Tag Archives: hampshire

How Much Can Grow on a Thatched Roof?

Plenty of the houses in Longparish are thatched.  One of them has a roof line that drops very low to the ground on one side of the house with the door and windows on the other side.  That must be the side that gets more light.  The back side of the house seems to be very shaded with the result that there is a lot of growth on the roof.  It was covered in various lichens/mosses.  I wonder whether they degrade the thatch or actually provide an additional layer of insulation.

St Nicolas Church

Walk right to the end of the village of Longparish and you come to St Nicolas Church.  You know you are going to find a church because the clue is in the name of the village and, besides, what village in the UK doesn’t have an old church in it?  As you drive in to the village from the south, the church is the first thing you see and it looks pretty quintessentially English.  Near the end of our stay, we did walk down to have a look inside.  The churchyard was not too large and there is a newer graveyard across the road.  Inside, it is a simple but pleasant little church.  No idea how popular it is but it seemed in good shape.  I did take a stroll down the lane to get a shot of it from the south, only to discover that the house in front of it tends to be more intrusive in the shot than appeared to be the case when driving along the road.

Merlin Tormenting Me

During our stay in Longparish, we could hear the sound of helicopters on a regular basis.  We weren’t far from both RAF Odiham and Middle Wallop so getting military movements was to be expected.  Getting a camera to hand when they came over was another thing.  However, while on one walk, we did see a Royal Navy Merlin operating across the fields and behind some trees.  Getting a clear look at it was very difficult and, as we got closer to where it was on our walk, it naturally moved off somewhere else.  I never got a good shot.  Here is the best I could manage as they taunted me by remaining just out of reach.

Sheep Checking Us Out

Our wanderings through the lanes of Longparish took us past a bunch of fields filled with sheep.  When they are young, sheep are super cute.  As they get older, not so much!  Also, my encounters with them over the years have suggested that they aren’t the brightest of creatures.  Doesn’t stop me finding them interesting, though.  These guys were munching their way around the fields, hiding under trees, licking tree trunks for some reason and occasionally coming close to the road to see who it was that was the other side of the fence.  There was no way I wasn’t going to take some pictures of them!

Can I Sneak In Another Hovercraft Encounter

Our trips to the UK that involve some time on the Isle of Wight also are likely to include me trying to get a little time with the hovercraft.  On our most recent trip, we didn’t go to the Island.  However, we did pick up and drop off my mum when she came across and what form of transport did she use?  Yep.  I had a reason to be hanging around at the hovercraft terminal.

I did get some photos of the hovercraft but, this time, I decided to focus on some video of them coming and going.  Not only were they running the regular service but there was also some training underway so we got an arrival that didn’t come up on the slipway but instead headed back out to see.  Here is the video I edited.

Wood Pigeons Own the Place

During our UK visit, we stayed in the village of Longparish.  The gardens outside our place had a stream of wildlife coming through.  By far the most common visitors were the wood pigeons.  They were always wandering around the garden looking for snacks in the ground.  They are so plump compared to normal pigeons, and you could see why eating pigeon might have been a big part of people’s diet.  They seemed so confident in themselves.  We felt like we were intruding on their space as we came in or out.  It was really their place, not ours.

Roof Replacement – Old Style

A previous post included some shots of the village of Longparish in Hampshire and many of those houses were thatched.  As we walked through the village, we came upon a house that was in the process of having its roof replaced.  The thatcher that was working on the roof was gathering more material together while his apprentice was up on the roof itself.

He chatted to us for a while as he worked.  He talked about how long it takes to replace a roof and how everyone wants to do his job when it is a sunny day but not so much when the weather is less appealing.  The roof can have a life of about 20 years, so it seems to last as long as roofs do here in the Pacific Northwest!  The ridge section has a tougher life, and it needs replacement about every ten years.  Apparently, some customers will spread the cost by having one side of the roof done at one point and the other half in ten years time.

The new thatch is quite light colored and, as it weathers, it turns a lot darker to give the finish that is more familiar.  There are little stakes that are upset to hold the material in place.  He was preparing a few of these as we talked, and he explained just how many thousands of them were needed for a whole roof.  It is a substantial job to replace.  Given how many houses in the area are thatched, I wonder how many craftsmen can be supported.  He had come quite a distance so maybe there aren’t that many thatchers left or else he does such a good job that he is demand far and wide!

Red Kites Hunting for Food

The reintroduction of red kites in the south of England has been very effective and they are now widespread across the south.  While were were visiting recently, I was initially excited to see one but rapidly got used to them being around.  We didn’t have to go far before we saw one.  The forked tail makes them easy to identify compared to the longer established buzzards.  Getting a good shot of one was a different story.

While we were walking through Longparish, we saw one hunting near the river.  The conditions were rather overcast so, while I got a few shots, they weren’t as clear as I would have liked.  However, the next time we were walking that way, the sun was out, as was the red kite!  It was just a case of getting lucky and having it come around to the side where I could get some good light on it and then I was able to catch some shots.  There was actually a buzzard circling nearby but it didn’t come very close.  I guess it was camera shy.

Longparish – Like A Postcard

The first part of our UK trip in February involved staying in the village of Longparish.  This is the combination of a few hamlets into one “long parish”.  We had some spare time when we first arrived to wander around the village.  It was so picturesque, it was almost like someone had taken the instructions, make a cute English village and done exactly that.

It is situated along the River Test.  The river is in multiple branches at this location and they all seem to be running quite fast.  There are also streams running through the village that are feeding the main river.  Thatched cottages abound and a couple of pubs provide the right village feel.  There are a couple of large houses – one at each end of the village – which, presumably, owned the majority of the land in days gone by.  They still seem to have a lot of land.  The village cricket club finishes things off but, since it was not yet the season, we didn’t get to watch any matches.

Fishes In The Test

The River Test runs through the grounds of Mottisfont and there is a diverted section of it that runs through a very unnaturally straight section of river near the house.  As we walked along the path by this section, we saw a couple of fish in the water.  As we moved on, we realized that there were loads of them.  To my untrained eye, they looked like they might be trout but I am not an angler or any sort of sim expert.  I got some photos of them but video seemed like the best bet so I had a good at that too.  Can you identify them?