On Saturday, from our solicitor, we received a batch of papers pertaining to our prospective house purchase. There were three problems with these. One document to be signed jointly before a witness was not enclosed; another was presented for a purpose to which it was irrelevant; and finally there was a discrepancy between the contents of the seller’s declaration about the property and a letter from his solicitor. I spent the morning trying to contact our man and finally discussing the issues with a colleague he had asked to phone me. She was very helpful. My points were all valid and I don’t smell any rats here. I guess it is just par for the course these days.
The slowly lowering sun lent a welcome glow to the now familiar landscape, somewhat offsetting the chill atmosphere lacking cloud cover, as I walked the Matthew and Oddie route this afternoon. Those trees still blessed with leaves upstaged their naked neighbours. Light does change a landscape dramatically.
Castle Malwood Lodge stands surrounded by the New Forest. Over the years the forest has been allowed to encroach upon the perimeter, so much so that some trees and shrubs such as the now massive and varied rhododendrons seem to belong outside. It was Mo who told me about Gladstone’s sequoia, and in particular that it stands so tall that local people use it as a landmark. This potential giant, planted in the garden, appears now to be part of the forest. From the garden to which it truly belongs, because the land slopes down towards the road from Upper Drive, it does not look that much higher than other trees nearby, so I have always been puzzled as to how it can been seen from so far off. Today, seeing the tree line from the Upper Drive road, for the first time I gazed across at our sequoia standing proud. I now know how this giant, presumably still in its infancy, is regarded as such a talisman.
On the approach to Rufuston, beech trees could still feel the sun’s rays, but, once I was high up on Forest Road, it was beginning to sink below the heathland’s horizon.
Still early in this day approaching the shortest of the year, I returned home at dusk. Lingering any later along the unlit lanes of Minstead would not have been a good idea. The moon, by then, had despatched the sun to bed, and seemed poised to alight atop Gladstone’s Christmas tree.
Dinner this evening was a tender braised steak with mushrooms, onions, peppers, and butter beans; carrots, brussels, and anya potatoes; followed by apple pie and custard. I drank some more Saint Emilion, and Jackie a little Hoegaarden.