Leith Hill

It has been rather a sleepy, sluggish, day today. The effect of the virus is diminishing, but departing with some reluctance.

Again I concentrated on scanning colour slides. These were the last 22 from my honeymoon with Jackie in March 1968. They were taken on a short trip across to Leith Hill, the highest point in Southeast England, set within the beautiful Surrey Hills. Its gothic tower, built in 1765, and now owned by the National Trust, rises majestically above the surrounding hills and from the top you can see sweeping views towards London in the north and the English Channel in the south.Jackie 3.68 028

With its ancient woods and views across open heathland, the area has been popular with visitors since Victorian times.Trees 3.68 001

Within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) the hill is home to an abundant wildlife. It’s also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).Tree 3.68 001Tree 3.68 002

Jackie 3.68 033Jackie 3.68 030Jackie 3.68 032Jackie 3.68 037Jackie 3.68 038 - Version 2Fire 3.68 002Trunk sawn  3.68                                                                                                                                                  On the higher land in this beautifully crisp early spring day we brought one source of warmth with us, and found another. The car blanket was our contribution, and we came across yet another fire, this time a bonfire consuming the work of the woodmen.

Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, its sauce enhanced by three quarters of a bottle of Albai that I had opened three weeks earlier and not been able to drink, served with mashed potato and swede, and a melange of fried leaks and carrots, was what we dined on this evening. Jackie drank Kingfisher and I consumed more of the chianti.

 

Fascinated By His Shadow

We use door stops in the flat. This morning I bent down to hold back the living room door so that Jackie could wheel in the coffee trolley, nutted the mock-Georgian brass handle, and cut my forehead. That, I thought, was a trick worthy of the early film-makers. I doubt I could do it on purpose.

The fierce wind howling through the trees and hurling blinding icy darts into my face as I set off for today’s walk was much more powerful than that coming off the Channel yesterday. I just about reached Minstead Hall before I decided I didn’t want the exercise that much, turned around, and retreated back to Castle Malwood Lodge.

Derrick Leicester marathon 1983

As always, when rain is that piercing, I think of the Leicester marathon in 1983. Although this photograph looks sunny enough, there was an awful squall which hit us as we turned a corner somewhere en route. Perhaps it was short-lived in reality, but it has lingered long in the memory.

After lunch I scanned another 16 black and white negatives from 1982. On the very end of a rollI found another of the line out pictures featuring on 15th January. Derrick in lineout 1982Much of the image suffers from light pollution, but I think it is amusing enough not to crop it. Here I am definitely about to leap. For those who don’t know, I’m the hairy one in the middle.

Brewery Tap chimney maintenance 1982The Brewery Tap 1982The next roll of film would have been used after October in 1982. Intrigued by the maintenance work on its chimney, I took several shots of Wandsworth’s Brewery Tap. Like so many pubs, this historic hostelry is now, having been closed in 2006, about to give way to redevelopment. I was just trying out my telephoto lens, unknowingly reproducing something for posterity.

Jessica 1982Sam & Soldier outside building 1982Soon after this, Jessica and I took Sam and Louisa out to a National Trust establishment where the rest of the film was shot. I don’t remember the location, and the only clue I can offer is contained in the elongated photo of Sam and ‘Soldier’. Should anyone recognise the corner of the building I would be grateful to hear from you.

Recently, under the auspices of Facebook, a distraught little girl was reunited with ‘Roar’, her soft lion toy. I wrote of such Transitional Objects on 29th January. Sam & Soldier 1982Well, ‘Soldier’ never came back from this trip, and Sam did not appear at all troubled. We needn’t have feared. There was, of course, no Facebook then.

Sam & shadow

It was clearly a sunny day on that occasion, for our son was fascinated by his shadow.

Whilst I was working on these negatives, I became aware of a steady drip that told me the recent leak had returned. Once again the gully on the balcony upstairs had to be cleared. Apparently the felt roofing is in a very bad state and has to be attended to.

We dined this evening at Family House Chinese restaurant where, as usual, we enjoyed a good meal in a friendly family atmosphere. Jackie drank T’Sing Tao beer and I drank the house red wine.

As we leave Totton and approach the Cadnam roundabout there is a large road sign which should make clear which turn-off you need when you approach the roundabout. What follows is no longer a problem now we know our way around. Van on A336There is however, almost always, as there was this evening, a small van bearing ladders parked right in front of and obscuring part of this notice.

