The Sledge Run

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I am beginning to find myself reminded by readers, of earlier posts that may have something to contribute to ‘A Knight’s Tale’. One of these was ‘Early Entertainment’, which provided quite rich material that I used in today’s update. Please keep the ideas flowing – I really can’t remember everything I’ve written.

Our general garden maintenance continued today on both sides of a trip to Efford Recycling Centre where we dumped more rotting IKEA wardrobe sections that have served a useful purpose up to now. we went on for a drive.

Stag-headed sculptures 2

Stag-headed sculptures 3

Standing beside a roundabout on the A337 out of Lymington we have often noticed three stag-headed figures standing either side of a five-barred gate. We knew that these heralded the entrance to

Buckland Rings welcome sign

the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort.

Parking on a roundabout on a main road is not a good idea, so we had never stopped before. This time Jackie drove on a little way and parked in a side street from whence we walked back to investigate.

Stag-headed sculptures and dog walker

A gentleman with a dog was passing the sculptures

Dog walker on mound

and walked on around a gentle incline.

Having read how far the walk to the top would be, Jackie opted to return to the car and let me check the lie of the land.

Rabbits on hillside

Or maybe the reason was the sight of a colony of descendants of Iron Age rabbits romping on the hillside.

Buckland Hill Fort pathBuckland Hill Fort path 2

In the event, the steeply undulating nature of the paths riddled with tree roots suggested that this had been a good idea.

Sledge run 1Sledge run 3

Sledge run 4

On the way up, a sign informed us that young people had transformed a disused sand quarry into a sledge run. The area is apparently packed with tobogganists whenever there is sufficient snow.

Buckland Wood roof

What was once farmland around the fort is now densely wooded. Through the trees I glimpsed the roof of what I later discovered to be

Buckland WoodSteps to Buckland Hill Fort central plateau

Not far from there lay a shallow set of steps leading to 
Buckland Hill Fort central plateau

a broad open plateau that had been the centre of the fort.

Cow and calfCow and calf 2

This was grazed by a cow and her calf.

The logs just visible in the steps picture are designed to prevent people parking on the hallowed ground. There is a car park alongside.

Man, dog, cow, calf

I was informed how to reach that from the road by another gentleman walking his dog.

Crow

 Taking an easy route down the hill I watched a crow sweep across the grass tops,

Branch hanging low

and banged my head on a low branch.

Quite sensibly, Jackie declined to investigate the car park, and we went home.

Wikipedia has an informative entry on this historic site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckland_Rings

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy penne pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Parra Alta Malbec 2016.

From Lattice To Web

I began this extremely hot cloudless day with a walk through Telegraph Woods.  Alongside Telegraph Road, into which Beacon Road forms a T junction, lies this ancient elevated woodland.  I believe the name comes from the fact that the fire beacons prepared as a warning against the Spanish armada (see 7th. July post) were superseded by the telegraph system.  There is, however, alleged to be the remains of an armada beacon surrounded by Douglas firs just inside the woods. Even older remains are said to be those of an Iron Age hill fort. Using the steps set into parts of the very steep terrain one could believe it would have been difficult to penetrate.

Hearing a rhythmic rustling I looked up into an extremely tall beech tree in time to see, descending in stately fashion down the trunk, a curled up leaf looking like one of the caterpillars that did a trapeze act from the leaves of the lime trees that lined the Stanton Road of my childhood.  These creatures only had feet at the beginning and end of their lengths and therefore formed a series of arches as they rolled down the trunks.  Are there any entomologists out there who can identify them?

Given that woodland once extended to the very boundary of Elizabeth’s home and that today’s deer may have a collective historical memory it is perhaps not unusual that in some years her garden has been invaded by ungulates devouring her spring shoots.  I was nevertheless surprised to see a fossilised stag embedded at the foot of a tree.

I walked through the woods to Hampshire County Cricket Club’s Ageas Bowl.  At the back of the cricket ground lies what looks to be a very serious golf course.  Some golfers were already out playing, or dragging their caddies into position. Others were gathering for the fray.  Some riding in golfing cars, which must have a name I don’t know; others with bags of clubs slung over their shoulders, or carried on wheels.  What they all had in common was an air of material comfort.   From the central mound in the wood there is an amazing view through the trees onto the rolling landscape and beautifully tended greens.

I finished off a new edge to a bed this morning, then had a coffee with Elizabeth.  We got talking about how far photography has come in the years since the second third of the nineteenth century.  I often wonder what William Henry Fox Talbot in particular would think if he knew that photographs produced with the press of a button could, through the intermediary of a bit of wire and a box you plug into a wall, be immediately transmitted around the world and instantaneously printed. In 1835, when he obtained his tiny grey picture, just over an inch square, with his own little wooden camera obscura, of a latticed window at Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire, little could he have known what would be done with a thumbnail in today’s computer.  Fox Talbot referred to his cameras as ‘mousetraps’, which is indeed what they look like.  For many years to come, sending photographs to others had to be carried by ‘snail mail’ or personal delivery in gradually developing forms of transport.  Now we have the world wide web.

My header photograph today comes from the municipal dump where Elizabeth and I took the garden refuse left over from the weekend’s bonfires.  We decided on this over lunch, for which, fortuitously, I ate a Sainsbury’s latticed pork pie.  Bonfires, now that we have long sunny days at last, have been upsetting the neighbours.  Instead of burning our pruned material we bagged it up and took it to the recycling centre.  It needed two trips and the first thing we saw as we re-entered the drive after the second was one we had left behind.

The sun was so strong that it appeared to be burning the colour out of Cotinus leaves.

For our evening meal Elizabeth and I drove out to The Phoenix in Twyford where we had good basic pub food in a cask ale establishment.  I had faggots, chips and peas augmented by one of Elizabeth’s sausages, which still left her with two.  My starter of stilton and broccoli soup was excellent.  We both took a chance on Punter beer, which paid off.  Noticing two Stanton Road lime trees, I was disappointed to find no caterpillars.