In fact, we were staying in such a cottage which was almost so quaint that we wondered if it could be real. But looking more closely at the beams which showed signs of alteration and repair we decided they were the genuine article. Lots of the beams had carpenter's marks on them to show which ones were supposed to fit together - an early forerunner of MFI flatpacks!
Another interesting feature in the village was the separate bell tower for the church. Dating of the timbers showed the massive beams were cut down in 1195 and the stone work is considered to be contemporary.
On Tuesday we drove down to Hay-on-Wye (now twinned with Timbuktu!) which is renowned for its huge number of booksellers, most of which we managed to visit! I was particularly keeping an eye out for travel books by Nicholas Crane for my brother. I didn't find anything, but it certainly made you appreciate those bookshops that were well-organised. I did pick up a couple of other travel books that I thought he might enjoy.
On Wednesday we had National Trust Day, visiting Croft Castle and Berrington Hall. We arrived at Croft Castle at eleven and went on a couple of the "taster" tours before the house opened. They were both led by the knowledgeable Victor who's been working for the National Trust for over 26 years and who was obviously enthusiastic about his place of work. One of the tours was about the Croft family who've been associated with the castle since 1086. And the other was about "Agents of Decay" which are the various processes which cause the furnishings of houses to deteriorate. I may never walk on a National Trust carpet again :-)
When we arrived at Berrington Hall we realised we'd been there before. But although there were bits we remembered, there were also things we'd missed the first time, or that were new to the building.
Thursday and Friday were taken up with the main event of the holiday, the Malvern Spring Flower Show, which is almost an annual event for us now. We know our way around the showground, and have particular exhibitors we like to visit like Ken Gilbert whose ornamental wood turning I find quite fascinating. Also Jennifer Gay whose alpaca knitwear my sister and I both like; and an old acquaintance David Crane to check out his new paintings. On the flower side this year's plant appeared to be Cytisus (Broom) - you heard it first here :-) Another excellent aspect of Malvern is the Flower Arrangements Hall, where it's possible to see a large selection of arrangements with plenty of room to walk around and admire the displays from different angles.
We dined at The Bell Inn, the only pub in the village, on a couple of occasions, and had excellent meals every time (although we were disappointed that the Rhubarb Creme Brulée wasn't available). Part of the pub is the original cider mill mentioned in the Domesday entry for the village, and it still has a stone cider mill and wooden press in place, although a few centuries more recent than 1086.