Storm Damage

Path to the river Wm


Picture the scene.

Hell for leather I’m going, chasing a squirrel down the garden with the water pistol. As you do. Normally in such circumstances it dives under the rhododendrons.  Anticipating the move, I can usually score a direct hit. But squirrels, as we know, are far from stupid. Suddenly he veers right, instead of left, and leaps up on to the handrail of the steps going down towards the river.

My quarry is not going to get away that easily. Especially with a large chunk of wood from the corner of the nut feeder still clamped between its jaws. He scampers off down the rail and I make to follow. But halfway down the steps it’s clear that something has changed. The squirrel disappears into a mass of tangled branches. My way forward is blocked. We hadn’t been down to the river since last autumn. It was overgrown then, certainly, but not impenetrable like this.

I have to climb down the hill further along the riverbank and circle back to this spot.


Tree across the river Wm


One large tree and several smaller conifers collapsed in front of it like dominos.

Oh dear. The chain saw will be out again.


2017-11-11T22:00:29+00:00April 16th, 2013|Tags: , |


  1. Heda April 16, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply

    Is that what you have at the bottom of your garden? My goodness me! You are good at choosing a wonderful place to live.

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm - Reply

      It is totally overgrown and mostly inaccessible. It was also a surprise. We knew there was a river, but there were no pictures on the estate agent’s details. It was only after we’d moved in, armed with wellies and something to hack away with, that we got down to it. I hope one day we can make something of the feature, but the pictures show just how much work is involved!

  2. Vera April 16, 2013 at 12:27 pm - Reply


    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 1:05 pm - Reply

      The large tree belongs to our neighbour, it was growing on his side of the river. Hopefully that also means he’ll help shift it!

  3. Janet/Plantaliscious April 16, 2013 at 1:04 pm - Reply

    I am with heda – you have a river? Running through your garden? Magical. Add a chainsaw, and I am nearly profoundly jealous, but a quick glance out of the window at the wind-torn sea cures that 😉 Enjoy the chainsaw and the resulting firewood. I am still chuckling at the thought of you racing down the garden brandishing a water pistol!

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm - Reply

      Much of the land down by the river is semi permanent bog. But that opens up a whole new plant habitat that I’ve not encountered before. As we’ll now have a big gap perhaps a gunnera!

  4. Anny April 16, 2013 at 1:08 pm - Reply

    Our local wood is strewn with fallen trees and branches – all casualties of the last couple of months. At first I wasn’t terribly concerned, but then it dawned on me, that all those ominous creaking sounds I hear when I’m walking the dog, are not just the gentle breeze in the trees, but probably the noise branches make just before they fall on your head. Our walks are quite quick at the moment…

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

      Exactly! Amazingly, we didn’t hear this one fall and it’s huge. Must have been out..

  5. Vintage jane April 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    Lots of firewood!
    Perfect for a mammoth Gunnera … we have a stunted one in a tin bath outside our back door!

    PS: Three cheers for Mike the plumber’s success in the last post!

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 6:47 pm - Reply

      I’ve always wanted a Gunnera. It should take out at least a couple of square metres of weeding!

  6. Em April 16, 2013 at 2:13 pm - Reply

    I can’t get the pictures to load thanks to my narrowband issues but I’m imagining it all, particularly given your use of the word veering. I know exactly what you mean there. Little devils they are. Are you good with the chainsaw?

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

      It helps not to get the chainsaw stuck in the tree..

  7. Countryside Tales April 16, 2013 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    I’m sure he thinks its one big game Jessica. He probably relies on you for his weekly bath…. As the others have said- beautiful river, lucky you. CT x

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 6:54 pm - Reply

      They do think it’s a big game, absolutely. And keep coming back for more..

  8. John April 16, 2013 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Buy an air rifle and shooting lessons

    Give yourself a head start

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:11 pm - Reply

      They’d find a way to come back from the dead. Squirrels are like that.

  9. snowbird April 16, 2013 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    How lovely that you have a river running through you land, something I’ve always wanted.

    I think it looks fantastic as it is, a brilliant natural habitat.xxxxx

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:17 pm - Reply

      The woodland needs properly managing, it’s congested so nothing grows very well. But I would want to keep it natural. It’s a wildlife space.

  10. jabblog April 16, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    I hope you have a log-burning fire for all that free wood;-) It does look very picturesque, though.

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      Not yet sadly, a working fireplace is on the to do list!

  11. Denise April 16, 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    It looks like squirrel heaven at yours! All those trees…the free nut bar…the entertaining lady who plays games of ‘Chase’…

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Oh, they’re in their element all right. But the lady has a cunning plan and a new game for them to play…

      • Denise April 16, 2013 at 8:52 pm - Reply

        Dare I say, ‘mwahahahahahahaha!’ and twirl a devilish moustache???

        • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

          You’re going to have to explain that one..

  12. Sharon April 16, 2013 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Where was Mike during this???? He takes a photo of your, um er, best feature with Ptylome in the garden but misses the chance to photo you stalking a squirrel, like one does, with your squirt gun at the ready??? Too Funny! Thanks for the giggle. Lovely garden! Endless possiblities: water cress? gunnera? ducks?

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      He takes his turn at providing the squirrels with their daily exercise routine.. it keeps us both fit!
      We did see a lady duck down there while taking the photo, would be nice if she stayed.

  13. frayed at the edge April 16, 2013 at 6:50 pm - Reply

    Cann you please visit with your water pistol and get our neighbour’s cats, which are probably responsible for the missing collared dove??!!

