Thursday 17th March - Final Meeting and Afternoon Walk
Our final WI meeting, yesterday afternoon, was not as sad as some of us thought it would be. We thumbed through the scrapbooks, started in 1984; a visual records of trips, events, meetings, celebrations, competitions, speakers etc. and a poignant look back at members who are sadly no longer with us. As we turned the pages of the scrapbooks, we enjoyed wine and nibbles, followed by tea and the all-important cake. One final photograph was taken of the remaining members before we all agreed to meet again next month informally, as a group of friends, for a get together and catch-up.
This morning we woke up to see a fine deposit of Saharan sand coating everything. Yesterday’s afternoon rain brought this down; it really made me think about the distance the sand had travelled and wonder what else is lurking in the atmosphere. Although not officially spring, unless you go with the meteorological date of 1st March, we have recently enjoyed some beautiful spring-like days. So glorious this afternoon, we decided to risk taking Barney on a longer walk than he has ventured on, due to his advanced years, for some time. There was always the risk he would flake out partway and have to be carried (he may be small but his is quite solid weighing at around 10kgs) but he managed well and back home, is now sleeping off his exertions. I took a number of photos and without saying any more, I have posted a selection below, starting with one taken of a comma butterfly in our garden, with suitable captions below each shot.
Comma butterfly resting on one of the flowers on our skimmia. We spotted several commas this afternoon, as we walked along a field edge path.
Pussy willows. I can't resist feeling their furry surfaces; they bring back memories of my Nana taking me to a corner of my grandparent's farm, where she cut pussy willows to add to a vase of daffodils from their garden.
I call this the, 3B's - Blue, Branches and Blossom.
There are various blossoms opening in the countryside, this is the blossom on the tree of a wild mirabelle plum.
Gorse flowers have a wonderful vanilla and coconut perfume. A few years ago, Peter collected some of the blossom and made wine. Unfortunately none of the vanilla or coconut were present in the wine. it was totally bland and never repeated.
Making our way back through the village, we stopped at Andy's Crab Shop. A lovely display of boiled crabs but we took the easy option and bought two which were ready dressed.
The Clock Tower in the grounds of The Pleasaunce where scaffolding was being erected. It looks as though renovations are about to commence.
In a small village, such as Overstrand, there are always stories to be told, some with foundation, others without. As far as the clock tower is concerned, it is often said this was built to console Lord Battersea (Cyril Flowers), after he refused the prestigious position of Governor of New South Wales. This story has a foundation; according to Lady Battersea’s book, Reminscences, her husband turned down the position because of their devotion to Lady Battersea’s mother and not wanting to leave her for long. Reading Lady Battersea’s book, it would appear she had quite an influence on her husband’s decision as she wrote, ‘Were I to live my life over again, I think I should act differently, for, to say the least, it is ill-judged, perhaps unpardonable, to stand in the way of a man’s acceptance of an honourable and useful career.’ Following the refusal of the position they made The Pleasaunce their chief country home and interest. Lord Battersea made various additions to the extensive grounds, one of which was the clock tower which would have provided him with views out to sea and the surrounding countryside.