Friday, 11 February 2011

On the Black Down

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I visit Jim and Adriana

From Brighton I caught another coastal train down to Havant, where I changed to go the two stops to Haslemere. I hadn't travelled this stretch of line before and was looking forward to it as it passed through West Sussex. If I'd have paid close attention I would have realised that in fact in leaves the coast pretty soon after Hove and the coast towns are reached by changing onto branch lines, for example to Littlehampton and Bognor Regis. Nevertheless I enjoyed the views as the train skittled along to Chichester. I could at least see the chalk escarpment of the South Downs and dream about doing the South Downs Way someday.

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At Haslemere Jim picked me up and we drove back to his place for a pleasant Sunday dinner and chat. It's the first time I've seen them since New Delhi in November 2009.

The following day we got ourselves organised  to go out walking. The day was mild and overcast but at least it wasn't raining. before lunch we went hiking around some high heath lands, some of it marked as the 'Serpent's Trail'. Wee enoyed the up and down trails here and did some bushwacking to stay off some of the sodden tracks.

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We lunched at the Duke of Cumberland. Jim was aghast that it had become a gentrified since his last visit. All pubs seem to be 'gastro' these days. Still the lunch was good and the beer was welcome.

After lunch we spent another hour or so walking up Blackdown, the highest point in West Sussex and therefore has splendid views. The link will tell you about the connection with Lord Tennyson and a famous aircrash here as well as the geological and natural history details. I should like to visit these heathlands at the height of summer as they are well known as good dragonfly habitats. I've heard it is possible to see 26 of the 29 UK species hereabouts. May be this August.

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Garden Diary

I completed the 2nd Raised Bed today by lining it with the weed fabric. I'm hoping this will protect the wood and make it last a little longer. I should point out that the raised beds I built for my Mother used re-cycled wood which was at least an inch thick. The wood I'm using here is barely a centimetre thick. It wont last nearly as long.

Anyway all I'm waiting for now is a sunny day to put the raised bed out. Of course I'll have to fill it too. Each one has the capacity of 180 litres. So that's 60 each of compost, coir and vermiculite. Unfortunately I can't find local suppliers of the latter two. They still sell peat in the garden shops here, which I'm reluctant to use and vermiculite seems completely off the radar. I suspect that this is because the local soil is sandy and that you don't need it to improve drainage.