Rebuilding The Porch

March 2023 had us back at the cottage for a week with Simon, the carpenter responsible for the kitchen and then the conservatory at Bramley Cottage. It was time to save the porch! True it ended up as a bigger job than we had anticipated, these things usually are. It did involve several trips into Chichester for wood and glass. Fortunately the requirements were written on scraps of paper and the tradesmen knew exactly what was needed.

Simon always has a new saw or something electrical he wants to try out. Somehow he found most of the things that he needed in his van so all of the holes in the porch have been filled. The weather was not good, but somehow the rain did hold off just long enough for us to get it finished and stained before it rained too much.

Sadly when we were in Sussex the 400 year old ex coaching Inn, The Angel Hotel in North Street Midhurst was burnt down. The fire started during the night in a nearby building and rapidly spread. Fortunately nobody was injured, but it has caused added problems for the Ukrainian Refugees that were staying there at the time. It is going to take a long time for Midhurst to get back to anything like normal.

Christmas Decorations

15th December 2021.

I am always surprised how long it takes to put up the Christmas Decorations at Bramley Cottage. Last year, although I thought I had brought enough greenery and holly I needed some more. It didn’t take long to find the holly trees on the hill that we have relied on for years for a handful of holly with berries. Unfortunately when I went there were no berries, just green leaves and no berries to be found any where. This year I came with a bag full of variegated holly from my garden and some with berries from a tree from the forest behind my house.

We have a small Christmas Tree in a red pot that for most of the year lives outside the greenhouse. It did grow a bit year on year, but now it seems to take so long to recover after it has been in the house for a fortnight in the winter it just stays the same size year by year. This year I found some solar powered lights and hopefully it will be bright enough to shine well into the evening.

We now have a six foot tree in the conservatory. It seems to fit well, even if it is a bit chilly in there. Each of the lights are reflected at least twice by the double glazing and if it does decide to shed some of it’s needles they will be easy to deal with.

There are two further sets of lights in the living room, and amazingly to start with, they are all working! I found lots of transfers this year to stick on the windows and there was enough holly and greenery in the end to finish the room.

South Downs Blog

This has been an exceptional year and now the autumn colours are spectacular. Somehow the trees are still reluctant to shed the last of their leaves. Wonderful.

I understand that there is something else to look out for on your walks in the South Downs. The Sussex Wildlife Trust has video footage of an Otter busy in a river in ‘mid Sussex’. Take a look on their web site. You will find it if you press ‘more’ on the News Section on their home page.

Otters have been slow to return to Sussex. Reports suggest that a sighting in 2017 was the first in the county for over fifty years. I still spend a lot of my time waiting for Otters to appear in Shropshire, Wales, Scotland and occasionally Ireland, but so far they have always remained unobserved. Well I am sure that they have been watching me its just that I havn’t been able to see them!

Oops looks like I have neglected this page for a while!

I walk a lot and cycle on roads a bit when I can convince my two dogs that this would be a good rest rest day and we don’t have to spend every waking minute together! When you are out and about I am sure you will have noticed how ebikes are starting to get established as the best way to travel. I notice them particularly on my bike when I am striving uphill or in the forest when a group of mountain bikers appear on the slopes, its just the ones at the back who are doing all of the work, the ones at the front on their newer bikes just sit there and admire the trees!

If you are a keen cyclist I am sure you will bring your bikes with you and you are welcome to leave them in the utility room or the conservatory where they can be stored safely. Most likely you will have a car full already so you might be interested to hear that Southern ebike Rentals now operate in our area.

One of the places that they work from is the car park on Knights Hill just below the trundle, but they are happy to bring a bike to you for as long as you need them. Olly and Simon specialise in electric mountain bikes most suited to our area, they have local cycling knowledge and know the best cafes to use and the routes to avoid where there is too much traffic.

13th September 2021

I discovered the other day that there are only two hundred chalk streams in the world! All the more remarkable that one hundred and seventy of them are in the UK. The winterbournes, these rivers do not flow through out the year. All the more remarkable that the river Lavant often originates from a spring under the road that runs in front of Bramley Cottage. Sometimes that is as far as it gets and it spends the whole of the winter gathering momentum as to visits WestDean, Lavant, Somersdale and Chichester before it finds its way to the sea. More often it will flow for its full length from the duck pond at East Dean.

In the distant past this gentle stream found it more convenient to follow the Charlton road to get through the village after heavy rainfall. Fortunately it no longer does that, but from time to time it struggles to stay in its course through Chichester and has to be helped with powerful pumps to speed its way and limit flooding in the city.

30th September 2021

I have never been there, but I keep coming across glowing reviews that are full of praise for The Duke of Cumberland Arms at Henley. This is a 16th C pub eight miles from Singleton north of Midhurst at the end of a single track road with spectacular views over the South Downs

They describe the thatched roof, exposed beams, the riotously filled garden with a stream running through and a dozen small ponds. The food is described as local, seasonal and terrific. They make good use of Ale from the nearby Langham Brewery and try to match their menu to the available ales. Maybe give it a try if you want a pub meal you will remember for a long time.

The post code of the Duke of Cumberland Arms is GU27 3HQ.

18th October 2021.

New Footpath. Most of the paths we walk have been used for several hundreds of years. It is strange to think of those who have passed this way before. In some places there are still problems keeping paths open, often they get overgrown or muddy and are a challenge to use at some times of the year. So I am pleased to report that there is a new footpath between Singleton and Charlton. It is easier to find the start of it from Charlton. Instead of crossing the stile after crossing the river bridge on the road up to the Trundle carry on for another fifty yards or so and find the gate in a small copse of trees.

The new path runs parallel to the footpath through Leys meadow, there are new tree plantings either side of it so in time it will be a pleasant path to follow. Also it avoids the muddy puddle at the Singleton end of the field where the cattle tend to congregate. I know cattle can be a bit intimidating if you are not used to them. Goodwood do sometimes graze young stock in this meadow, I have never seen cows with calves or a bull here. These cattle are used to people and may follow you for a while until they can think of something else to do.

The new path is dead straight and leads to Manor farm. Here you can turn right and go through the gate that follows the boundary of the church yard. I still have a problem with the new path. My two dogs love to run in Leys Meadow following scents real and imagined and they are not best pleased if we don’t go back home that way.