Bramble wine’s orff, sir!

There seem to be some issues with the blog galleries at the moment. If page is corrupted, please try later or refresh – Bob.

Images kindly supplied by Andy Dennis

In a welcome change from the constant stream of Parish Notices this week (sorry, it’s just like that sometimes), I thought I’d share this wonderful contribution from long term friend of the blog Andy Dennis, who yesterday inspired me to go check out Chasewater on the way home, as it’s currently full to overflowing.

For those not following my 365days journal, I’ve been gradually watching the reservoir level rise for weeks, and wondering if it would be allowed to overtop into the spillway this year. Chasewater has clearly been a very effective storm buffer over the winter, storing water that would otherwise be swelling the Tame and Trent, and every couple of years the authorities seem to let it fill to overflowing, maybe to stress-test the dam.

Unbeknown to me, Andy has also been watching, and noted some other interesting points:

Hello Bob

Here is a mixed bag from a grey Chasewater. The headline looks at bit odd, but I am not emulating The Sun (Queen backs Brexit); please bear with me. I can probably find some pictures of the courtship rituals referred to, but that might not be your thing. Here goes…

Bramble wine’s orff, sir

Following our exchange this morning I can report that our judgement was of the highest order. I think we can give each other a (virtual) clap on the back! When circumnavigating on Monday, seeing as the Crane Brook was babbling nicely, I thought there was probably enough water in the catchment for overflow by the weekend. Last night’s rain left little doubt. Sure enough the weir is overtopped, if only by a gnat’s thingummy. It is sure to swell as the catchment drains.

On the way there I noticed that the stock fence above the canal has been mostly removed.

While walking across the dam I noticed a lone goldeneye. I always find it odd that just one example of a species is present when the mating season is upon us. I have already seen courtship rituals of mute swan and great crested grebe.

I also realised the full impact of the Council’s Herculean programme of bramble eradication. Over a large area between the dam and the by-pass large areas of bramble have been razed to the ground. So where am I to pick blackberries for winemaking this year? Looks like the 2016 Chateau Ruelle Howdle will be a rare vintage indeed.

The one silver lining is that I will be able to get at one of the ‘crab’ apple trees more easily. (I don’t mean malus sylvestris, but wild, self-set trees that tend to grow smaller, less palatable fruit, which can be used, for example, for cooking or making wine or flavoured white spirits – not the stuff you clean your painting equipment with – or probably liqueurs.)

On the way to investigate the great bramble shortage I revisited one of the best local shows of snowdrops.

Anyway, I hope at least some of this is of interest.


Andy, thanks for that. I noted the bramble scrub loss, and wondered how the badgers might cope, but since it’s an SSSI I guess it’s Natural England driven, and they tend to know what they’re doing. But it is startling.

I’m interested in the removal of the stock fence. No more grazing there? Wonder what’s going on?

Plenty of blackberries around Stonnall and Barracks lane last year; also around Hammerwich, so if it’s a good year all might not be lost.

I noticed in the week the Canada Geese and Swans seem to be considering mating (the swan pair from the Watermead seem to be investigating their usual site again this year) – so spring really is in the air. Pray tell, where are the snowdrops?

Thanks for a wonderful contribution, Andy – great to hear from you as ever. If anyone has anything to add, please do: either comment here or mail me – BrownhillsBob at Googlemail dot com. Thanks.

At last, darkness seems so be reaching an end.

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5 Responses to Bramble wine’s orff, sir!

  1. Andy Dennis says:

    Thanks, Bob. Honoured to have inspired you!

    The snowdrops are behind the houses near the north end of the dam. If you go down the track towards the foot of the dam and turn left along an obvious path you reach them pretty quickly.

    I doubt they will last long, now.


  2. David Evans says:

    Gnats’ thingummies, indeed! Thanks for this super article, Andy. Spring isnt far away, then
    Kind regards
    David..still chuckling.

  3. I love the piccy of the duck! Lovely! (:xxx

  4. Andy Dennis says:

    Thanks, Cher

    Not my finest hour, and the light was flat, but I do my best.


  5. Andy Dennis says:

    Didn’t know there were badgers.

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