Stampede

A strong smell of overheated paint came from our very effective new radiator this morning so Jackie opened the sitting room windows.  I wondered whether the new appliance might be a wee bit counterproductive.

I spent the morning on my laptop, effectively putting off the search for the advent calendars in the garage.  We had made a start on this task yesterday evening.  This involved trying to find a way through to the back of the boxes of books placed in there by Globe Removals on 2nd September. As it turned out, we had in fact extracted the correct calendar container without realising it, so Jackie fished the required items out straight  away.

IMG_6713Unfortunately we discovered that, because of the uneven weights of the book boxes, there were a number of accidents waiting to happen.  In truth, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to lift them.  With Jackie’s help, it proved to be entirely possible to tidy the stacks, and in the process, I unearthed most of my photo albums.

My archival system is such that it is sometimes easier to locate a photograph from the print in one of the albums, which will then tell me, with any luck, whether I need to find a negative or a slide.  Or maybe, as today, I just wanted a suitable picture of a subject and it didn’t really matter exactly when it had been taken.  In this manner, the finding of the albums made it possible for me to locate a shot of Michael and his dog Piper. Michael & Piper 6.77 I wanted this to illustrate earlier posts about the boy and his foundling, especially one concerning the advent of the dog.  It was a colour slide taken in Horse & Dolphin Yard in June 1977.  I didn’t need to do any more than take out a few dust specks.

Jackie walking by Andrew's Mare

Jackie by Andrew's Mare

Pony in pondIt being another glorious autumn day we drove up to the Andrew’s Mare car park and both walked a tour of the ponds.  Amazingly, but for a pony slaking its thirst and having a paddle, we had this usually quite crowded spot to ourselves.  Pony leaving pondPony in pond (backlit)The pony showed its displeasure at receiving my attention, by walking up out of one pool and, attempting to blind me by the sun, stepping into another.

The animal could not have known that its peaceful ablutions were soon to be disturbed by a band of marauding dogs of varying breeds that were being decanted from a number of vehicles as we returned to the car park.  We had just missed dog walkers’ rush hour.  Whilst it is very encouraging that these animals have the area in which to romp and chase sticks, it is a great shame that the beautiful spot is fouled by heaps of their excreta that their owners have not seen fit to remove.  We know that pony droppings are found everywhere in the forest, but their recycled material is not the same as that of carnivores.Buzzard feathers in gorse

The remnants of a buzzard caught in a gorse bush blended rather well with the yellow flowers.

Throughout this walk we heard a steady roar from the A31.  A31  from Andrew's MareThe sun glinted on the vehicles which could be seen from just one point, demonstrating that we were standing further away from the road than we would be in our own garden.  Nevertheless we do not hear it at home.

Pony BookendsWhen we arrived at the car park we noticed what Jackie described as ‘bookends’ in equine form. Pony bookends in bracken Apart from one which turned its back on its companion under Jackie’s scrutiny, neither of these creatures moved a muscle, not even an eyelid, for the whole of our period at the site.

Pony's breath

It is now cold enough for the ponies’ breath once more to form visible swirls of steam.  That way we could tell that they were real.

From here we drove, via Emery Down and Bolderwood, under the A31 to the villages to the north, and back via Godshill along Roger Penny Way, catching the splendid sunset as we motored.

Cattle crossingA galloping cow, for those of you who have never seen one, is not a pretty sight. Cattle climbing Ungainly at the best of times these milk suppliers with bodies too large for their slender legs, and bones sticking out all over the place, lollop along from side to side, seeming at any moment likely to collapse like grounded kites.  It is even less attractive when there is a large herd of them thundering down from one high field, stampeding across the road in the midst of bewildered traffic, and climbing a well-trodden footpath on the other side.  We know, because we had plenty of time to sit and await their Ibsley Common at sunsetdeparture when they did just that as we approached Ibsley Common, incidentally owned by the National Trust.  Maybe, unlike the ponies, they had run out of steam once they had crossed the road, because their uphill climb was more laboured.

Chicken marinaded in mustard and lemon sauceEarly this evening we dined on another of Jackie’s beautifully presented symphonic masterpieces; a study in ochre and cream with a dash of green, represented by chicken marinaded and baked in mustard and lemon sauce, cauliflower cheese, sautéed potatoes and nuggets of runner beans.  It tasted as good as it looks.  I have to admit that I served myself.  Had Jackie done so, there would have been no sauce splashed on the rim of the plate, and one of the beans would not have broken free.  I drank some more of the Valdepenas Gran Familia reserve 2007, whilst Jackie’s choice was Isla Negra sauvignon blanc reserve 2012.

