Sorting The Wheat From The Reed


This very dull morning Jackie and I took turns on weeding the garden.

This afternoon we visited New Milton for banking, paying car tax, and taking a jacket and waistcoat to the cleaners.

Thatching 3
Thatching 2
Thatching 4
Thatching 1

We then drove on to East End for a progress report on the thatching project. There the ridging is being cut into shape.

Dave with wheatstraw

Dave, the very skilled and friendly craftsman with whom I have conversed on several occasions has 27 years experience in his trade. Today he explained why the recent rain has in fact aided the work at this stage. This is because the straw needs to be malleable when creating the ridging. A different straw is also used for this creativity. Wheat straw is more flexible than the reed straw with which the rest of the work is undertaken. We also spoke about the fact that layers of thatch on the same roof can span 500 years or more. Dave was fascinating when speaking with such enthusiasm of the different straw and flowers that can be discovered through the time bands in a roof. It struck me rather like the pleasure of a geologist excavating layers of rock.

My experience doesn’t quite cover 500 years, but it will soon have reached 75. Three of my favourite bloggers have suggested that it would be a good idea to convert my experience of an era into a book. Once I got over my panic, I thought that perhaps I could do this by extracting from and expanding upon my five years of daily posts.

This evening I made a start. I edited some of the text from my post ‘A Sneaky Weekend’,

and included these two parental portraits from ‘My Branch Of The Family Tree’.

Whether or not this is ever completed remains to be seen.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, boiled and roast potatoes, and broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and runner beans, in glorious gravy.


  1. The fact that you entertain DAILY is proof that you have the voice to engage an audience. I am certain that you also have the fortitude and perseverance to turn your experiences of the past (almost) 75 years into an entertaining tome.

  2. Is it me, or does that house get bigger with each posting? It’s huge! The roof is magnificent. I’d love to see your name on the cover of a book, Derrick. Go for it!

  3. Is it your perspective Derrick or is that roof like 50% of the entire building? It is certainly a magnificent roof and its geological/archaeological/historical status is just fascinating – if it were mine I’d probably be up there digging about and causing all kinds of chaos 🙂

    I think it would be most excellent if you published a book!! xo

    1. Very many thanks, Pauline. You are probably right about the roof – and the building is L-shaped as well. Thanks especially for the encouragement re the book. We’ll see how it goes.

  4. That hunk doesn’t look like an embroiderer 🙂 Gorgeous; he and the roof both 🙂 I am sure he appreciates your interest.

    Your daily posts have been so engaging that I am sure a good book has already been written and we would love to read it.

  5. These thatched roofs are beautiful, and amazingly, very durable! What is the material that looks like fancy stitching along the top thatching?

  6. Bravo! I will have yet another famous author who follows my blog!! A most readable beginning, Derrick. I can see – judging from the background of the photo of you and your father – where you get your enthusiasm for the garden!

  7. I liked the way you dove right into your memoir, Derrick. Your parents look warm and caring as well as attractive.
    Your conversations with Dave unearthed (un-thatched) layers of interest within my thought processing. Flowers woven into the thatch can indicate the age of the roof. Time bands similar to rock layers. So cool! 🙂

  8. The thatching job is turning out to be a beauty. They still do it back in my village, though it is nowhere the kind of art I saw in your posts. One thing that strikes me about the entire enterprise is the patience required till it is finally done.

    I won’t be surprised if you write your experiences and the book becomes popular. Your style is lyrical and evocative. Please go ahead!

  9. The information about the thatched roof fascinates me–I had no idea about the layering over the ages. I’m glad this craft is being kept alive. And your book project sounds fascinating, too–5 years of daily posts should give you plenty to work with!

  10. The thatched roof is fascinating, so much detailing work and commitment.
    Your book project is a great news for all your viewers, Derrick.

  11. Good luck with the book! Lovely pictures of your parents. You look very much like your mother.

  12. If I was a thatcher, not of the political persuasion I’be be inclined to bury in amongst all those reeds and stuff some photos of my workmates and me doing the work, well protected so that in 500 years some one might find it and say “Hey look at these silly buggers working their arse’s off” or words to that effect 😈
    Next time you see Dave, ask him if he dos anything like that, will you? 🙂

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