Bill Kirby at the Piano History Centre, it turns out that they bought in pianos from different wholesalers and branded them rather than make their own. The company was certainly around in 1897 and claims to have started in 1850, they were still going well into the 70’s but no record of them existed by 2005. This particular one was obviously quite old as a lift of the lid revealed that it was straight-strung.
After having a tinkle on the ivories, I had a nosey round myself. Its an incredible building; with golden icons on a half-domed roof, and a particularly ornate central aisle.
After having a potter around we started on the walk itself, which took in another church at Kings Caple a fine old wobbly suspension bridge over the river and a third church at Sellack. This one had a nice organ in it, but they had a little sign stopping you from going up to it, and being a well-brought up Brit, that was enough to keep my hands off. It was interesting to see that the wheat and rape was all ready to be harvested. After such a rubbish spring here in the UK, the summer has been one of the best I can remember.
Fortunately I didn’t get called during the walk, as we went a lot further from the car than we planned. It did mean though that we weren’t able to stop off at the village pub after the walk, which on the face of it is a shame, but at least it gives us a good excuse to do it again.