Raggedstone rugged rascal

One of my old friends is driving for Amazon now – when he isn’t making movies. He’s the one I know about. I bet loads of people are doing it these days. It’s one of the only jobs in town. We are still allowed to deliver things.

With that in mind I’ve been keeping my ear to the ground for little driving gigs, and I found one today. Specialist delivery service, undercutting the big name couriers while paying myself better than they pay their drivers and charging the client less. It amounted to me buzzing west in an Audi full of cushions. We got the job done. The job was a laundry bag full of dead butterflies, going from London to Leominster. I resisted the temptation to peek into the bag and check they were ok on arrival. I expect they were though. I certainly hope so. The only bumps I encountered were on the driveway to the stately home for the drop off. A beautiful building, far from the road and surrounded by empty land – gargoyles, great big pipes and a huge studded wooden door. All I need is a Euromillions win. Unfortunately I couldn’t go in. I left the delivery in the porch, despite desperately needing the loo. These are cruel times. There’s no stopping for butties or to sit in a warm pub for a hot chocolate, or for a coffee by the river, or even for a wee. Half the public loos are closed and the other half have barbed wire.

Rather than go straight home, I broke my journey for a walk – and maybe to inspect a tree. It’s not the shortest drive, London to Hereford, and it was dark and I was tired. With the enforced inhospitality, I hadn’t had a chance to shake off the journey there before I started on the journey back. I needed a hit of cold air and a bit of a walk to make sure I didn’t drive into an oak. So I went to Ledbury and hiked in the dark to the top of Raggedstone Hill.

Raggedstone Hill has a curse, so it’s probably best avoided in the light anyway. A horny monk called John got busted and refused to divest the name of his lover. He was made to crawl up and down the hill every day until he repented and dobbed her in. He refused to tell, and eventually died of infected wounds one November. As he was dying he called up a cursed mist that brings untimely death to those caught in its shadow. In the dark there are no shadows, and it’s the wrong time of year anyway. Plus it’s bollocks.

Even in the dark it’s a heck of a view up there, that’s for sure. Gloucester, Exeter, Cheltenham all splayed out twinkling in the night.

A ragged stone. And a view.

Behind me as I took this photo lay the pitch black of rural Hereford melting into Wales. No light that way. It’s a powerful old part of the country though. I like it out there, towards The Willow Globe, which even the vicar said was “a thin place”.

I’ll be out to Hereford again I’m sure, in kinder times – for walks and maybe even for company. I have friends in Ledbury, but we can’t sit round the fire and talk crap until we know we aren’t going to kill each other or get arrested or both.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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