A Year in a Lane – Week 4

For a dog, who thinks she is a cunning hunter, there are always opportunities to look out for in case stray wildlife should have the temerity to come onto “her” land. The fact that Lottie has only ever caught three rabbits in her entire life, two of which were dead before she saw them, never dents her optimism. So, sitting on the edge of the path scanning her territory is often on the agenda. The temporary gravel trench in front of her was one that I had to dig in a hurry after heavy rain the other weekend as the conservatory was in danger of flooding due to the amount of water coming off the field above us.

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Talking of rain, I have a drainage ditch running along the side of my driveway to take any excess water away. Much of the year this is pretty dry with just a trickle of water passing down it. However, with the recent inclement weather caused by various storms with increasingly bizarre names – Gertrude for heaven’s sakes!!! – this has turned into a full blown stream.


Being in a higher-up open environment provides some great weather views, particularly sunrises and sunsets. I am sure a number of these will feature as we go through the year and here is the first, taken on one of those rare bright and clear evenings. At this time of year, the bareness of the trees arguably provides a more interesting vista than in the summer.


The picture below may well look like a view of some telegraph poles which, in fact, it is. However they illustrate another facet of rural living. The local exchange was recently converted to superfast fibre broadband, which means I now get speeds of 8-10mbs as opposed to around 1.5 mbs. Townies may scoff but it means I can now do emails and watch Netflix at the same time. What more can a man ask for? The only issue is that the last 400 metres of connectivity is still via overhead lines for most of the village. Earlier this week the broadband was very intermittent – not ideal for somebody who works from home. A couple of days later, a very nice man from BT Openreach climbed up the far pole to repair a frayed cable and got everything up and running again. So an interesting mix of 20th and 21st Century technology links us to the modern world!


As January comes to an end, I look forward to being able to post pictures of things other than rain and flooding – but who knows!

A Year in a Lane – Week 3

Those of us that live in the lane are rightly proud of it and try and keep it looking good – we are not talking suburban twee garden good here but just tidy and a nice and pleasant environment. So a polite sign at the first bend as you come into the “private” bit is there to remind people to take care.


Unfortunately, there are always those that don’t seem to be able to respect the environment. Most of the problem is speeding by delivery vehicles or visitors, or people riding up on the verge when something is coming the other way rather than reversing a few yards to one of many places where passing is possible. The damage below is just an example of someone deciding that it’s ok to drive over the grass.


My neighbour who is the official “owner” of the lane spends many hours himself and employing a gardener to keep the lane looking nice. So, it’s out with the digger to repair the bank and flatten out the verge. The grass, fortunately, will grow back fairly quickly.

DSC00023So much for the bad news 🙂 . This week saw the first real frosts of the winter – third week in January! The landscape is transformed into something more like one would expect at this time of year.

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A Year in a Lane – Week 2

As predicted the weather became colder but clearer this week and the dreaded rain was limited to showers once Sunday was past. Better for all of us, even the sheep in the neighbouring field who gather with their young ones in an area around a wooden electricity pylon, which seems to be used as a kind of crèche.


Meanwhile the stable ladies next door in the racehorse yard had wrapped up well to lead the horses out to the fields. At this point in the year, time in the fields is precious – and again the lack of rain helps to keep them from getting completely boggy, although the upside is that there is much more grass than is usual in January.


Job done and it’s back to the yard to warm up.


Last week I showed some views from the top of the lane where I live. Below is the bottom part of the lane looking back up the track. There is a house on both sides of the lane here and then nothing until the stables which are halfway up, just around the double bend, the beginning of which is visible at the top of this picture.


And here is a view from the first of those bends showing the Folly that lives in the field with the sheep, right outside my front door. There is something about a cold winter’s day bright sunlight that seems to sharpen photographs such as this in a special way.


A Year in a Lane – Week 1

DSC00013Following the mildest winter for many years, the first day of the New Year continued in the same vein – walking the dog with just a sweatshirt over a tee-shirt was enough to keep warm. Here are some views of the lane that I live on, taken from the end of my driveway. The first, above, shows a view down the lane – the curve is where the road goes past a stables where a few locals keep their horses – oh and Lottie the dog is, as I guess she will be repeatedly, standing in the frame! The second shot is back up to the end of the driveway and showing the style that carries the footpath over the fields beyond. Note the rubbish bins which my neighbour had kindly brought back up from the road – it’s a two thirds of a mile round trip to put the rubbish out for me!


The following morning, the heavens opened and kept going for the best part of 36 hours. By Sunday (3rd) lunchtime, a (very) small idea of what people up North are experiencing became clear. It is normally not possible to see water trickling down the drain that runs alongside the driveway but that day it was a continuous torrent.


Oh and look – Lottie’s there again – getting her legs in on the act! And who would be a horse? Tommy, who lives with his mate Flash between a field on the other side of the lane and my paddock, looks suitably unimpressed by the state of the ground.


And, as a final illustration, here’s the state of the drainage ditch that runs under the lane about a third of the way down – the volume of water coming through the various feeder ditches has completely overwhelmed the culvert under the lane and flooded the verges.


The weather people are threatening real winter next week – that would actually be a blessing – I think we would all rather have it cold and crisp than warm, wet and muddy. (Tommy certainly would!)

A Year in a Lane – Introduction

A Year in a Lane – Introduction

Most people live in a road – they have neighbours on either side, and opposite, and tarmac outside their property.

I live in a lane.

To be precise, it is a third of a mile long gravel track leading from the road that runs through the village. There are 5 houses on this track and I live at the top sandwiched between a small racehorse stable yard and a farm. It is an idyllic spot and I wonder how long it can continue as it is now in the 21st century. I hope it will be many years yet.

Don’t misunderstand me, everything changes and evolves – sometimes for the better, sometimes not. However, I think it is important that this lane’s place in history in the early part of this century is recorded somewhere.

This is my attempt to do so – to show life in the lane over a year, 2016 to be precise. I plan to publish a few pictures each week to show life in the lane over the course of the year. I hope it provides some interest to anyone watching!

This blog is dedicated to Sue and Willow.