Leatherjackets are the grubs emerging from eggs laid in the grass by craneflies the year before. They eat the roots of the sward. This, and the fact that the adults are not very nimble fliers and therefore inclined to become entangled in her hair, is why, during our current plague of them, Jackie can be seen dashing around waving a fly swat.
Having satisfied her blood-lust this morning she drove us out to Kings Somborne to have a look at The Cruck Cottage, which is currently for sale. This, dating from the fifteenth century is a fascinating building. It has a cruck or crook frame, in which a pair of timbers are positioned to support the roof. These long, generally bent, beams lean inwards and form the ridge. They are generally secured by an horizontal beam to create an A shape. Several of these crooks are constructed on the ground and then lifted into position. Lower cross beams join them together in order to prevent racking, which is each individual frame going out of square and risking collapse. I imagine that if this house were going to fall down it would have done so by now.
We realised I may have trouble entering this particular example of the genre.
From there we drove on to Emsworth for Ian’s birthday tea party at the Driftwood Cafe.
We arrived early and sat by the harbour for a while. The area was full of activity. Dogs and children were being walked, or pushed in buggies; the promenade supported assorted silhouetted figures promenading; gulls relaxed on the water; an artist began a sketch; ice creams ran down forearms and dripped off elbows; young sailors came home to port, and boats were hauled up onto paving that had been dry until their bilge flowed onto it.
Something had been lost in translation during the booking of the beautifully laid Afternoon Tea table. A high chair had been provided. We joked about who it was for. It was soon removed and replaced. The staff clearly enjoyed offering this particular service. They delighted in their excellent catering and presentation, as did we. Like up-market confetti, little gold discs and tiny red representations of balloons were carefully strewn upon the exquisite tablecloth. Tea, coffee, and apple juice were provided immediately and we only had a short wait for two three-tier cake stands layered with dainty, well-filled, sandwiches; small delicate cakes, heart-shaped shortbread biscuits tasting of butterscotch; and huge, fresh and tasty scones, to be placed with pleasure upon the table. A lighter was applied to the single, blue and white striped, miniature candle pressed into Ian’s scone. Dishes of jam and clotted cream completed the festive fare. We had a fun time.
After this Becky, Ian, and I took Scooby for a walk whilst Flo Grannie-sat and treated her to a viewing of the film ‘Happy Feet’. Brook Meadow Nature Reserve, through which flows the River Ems, lies just behind North Street. It is where we walked today. Embedded on the parapet of a bridge over the river is a plaque in memory of:
Leaving the family to enjoy their evening we returned to Minstead soon afterwards.