It was just as cold this morning, signalling the end of British Summertime, but without the sunshine. I walked to the municipal dump, the first stretch, as far as the initial roundabout, being a repeat of yesterday’s journey. At the roundabout I went straight on up Botley Road, eventually arriving at Shamblehurst Road. Jackie, who was to meet me there with the already loaded car, passed me a minute or two before I reached the dump. So, we thought that was pretty good timing.
As I entered Telegraph Woods I couldn’t miss a child’s glove hanging from the barbed wire fence by the entry gate in Telegraph Road. I reflected that some unfortunate, possibly sobbing, had travelled home with tingling fingers. If this were an infant in a buggy that would be a much more painful experience than that suffered by one striding along in warming exercise.
After Ruby’s owner had been unsuccessful in stopping his dog from tearing down the slope and bashing her head on my shin, the walk through the wood was silent and solitary. The distant monotonous drone of the M27 provided a trance-inducing backing to the crackling of my footsteps, and rustling of leaves disturbed by the scurrying of magpies and the scampering of squirrels; these last laying up winter stores such as the contents of the chestnut shells strewn about the paths and undergrowth.
Traversing the M27 by way of the bridge on Botley Road was almost surrealistic. Steady streams of traffic whoosh whooshed past my right shoulder, while others with regular whoomphs rushed at me from my left. The volleys from the left would disappear beneath my feet, yet my brain was not registering the height distance separating the motorway from the road I was walking on. As I looked straight ahead, it was my peripheral vision picking up these moving stimuli, registering vehicles as if on my level which were in fact many feet beneath me, giving me momentary disorientation. The experience was akin to having your brain blasted by exciting film extracts shooting across a multiplex cinema screen from all directions in a trailer which gives you a series of fast-moving images and deafening sound in an excessive sensory overload. And it was windy.
After unloading the first batch of bags of garden refuse, we drove back to The Firs, pruned a cotinus, loaded up the rest of the autumn debris, returned to the dump, and unloaded it. Having lunched in the kitchen we repaired to the garden room for coffee and our regular entertainment provided by the wildlife overwintering in this country. Then we witnessed the solution to one of the garden’s many conundrums. Last weekend Elizabeth bought about a dozen bags of horse compost which we stacked up beside what is left of the bracken variety. When we arrived yesterday it was apparent that something had been tearing holes in these strong plastic bags. We could only imagine foxes had been the perpetrators, but what on earth could they find of interest in horse manure? Today, as we watched, a jay flew down, trotted up to the bags and began stabbing away at them and their contents.
This evening we finished off Jackie’s chicken curry and shared three quarters of a bottle of McGuigan’s bin 156 Chardonnay 1911, before returning to Morden.