Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Cold and clear

The coldest night of the year was forecast, but it didn't feel any colder in the Coach House than it has been on recent nights. Observations showed that it went down to 0.9 °C at Pershore. The graphs also show yesterday's squall at tea-time quite nicely. The stars were good first thing, but it was too cold to linger and gaze.

And it stayed cold all day, even in the sun. My parents dropped in en route to Pershore and north Wales, and we went for a wander around Hidcote Manor Garden. The kitchen garden had a large (now empty) expanse of plastic mulch for pumpkins, and boasted badger and rabbit-proof electric fencing, powered by solar-charged batteries. Worth looking into if we have problems with rabbits at Mucknell. There were also a couple of Berkshire pigs snuffling in one of the beds. According to a sign, Berkshire are "said to be the oldest British traditional breed." The pigs will be "rooting out vegetation, clearing grubs and in the process aerating and breaking up the soil with their snouts. They're also adding fresh, nutritious fertiliser as they go." They'll be there until winter, when presumably they'll become ham, bacon and sausages. Yum yum! The gardens are elevated on the Cotswold plateau, and there are fabulous views south and west. The rest of the formal and more informal gardens are also very nice!

After Vespers, the moon was clear and bright in the half light, with Tycho crater and the largest Mares clearly visible as it swept over the DIY shed in the east. It will be full in a couple of days.

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