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:31 pm - Reply

      Oh no!
      You should get a water pistol, it’s great fun… 🙂 Mike wanted the one that is made as a replica of an AK47, but I drew the line..

  14. rachel April 16, 2013 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    It makes me laugh, your optimistic war against wildlife…. trouble is, you are so seriously outnumbered!

    But I’m thinking of getting a water pistol now that two strange cats have started coming in to help my crew finish their supper; they’re both enormous, and two of mine are frightened of them, so there’s some territory-marking. Not pleasant….

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:51 pm - Reply

      That doesn’t sound very nice.. cats hate water don’t they?
      The way it’s going, I’m going to have to start using the water pistol on the pheasants. They’ve taken to following me round the garden like overgrown robins. The trouble is, they also nip the tops off anything newly planted. It’s becoming a real problem.

  15. Sarah April 16, 2013 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Your garden sounds and looks amazing between the gardening and animal visitors you seem to be permanently kept busy, Thank you for making me chuckle!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      I reckon the garden is a ten year project. But I said that last year too, and if anything the number of years will be going up not down. Especially if the wildlife continue to eat all my efforts.

  16. haggiz April 16, 2013 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    I do remember a scoreboard in a previous post. Are you being a sore loser and not showing results any more!? Your river is wonderful and certainly worth putting up with squirrels for. Julie x

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 9:52 pm - Reply

      Sore loser? Moi? Perish the thought..

  17. Rosie April 16, 2013 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I’ve noticed many more fallen trees this year than last whilst we’ve been out walking. Looks like more hard work for you both but how wonderful to have a river at the bottom of your garden. I had to smile at your description of the squirrel with part of the nut feeder in its mouth:)

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 9:55 pm - Reply

      The ground has been so wet, it can’t take much to blow them over. I think in this case the river undermined it. It runs much higher, and much faster, after heavy rain.

  18. the veg artist April 16, 2013 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    My brother has a stream like this at the bottom of his land. He’s never short of firewood.
    By the way, I doubt you will win with the squirrels – we made peace with ours years ago. Far less stressful.

    • Jessica April 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm - Reply

      Squirrels, mice, pheasants, slugs – on the last I hear today that we are in for a perfect storm. So many last year plus the constant damp conditions…

  19. Rose H April 17, 2013 at 3:03 am - Reply

    Storm damage? No way, the squirrels had a chat and got together and pushed it over for a quicker escape route!
    (The thought of your antics with the water pistol has me in stitches 🙂 Thank you.)

    • Jessica April 17, 2013 at 9:21 am - Reply

      You could be on to something there Rose, a bridge across the river..

  20. BadPenny April 17, 2013 at 8:48 am - Reply

    We have a ditch in the back garden separating us from the field behind. I like to think of it as a streem. What a time you will have exploring & clearing down there !
    Had to laugh at shooting the squirrel with a water pistol !

    • Jessica April 17, 2013 at 9:26 am - Reply

      Ah now, what you have is a ha-ha. And I’ve always wanted one of those..!
      Welcome back Penny, hope you had a great time in NY.

  21. Wendy April 17, 2013 at 9:44 am - Reply

    How fantastic to have a river like this; it’ll be a great place for wildlife.

    • Jessica April 17, 2013 at 10:23 am - Reply

      I hope it will be. I want to get some better access to it though, and break some holes through the mass of vegetation so we can see it as well as hear it!

  22. Natalie April 17, 2013 at 1:09 pm - Reply

    The evil squirrel probably knocked that tree down himself, just to impede your progress!!!

    • Jessica April 17, 2013 at 1:44 pm - Reply

      It would be in character wouldn’t it.

  23. elaine April 17, 2013 at 6:57 pm - Reply

    How wonderful to have some woodland – I never knew. So many possibilities. The squirrel obviously knows how to out-manoevre you. You are going to have to learn to run faster or get a water pistol with a longer range. Shame about the fallen trees though.

    • Jessica April 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm - Reply

      It is so windy this evening I fear there may be more..

  24. CherryPie April 17, 2013 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    On this occasion I have to confess to finding the damage looks rather picturesque and beautiful…

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 9:09 am - Reply

      What’s hidden from the photo is the crown of the tree, and the tangle of branches created by the others it fell onto. I left that shot out because it was… just a tangle of branches!

  25. Paula @ Spoons n Spades April 18, 2013 at 10:31 am - Reply

    That’s a real shame about the tree, but…you have a river!!! I can see how much work would be involved in clearing the area, but still, what a gorgeous feature.

    So funny about you chasing the squirrel. They’re clever little things aren’t they! Mine have become immune to me stomping my feet, banging saucepans together and clapping loudly. No, I have to physically go out and chase them off now. I hope that wasn’t your lovely homemade feeder it had a chunk of?

    • Jessica April 18, 2013 at 11:33 am - Reply

      Yes, I think Mike will have to replace the top of the feeder again.. the only bit of wood left on it!

  26. steph April 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    my hubby ‘pruned’ a vitex to the ground a few years back and I cried. It was probably as old as our house (1923), and yes, it was rather out of control, but….it was history, darn it! It came back bigger and better than ever. (Unfortunately, now hubby thinks he’s P Allen Smith—-and hacks away at everything with as much gusto, but often with less glorious results!) Good luck with yours!!!

    • Jessica April 22, 2013 at 10:41 pm - Reply

      Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. I bet your vitex looks glorious!

I'd love to hear from you..