Today I wrote and posted almost the last of the Christmas cards, and Jackie cooked up a mass of beef stew with which she intends to feed 18 on Boxing Day.

Behind the postbox on Christchurch Road, on this late afternoon, a weak sun managed to project impressive Jesus beams over Honeylake Wood.

In September this year, BBC reported that Mark Pettit, a farmer from Gainsborough in Lincolnshire set fire to a section of stubble in one of his fields. Subject to a fine of £5,000, his act was a protest against a ban on the practice that was outlawed in 1993 because of environmental and safety concerns. Mr Pettit claims that most farmers would support its reintroduction to try to control black grass weed, which depletes crops by drawing essential nutrients from the soil. Many other countries, such as Australia, have imposed similar bans. I have not established whether the farmer has been prosecuted.

On the other side of Christchurch Road, sheep are set into the fields to carry out the task of the flames. This seems to be a general practice in this area, and is, I understand, certainly widespread in Western Australia.

Jackie set aside a couple of helpings of the beef stew for our dinner this evening. I filled my Yorkshire pudding with mine. This was served with boiled potatoes and green beans. And very good it was, too. We shared a bottle of rosé cabernet d’Anjou, 2015


  1. We also have rabbits and rats to clear the land of any vegetation that dares to pop up after we imported cattle and sheep and horses to trample them down.
    I want beef stew and Yorkshire pudding for breakfast instead of tea and toast.

  2. I am pleased to hear you got a taste of the culinary delight that awaits you on Boxing Day – especially as the aroma wafting from the kitchen must have been rather enticing ………

  3. I’ll have to view this on my home computer! The photos are getting blocked at work!
    I also wanted to say I appreciate your kind encouragement on my draft post Derrick. Thanks for taking the time to say those words!

  4. I hope they threw the book at him. Leaving stubble supports thousands of birds over the winter like chaffinches, bramblings and yellowhammers. Ironically, many of the species it supports are already on the downward spiral because of other farmers’ practices, such as destroying hedgerows and using ferocious chemicals on their fields.

  5. The Horse Hospital sounds like a really interesting place. Would love to see that stone floor… And, nice capture of the “Jesus beams” (which gave me a nice giggle)!

  6. I think the case against fire has some merit. The situation is serious but I would not have recognized this had I not read the other comments. The weeds provide food and shelter for animals. 🙂
    Your photographs are heavenly, Derrick! The beef in red wine sounds delicious. Pauline is correct: hard to be living in house with delectable aroma without getting to indulge. Happy Boxing Day and Merry Christmas!

  7. There is a sheep farm nearby and they are a pleasure to watch. As for your epicurean habits, I may have to make my first ever trip to Europe just to help you consume…?

      1. Since you seem to be an admirer of good food and Christmas, please scroll down to one of my earliest stories, ‘Today, I Smell Gingerbread…a Holiday Story’. It’s almost good enough to read aloud.? Merry Christmas.

          1. If you give me your email, I’ll send it so you can click on it. Otherwise, my link is ‘’. There’s no table of content so once you get to my site, it doesn’t have a table-of-content so you just have to keep scrolling down. There’s the Gingerbread story and another holiday one, The Best Christmas Tree Ever ‘. Have coffee ready when you read Gingerbread, it’ll make you hungry. ?

Leave a Reply