The Workhouse

We enjoyed another beautifully balmy Indian summer day for our trip to Christchurch’s Red House Museum.

Operated by volunteers there are sections devoted to learning about The Victorians and the twentieth century; and archeological finds going back to neolithic times.  A small garden is as informative as the rooms inside.  In particular we are told the benefits provided by various plants to the ecology. There is a plentifully stocked herb garden and another for roses.

The teenage tyrant Noah Claypole, in Charles Dickens’s ‘Oliver Twist’, named the eponymous hero ‘Work’us’, because the boy had spent his first nine years in a workhouse.  Oliver would no doubt have recognised this 1764 Georgian building in its original incarnation, for it was built as a workhouse:The Red House as aWorkhouse

The separate women’s section of this building is no longer in existence.  The rose garden is planted where it stood.  NerinesSome of the roses were still in bloom this afternoon, as were a fine crop of nerines.

Catalpa

A fly basked on a catalpa leaf.  Bug hotelPerhaps it had just checked out of the bug hotel in the woodland walk..

CartwheelElsewhere in the garden one or two cartwheels that have seen better days are distributed for rustic effect.

As one wanders from room to room of this imaginatively laid out, not terribly extensive, town garden, various glimpses of the Priory Church can be had through the sometimes decorative foliage.Archway

A small figure of St Francis of Assisi stands in a niche in the rear entrance archway.St FrancisPriory Church

Once inside, we were warmly welcomed; informed, as I took out my wallet, that the tour was free; and given a brief explanation of the layout.  Donations were invited, but not until we had been satisfied.

The Meet the Victorians exhibition uses modern materials and artwork to take us through different aspects of the life of that era.  Original objects are on display with a timeline of a typical workhouse day.

Arthur Romney Green was a local craftsman making furniture in the 1930s.  1935 roomThe 1935 room contains model figures with real pieces of his work in a setting typical of the time.  I imagine this family were better off than many. Note the Clarice Cliff tea set.

One can only make a selection of the artefacts and other items on display.  I have chosen one or two that have some meaning for me.

Box mangle

Being confronted by the huge box mangle I experienced a sense of relief that it hadn’t been in our mother’s kitchen when I experimented on Chris’s finger.  When we were very young Mum had no washing machine, and so washed everything by hand.  She did, however, have a wooden mangle.  Sheets, in particular, were placed between two rollers, and you turned a handle in order to squeeze and therefore rinse them.  One day Chris left his finger in as I turned the handle.  Fortunately his bones must have been still soft enough to be re-inflated.  The museum exhibit looked a bit more heavy duty than our version.

Tram model

The model tram on a window sill reminded me of those I travelled on as a child down Wimbledon Broadway.  After trams and trolleybuses, it was the Routemaster modelRoutemaster, a model of one of which lay in a cabinet, that became London Transport’s bus of choice from 1954 until the last one was taken out of service in 2005.  In our more safety-conscious age, it is no longer considered appropriate to have an open doorway, from which the tardy or the daring can jump on or off a public service vehicle.  I discovered that you can still hire out a Routemaster for special events on 31st August, when Anne’s car was blocked in by a pair of them that had been hired for a wedding party.

It is probably well known that one task given to adult workhouse residents was the very painful one of picking oakum. Fusee chain Much smaller, more flexible, fingers were needed to make fusee chains for clocks and watches.  Young girls had that job.  Most of them consequently suffered from damaged eyesight.

A neighbouring case to the one that held the chain contained early writing implements. Pens steel nibbed The steel-nibbed pens reminded me of those with which I had learned to write at primary school.  Desks had notches for ink wells into which we dipped our pens.  One summer I injured my right hand.  I don’t remember how, but I most certainly do remember being made to write with my left hand until the other one recovered.  I am of course not alone in having, during that era, had to go through that particular form of educational torture.  Nor of the others mentioned on 1st November last year, when I attempted to entertain with tales of my primary school years.

