Tag Archives: Longparish

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!

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.