I'm that woman who always has to check out any graffiti she spots on walls, tunnels, bridges....anywhere basically where it shouldn't be. Some of it is dross, some is very artistic. That which interests me I photograph and the shot below was an example from a tunnel above Shere in Surrey from a walk last month. I liked the fellow with the horns.
Monday, 30 November 2020
Thursday, 26 November 2020
Please meet Jack....he's unusual because windmills invariably are given female names. He's a tower mill and there was I thinking that perhaps I might know a single windmill fact having correctly identified him as a smock mill. It turns out the difference between the two is because the former is cylindrical and made of brick/stone not timber. He dates from 1866 and is privately owned. I have to say he's definitely in the rather scruffy "little brother" category....you know the one with the dirty face and scabby knees. Hopefully he'll see a lick of paint before too long.
This is Jack's rather more well turned out older sister Jill. She's a Grand Dame and will be 200 years old next year. She's a post mill and was restored to her former glory in the 1950s. During the Great Storm of 1987 her sails caught fire, but thankfully she was rescued in time and nowadays she occasionally comes out of retirement to grind some of the locally grown organic wheat. She's benefitted from the lockdown as it's given the volunteers time to take down and repaint some of her sails. The young man we spoke to said that he's set up a table in the carpark a couple of weeks ago filled with bags of flour after they'd been milling and was amazed to sell 50 bags in the first hour! It's free entry, but you can only go in one at a time at the moment.
Wednesday, 25 November 2020
This is me doing one of the things I do best...befriending and cuddling sociable cats [and dogs too] that I meet upon my wanderings. I encountered this one on holiday a few years ago, but yesterday I was to be found stroking another very similarly marked one. This particular one is a familiar sight around one of the housing estates that I cut through on my way home from the town centre and now I know it to be a Bengal. His owner popped out whilst I was introducing myself to tell me that his name is "Beast", but he does not live up to his name. His favourite thing in the world to do is to be cuddled by all the school children who go past....apparently he's so well practised at it that he leaves the house bang on time every day to catch the passing trade. They have no idea how he knows, but know he does!
These little exchanges always add an extra something to my day.
Tuesday, 24 November 2020
A friend recently asked me if I would like to visit a natural burial ground with her. I know that perhaps it might seem a rather unusual choice, but she just wanted to scope it out with a view to buying a plot. She's currently sorting out her affairs and this is one of the things on the list. I have to say it's a lovely peaceful spot surrounded by woodland with newly planted trees and a longterm vision of creating wildlife corridors which will blend in seamlessly with the area of outstanding natural beauty in which it sits.
Each grave is marked with a small wooden plaque. Some simply record the name of the person, others have memories, nicknames, details about the person or express the sentiments of those who have been left behind. What I didn't expect to see on one anonymous marker was this......
Monday, 23 November 2020
Walking again on Saturday this notice across the front of the stile caught my eye.
Friday, 20 November 2020
My good friend E maintains that you don't have wrong weather when outdoors only wrong clothes. For once I'd done the sensible thing and checked the forecast.....rain it said and rain it delivered on our walk. No matter I was prepared and dressed right for it and even though I returned home a whole heap soggier than I'd left we had a faberoony time. This combined with another walk with Guiding J a couple of days later has shown me some more examples from the extraordinary world of fungi. I've seen all sorts of incredible coloured ones/shapes/sizes that people have been showing online, but mine are far more muted and I suspect common. They are devilishly difficult to accurately id so I'm not going to even attempt it with my complete lack of knowledge save the last one which I believe is a White Saddle.
Thursday, 19 November 2020
Ode to the West Wind
O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being,
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing
Yellow, and black, and pale, and hectic red
Pestilence-stricken multitudes: O thou
Who chariotest to their dark Winter bed.
The winged seeds, where they lie cold and low
Each like a corpse within its grave, until
Thine azure sister of the Spring shall blow
Her clarion o'er the dreaming earth and fill
[Driving sweet buds to feed like flocks in the air]
With living hues and odours plain and hill:
Wild spirit, which art moving everywhere;
Destroyer and preserver; hear oh hear!
Percy Bysshe Shelley 1792-1822
I spent some time wandering around the town's park last week. It came as rather a surprise to come across a poetry corner tucked away which was put up to celebrate the local year of culture in 2019. Shelley was born in Horsham.
Wednesday, 18 November 2020
About this time last year I heard that a local group had come together to try and raise sufficient funds to start a community fridge. The idea behind it was to be able to offer perishable supermarket goods that did not meet the criteria of the foodbank free to anyone so that they would not go to landfill. The fundraising deadline was looming and they were still some way off target. It's the sort of volunteer initiative that fires me with enthusiasm so I promoted it on social media and used the Sussex Green Living FB page to raise awareness as I would have hated to have seen it not get out of the blocks.
Fast forward to this month and I am thrilled to say despite the challenges of lockdown and having to find another site to host the fridge it's became a reality. It sensibly sets limits on how much each individual can take per visit, but I felt really elated after paying it a visit yesterday morning. Already it's being well received and they are hoping to extend their opening hours. I was very pleased with what I picked out and those grapes didn't last long once TYM and I got going!!
Tuesday, 17 November 2020
I took this photo of a dunnock in our local park on one of the sunny days we had last week. It posed beautifully for me and I am only sorry that my little camera couldn't do it justice. No doubt some will categorise it rather unflatteringly as another Little Brown Job, but it has stunning if rather understated grey and brown plumage. At a quick glance you might think it's a sparrow, but the beak is a different shape.
Having shared the image on FB I learnt several interesting snippets from the responses about this unassuming little bird and it seems it has quite a fan base. Apparently it has an amazing song and according to Irish folklore if you hear it at midnight this is meant to reflect the cries of the unbaptised babies as they return to try and find their parents. One of its other names is Hedge Accentor meaning "one who sings with another."
