Sunday, 21 March 2010

One of Those Days in England



I went for a walk up a stretch of the A3057 this afternoon, where it passes along the Test Valley with Mottisfont on one side and a chalk escarpment on the other. It's a favourite spot, and if anyone has £800K to spare, my favourite house situated in it is up for sale at the moment. Sigh.

It's a good spot for hedges and fields, and that's what grabbed my attention. You can just feel the sap rising through those stiff twigs (yes, yes, stop giggling at the back).










Hey, £200K each for these prints and I could be moving house. Any offers? Any size you like! No time-wasters, please!

11 comments:

Struan said...

Nice twigs. I particularly like the combination of willow pollard and anti rabbit (insect?) tubes.

After a few years now of gadding about in the underwood, my personal spring barometer is tripped when the willow and dogwood stems flush with colour. Alders haze over with purple around the same time, but this year they're waiting a while.

Incidentally, an equinox is not an equilux.

Martin H. said...

Nah, you wouldn't want to buy that place. Think of the odd customers you could encounter in the neighbouring villages. Mind you, I don't get out as much as I used to. Not since they put stronger bars at the window!

Mike C. said...

Struan,

"Incidentally, an equinox is not an equilux"

Pardon? What? Now, this is one of those things I thought I understood, but -- with the aid of Wikipedia -- now realise I didn't. That's what comes of letting your understanding of the natural world rest at the level of 6th form geography...

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of enlightenment!

Mike

Martin,

It's the "old station" at Mottisfont and I most definitely do want to buy it. Can't, is all.

Mike

Martin H. said...

I know, it's the price tag. A small, two bedroom bungalow, just down the lane from us, recently sold for around £500K.

Still, at least there's no charge for the stunning surroundings....yet.

Struan said...

Just indulging my inner besserwisser...

Good luck with the fundraising. Keep an eye out for ambergris on the Solent foreshore - at least you get to paddle a bit.

Mike C. said...

Struan,

Thanks for the thought (has anyone ever found ambergris on the Solent??) but the thought of collecting "a solid, waxy, flammable substance of a dull gray or blackish color" on the shores of the Solent is about as repellant as thoughts get (whether or not it was "produced in the digestive system of a sperm whale" or simply escaped from Fawley...)

Mike

Gavin McL said...

I was once shown ambergris by a trader in Marrakesh. It may have not been the real thing but it smelt rather nice, odd and complex. It was white/brown waxy irregular lump. When he announced he had some and disappeared to get from the back of his stall, knowing where it came from I was kinda worried but it wasn't an unpleasant experience.

The trader seemed very proud of it.

He made a nice change from some of the others we had met in the souk, we'd bought some saffron from him and he seemed happy to pass the time with us explaining how to make various cosmetics from the raw materials.


Gavin

Struan said...

If ambergris is too icky there's always the lottery. At least ambergris hunting gets you outdoors.

For me at least it has romance, partly because it links us directly to antiquity, but mostly because it cannot be hurried. Like thousand year old oaks, or chalk downland, it can't be just bought or synthesised.

There is also the small-boy stumbling on treasure aspect.

Mike C. said...

On "stumbling on treasure", I must admit, I've always fancied having a go at metal-detecting... I used to be a keen fossil-hunter, which has some of the same satisfactions and frustrations. I do also have a regular Lottery ticket -- one ticket with the same numbers, one with a "lucky dip". I know, I know -- I think of it as "optimism".

Smell-wise, I am effectively "anosmic" (i.e. I can't smell much, except strange things which no-one else can). I inherited this from my father -- it comes in handy when stinky stuff needs handling, but can make life with a gas cooker problematic.

Mike

Gavin McL said...

Beach combing is my favourite never quite got excited about metal detectors though I do remember getting covered in mud searching through ploughed fields near my childhood home hoping to find lead bullets (The Battle of Prestonpans was fought there) - to be honest it was probably the wrong field completely but we did find some horse brasses

Struan said...

We have a cellar full of pebbles and flints collected on beaches all over the UK and Europe. Anomalies for future geologists. Our house is built a killing field of a major battle between Denmark and Sweden in the C17th. We've found a cast lead cowboy in the garden, but no cavalry swords.

David Booth's finding of the Stirling Hoard on his first ever trip with a metal detector is pretty special. In general though I'm with Gavin, and have a suspicion of beeping devices, especially the way they overemphasise one sort of artefact and encourage destruction of context.

My personal dream involves cultural treasure: I'd love to find a chronicle from a Pictish monastery. To have it Illustrated like the Northumbrian books would be a nice bonus. Torcs are ten-a-penny in comparison.