The Southwell Workhouse museum is in stark contrast to the one we visited today.  Opened by the National Trust earlier this century, it is the most complete workhouse in existence.  The buildings and exercise yards are intact and, with one exception, completely bare and unfurnished.  Visitors are given a dramatised audio commentary with which to absorb the ambience of the housing of the poor in times gone by.  It is very effective.  The exception is the floor that was used as a women’s refuge in the 1970s.  That is furnished as it was then with objects that had been provided by various charities, and largely consisted of other people’s cast offs.  I well remember an identical kitchen cabinet with a drop-down shelf to that that had been my mother’s pride and joy in the 1950s.

The rows of cast iron single bedsteads were rather depressing, especially when reflecting on why the residents lived there.

Fish and chips, mushy peas, and Stelle d’Italia Prosecco provided our evening sustenance.

A Question Of Parentage

Yesterday evening, whilst waiting for Elizabeth before our curry date, Jackie and I had, as usual, a delightful discussion with Danni.  We swapped house hunting stories.  We also reminisced.  It was pleasing to learn that so many of my niece’s childhood memories feature summers in Newark, in particular the fun she and Louisa had over the Chinese restaurant story.

Derrick, Louisa, and Danni

In Eastern Nights I had complimented the very efficient, friendly, and humorous, ‘front of house man’, on possessing just these qualities.  I also said he was not intrusive.  It must be a fine line between being over-friendly and unobtrusive for restaurateurs to tread.  It is probably the experience of the proprietress of what was allegedly Newark’s finest Chinese restaurant that makes me sensitive to this.  One evening in the early 1990s, Elizabeth, Rob, Jessica and I visited this establishment for the first time with our children.  This woman stood by our round table for virtually the whole meal, saying what a beautiful little girl Louisa was.  She just would not go away.  All smiles, she decided, the child’s parents must be Jessica and Rob.  Elizabeth and I were not exactly chuffed by this, but at least she hadn’t committed the faux pas of James Bird, the young teenager who lived next door when we moved to Lindum House in 1987.  He assumed I was my daughter’s grandfather.

For the rest of that 1990s weekend my children called me Uncle Rob, his two called me Dad, and vice versa.  I now suspect the two little girls were behind this.  We never returned to the restaurant.

Photograph number 95 from the ‘through the ages’ series was taken a little earlier, in 1988, probably by Elizabeth.  It gives the flavour of Danni’s memories, and can be dated from the wallpaper, which Michael and James painted over that year.  I appear to have been reading a story.

Max Gate

Max Gate is a far cry from the birthplace of the man who designed it.  Max Gate 2This was Thomas Hardy, famous novelist and poet, trained as an architect.  Not at all ostentatious, it is definitely a wealthy middle-class home with a garden to match. Max Gate from garden Brian, the National Trust volunteer to whom I am indebted for some of my facts, pointed out that with a house built by his father and brother Henry, both master masons, he had probably been able to improve on normal specifications.  I observed to Brian that even the first, most humble, of Hardy’s studies, in which we were standing, was very different from that of his father in the boy Thomas’s childhood home.

MaxGate, Emma's sitting room

It was Brian who told me that, following increasing estrangement in the marriage, Hardy’s first wife Emma moved up to the two rooms that she called her boudoir on the second floor.Max Gate, Emma's boudoir  Apparently for the sake of appearances she made what must have been her painful way down a steep set of attic stairs to dine daily with her husband.  She was suffering with a failing heart and gallstones that finally killed her.  My informant speculated that otherwise she only seldom left her rooms because servants would have attended to her requirements.  Despite his apparent neglect Hardy was distraught at her demise and wrote a series of poems based on their early love.  He soon married again, his secretary Florence, 39 years his junior, who was equally distressed at his death in 1928.

Hardy extended a dormer window for his first wife, but this did not prevent me from regarding her rooms as a prison without bars.  It seemed to me that she was only marginally better off than Bertha Mason the mad wife of Jane Eyre’s Mr. Rochester, who was kept locked in an attic.

Only comparatively recently opened by the National Trust who previously let the house to a tenant,Max Gate sitting room much work has been carried out to stock it with suitable furniture and mementoes;Max Gate garden and in caring for the garden, which has the richest compost heaps I have ever seen. Max  Gate conservatory The author’s sister Kate, after her brother’s death, bought the house at auction and eventually bequeathed it to the Trust.  Florence, the second wife, had insisted on the contents being sold off separately.

Kitchen visitor, Max Gate

As evidenced by the gentleman reading in the kitchen, we were invited to sit anywhere.Max Gate, Reflection on bedroom carpet  When informed of this I observed, ‘there [was] not a teasel in sight.’  Teasels are discretely placed on National Trust chairs you are not meant to occupy.

