Saturday, 1 August 2009

Normal service will soon be resumed?

Well, hopefully BT are fixing our line on 8th August, after fixing it temporarily. We will have to see how well it holds up when we next have heavy rain. I am currently on holiday in the New Forest with my husband - we are house-sitting for friends whilst they have a holiday.

We have been enjoying the wildlife here - LOTS of birds visiting the nut nets - including Greater and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers (I've never seen the latter until this week), Green Woodpeckers nesting in two places in the garden here, Jays, a Buzzard nesting nearby, and at night badgers in the paddocks and veg plot, and a leggy young fox who trots across the lawn at dusk every evening. I got a good photo of him one evening, so I will post that when I get home. There is an older - and very mangey - fox too, who our young one is very wary of. With big French windows, the garden feels like is is part of the room. So another "want" has been added to my long list for when we downsize!

I was fortunate to find a lovely book: The Countryside Companion in a charity shop this past week, and for only 50 pence. Here is a little extract from "Cornish Wilds", 1924, by H J Massingham:

"But, unlike the granite, the bramble, furze and blackthorn do not stand up to the elements nor bide the pelting of the wind, but, huddling, twisting, creeping close to the hollow soil, become its very garment. The shuffling badger that lives among the cairns, the little pennywort or navelwort that swings its bells in their safe niches are not in their way more reticent than is the gorse. Even so, the Atlantic gales have nibbled off their tops and mounded them into tiny ranges, through which the ling forces its purple spires, so that the flowers of each plant grow intermingled, in pressed clusters and on the same level. This blending is very beautiful, for the September gorse (Ulex nanus), which is a sub-species or variety of Ulex europoeus that sets the moors in points of smokeless flame in spring, is of the deep but subdued colouring of old gold. In wide patches grow the bents or white moor-grass, all silver and silk, and of a texture so fine that when the wind ripples their surface it is as though its wavelets had suddenly become visible. The same wind grips the waters and crunches the ships to tatters, and pounds and crumbles the granite into the mazy sculpture of the covers ans shatters even the iron-stone."


  1. Your friend's house sounds wonderful, imagine having all that just outside your window. I have a feeling that I have The Countryside Companion somewhere - project for this afternoon - find it!

  2. The Countryside Companion is just the sort of descriptive writing which I love.
    Badgers---hmm. My son has a yearly battle with the badger sets in the pasture where they keep the horses. He doesn't enjoy killing things, but has shot [or shot at] a number of the badgers, feeling that better to remove them than to have a horse breaking a leg by stepping in the burrows. He reports that badgers are belligerant and don't die quietly--I think I'd feel belligerant if someone tried to turn me out of my burrow! I have to say that while walking a bit of scrub land up there a few years back I unwittingly put my foot in a badger's hole and landed on my face.
    You have prompted me to look up "green woodpeckers."

  3. Rowan - I am back in my dark, gloomy but historic Welsh farmhouse now and yearning for a wrap-around garden and French windows now . . .

    Sharon - I'll see if I can get hold of a copy of The Countryside Companion for you. Badgers are very persistent and have their own ancient "rights of way" across people's land, even when it has been 'domesticated'.