Monday, 30 November 2009
Sunday, 29 November 2009
These homes were designed to be built with the least possible impact on the New Forest environment. They are rented by practising New Forest commoners. There is a shortage of affordable homes to buy or rent in the New Forest. Many of the traditional cottages and farms would have been homes to commoners of past times. Today, those homes command high prices that may be beyond the means of a commoning farmer.
Many traditional homes have been bought by people moving into the Forest. This is a popular area for city people who retire to a New Forest cottage. A high proportion of Forest properties are second/weekend homes or holiday homes rented to tourists. Over 40% of the homes in a nearby village are second homes and are empty for most of the year. Not only does this impact upon the community of a village, but it means that the descendants of those earlier New Forest commoners struggle to find homes that they can afford , within the Forest where they keep their animals.
The Forestry Commission has built these sustainable homes at Anderwood in an attempt to meet the demand for homes for commoners. It is hoped that this project will be the first of many.
As explained on the poster photographed below, The wooden framed houses were built from Douglas Firs harvested from the Anderwood plantation.
The wooden houses have facilities for Grey Water Harvesting. Rainwater is collected, used, filtered and then re-used.
Geothermal Heating pipes have been installed, which heat the houses using heat from within the earth.
There are Solar Panels on the roof which produced solar energy.
More details about sustainable homes can be found on the Forestry Commission website.
Here is a traditional Victorian keeper`s cottage not far from the newer homes.
Saturday, 28 November 2009
Earlier today, we walked in the quiet of Anderwood; a seventy hectare inclosure where the Forestry Commission grows and harvests trees.
Anderwood was first enclosed and planted with oak in 1811. At that time, during the Napoleonic Wars against France, the New Forest had provided fine oak for the building of warships. Many of the wooden sailing ships of Nelson`s Navy were built at Bucklers Hard, on the Beaulieu River and not far from the English Channel and the Naval sea ports. It was important to replant young oaks to replace those felled in time of war, so Anderwood was one of the areas chosen for this purpose.
Beech and sweet chestnut are also grown here. The photograph above shows a small plantation of young beech trees, growing in the shadow of tall, mature trees.
Ponies graze the edge of an area of woodland clearance. In the chill November wood, no birds were singing.
Bunches of young silver birch twigs, harvested and ready for collection.
Friday, 27 November 2009
Bitter for Sweet
Summer is gone with all its roses,
Its sun and perfumes and sweet flowers,
Its warm air and refreshing showers:
And even Autumn closes.
Yea, Autumn`s chilly self is going,
And winter comes which is yet colder;
Each day the hoar frost waxes bolder
And the last buds cease blowing.
The first photograph of a setting sun in a dark grey sky, was taken today just before 3.30 pm. It has been one of the shortest days and the daylight hours have been wet, dreary and increasingly cold.
Christina Rossetti`s poem is not one of her most memorable ones, but somehow it captures that lowering of the spirits that comes on an early winter`s day of sullen skies and chill rain.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Late this morning, I drove up the Avon Valley to the pretty riverside town of Fordingbridge. I arrived twenty minutes early for my appointment, so I took the time to turn down a road that was new to me, just to see what was there. Church Street. A road of old and interesting houses, a little bridge over a stream rushing eastwards towards the river and then, in front of me, the beautiful old Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin. I parked and walked about for a few minutes. I soon had to go on my way, but was pleased to have made the diversion. A corner of this lovely town that needs time to explore another day.
Looking towards the little bridge and the centre of the town
This fine house was the former vicarage of the church, which is just across the road.
A memorial cross, dedicated to a former vicar who served the parish for thirty years, stands outside the main door to the church.
There were a few tombs left standing in the churchyard, but many of the original slab gravestones had been removed from their grass graves and lined up along the wall of the graveyard. I expect there was a good reason for this, but the result looked rather sad.
The Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin was originally built in 1086, ten years after the Norman Conquest. The Normans updated the church in 1150. The tower was built later and still houses eight bells plus the Sanctus bell, but the church has apparently changed little since the sixteenth century. There was a renovation by the Victorians in 1840, when the interior was changed. The flintwork of the church exterior would have originally been covered with a layer of plaster.
(Thanks to Wikipedia for information)
Sunday, 22 November 2009
Saturday, 21 November 2009
I have changed the name of the lady with the dog, in case she is still alive.....
Didn`t Know He Was a Policeman!
Defending a dog at Scunthorpe Magistrates Court, Mr H.M. Winocour said
"PC Cross was not in uniform, so the dog did not know he was a policeman. It would not have bitten him if it had known."
Mr Winocour was appearing on behalf of Mrs A... G........ of Scunthorpe, who was charged with keeping a dangerous dog. She was ordered to pay 6/6d costs and a dangerous dog order was brought against her.
Inspector H.A. Corney said that PC P. Cross saw two dogs barking at each other, but as he approached, one of the dogs ran onto the road. A bicycle was approaching, so the dog ran back on the pavement and bit the officer on the leg.
He saw Mrs G... and told her what had happened and asked her to keep her dog under control.
She replied "I do not know how to keep it under control. It is the first time it has ever done anything like this."
"PC Cross," went on Mr Wincour, "thinking that the dog was going to bite him, put his leg up to void it off. Then the dog, thinking that the policeman was going to kick it, bit him."
Friday, 20 November 2009
This morning, the rain slipped away towards the east and left a sky rinsed clean and pale blue. Underneath the tall holly hedge lay more ripe, red berries, loosened by the relentless rainfall and winds of recent days. Across the pasture, small flocks of mixed thrushes were arriving; song thrushes, mistle thrushes and a few rust-striped redwings joining our native birds from lands across the North Sea.
I decided to harvest a bundle of holly today, while the red berries remain. Out came the long handled pruner and down came short holly branches, enough to decorate the house in late December, in time for Christmas.
Now, the holly boughs are safe in a cool shed, lying across an old ladder to store and keep until nearer to Christmas Day.
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
The Old Stone House
Nothing on the grey roof, nothing on the brown,
Only a little greening where the rain drips down;
Nobody at the window, nobody at the door,
Only a little hollow which a foot once wore;
But still I tread on tiptoe, still tiptoe on I go,
Past nettle, porch and weedy well, for oh, I know
A friendless face is peering, and a clear still eye
Peeps closely through the casement as my step goes by.
Walter de la Mare
This is a poem that I learned by heart at school. I was probably aged nine or ten. That sense of the unknown, maybe the supernatural, is so powerful. I was reminded of it again tonight, as I read Bovey Belle`s short story, Little Llettygariad, on Codlins and Cream 2.
The line "Only a little hollow which a foot once wore;"
has always fascinated me. If I walk across an old doorstep, worn to a hollow by the feet of many years, there is a tangible link with other lives, lived long ago.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Changing skies are a striking feature of New Forest landscapes. This morning I drove down towards the coast and was aware of bright blue sky behind me, but a dark grey, towering mass of stormy cloud ahead. Clouds were building on the Channel coast to the south. I pulled in and took some photographs from high land overlooking moor and woodland.
Looking to the south west, a tall cumulus rises up to form the anvil shape of a threatening storm cloud.
Instant Weather Forecasting by Alan Watts . Here, he describes coastline clouds: