Majestically bowing out

Every now and then a loud groaning, creaking noise can be heard at Sennicotts. It often happens in the middle of the night and is followed immediately by silence.

To start with we struggled to identify this noise but over the last few years we have managed to work it out. It is the sound of a grand old Horse Chestnut loosing a limb, out in the park.

There is no crashing or smashing noise, just a graceful easing to the ground of some fully laden bows.

Today saw us wake to find the largest, oldest remaining trunk had been laid down, hardly breaking a twig. The new shape remains majestic and we’ll probably wait as long as we can before the chainsaw screams into life hopefully allowing us to keep the remaining glory of this tree going for years to come.

The sheep love being able to feast on the once out of reach leaves.

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The Red Arrows

For someone who grew up under the flight path of the Red Arrows when they were stationed at RAF Kemble, Gloucestershire there is always something magical about watching this world class display team. The heart beats a little faster and metaphorically I am back in shorts dreaming that one day when I am grown up I might be a Red Arrows pilot.

So one seriously good spin off of living near to Goodwood is coming under the flight path of the Red Arrows Festival of Speed display. On Friday the ‘Arrows proved too much of a distraction at the school sports day, causing the boys race to stop in its tracks as eyes turned skywards. On Saturday we had the perfect sky and I couldn’t resist taking a few photographs of the Red Arrows doing what for me was as good as a private display over our house.

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Fatal road accident outside our gate

We were very saddened to see a bunch of flowers laid outside our entrance on the main road.

We knew there had been an accident at the weekend but that is not really newsworthy on this dangerous stretch of road with multiple junctions.

Although we know nothing about the accident or those involved, this trajedy affects us more personally being so close to home.

What the bereaved might not want to hear is that we have been asking for the safety of this stretch of road to be taken more seriously by West Sussex Highways for years. However, our warnings have fallen on deaf ears.

The response has always been that reducing speed limits is not considered until the level of fatalities hits a trigger level. This rediculous policy completely fails to take into account that this is both a dangerous junction with regular accidents and it is difficult for drivers to negotiate safely.

In other words, it is a fatal accident waiting to happen which no statistics will show but which is plain to see if you use the road.

Our thoughts are with the families and friends affected by this accident.

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Parenting tip

I’m don’t know if this works for everyone but I have found however badly you are getting on with your children taking a moment to polish their shoes for them makes everything right in their world.

Am I the only one who has found this?

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iTunes in my car

When am I going to be able to drive my car home at night, park it near my house, and have it connect wirelessly to my iTunes.

Then it could sync the music library in my car with my PC/Mac ready to go in the morning.

And while it is at it my car could connect to the Internet and download updates for the Satnav and maybe even the ECU.

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40,000 photos but something’s missing

When I look at my family photographs from the 1980’s I look a lot younger but the photographs look a lot older. So I feel ok.

But when I look at photographs from 2000 I look a lot younger but the photograph looks like it was taken yesterday. Why? because I was given a digital camera in 2000 and so at that point my photographs stopped ageing. Sadly I haven’t.

The disconcerting thing about looking at the photographs of a much younger me in 2000 is that it looks like it was taken yesterday. Which means I feel like I’m ageing very fast. Or put another way, when I see pictures of me looking much younger I don’t get the comfort of seeing this in a faded photograph clearly taken a long time ago.

So my request to Microsoft and Apple is you need to make a filter that overlays an aged photo look to the browsing of digital photos. The older the photo (you know when a lot of them were taken from the metadata) the more faded. I obviously don’t want the original altered but you could place a temporary viewing effect on the photo – please!

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Delivery of bad news

Andy, our postman, delivered some sad news today. His post round is being changed and he will no longer be delivering our post.

While this might sound trivial, the context of this news is that Andy has been delivering the post to Sennicotts since about 1982. During nearly 30 years of deliveries to Sennicotts, Andy has epitomised all that we think of fondly about the British postal service. He has been consistent, reliable, helpful, cheerful, flexible, trustworthy and friendly (even when Elo reversed into his van!).

I like to think of myself as someone who embraces change but I have found myself feeling all the thoughts of someone who wants to resist this change: for instance the injustice of the fact that his round is being moved so it will start two doors further down the road. Surely we could move the boundary for the round by two houses so we could keep Andy!

The truth is we will just miss him. He’s a very good postman and a very likeable person. The sort that gives you hope in humanity and community.

I’m sure his replacement will also be excellent but we will still miss Andy for the time being.

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New flowers on the protea

Our 15th Protea - still going and flowering again

In 2003 we acquired a selection of 15 Proteas, King Proteas and Lucadendrons. Sadly, despite following the advice, we systematically lost 14 plants over a period of two years.

However just before we killed the 15th plant we worked out the right soil, temp and watering mix and we have managed to keep one Protea going. Naturally we are quite fond of this lovely plant and of course it connects us with its wonderful floral kingdom home of South Africa.

Each year it rewards us with a couple of flowers and this year we were actually brave enough to cut the first one for the house – and take a picture of it!

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Deer frustrations

We have a real deer problem in the garden. Every time we plant something in the garden, outside the walled garden, no sooner is it established than the deer either eat it, smash it or fatally mark it.

This time it has been the cypress trees. As usual, they have been allowed to establish themselves for a few years. Then all of a sudden this winter the deer have decided to smash them to bits. Ripping all the bark and lower branches off one by one and each night finding a way to do a bit more damage.

Before Christmas I put up a security light hoping to scare them away. But it has made no difference and they have continued their destruction and have even got closer to the buildings.

Does anyone know how to stop deer destroying your garden?

We have tried every kind of smell and chemical to deter them but it really hasn’t made any difference that we can see.

The local pest control guy says the only thing to do is shoot them but down here it is too flat and populated for anyone to do this safely – although I wish our neighbouring farmers on the Downs would do their bit.

I am trying something new this evening. I have tied all the trees together with fishing line and then put some runs in the bushes where the deer push through to make their way around the garden.

The idea is that an unknown obstacle and one that can’t be seen might just give them a proper fright. It is safe because if they get tangled up the line will break easily but not before giving the bushes nearby a good shake.

I feel the benefit of something that can’t be seen is that the deer can’t jump it so easily which they have done with the high barbed wire fences we put up.

I’ll try and report back on progress and I hope this isn’t simply that I have tripped myself up ten times with my own hidden wires!

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