Another night and the same compost heap, but a different set of starring animals. The Rabbits and Mouse appeared and hogged the camera. They made a hasty getaway when the starring animals appeared, a Fox and a Polecat. The Polecat appeared out of the rabbit hole, and later at the end can be seen rushing back in. The Fox stood and looked at the camera. The later images are poor because of a light frost covering on the lens.
Fox and Badger in the Compost Heap
Rosemary has her Christmas present, which I am making good use of. It is a Bushnell Trail Cam, designed to scout out your land for wildlife. (I believe the intention of the American manufacturer is you see what there is, and then using one of their rifles, shoot it.)
The camera can take video and still pictures. At night in black and white, and during the day in colour. There is a motion detector which activates the device when a warm body enters the scene. This picks up birds, mice and larger mammals. Unfortunately, there is no filter to remove the numerous images and videos of rabbits.
My first test was a disaster, mounted the camera too high, looking down the garden. All it picked up was me when I was setting it, testing it and coming back to retrieve it. Our next test on Sunday night was by the compost heap during Storm Bella. Here we picked up some rabbits, and a badger investigating the rabbit hole. The following day, it picked up some birds during the day, and the badger during the night (and rabbits). The badger did seem interested in the camera, I can only think it could see the low glow LED lights. Last night I took still images and not video, this time a fox visited. No badger to be seen.
- Numerous rabbits
- Rodent (Rosemary hopes not a rat)
Waddesdon Manor Christmas Lights
We visited Waddesdon Manor to see the lights. Because of Covid 19, the house was not open and everyone was encouraged to walk up to the manor instead of taking the bus. The encouragement was a financial incentive. Unfortunately, it was a damp evening with a light drizzle. As the daylight dimmed, the lights grew brighter.
There was the Christmas market set up in front of the house. I didn’t visit the area, instead, I walked around the lights before and after dark.
We both were a little underwhelmed by the light effects. There have been better. I particularly liked the Bruce Munroe lights back in 2015. We both thought Waddesdon Manor was allowing far too many people onto the site. There was a large queue of people trying to get in with their timed tickets. Around some of the lights, social distancing seems to have been thrown out of the window. Some limitations on the number of people viewing the lights at one time should have been in place. No wonder Buckinghamshire is heading to Tier 3. (update on 19 December it entered Tier 3).
The walk down to the Stables needs to be planned, I would not recommend taking the path through the playground. It is narrow and there is two-way traffic. Instead walk down the road, dodging the busses. It remains to be seen whether this event becomes a Christmas superspreader.
The main set was a 3 minute light show set to the music of Handel Water Music: Hornpipe. On the loop around the grounds, there were several other areas laid out with light effects. Some elephants standing by the pathway were pretty cool. I am not sure about the lighting of the house, this didn’t seem as spectacular as usual. Normally the trees to the side of the driveway are lit up. This year they were not, possibly because of the Christmas market.
At last, we had a few days away from home in our home from home campervan. The second time we have been away this year. We did manage a break to Iceland just before the first Lockdown. Now we were away to Southwold to celebrate my Birthday, again a couple of weeks before the second Lockdown. Last year I spent more than 60 nights in the campervan, Rosemary a few days less (fewer festivals}. This year the campervan has not been used for a whole year, (yes, my last birthday was the last time Morrison the campervan was used.) The VW has been regularly charged and goes for a short drive every month or so when it is dry to stop the wheels going square.
The VW has still cost money for maintenance during that period.
- A repair to the screen washer pipes, the existing pipe was fragile and the constant opening and closing of the bonnet (hood) caused the washer pipe to break. This is something I could fix, with the aid of YouTube and eBay.
- The time the bonnet (hood) locked firmly shut, so it had to go to the local garage to be freed and a new locking mechanism inserted. YouTube did not come up trumps, a video of someone cutting a hole through the bonnet to release the catch did not seem the way to go. Instead, it went on a ramp, and our white knight engineer managed to release the catch from underneath.
- The time I decided to see if I could get the spare wheel off, and grease the spare wheel locking nuts. Of course, a weld failed which held the thread to cradle, and the wheel was no longer secure. Another visit to the garage for some simple welding.
But now we were away for three nights away. We set off early, at 7.am so we could go to St Peter’s Church in Wenhaston for prayer time. Wenhaston is very close to Southwold and Blythburgh. The church has an amazing five-hundred-year Doom Painting of the Last Judgement. The Doom Painting was discovered in 1892 when the chancel was being restored. Some old whitewashed wooden boards blocking the upper part of an arch were removed and thrown out into the churchyard ready to be burnt. Overnight there was a torrential rainstorm and some of the whitewash was washed off, revealing the paintings below. The paintings created a stir among students of late medieval art. The painting was probably created between 1500, and 1520. Some of the details in the painting are intriguing. Look for the imps taking a ride in the scales weighing the good deeds against the bad deeds. The detail eyebrows of the devil. We had the church to ourselves with the vicar, who pointed out the details and explained the history.
Our next stop was the Harbour Inn on the Blackshore in Southwold. Arrived a bit early for lunch, so a coffee outside while we ordered. Thankfully we were early so they could feed us with their reduced seating. I ate a grilled pair of slip soles, caper & cockle butter, Wangford greens, new potatoes. After lunch, we drove into Southwold and had a wander around. Then we went on to the campsite and set up. Afterwards, we walked back into Southwold and visited the pier. We were surprised at how nice the pier was. We were taken by the painting of George Orwell, not knowing he had lived in Southwold. There was also the slightly rude clock sponsored by Thames Water.
