Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Woodland Characters

Not magical tales of imagined folk, but real people after whom the woodlands on the Nymans Estate have been named.

Hard as it is to read the first one is Pookchurch Wood. I can't find much online about him, but Reverend Pook was known to tell Bible stories to anyone that would listen from the raised dais that projected out from one of the natural sandstone outcrops.  It's become known as Pook's Pulpit and there is now an ongoing project to record the built up layers of graffiti that cover it. Some of it dates back 300 years, but it's thought that there are probably carvings that are even older. Due to its delicate nature people are asked not to touch it, but the National Trust has created a 3-D model of it for anyone who's interested [me! me!!]

Now this second board should read "Jack Reeding's wood", but I have inadvertently missed off the first letter. Mr GBT and I were wondering who this fellow might have been. My bet was on it being the estate gamekeeper....but no. His real name was Jack Rigging and he was a rather unpleasant 18th century highwayman who relieved people of their valuables as a profession. He used to hide out in one of the disused quarries in the wood until the law caught up with him and he was hanged outside the Red Lion pub in the village of Handcross where Nymans is situated. 

It's hardly the stuff of Enid Blyton's "The Magical Faraway Tree" is it!! More tomorrow.


Monday, 19 April 2021

Over the fence.

 I don't know what it was about this glimpse over somebody's fence on our Saturday walk with our friends that amused me, but it did. Even better I now notice that it says Dad on the tiny plaque at the very top....I'm in no doubt as to whose space that is then! Mr GBT has his very own workshop/shed too. Definitely one for the boys!


Thursday, 15 April 2021


 I've not bought stuff to cheer me up in years....experience has taught me that I always choose badly when I'm in that frame of mind. However, I very occasionally might make an unplanned purchase if I'm feeling particularly upbeat. Yesterday I was so cheered by the sunshine and the buzz of chattering people along the main street that I popped into a little independent hippy shop that I've never ventured into before in a quest for some more incense. They had some lovely stock and the most amazing smelling Nag Champa & Jasmine incense [now my new favourite] and oh yes....then there was this.....

With my love of corvids how could I resist this crow......I realise that this falls way outside the remit of the more common impulse buy, but then I never was a girl for shoes and handbags!!


Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Winkworth Arboretum

Winkworth Arboretum [National Trust] is known for its stunning Autumn colours and its Spring blossom. I've been fortunate enough to see the Autumn tints for myself http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2016/11/autumn-tints.html, but not made it over at this time year. With some travel allowed now it was time to winkle Mr GBT out and have a little excursion. With our tickets prebooked I had fanciful notions of us experiencing Surrey's answer to Japan's Sakura, but alas reality hit in the form of a hard frost last week and burnt most of the flowers before we got there.  

The idea of an arboretum was conceived by Wilfrid Fox [1875-1962] who bought the land next to his farmhouse. He was a dermatologist by day, but also a very keen arborist with a particular specialism in the sorbus genus. Of the 1000 trees on site there are 75 different types of sorbus aka rowan, whitebeam and service trees.

You might think that he had a whole team of staff to plant this lot, but aside from one employee, his family members and the family firm's employees who had been evacuated from London to Dorking in 1941 did all the work! Meanwhile against the background of WWII Fox, aged 64, drove two ambulances across to France and then helped out at Dunkirk. I think this gives a very real insight into the type of man he was and generously he allowed the locals to enjoy his arboretum. Further down the line he concentrated on building up the Spring planting and added in magnolias and flowering crabapples. He gave Winkworth to the NT in 1952.

Despite things not quite panning out as we might have anticipated we still drank in what we saw....we just got to the end when the snow came down. Perfect timing!


Tuesday, 13 April 2021

On the branch


I thought that the duality of lichen and emerging blossom on the branch made a pretty Spring statement.

Mr GBT took the photo as my dear little camera can't manage such a feat at that distance nor height. We have been out National Trusting. More tomorrow.


Monday, 12 April 2021

The Little Boy

The Little Boy
Once a little boy went to school
One morning
The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture".
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make all kinds;
Lions and tigers,
Chickens and cows,
Trains and boats;
And he took out his box of crayons
And began to draw.

But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make flowers".
"Good!" thought the little boy.
He liked to make beautiful ones 
With his pink and orange and blue crayons.
But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And it was red, with a green stem.
"There" said the teacher
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked down at his teacher's flower
Then he looked down at his own flower.
He liked his flower better than his teacher's
But he did not say this.
He just turned his paper over,
And made a flower like the teacher's.
It was red, with a green stem.

On another day
The teacher said:
"Today we're going to make something with clay."
"Good!" thought the little boy;
He liked clay.
He could make all kind of things with clay:
Snakes and snowmen,
Elephants and mice, 
Cars and trucks.
And he began to pull and pinch
His ball of clay.

But the teacher said, "Wait!"
"It is not time to begin!"
And she waited until everyone looked ready.
"Now," said the teacher,
"We are going to make a dish."
"Good!" thought the little boy,
He liked to make dishes.
And he began to make some
That were all shapes and sizes.

But the teacher said "Wait!"
"And I will show you how."
And she showed everyone how to make
One deep dish.
"There" said the teacher,
"Now you may begin."

The little boy looked down at the teacher's dish;
Then he looked at his own.
He liked his better than the teacher's
But he did not say this.
He just rolled the clay into a big ball again
And made a dish like the teacher's.
It was a deep dish.

And pretty soon
The little boy learned to wait,
And to watch
And to make things just like the teacher.
And pretty soon
He didn't make things of his own anymore.

