Sir William Harcourt

This morning I finished H.C.G. Matthew’s contribution to The Oxford History that I had continued yesterday evening by the glow of the outside lighting.  I went on to start reading Kenneth O. Morgan’s piece, ‘The Twentieth Century’.

Castle Malwood Lodge

Last night it had been warm enough to sit outside in shirtsleeves, and to marvel at the sight of the building, looking like, as I described in an adolescent poem, ‘cardboard cut-out houses glued on an inky sky’. Solar lights A bejewelled necklace was Jackie’s solar lighting draped over the box hedge.

This morning I walked the London Minstead/Bull Lane/Football Green loop.  PonyWatching the usual group of ponies chomping away at Seamans Corner I noticed that they vary their diet with clover and buttercups.

safe_image.phpOn my return, the light tan coloured creature with the white blaze that, having no concept of personal space, had so scared the life out of Becky last Christmas day, looking much sleeker than the bedraggled animal it was then, approached me in its usual deliberate manner.  I wasn’t able to upload her video from her Facebook page, but if you are a friend of hers I recommend you watch it with your volume turned up (25.12.12).  Tee hee.

Horse having hoof attention

In London Minstead, using the gentle tones of the man I had heard talking to his donkey in Sigoules on 17th May, a resident was attending to his horse’s shoe.

The camera obscura affect noted Camera obscura effectyesterday works on tarmac too.  This time my shot was in focus.

200px-Sir_William_HarcourtWe have William Ewart Gladstone’s Chancellor of the Exchequer to thank for the beautiful place in which we live.  The lawyer and Liberal politician had the house built in 1880 and became Chancellor in 1886.  In this post Sir William Harcourt was responsible for the introduction of death duties as they are today.  At that time the Liberals, a different party than the one we recognise, were seeking measures to increase taxation in a more acceptable way than income tax.  The modern bereaved inheritors may have a view on that.

SequoiaThe great Victorian Prime Minister planted a sequoia in the garden during one of his visits here.  That tree now stands above the others which crowd the land beyond our rhododendron hedges, in an area that now merges with the forest.  It is so tall it has become a local landmark.

Jackie was back home this evening, and we dined on the last of the chicken curry, this time garnished with fresh coriander direct from one of the garden pots.  She drank her customary Hoegaarden, and I opened bottle number 010166 of the Terres de Galets.  We were more than somewhat distracted at the beginning of our meal by a very noisy hornet that seemed unable to find its way out of an open window.  It is a strange phenomenon that flying insects can find their way into houses through no gap at all, but cannot locate any mode of egress.

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