Weather, Autumn and Comfort Food in Chilbolton

Whilst tramping round the common this evening with Blue, as the rain was thrashing down, the phrase “there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes” came to mind. I turned up the collar on my re-waterpoofed jacket and Blue fluffed up his coat, trotting off ahead across the purleygig bridge, with his tail wafting, happily sniffing to see who’d been around.

There’s definitely been an autumnal feel to Chilbolton over the last week, with the leaves turning and the first frost. Unlike recent years, I don’t feel that we have been cheated out of summer, in fact today, I think, is the first really wet day we’ve had since July. I know I got very wet watching the dressage at the Olympics, where the forecast for light showers, was accurate…if you were in Dehli!! But since then its been pretty good, not too hot, not too cold, a traditional British summer.

Chilbolton Cow Common in early summer

Today though I could feel that winter wasn’t too far away and with the smell of wood smoke in my nostrils I stood and looked across the common. A scene I’ve seen every day, in all weather, for almost 6 years. Timeless, yet ever changing. The Egrets standing hunched at the river edge, some Gulls squabbling over some tit bit or fish and the cows standing eye-ing Blue and I suspiciously, with water gently dripping from their ears. They’re looking pretty good this year, with so much good grass to eat – I can see some lovely prime rib roasts and steaks to come…

It doesn’t matter what the weather is, as long as you’ve got the right clothes, its always good to be out. In fact on days like today, when no-one else is around, there’s nothing better than stomping round the common in my boots, a waterproof jacket with my hat pulled down low. Then when you get home ¬†and Jo says, I thought I’d make fish pie, a good bit of warming comfort food; it just doesn’t get any better.

Roll on winter, with your hard frosts, early morning mist, crunchy leaves and snow. I’ll counter that with warm jackets, gloves, scarves, log fires, hot chocolate and steaming plates of warming comfort food. I’m ready for you.

First Frosts and Autumn Walks

Minus 4 degrees on the patio Thursday morning and boy did it feel cold. A beautiful morning, the common dressed in white and mist gently rising off the river Test. Wrapped up with Blue racing around chasing his ball the only other person out at dawn was Stuart and Trinity. Trinity and Blue exchanged wags of tails, but Blue was far to interested in his ball and Trinity her stick.

It may be cold, but its mornings like this that remind me why Autumn is my favourite season. The colours of leaves on the trees, the bright crisp air and the Test Valley truly is a beautiful place. Tonight the fire will be stoked and the house becomes a warm cosy retreat.

Chilbolton Cow Common – The great debate…


Tuesday 14th September saw over 100 local residents from Chilbolton and Wherwell packed into the Chilbolton Village Hall. Since June the anticipation has been building over what is going to happen with Chilbolton Cow Common.

Those of you who don’t live in the village or must have been sleeping for the last year or so; Chilbolton Common has been a victim of its own outstanding natural beauty. Identified as a Site of Special Scientific Interest for its rich bio-diveristy, ie the wonderful mix of natural flowers, grasses, animals and birds, it has also become a wonderful place to visit on a hot summer’s day. As one of the few places where the River Test is accessible and safe for children, you could sometimes be mistaken for thinking you were at Sandbanks or Bournemouth Beach.

Unfortunately the volume of visitors is having a detrimental affect on the common, specifically with regards to the parking, so Chilbolton Parish Council has spent the last 3 months looking at potential solutions.

Having seen the announcement in June’s magazine the Chilbolton & Wherwell bush telegraph went into overdrive, with comments ranging from the dramatic draconian, ban everyone and all parking to the more liberal let everyone come and enlarge the car parking.

On Tuesday the wait was over; John Rowles and Liz Blakemore and Parish Council Chairman Jeremy Baines presented their findings and the proposed solutions, after which the meeting was opened to the floor and Jeremy played his part as David Dimbleby perfectly.

The proposed solution is to remove the existing rass parking area and return this to its natural state, with a new gate to be introduced before the sleeper bridge. Car parking will be limited to the area inside the main common gate, which will comfortably allow 14 cars to park, although 18 have been seen parked at one point! For those concerned about the impact this will have, it was interesting to note from the research carried, out that it was very rare to see more than this parked at anyone time.

The Police also assured the floor that they would support these proposals and will provide ‘No Parking’ cones which will be held locally and deployed at busy times, to avoid any repeat of the problems seen in May, along Village Street, when the track was resurfaced and the gates closed.

This was always going to be a difficult decision and there was never going to a perfect solution, however the feedback we have heard over the past couple of days seems to reflect the fact that this is a sensible compromise and takes the villagers opinions into consideration. The final decision will be made in the next few weeks, based on feedback from the meeting, but so far it looks like the council have put together a positive solution.

Abbots Mitre Pub Quiz and Autumn’s arrived

Spent a great evening over at the Abbots Mitre last for the monthly Chilbolton Pub Quiz. Thanks to Andrew for once again organising a great evening and I thought we on a roll until 3 Girls and 2 Blokes let themselves down with two disasterous rounds. OK a quick on Google and yes and I admit Horsell Common is near Woking. The Martian invasion in War of the Worlds starts there and not Hampstead heath as I thought. Congratulations to the Bobby Dazzlers who once again performed to their usual high standard.

Out this morning bright and early with Blue on the common and it was distinctly autumnal with the rain coming down and the two egrets hunched up on the river bed. A reminder that summer is on the way out and the leaves will be soon changing. To be honest thats my favourite time of year, golden frosty mornings walking round the cow common. I just hope we get a few more warm days as its brings people down into the village and into the shop.

Fresh Fish delivery today and remember if you want to order in advance, let Jo, Gaynor, Jackie or Jill know; alternatively you can place a fish order online at the Chilbolton Stores website www.chilboltonstores.co.uk