Now there's a saying that the the quiet ones are always the worst and the dunnock's breeding habits are not always quite the standard pairing. Some nests might operate on the more common avian pattern of a monogamous couple who mate and raise their young, but some dunnocks also practise polyandry which is one female to two males. One of the males will be the dominant one, but it is possible for the female to lay eggs in the same clutch that have been fertilised by both and subsequently the chicks will be fed by both fathers increasing the chance of raising a successful brood. It was believed that if you placed their blue green eggs in your home they would keep away witches. Sadly their eggs are one of the ones the Cuckoo can imitate, so their nests are always at risk of being targeted by this unwanted visitor.
The old English name for this bird was "hegesugge" literally meaning flutterer in the hedges and usually they are to be found skulking away doing exactly that. It seems that I was very lucky to find such a bold one who allowed me to view it at such close quarters and didn't fly away. I suspect it's more used to being around people. I feel quite honoured!
Monday, 16 November 2020
I'd heard rumours before that you could make bread in your slow cooker, but didn't actually know that my friend actually uses her for just this. She sent me this recipe https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-bread?fbclid=IwAR23FJf0raD5g_R6joW7XcRvUWybqh6M99SxiTEPG3ggXvI5um_3ufpx3Tc
With a morning off work and all the ingredients already here I thought I might as well give it a try.
Friday, 13 November 2020
Thursday, 12 November 2020
Mr GBT and I stayed local again on Sunday with a short drive which brought us to the other side of town as our starting point. With having living here most of my life it should have felt familiar yet I've never walked nor driven through some of the hamlets it took us through. It all felt rather surreal to not recognise anywhere, yet in a good way it felt rather like I was away on holiday for a few hours. Where there is exploring to be done there are things to see and maybe stories to be told......
I rather fancied a swing on that old repurposed tyre....however, seeing as the signs in the pictures below it came from the same farm there was to be no wandering off the public footpath [I don't trespass knowingly really!]
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
Tuesday, 10 November 2020
There may be a few more walking based posts than usual until things open out again....as I'm still working this time round and we have limited options for what we do on a social basis, walking is my activity of choice. I love it and am delighted by what I keep coming across here within my locality.
This time I was in St Leonard's forest with my friend WW. The woods are local to her and we spent a glorious three hours just wandering up any path that took our fancy and getting lost basically. It all adds a bit of excitement to the proceedings and with the beautiful sunshine I wasn't in any hurry to get back to GBT and do my jobs😆 Top up the old vitamin D for free whenever you get the chance I say.
The wood gets it name from the 6th century French Saint Leonard who happened to be hanging around this part of the Wealden forest for reasons unknown [it's sounding more plausible by the moment]. To pass the time he slew the resident dragon which was giving the villagers a bit of trouble and in the process accidentally cut himself. Saint's blood is potent stuff and where it fell supposedly lily of the valley now grows. As a reward Leonard got to banish all the snakes and silence all the nightingales so that his prayers wouldn't be disturbed by their singing. Actually I'm not sure Leonard really did fulfill his promise if the discovery below is anything to go by......as they say best let sleeping dragons lie so we tiptoed past and made our way on. The legend may possibly be an echo of a hermitage that might once have existed within the wood.
The true version is that we bravely sat on the bench and cracked open our flasks of tea.....life is very rock 'n' roll these days, but I had a ball.
Monday, 9 November 2020
I have always pronounced Newfoundland as Newfundlund thereby giving no thought whatsoever to the compound of words from which it's formed. A snippet on a programme made me realise that the name of this famous Canadian province is literally based on it being new land found. Talk about a forehead slapping moment when the penny finally dropped!
We have a similar example here although granted it's on a teeny weeny scale by comparison. Just outside the town is a hamlet called Newfoundout. It does have an official sign, but I was feeling too lazy to walk further up the road so this sign will have to do instead.
Friday, 6 November 2020
Thursday, 5 November 2020
Did anyone read this news story about the Dad who secretly built a Harry Potter street in his daughter's wardrobe? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-berkshire-54753502 Yes please.....I'd willingly give up my kitchen for one of these😍
I, for one, feel I could do with a sprinkling of fairy dust today and even though I faithfully promised earlier this week to write up a couple of other recent adventures I am easily distracted and the chance to share pictures of a fairy door proved just too tempting.....
Wednesday, 4 November 2020
Tuesday, 3 November 2020
They might not be rubies, but these berries near GBT are glorious at the moment. Grabbing the chance to have a walk between showers I not only came across these, but this rather bedraggled little beauty. It's a Box Tree moth I do believe. It seemed unlikely that it would fare well sitting in the middle of the pavement so I moved it to a place of safety well away from human feet.
Monday, 2 November 2020
It's been a bit of a tough weekend in some ways hasn't it. What I find hardest is the fact I can't offer a hug to those I value when it's needed....somehow words alone just don't have the same effect. However, it is what it is and I won't be joining in the ferocious debates I see enacted elsewhere. My intention as ever is to keep this blog a place of sanctuary and with any luck it will provide some bright spots at what it a challenging time. Change is with us again, but I shall take the opportunity to meet a friend at a time and get some walking done at the weekends. This weekend I have had the joy of touching base with one of my longest standing school friends who still lives locally to me. WW chuckled when I showed her this on Saturday....that's us aged 13 and 14 [I'm the one with the red trousers]. We're now 54 and 53 and still natter for England over a cuppa!
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As a change from my holiday chunterings I thought I'd share the recipe that one of the ladies I housesparkle for gave me yesterday. I...