Sunday, June 30, 2013

More displacement activity while weeding

Our bossy know-it-all gardening man, who comes to cut our hedges in the autumn, has taken it on himself to make us take our neglected side garden in hand, or rather to pay him to do so.  

When we first arrived here sixteen years ago, it was the only bit of garden the house had, otherwise it was pasture right up to the back wall - in which there were no doors, windows or openings of any kind.  Even so it was just a bit of top soil on a rocky base, with nothing round it save a few stones, where Victoire, the very old lady who lived her until she died a couple of years before we came, grew a few leeks and potatoes.  It caused people hereabouts some amusement that Roland, the village dog of the time, a sweet but rather independent character, used to pee freely on Victoire's leeks, which she happily then picked and put in the soup quite unperturbed, presumably after a a quick rinse in the cracked old stoneware sink in the corner which was for a while our sole kitchen water facility too.

It's next to an unlovely but fairly neat and very useful corrugated iron lean-to, which we've never got around to remodelling, though Tom's given it a good gravel floor and it's very orderly inside. We fenced the ground with a very carefully hand-made-by-us wooden paling, the kind of thing we grandiosely thought we had all the time and energy in the world to do in the early days, and planted some shrubs, but little thrived there except a an evilly-thorned yellow berberis hedge, which we planted in our ignorance and regretted ever since, and it turned into a dark, thorny, wasted corner.  

But our overbearing good-angel gardener has now ripped out most of the evilly-thorned berberis hedge and carted much of the cuttings to the tip, (though it's sprouting back from the stumps, it really is the Devil's shrub), and then he suggested we plant a flower mix instead of grass seed.  He could just stop by, treat and rotivate the ground in the spring, no worries, we'd only have to mow it once a year... 

So sometime in March a scribbled note appeared in the letter box 'Attention Moolie, le traitement a été effectué' (he's a man fond of dogs, which endears him to us). I know there are many who will frown at the use of herbicides here, but it really is quite difficult to get a good result in these cases without it, I think.  One could I suppose use a textile mulch and scatter seeds and a thin layer of topsoil on top of that, but I'm not convinced that applying a large area of permanent plastic to the ground is necessarily any better, and I've damaged the lawn mower too often chewing up the edges of that stuff. We generally only use weed killer very sparingly if it all, it bio-degrades quickly and is nowhere near any food crops here.  But mea culpa etc, and pace to all deep-green organic folk. 

A few weeks later he was back with his mighty rotivating machine, (big kit is also his thing), scooped up a load more berberis waste and took it away, and sowed and rolled the seed.  

As with everything he does, it ended up costing us rather more than we anticipated, but owing to some kind of strange function of the tax system here which favours jobbing gardeners who operate under some a special business régime, we can claim 50% of his labour costs (much the largest part of the bill) back off our taxes, which is nice.  

And to my mind, it's worth every eurocent.  The flowers are mostly Cailfornian poppies and those mixed coloured toadflax/snapdragon type things (I'm sure some of my more serious gardening readers can fill me in on what they're really called, once you've upbraided me on the use of weed-killer), but there are also some orange and yellow osteospermum and later I think there'll be a few corncockles. Some annual weeds stiIl came up with it, notably quite a bit of shepherd's purse, perhaps the seeds were even in the mix or in the sand he used to scatter it, and I still have to weed around the edges, but in spite of the caltrops of berberis thorns still lying in wait for my fingers, weeding here is no hardship, with my eyes on a level with a sea of swaying orange and purple, and of course I take plenty of photo-breaks. 


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wildlife in the garden # 2

These don't move quite so fast as either Cyril or the rabbit; my kind of wildlife photography really.

One might say, a gastropod Brief Encounter;

two banded snails emerge,

approach one another in a roundabout way,

their eyes meet.  Almost literally.

They part, and go their separate ways.

It seems the yellow, rose and brown ones are, as I often wondered, the same species, along with a number of other more stripy variations also available.  They're hedging their bets in the camouflage stakes, which is perhaps why they like to hang out in these vari-coloured grass-like plants which offer different background options.  

It's very easy for me to find displacement activities when I'm supposed to be weeding.  

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Wildlife in the garden # 1

We have a visitor in our garden.  

These are through the kitchen window with maximum zoom.  However, he has been spotted within a few yards of the house investigating the pots of herbs on the terrace (we refer to it as he, as one does).  We don't quite know where he's getting in, but then rabbits can squeeze through very small spaces.

When we see him, we do our best Mr McGregor imitation.

