Escalating The Situation

With the aid of Elizabeth’s stick

I managed to walk the whole length of Downton Lane and back.

A cyclist passed me on the way down, and was himself

overtaken by a car.

As they approached the bend, round came another bicycle The pedallers made a neat vehicle sandwich and no harm was done.

Across neighbouring fields parked vans

could be seen. At any time of the year you will always see one carrying campers on this lay-by.


The road narrows and bends at the bridge over the

shallow stream now barely visible beneath the scrub. It is quite difficult for a pedestrian to hug the narrow verge, especially when not wishing to grasp the metal rail that someone else might have touched.

After leaving the bridge I passed this friendly young couple approaching it. They seemed to have understood the principle of social distancing in the time of Corvid.

On my return back up the hill I passed a comma butterfly enjoying a mud bath provided by

an underground stream irrigating the tarmac.

One border entrance to Shorefield Country Park appeared to be quite effectively closed.

While I followed a cock pheasant trotting up the lane (biggification will reveal him keeping to the right hand verge) I noticed the two young people holding a conversation in the distance. As I approached I rather expected them to move over a bit to let me pass.

When they shifted just a little to avoid a passing cyclist who had been forced onto the wrong side of the road, it became apparent that my assumption had been erroneous.

The standing couple stepped back again after the cyclist had gone. When I arrived I stood quietly in front of the vehicle, slightly to the right. It appears that I was invisible. Eventually I said “I don’t think you are giving me two metres to pass”. The pedestrians laughed, “It’s not funny”, I calmly announced. There were two women in the car. The driver cried “He’s my son. I haven’t seen him for a long time”. Raising my voice a little to make sure she heard me, I replied “I’ve seen him twice today. The first time I thought he’d got the idea, but clearly not”.

The driver started the engine and drove on as I stepped aside. The couple continued on up the hill. I called to them “You didn’t need to go right away. I just wanted space to past.”

Making no reply they walked on in silence. As so often when a third party makes an unnecessary intervention, the situation is escalated.

It was only when I uploaded this last photograph that I noticed the sign in the window.

In the meantime Jackie photographed

two Japanese painted ferns;

the budding Cordeline Australis;

a very hairy caterpillar;

a tellima grandiflora;

a red leaved pieris;


an enlarged camassia;

and a pigeon perched on the weeping birch.

This evening we dined on moist smoked haddock; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; boiled Jersey Royal potatoes; bright green spinach; and flaming orange carrots, with which Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Wairau Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2019.




A Good Thing I Wasn’t Waiting For A Bus


On her way to lunch with her sisters at MacPenny’s Garden Centre, Jackie deposited me, equipped with a packed lunch, a camera, and, in case of necessity, a book at the bus shelter looking down Ringwood Road in Bransgore. This was in order for me to watch the traffic.

A steady stream of cars approached the junction in front of me.

Some were open-topped. It was certainly the day for it.

Vans and trucks tended to publicise goods and services.

Pedestrians tended to walk down to the row of shops on the right side of Ringwood Road and return with purchases.

Crossing the road, especially for those with arms and buggies full of children, was quite a precarious undertaking. The moment had to be seized, although preferably not on the run with fish and chips.

Cyclists of various ages and styles were much in evidence. Some were obviously locals out shopping, others kitted out for a forest ride.

The same applies to motorcyclists.

A camper van carried its own resting place, while a hearse bore a coffin to its final one.

Bringing up the rear are the trailers which carried a variety of loads.

During the 2 3/4 hours I was perched at this spot, the only method of transport not represented at this very busy corner was a bus. It is a good thing I wasn’t waiting for one.

This evening Jackie and I dined on breaded chicken breasts, sautéed new potatoes, and a melange of fried onions mushrooms and peppers. Jackie drank Alta OItalia Trentino pinot Grigio 2017 (courtesy of John Jones), and I drank Camino del Angel Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (courtesy of Elizabeth).