It was Jackie who observed that the fitted bedroom carpets and telephone points were probably evidence of the tenacy.

Hardy, we are told, had three studies.  Not all at the same time.  He spent his last twenty-odd years in the third, and most comfortable.  Max Gate poetry readingToday, in this room, a poetry group met to read the writer’s poems.  We were invited to enter; look around; listen; and, if so inclined, join in.

Having driven us home, Jackie produced scrumptious pork paprika, green beans, and mushroom rice, followed by apple and blackberry crumble, with which I drank more of the Berberana.

Trish

Among the many boxes of books now temporarily stored in the garage are hundreds of photograph albums. Photo albums in garage I plucked up courage to begin a search for the picture mentioned in The Tempest post of 14th June last year.  Although I’m fairly sure I hit on the right container I was unable to find the photograph.  During the late 80s and 90s Jessica, Sam, Louisa, and I shared a number of Lakeland holidays with Ali, Steve, and James.  The missing photo was almost certainly taken during the holiday in one of Hugh Lowther‘s cottages in Watenlath. Ali and Steve 8.89 Never mind, I reminisced about those times and found some happy shots of our friends.

Hardy MonumentThis afternoon Jackie drove us to Higher Bockhampton in Dorset where we visited Hardy’s Cottage.  Some of his American Admirers explained its significance thus:

From the car park we were offered a choice of routes to the building. Footpath to Hardy's Cottage (Jackie) We could try the woodland walk or use the lane. Sweet chestnut path We opted for the stony, steep, uphill, buttock-straining, path lined with sweet chestnut copses.  The more gentle lane sufficed for our return.

I had forgotten my National Trust membership card.  The very helpful young woman staffing the entrance made a phone call to check my credentials, so it didn’t cost me anything.

On walking up the garden path I noticed two elements that were to be explained on entry.  Hardy's birthplaceThe first was that the chimney was smoking.  The second was a woman who looked as if she belonged in a period drama based on a Hardy novel.

Hardy's cottage garden

The garden itself; although we were told that in Hardy’s day it would have been filled with the stock in trade of his master mason father; looked stunning, even so late in the year.

Jackie in Hardy's cottage sitting roomAs suggested by the smoke, the house was heated by log fires alone.  There was no artificial light.  Candles lit the darker corners of the snug in which the National Trust representative invited us to sit and absorb the ambience.

Kitchen, Hardy's cottageThe kitchen also had a fire over which a kettle was perched. Bedroom in Hardy's cottage Natural light from the windows brightened the bedrooms.

Staircase, Hardy's cottageThe back staircase was truly scary.  It was little more than a fixed step-ladder.  The bedroom door at the top of it warned visitors to descend backwards, and to remember that there was a side step at the bottom.

The cottage itself was very cramped.  Doorways were so low as to cause the custodian trepidation every time anyone over about 5′ 9″ entered the building.  I was a bit of a nightmare.  We learned that during Hardy’s childhood it had been much smaller.  What we now see is the merging of his childhood home with the adjacent one of his grandmother’s.

Trish and visitor, Hardy's cottageThe bench seat in the snug, unoccupied in the above photograph, was soon filled, as were all the other chairs in the room.  In a window seat in the corner sat the woman who had just preceded us into the cottage.  The custodian and bearer of the history.

She was Trish, an avid Hardy adherent, who stimulated conversation about the man as an author and as a human being.  We discussed the relative merits of Hardy’s novels and his poetry.  She was able to answer questions about his marriages; Trish (1)his personality; Trishwhere he went to school; and to enlighten us about his father’s occupation, eventually taken on by his brother Henry who was eventually to build Max Gate to the author’s design.  This most engaging woman with a beautiful voice and an intelligent, expressive, face had us all captivated.

On our return journey home, we realised, as we sniffed the woodsmoke that pervaded the air in the car, that it was not only the ambience of the snug that we had absorbed.

Given that Trish really was the teacher today, it was something of a role reversal when she gave Jackie an apple from the garden.  My lady added it to the poky pork paprika that she provided for this evening’s meal.  The food was delicious.  I finished the Veluti which was equally palatable.  Carte d’Or rum and raisin ice-cream was to follow.

