It was a bright and cheerful morning when I set off this morning to walk the Shave Wood loop and survey the effects of yesterday’s storm. No more trees seem to have been uprooted or severely damaged, but there is more surface water than I have seen before.
Water runs down the slightest incline, be it on the roads or in the forest. Where there is no slope new pools and streams are forming. Ditches follow the same logic. If there is a hill they are fast flowing; if there is a plateau they swell and join the ponds on the open land and among the trees. A tennis ball bobbed about in one running rivulet.
Many areas of scrubland normally cropped by the ponies now bear darkened patches and trails that are inchoate lakes and streams. At the moment Football Green retains enough dryish terrain to support animal sustenance. Further into the forest the skies are brought down to earth in their reflections.
The rose bush that had scratched at the side of the car has been cut back and tossed onto the muddy verge near the Minstead village sign.
At the corner of Shave Wood near the A337 an elderly tree suffering from osteoporosis appears to be using one of its branches as a crutch to prevent it from staggering into the road.
As the wind got up and the rain came down again, with each howling gust the tall creaking beeches caused me to become somewhat wary. In the darkening skies of noon, Minstead Lodge looked even more the Gothic pile. (Thank you, Arthur Koestler, for writing your 1940 novel giving me today’s title). The day remained changeable. Soon after this photograph was taken, we were treated to a rainbow, yet by the time I reached home I was beset by rain falling from dark clouds and buffeted across the cattle grid on Lower Drive.
This afternoon we visited Elizabeth. When Danni returned home with Andy we dined on Elizabeth’s spaghetti Bolognese, followed by a Firs Mess. We began with an English bacchus wine, after which Elizabeth, Danni and I drank various red wines and Andy consumed cider. After this we went home.