The marshes, fields and estuaries were covered with Geese, who would on occasion move off to another location with a loud noise.
Saturday was my birthday, so after opening cards and eating breakfast, we went for a walk into town across the golf course. We arrived at the Swan Hotel for our prebooked lunch. Started off with a pre-prandial drink, Negroni (well, variation thereof) of course and a G&T (First Rate) for the lady (Rosemary). I went very fowl for my meal, eating roulade of pigeon, baby leek, poached plum with hazelnut for starters, and breast of guinea fowl, braised flaked leg, roscoff onion, carrot, pickled blackberries and gel, and watercress for the main course. Rosemary ate roast Suffolk chicken breast, radicchio, pickled enoki mushrooms, pear, barley, pancetta salad with maple dressing for her main course. I finished the event with a number of Suffolk cheeses.
We walked back slowly to our van, for the rest of the day, somehow avoiding the early evening torrential rain & high winds.
Sunday was another fine day, the rain obliged to fall during the night. We went for a walk along the river Blyth and ended up walking to Old Hall Cafe and Walks. They were extremely busy with their all-day breakfast. We didn’t need a great deal, tea had been booked at The Swan, so opted for a cappuccino, and a (very good) sausage roll. The walk along the Blyth was fascinating, the waders, old windmills, and the farmland seemingly below sea level.
We walked on, heading for The Swan (again!) for tea, where we met up with Bob and Liz. The tea was one of those affairs where you get plate loads of savoury dishes, follow by plate loads of sweet dishes. The Scotch egg was excellent, cooked with savoury herbs. It was so yummy. We did go away with our doggy bag which I used for my late evening meal back in the campervan.
We are having some electrical work performed in the house. New lights for the kitchen, along with a flat ceiling. At the same time we decided to have our power supply increased from 80amps to 100 amps.
- changing the main fuse
- Updating the distribution box, we need an extra circuit breaker, and of course, you can’t purchase circuit breakers for the 30-year-old distribution box.
- Changing the meter tails from 16mm to 25 mm. Why are they called tails?
- Coordinating the electrician with the builder, so we don’t have holes in the lath and plaster ceiling for too long. Actually, this should be easy, as have worked on projects together for us.
So I messaged UK Power Networks, to change the fuse. They said I would need to get my supplier to change the tails first. Contacted Bulb, and they had Siemens come over to change the tails. The ideal chap, he could stand and work on the tails at over 7 feet up, without a ladder, steps or even a light.
Now I am waiting for UK Power Networks to come over and change the fuse, they do appear to have gone rather silent.
The most fearless wild rabbit I have ever come across!
The last few days have seen rain, and more rain. The field was totally flooded. The field pond went from empty to full in the course of a couple of days. The leaking garden pond is almost full. Not seen such high levels for years. This rain has added to a water main leaking outside one of our neighbours since at least March. I did wonder why one of our field gateways had been damp during the summer. The water apparently flowed to her ménage, which is well drained, and then through the ménage land-drains to the gateway. Thankfully Thames Water have at last fixed the leak. This though is worthy of its own story.
The rain has again attracted the Little Egret, and flocks of gulls, who suddenly descend on the field as if it were the seashore. If I wanted a house by the sea I would not have bought a house which is probably as far away from the coast as you can get in the UK. Not only do we have these coastal birds visiting us, we now have Garden Bunny. Such a fearless animal sitting eating our grass for most of the day, totally ignoring us as we walk around the house & garden, and the tractor which came into the garden to cut the hedges. One worry is that Rosemary saw some baby bunnies the other day.
National Trust house between Wing and Leighton Buzzard
Desperate to take the new automobile out for a drive, we hit upon a visit to the National Trust property, Ascott House. The interior of the house was not open, but the gardens were. We had booked our visit time and managed to arrive late. Little issues such as setting the house alarm off as we left caused a delay. As is always the case, the traffic then becomes intense, so we could not get back on the road, and when we did we became stuck behind farm vehicles. It is harvest time.
No matter we arrived and were surprised at the number of people visiting, making it difficult to get those people free pictures of the gardens. Maybe I should do street photography where people are the star of that genre of photography. Not to worry, the garden was amazing, despite it being past its best. Lovely and warm, the sun was shining. As the day wore on it did become a little bit hazy.
I have been to this house before, probably in the last century. Rosemary visited with some friends just over a month ago. She wanted to show me around these fabulous gardens. Some very interesting fountains and some unusual ponds and displays in the Lynn Garden. The Lynn Garden is not your traditional garden, it definitely would be a fun garden to be in. I thing rugrats would definitly appreciate the large grassy earth mounds. Thankfully they were absent, back at school.
Sad to see all the yellow leaves on the chestnut trees, not autumn colours, but diseased leaves.
Nice to see a couple looking at our new car as we walked back. Didn’t think I would become a car bore.
This Kestrel has been spotted 9 times feeding from our feeder. How many more birds it has taken without us seeing is anyone’s guess. It is so pretty, but so our are finches and blue tits! Nature is arguably cruel, and I suppose they have to feed, as we similarily eat those pretty lambs I took pictures of at the beginning of lockdown. Shame I can’t quite read the number on his ring.
The recent torrential rain has ended summer and attracted a Little Egret. The Little Egret could be seen wading around the field pulling up worms for breakfast. The Little Egret was large, so we thought we were lucky and had a Great Egret. Alas, beak, legs and feet show it to be a Little Egret, a far more common variety.