Beating the Bounds is a tradition where members of a parish walk around their parish boundary. In the case of Grendon Underwood this is around 15 miles. The walk is performed once every 7 years, and has a number of strange customs. Crosses are chopped into the bark of prominent trees on the boundary, failing a tree, a cross is cut into the soil.. Children are supposed to have their bottoms smacked with a spade at these locations. This is to remind them of where the boundaries are. In our woke society this becomes men and women having their turns at being beaten. Thankfully the police were not around, with their new arrest powers what would they have made of us, carrying spades ands axes along and across the HS2 line.
As you can see there were a couple of detours which added to the distance. Nesting birds neccesitated us to walk around the perimeter of the BBOWT nature reserve and not along the Tetchwick Brook. Because of newly laid concrete by HS2 we had to take a detour around the incinerator to cross HS2.
The day was an ideal walking day. No rain, a breeze and not too hot. The ground was wet underfoot, the recent sunny weather had not yet dried the land out,
We started the walk at Gallow’s Bridge, walking around the perimeter of the reserve, being led by the BBOWT warden, Ilona. (As I said, the walk along the bounday of Tetchwick Brook not being allowed because of nesting birds.)
There were a further couple of short detours from the route before we reached Edgcott, these because of unsympathetic landowners.
We stopped at Prune Farm for tea and cakes and then headed onwards to the Energy from Waste incinerator and HS2. A large detour around the incinerator, because of newly laid concrete, back on track we headed to Finemere Hill House for our packed lunches. Lovely views, but spolit by the Incinerator and the workings of HS2.
After lunch we headed on down the hill and across HS2, almost on the correct path. In all these crossinsg we were helped by four HS2 employees to ensure we didn’t tie ourselves to the trees. After that, we were back in wild Buckinghamshire walking through Grendon and Doddershall woods, stopping to view the King Tree. We met up with the Waddesddon boundary walkers at Ham Home Wood. Another welcome stop was in store for us, beer and sandwiches at Canaletto. The sandwiches kept on coming!
Now the final couple of miles and we were back at Gallow’s Bridge. in all we walked 25.4km, taking 9 hours and 20 minutes. We started at around 51 meters, and rose to a maximum altitude of 135 meters.
This is useful view, you can see where we strayed from the parish boundary. There is one tracking error in the route. I some how turned off the tracker as we exited Doddershall woods, and failed to reenable it untilwe had walked a 100 meters along the road. The Google maps track is correct.
We had a pair of Moorhens nesting on the pond, and then a brood of cute black Moorhenlings (Moorhen chicks). The pond was unusually full for the time of year, so the Moorhenlings were there for quite a while. One of the very few benefits of the incessant rain this year. Before the arrival of the Moorhenlings, the Moorhens actually coexisted with three Mallard ducks for several weeks. The Mallards could be spotted on the pond day and night. They appeared never to sleep, steaming around the pond at any time of the day or night, unlike the Moorhens. The Moorhens disappear back to their nest during the night. For many days we had only one Moorhen, presumably the other was hatching the eggs. At this time the ducks vanished, I presume forced off by the Moothens. We now had a set of baby Moorhen chicks (Moorhenlings).
The Moorhens chicks soon increased in size. You can see them searching the margins of the pond for food, and being offered morsels by their parents. A Heron paid a brief visit. Did any of the Moorhenligs fall prey to its avaricious appetite?
The Moorhen chicks also spent a considerable amount of energy hiking across the fields in search of food. Sometimes we would see them in the garden. Recently I was surprised to find the adults and chicks investigating the badger sett in our Compost Heap. This is a considerable distance from the pond with long grass in between. (We are limiting the grass mowing this year, with a no-mow Summer.)
Garden Bunny 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.
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.
By chance we saw the International Space Station fly over us on Sunday night. On the Monday and Tuesday I took to taking photographs of it. The first ones taken on Monday were short 30 second exposures. The last photograph taken on Tuesday at 23.45 was for the full duration of the visible portion of the flight. Unfortunately camera was not pointing quite the correct way, so we don’t see it fade out.
A walk through Ham Wood and then back up to Grendon Underwood and across the fields home. The sun was setting, so some warm images. The Spring flowers were over, so what remained of the flowers were a bit straggly, though they still looked nice.
Sitting at home, outside, drinking our G&Ts, you must have your camera at the ready. There is the Heron visiting our neighbours’ pond. There it is sitting looking ungainly at the top of a tree. The greenfinches, constantly fighting, and the young bird being looked after by its parents. All of this in view while you are sipping your Gin and Tonic.
Our usual Kingswood Firework party has held on the 9th of November, so as not to clash with the bigger firework display in Brill. The party was held in the traditional location, thanks to the new owners.
The weather was not pleasant, cold wet rain. Thankfully shelter had been erected, so we could all stand and watch in the dry. As usual, there was an ample supply of sausages and burgers cooking on the BBQs along with wine and beer. Thank you to all the helpers.
I was up early to help load the traps for the League shoot, I also had to transport the batteries to the shoot. I immediately became stuck in the snow as I tried to get out of the garage. The combination of loose stone and snow was too much for the car. I phoned Jennifer to ask if her father Jim, could come by and pick up me and the batteries. I was told the shoot had been cancelled. So instead, I walked across the fields in a blizzard to pick up the newspapers. There was a lot of snow, very wet snow, which snapped several of the trees in KarIn’s and Duncan’s garden and hedge. Keith was soon on the job with his chain saw. We even had to shake the wet snow off the Bay Tree which was bending under the weight of the snow.
The path to the village shop was difficult to navigate, there is a section with trees that lean over it. This section was difficult to pass, so the trees were bent so much lower, I had to really stoop low to get through.
Some pictures of snow in our field and in the pub car park. This is really the only significant snow fall we have had since Christmas 2010.