Mare’s Tails

On the train yesterday, with Kenneth O. Morgan’s ‘The Twentieth Century’, I finished reading ‘The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain’ in the 1992 edition.  Ten university historians have each contributed a section in their particular field, from Roman times to 1991.  Written for the layperson it does neverless assume a certain amount of prior knowledge, the lack of which caused me to make some assumptions.  It is an excellent overview of 2,000 years of history, well written, and lavishly illustrated.  Each separate piece flows into the next, quite seamlessly.  It provided interesting revision for periods I know a bit about, and was informative about those I didn’t.

I must confess to having been relieved at getting to the end.  Not because the reading wasn’t pleasing, but because it will considerably lighten my bag on my train trips.  It is quite a big book, but its size was not the reason for its weight.  The illustrations are interspersed with the text.  This requires a heavy glossy paper throughout.  I much prefer it this way.  The alternative is to cluster the illustrations at two or three arbitrary places, so you are often perusing pictures the subject of which you have not yet encountered.

As we progressed through the second millennium the illustrations changed in nature and subject. Photographs of artefacts provided most of the early ones.  With the advent of the possibility of using a contemporary camera, people and events came into focus.  Written records enabled the writers to go further than when facilitated mostly by archeological finds.  From the eighteenth century onwards there was less of an emphasis on royalty and more on the politics of the people.  Given its publication date it was rather salutory to see the first fifty years of my life confined to history.

I enjoyed the book.  It was another that I had inherited from my late friend Ann.

Corfe Castle

A trip to Corfe Castle in Dorset continued the historical theme.  Certainly in situ during the time of King William I, it was said to be the scene of the assassination of King Edward in 978.  Described in the twelfth century as the most secure castle in England, it remained impregnable until, during the Civil War, Lady Bankes’s stout resistance to the Roundhead siege was ended by the treachery of one of her own soldiers who admitted Cromwell’s men during the night. Corfe Castle 3 It was then blown up by Captain Hughes’s sappers in 1646, leaving us with a dramatic skyline on a natural mound the outer perimeter of which has been eroded by the action of two rivers. From the National Trust car park Jackie andI followed a path along the site of the moat tracked by the Corfe River. Corfe Castle 2 Through gaps in the trees we could see the impressive remains that had survived the explosion.  Pieces of ‘tumble’, as were termed those stones falling down the hill, mingled with the residue still standing.

Corfe Castle valerianBridgeInside the castle, through the entrance and across the access bridge, we could see the remains of walls sprouting valerian and accommodating dog roses. Dog roses Jackdaws trotted about the ramparts, and buzzards circled overhead. Stocks Just past the gateway sat a pair of stocks.  I managed to climb most of the way to the top of the keep, which was scary.  There was an observation platform from which people looked down over the valley and the sloping sides of the mound.  Observation platformAlthough I did unwittingly actually reach the same level as that, I chickened out of turning the corner that would have led me to it.  Jackie, who had done this trip with her sisters at the weekend, had the good sense to sit on a bench and await my descent.

Corfe Castle in landscape

Venturing to look over almost any wall gave one a good, vertiginous, view of whatever lay beneath.

Houses beneath castle walls

Having had our fill of the ruins we wandered into the picturesque stone village of Corfe which is dominated by its castle.

Corfe & its castle

Mare's tailsOn the way home we took a diversion to Sway Road in Brockenhurst to look at the outside of a railway cottage we had seen on the internet.  The house and its neighbour shared a small private track accessed by a cattle grid.  This should have led us to expect the banks to be completely devoid of mares’ tails.  We were to be disappointed.  There was a widespread proliferation of the botanical version.  These are invasive deep-rooted weeds with fast growing underground stems that may penetrate as deep as 7 ft, and have been doing so since the time of the dinosaurs.  This pernicious plant is extremely difficult to eradicate.  Ground elder, which took me sixteen years to banish from Lindum House, is a pussy cat in comparison.Cottage by railway

After this investigation, we drove straight through Sway and carefully entered the car park of The Plough at Tiptoe, where we had wonderful meals.The Plough  Mine was a mixed grill cooked to perfection, with the steak medium rare as I had asked for, so large as to make it impossible for me to contemplate a sweet, and to earn me the admiration of the barmaid for actually finishing it. Mixed grill Jackie was equally impressed with her ham and mushroom tagliatelli and the creme brûlée she did manage to eat.  She drank Becks and I drank Doom Bar.

The Wilderness

Our last diversion was to Barton on Sea where we had a look at The Wilderness, another house from the internet. This was in a secluded position near Barton Common, but has been sold subject to contract.