Flight Path


Today, Jackie Jackie drove us to Louisa and Errol’s at Mapperley Top, a suburb of Nottingham. When I say today, I mean all day – all eight hours. Rather more than anticipated.

As we travelled along the A35 we imagined the autumn leaves may have all fallen by the time we returned three days ahead.

As we progressed along the M25 we were reminded that we were on the Heathrow flight path, as several planes passed overhead. In another sense the motorway itself was a flight path, being the thoroughfare through which so many people flee from London for the Cotswolds on a Friday

M1 hold-up

when the first of what were to be several queues began. The speeds shown above the traffic are those that will keep the traffic moving. The huge container vehicle shown on the left, having crossed over chevrons, was about to fill the gap between us and the car in front. The reason for the queues is that most drivers ignore the posted limits and continue until they have to stop. This is termed a standing wave.


Soon we came to a standstill.

M1 jam

This was the first of many. They at least gave us the opportunity to look at the scenery.


Periodically raptors hovered above.

Burger King

We stopped at Newport Pagnel Welcome Break Services for lunch at Burger King.

Davis Haulage van

Half an hour later we continued the journey which was to take another four hours. This is because we faced 17 miles of road works necessitating a lane closure. We spent more time studying the back of Davis Haulage van than we usually do studying ponies’ rear ends in The New Forest.

Traffic Officer van

It took a long time to reach a Traffic Officer


warning traffic that a small van had broken down.

The further north we travelled the more wind turbines we saw.

Clouds over M1

Shortly before sunset the clouds darkened over the motorway.

Eventually we turned off at junction 26 and headed for Mapperley, as shown on the map. Then, like rats in a maze, we drove all over the place seeking something we recognised. We sought local guidance. Only then did we learn that there were two Mapperleys, and that our goal was on the other side of Nottingham. Errol phoned and advised us to go straight through the City Centre. We did that and I found familiar ground. It was dark by then.

We enjoyed a splendid evening with the family. Louisa cooked us a wonderful paella with garlic bread and salad. She and I drank Chateau de Grezels cahors, 2013. Jackie’s beverage was Fosters, and Errols, Stella.

To follow was watching Jessica and Imogen performing with Nottingham City Gymnastics Club for Children in Need TV.

Grass Cuttings And Wild Woodbines

Decking repair

This morning Aaron twice drove himself and me to Mole Country Stores to buy some decking with which he repaired our somewhat decayed structure. The reason for the second outing was that the new lengths were narrower than those being replaced, so we were originally two short.

Sitting in the cab of a working van took me back to my teens and early twenties. As I said to Aaron, it is often the scents of such an enclosed space that stay in the memory. The dominant one in our friend’s vehicle was that of grass cuttings. Dad’s removal van during the 50s and 60s bore the strong aroma of Wild Woodbines, his chosen brand of cigarettes. I worked alongside my father in the school holidays, and later, on Saturday mornings.

Today’s TV rugby fare included matches between Samoa and USA, Wales and Uruguay, and New Zealand and Argentina. In order not to spoil things I will say nothing about them, except that that was a lot of TV.

In the intervals between contests I took the air in the garden, where plants and wildlife continue to benefit from the Indian summer.


Hibiscus thrives;


the first colchicum or Autumn crocus has emerged from the soil;

Bee on bidens

Bees, like this one on a bidens, still coat their limbs with pollen;

Spider wrapping prey

and a spider wrapped up its prey with which to stock up its larder.

The sunlight enhanced the garden views such as

View from Shady Path across Grass Patch

those from the Shady Path across the Grass Patch,

View from Brick Path across Heligan

and from the Brick Path towards the Heligan one and beyond. Japanese anemones are prominent in each one.

Jackie produced her delicious chicken jalfrezi with egg fried rice for our dinner tonight. Tesco’s meat samosas made good starters. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whilst I finished the malbec.