Then it happened
That the little boy and his family
Moved to another house,
 In another city,
And the little boy
Had to go to another school.

The teacher said:
"Today we are going to make a picture."
"Good!" thought the little boy.
And he waited for the teacher
To tell what to do.
But the teacher didn't say anything.
She just walked round the room.

When she came to the little boy
She asked, "Don't you want to make a picture?"
"Yes," said the little boy.
"What are we going to make?"
"I don't know until you make it." said the teacher.
"How shall I make it?" asked the little boy.
"Why, anyway you like" said the teacher.
"And any colour?" asked the little boy.
"Any colour" said the teacher.
And he began to make a red flower with a green stem.

Helen Buckley.

When my own son was a little boy they did a project at school about Van Gogh. One day they were all asked to paint sunflowers in a similar style. My little boy didn't fancy that so he went off piste and decided to do his own interpretation with all the black shadowing. His teacher told him off, but he didn't see the problem. Thankfully his teacher was a wonderful chap who embraced and encouraged his eccentricities. The greatest compliment anybody ever paid me about him was when this teacher said that after 20+ years of teaching my son's highly "individual" approach to the work set [That's Aspergers for you!] had made him fall back in love with it and reminded him of why he had set out on his teaching path originally. He retired a few years ago.


The painting hangs by our front door.


Friday, 9 April 2021


 Please meet Loony Luna as my friend WW calls her....a brave little kitten who's not afraid of anything and is currently finely honing her funambulism by teetering along the high up curtain poles. She's gorgeous, but WW is having to adjust to having a little one tearing around again having recently lost her 20 year old cat...she might look cute, but don't be fooled...she was just planning her next escapades!!

She is a Siamese/Tabby mix and quite chatty. Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.


Thursday, 8 April 2021

Easter Monday

 I've been in a FB walking group for a few months now....it's mainly down to my friend J being a moderator on it and inviting me. Occasionally I've posted a comment, but mainly I've just quietly sat on the sidelines enjoying the photos others have taken and noted anywhere that might be of interest for a future walk. It was J's first group walk she'd organised on Monday and so I joined for a jaunt round our local woods and in doing so met a really friendly group of people. Not much to "see" as such, but good company and every weather from sunshine through to rain and a few flakes of snow.

I know that this American Skunk Cabbage is an invasive species, but I have to say its architectural form is very pleasing on the eye. It's a bit like a grander version of our Lords and Ladies.

The trees are covered in buds now and there are bluebell leaves sprouting forth on the forest floor...in just a few short weeks there will be an explosion of growth and colour. I can hardly wait!

Uneven bridges and wobbly stiles were definitely the order of the day. I really half expected this one to start moving like the bridge in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. Thankfully it was surprisingly sturdy!

Don't ask me why....the colours on the sign simply appealed to me and who wouldn't like their school days to have begun with a bright and cheerful welcome such as this. I know I would have done!

Just a lovely few hours. Not quite sure when I might do another one, but hopefully not in the too dim and distant future and who knows maybe even somewhere completely new. Am so looking forward to being able to explore a bit further afield once again.


Wednesday, 7 April 2021


 "The earth laughs in flowers."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

I just couldn't walk past without admiring this sunny display. Much as I enjoy the variety of Spring bulbs these are my number one....I only wished that they could survive in the clay we have here. I have tried, but am happy to admire those in other people's gardens.


Tuesday, 6 April 2021

On the A272

Living both in Sussex and in Hampshire as a student [with friends and family still there] has meant that I have travelled along the A272 many times. It runs from Heathfield in East Sussex all the way over to Winchester and for large stretches it's a very windy affair that forces you to slow right down as you get stuck behind the inevitable horse boxes or tractors with few passing places. One chap was so taken with it that he even wrote a book in its honour called "An Ode to a Road" by P Boogaart [of course I have a copy...its's fascinating just what you can stop off and see along its route].

Having got through the grunt work quicker than anticipated I floated the idea of our own very mini A272 tour [all of about 5 miles of it] which would get us just beyond the town, let us see something new, but stay local. Mr GBT is a good sport and was happy to have a little Sunday drive in the sunshine.

Now it certainly isn't everyday you encounter a lifesized replica of the Vickers Supermarine Spitfire MK IX in a pub garden, but this is no ordinary pub. The Selsey Arms is next door to the Coolham Airfield [this post is from when I visited http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/2019/10/every-four-days.html and already has a lot of WWII memorabilia. It was taken over relatively recently by new landlords and then we went into the first lockdown fairly shortly afterwards....this is what the landlord did with his spare time! It's incredible and has a 10m wingspan!

This rather splendid fellow has appeared very recently, after a tree came down near the Blue Idol Quaker Meeting House http://gnatbottomedtowers.blogspot.com/search?q=blue+idol a few weeks ago. I wish I could attribute the carver, but it's an unknown...so lovely that somebody has already breathed new life into the fallen branches.

Below is my third target....the remains of a Sussex smock mill called Hammond's Mill which has been restored and now sits in the middle of one of the huge housing estates that are springing up all round the edges of a nearby village called Billingshurst. It was built in 1825, but was damaged in 1895 when the apprentice allowed the sails to be tailwinded by gales. For a while it continued to be used as a hen house. Imagine my delight when I found out only yesterday that a windmill specialist is called a molinologist. Talk about perfect timing!

It's simply amazing to be able to go just that little bit further. 


Woodland Characters

Not magical tales of imagined folk, but real people after whom the woodlands on the Nymans Estate have been named. Hard as it is to read the...