A Coot And A Folly

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Another day of incessant rain led me to drafting the next section of my biography. I took some of the text from my posts ‘Holly’ and ‘Dunkirk’.

Since I am writing about the several eras of one man’s life, I have begun with what life was like in 1942. Since my blog has been about my own memories, and I don’t have any for the year of my birth, I have applied my knowledge of history and a little research. The draft itself will not appear in my posts. After all, the idea is that people don’t read it before it is finished.

Later, I scanned another batch of colour negatives, from June and July 1990.

Jessica 6.90 2Jessica and coot 6.90 3Coot 6.90

That June, our aptly named young neighbour, James Bird, came across a family of coots that had suffered a road accident. Just one scrawny little chick survived. James knew we had a small pond, so he brought the baby bird to Jessica to care for. She did  a good enough job for the creature to disappear after a few weeks. This made her rather sad.  The Newark Advertiser printed an article, vainly seeking the return of the pet.

Staunton Temple opening 7.90 4Staunton temple opening 7.90 1Staunton temple opening 7.90 4Staunton Temple Opening 7.90 2Staunton temple opening 7. 90 3

The following month we attended the grand opening of Edmund Staunton’s temple. This structure built by the gentleman farmer on his land at Staunton Manor maintains a long tradition of architectural structures, known as follies. Another I have featured on occasion is ‘Peterson’s Folly’, known as Sway Tower. Wikipedia has this to say about the genre:

‘In architecture, a folly is a building constructed primarily for decoration, but suggesting through its appearance some other purpose, or of such extravagant appearance that it transcends the range of garden ornaments usually associated with the class of buildings to which it belongs.

18th century English gardens and French landscape gardening often featured mock Roman temples, symbolising classical virtues. Other 18th century garden follies represented Chinese temples, Egyptian pyramids, ruined abbeys, or Tatar tents, to represent different continents or historical eras. Sometimes they represented rustic villages, mills, and cottages to symbolise rural virtues.[1]Many follies, particularly during times of famine, such as the Irish potato famine, were built as a form of poor relief, to provide employment for peasants and unemployed artisans.

In English, the term began as “a popular name for any costly structure considered to have shown folly in the builder”, the OED‘s definition,[2] and were often named after the individual who commissioned or designed the project. The connotations of silliness or madness in this definition is in accord with the general meaning of the French word “folie”; however, another older meaning of this word is “delight” or “favourite abode”[3] This sense included conventional, practical, buildings that were thought unduly large or expensive, such as Beckford’s Folly, an extremely expensive early Gothic Revival country house that collapsed under the weight of its tower in 1825, 12 years after completion. As a general term, “folly” is usually applied to a small building that appears to have no practical purpose, or the purpose of which appears less important than its striking and unusual design, but the term is ultimately subjective, so a precise definition is not possible.’

Helen and Bill visited for a pleasant couple of hours conversation, and departed with two trays of potted cuttings Jackie has prepared for their church sale.

We dined this evening on fish pie, cauliflower, and green beans, with which we both drank Wairau Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

A Sparrow in Swallow Drive

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Jackie continued with the weeding of the rose garden today, whilst I wandered with the camera.

Tulips are now in bloom.

Tulip 2

This one really did come from Amsterdam, courtesy of Danni and Andy who brought it back for us.

A bank of yellow primroses fronts this striated group at the entrance to the back drive,

Wallflowers

along which golden wallflowers are massing.

Rhododendron

Our first rhododendron is beginning to flower;

Japanese maple

 Japanese maples are coming into leaf,

Cherry blossom

and a deep pink cherry blossom is blooming.

Saxifrages

Saxifrages planted last year are thriving.

Wasp

Clearly confused as to the season. a sleepy wasp staggered about.

This afternoon we went for a drive.

The tide was high at Keyhaven, where the wreck was now submerged,

Boats and Hurst lighthouse 2

and the Hurst lighthouse clear beyond the line of moored boats.

Mallards (purple headf)

A purple-headed mallard and mate basked on a lichen covered wall;

Coot and white bird

and a white-headed coot paddled past a white bird hiding in the reeds.

In view of Hurst spit swans waded, foraged, and drank. One bore a tide-mark causing speculation about what it had been swimming in.

Among those silhouetted on the spit were a woman and two children,

and two young women. In each group there was one person engaged in a mobile phone conversation.

Sparrow

We took a diversion around a housing development in Milford on Sea. Given that these streets all bore the name of a different bird, I wondered what a sparrow was doing on Swallow Drive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef cobbler, sautéed potatoes and mushrooms, with crisp carrots, cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank sparkling water while my drink was San Andres Chilean merlot.

Letting The Toddler Win The Race

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This morning we went for a driveabout in the forest.

Squirrel and oak

It is not unusual to notice cartoon character flattened squirrels on the winding lanes. On the very narrow track bounded by thick impenetrable hedgerows that links Newtown with Minstead, a young tree rat caught ahead of the car tried to outrun us. Jackie in turn, attempted to drive slowly enough to allow it to do so. This was a bit like allowing a toddler to win a race. Not until we reached the wider road leading down to the ford named The Splash, did the creature spot a giant oak for which it made a beeline.

The sky was a clear blue, and strong sun filtered through the trees, dappling everything in its path.

Roger Penny Way

This was especially apparent on Roger Penny Way,

Forest pathForest 1Forest 2Dappled trunk

and off the paths on either side of it.

Ferns

This area was well supplied with ferns,

Buttercups

and the occasional buttercup.

The lane that leads towards The Royal Oak at Fritham drops down steeply, bends frighteningly, then soars up past the pub and on to Eyeworth Pond.

Myrtle Cottage

Behind Myrtle Cottage, which stands in the cleft,

Sheep

sheep graze on sloping hillsides.

Cyclist and cars

A cyclist took on the challenge of climbing the hill.

Cyclists

When he reached the top, another was preparing to coast down in no time at all.

Please Park Sensibly

The residents of these lanes clearly suffer from overflow parking from The Royal Oak, and have resorted to sensible signage.

Water LiliesWater Lily

The Water Lilies on Eyeworth Pond are in full bloom.

Canada geese

Canada geese dominate the water;

Malllard

and mallards,

Mallard dappledMallards dappled

when not in full sunlight, are as dappled

Dappled trunk

as the shrubberies.

I had an interesting conversation with another photographer who told me that it was common practice for people to place titbits on the gatepost to attract birds. Apparently there are no takers for peanut butter.

Coot

A moorhen (I am grateful to Simon of Quercus Community for this identification) even left the water to investigate today’s offerings.

Blue tits

Other visitors were blue tits,

Chaffinches

and chaffinches, which were happy to take their pickings from below. They must have been deterred by whoever shed that feather.

The Hordle Scarecrow Competition is now on.

Scarecrows 1

Scarecrow 1Scarecrow 2Scarecrow 3Scarecrow 4Scarecrow 5Scarecrows 2Scarecrows 3

Seven entrants are propped against the hedge outside Hordle Parish Church.

This evening we dined on haddock and cheese fishcakes, sautéed potatoes, carrots, green beans, courgette bake, and baked beans in tomato sauce. I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2014, while Jackie abstained.