I've just wandered down the garden to see what's happening to the plants as it's been such frosty weather recently. Luckily we haven't yet had snow, touch wood! I know, that's tempting fate. But it's only been a heavy frost. This is the last New Dawn rose bud...
These are London Pride rosettes, evergreens, so the frost won't worry them. They remind me of my childhood when they flourished in our London garden
Even the bird feeders are frosted as I don't get much sun in the garden during the winter. Why are goldfinches such messy eaters? The tray on the left is full of nyger seed. I've thrown out porage oats coated with cooking oil, which the birds are fond of, but rather than robins and finches it's a handful of starlings. Blackbirds like it, too. Commercial bird seed seems wasteful as lots of the seeds get left, unwanted by any bird, even the pigeons and collared doves.
Poor old house leeks but they'll recover for next year. Most of these are next spring's forgetmenots which will be a sea of blue come April. Can't wait!
I've rummaged through the leaves of the clumps of hellebores (the plant on the left by the wire plant support) but so far none are showing signs of flowers. Most of them are the creamy variety and the buds should be coming through 'soon' when I shall have to cut off the leaves to show the flowers. I have some dark purple varieties as well but they're usually later flowering.
While I was outside I could hear some sportmen banging away with their shotguns, which reminded me of something which happened in Stone in April 1897. According to a report in the Bucks Advertiser two boys, aged 14 and 10, and another, were crowstarving with Mr.Woodford's breechloading shotgun in his field. The eldest boy put a marble in each of the five blank cartridges he'd been given and fired three. Having reloaded he left the shotgun propped against a hut. The 10 year old boy accidentally kicked the gun and it went off, hitting the 14 year old, who called out that he was shot. Two men took him home.
Mr. Woodford said he'd warned the boy not to put marbles or anything else in the gun and paid him 5/- per week.
At the Infirmary the house surgeon said the immediate cause of death was 'titanus', by which I imagine he meant tetanus. He produced the marble and said he'd found peritonitis.
The Coroner said it was a pure accident and a verdict of Accidental Death was returned. It was, a rider concluded, injudicious of Mr. Woodford to trust a gun...[to] so young a lad.
It's all so casual...
Little snippets of local history like this give an insight into Times Past.