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This morning Jackie drove us to Burley in search of witches.
The landscape across the moors early in the morning offered misty slate layers in the distance.
On the approach to Burley, the leaves on the trees were turning the rich colours of autumn
The car park in the village was largely occupied by ponies who had generously left a few spaces for the traffic.
One little lad in a buggy wasn’t all that sure about the attention he received.
We soon realised that we had missed the real Halloween event which had been on Saturday, two days ago. Our witch hunt was therefore fruitless. We had to settle for carved pumpkins, including the winning mouse, and ghastly ghouls sporting sheets.
Some sorceresses had abandoned their hats in the form of traffic cones that had found their way into the landscape. In the first of these two photographs the bicycle attached to the railing was probably left by a witch as she switched to here broom. In the second, Jackie converses with a garrulous goose.
Its companion practiced its contortions and they both enjoyed a good preen.
A communal field on the edge of the village contained examples of agricultural machinery and artifacts of a bygone age;
a shepherd’s hut;
and the parked up Burley Wagon Rides conveyance with a nearby pitched tent.
We had been told that a herd of red deer could often be seen on the far side of the field. Like the witches, the deer had flown, but the evidence of their presence was shown by the pruned lower branches of the trees they had pruned.
A bonfire, surprisingly swarming with wasps, was being prepared for the next celebration event, namely fireworks night on the 5th of November, commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Foiled by betrayal, this was a Catholic attempt to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I. Instead, Guido (Guy) Fawkes was hung, drawn, and quartered. (See LordBeariofBow’s comment below). This involves taking down a hanged victim before death, cutting out living vital organs and quartering the body. It was a common punishment for treachery in those days.
Beyond the field could be seen Burley Manor Hotel. The original manor house dated from the twelfth century. In 1852 the building was demolished to make way for this Victorian replacement which has been an hotel since 1935.
Dew continued to bejewel grass and fallen leaves when we left to return home.
Charles Lane, Bagnum is just one of the sun-streaked roads that rushes towards us as we travel through the forest.
It wasn’t until, watching the 1 p.m. BBC News, I looked beyond Hugh Pym, that I realised the destination of at least one of the Burley witches.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s lovely liver and bacon casserole which was far more tender and tasty than that I had eaten yesterday at Otter Nurseries. It came with new potatoes and perfect Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Lemon and lime merangue pie was to follow. I finished the madiran.