Now my dears,' said old Mrs. Rabbit one morning, 'you may go into the fields or down the lane, but don't go into Mr. McGregor's garden: your Father had an accident there; he was put in a pie by Mrs. McGregor.

Poor Peter, child of a single mother, lacking male role models,his sisters all higher achievers than he, turning to delinquency... 

There's a funny and clever critique of Beatrix Potter and her ambivalent morality by Stuart Jeffries here, from when the film Miss Potter came out.  Jeffries is a terrible snarky smart-arse but I do often enjoy his pieces.  In truth, he comes out rather positively about her.  He also mentions that the reason so many Japanese tourists make the pilgrimage to Beatrix Potter's house in the Lake District is that Japanese children often learned English from her books.  This was interesting to me because many years ago I assisted in home-schooling a couple of very bright Anglo-Japanese children of about 5 and 7 or so, who now have Cambridge doctorates and heaven knows what under their belts (nothing to do with me, both their parents were exceptionally clever, they went on to international schools in France and spent all their summers in Japan, they were, and are, just very gifted), and we worked our way through much of the Beatrix Potter canon, from a big volume they'd been given.  I assumed this gift had come from the English side of the family, but perhaps not. I was struck by how the books really provided a remarkably complete and well-differentiated reading scheme.  Jeffries sneers a bit at the idea of 'delightfully outré Edwardian syntax' and 'bizarre Potterian ideas about our dress codes and ethical views' but I can't say they caused us any problems.

And for my French visitors, here's the Francophone version.

I do like the art nouveau/ belle époque font for the title, which is slightly subverted by the blockish 1970s majuscules for the author's name (I expect someone with greater design and typography knowledge than I have can better inform me about these). A perusal of Google seems to show that Peter and friends are well appreciated here, though Benjamin Bunny becomes Jeannot Lapin. I mean, what's going on there?

Anyway, whatever our visitor's resemblance to said anthropomorphised lagomorph, we didn't find him so cute when he chewed all the tops off our newly planted pinks.  There didn't seem to be much else he fancied in the flower beds, and he could eat all the dandelions he wanted, plenty more where they came from.  For a while it didn't seem as if he had made it to the veg garden, since he seemed to be entering at the other end of the plot, but then my new sweetcorn shoots were chewed, then the better established peas...

Unable to resort to the McGregors' pie option, we have to employ other methods to protect our vegetables:

Apologies for the flare, I was stricken by an urge, rare these days, to get me up and go out in the garden with the camera sometime around 6.30 am as the sun was rising.  Old willow hurdles and bird netting we had lying around have been commissioned as an anti-bunny measure.  So far so good.  The white trapezoid shape mid right is the old cold frame, falling apart but still useful, the tuft behind it the broad bean plantation, of which I am quite proud.  The variety is Karmazyn, they are pink beans and the plant stems are slightly pinkish.  Despite the continual presence of prospecting black ants, the tops haven't fallen prey to blackfly, and the flowers are incredibly abundant, I hope the beans will be too.

The other rather larger animal who has been frequenting our patch is a red squirrel. If there were no other reason to be glad to live here, that the only squirrels are red ones would be enough.  They're somewhat elusive round here, but they are about.  For a long time now, I've wondered why the excellent if rather small nuts on the purple filbert bush always disappeared before I could get to them, and assumed that the middens of hazel, walnut and occasionally snail shells in the same area were to do with mice or voles.  Then the other day a movement of something running across the veg garden caught my eye. 'Bloody rabbit again,' I thought, but a second look revealed it was a squirrel.  Since then, I've seen it twice: once early in the morning, outside on the terrace - I reached for the camera but wasn't quick enough, and again when I was turning the corner in the car, and it was scampering down the verge towards the house, it quickly ran across the road and ran down Ludovic's drive.  Both sightings confirm that it has a circuit; the large hazelnuts we find come from Marcelle's garden up the road, the walnuts probably from Ludovic's.

We had a basket of hazelnuts on the table, left over from Christmas in fact, too much bother to get into and often not worthwhile when you do.  Tom started taking them down and leaving them under the purple filbert. First of all they were taken away, one by one.  It amused us to think of the squirrel bringing Marcelle's hazels down to ours, then taking ours back to hers and stashing them there.

Now though, he (there we go again) mostly eats them sur place.

We wondered if perhaps squirrels buried nuts because they were easier to get into after they'd been exposed to soil and moisture for a time.  This was confirmed by Michael Pollan on BBC Radio 4's Food Programme the other week who noted that, since cooking is not only the application of heat but also of natural cultures and microbial actions, so that in that way, squirrels can be seen as the only other cooking animal.

Obviously, Cyril, as we have called him, can't wait.

Saturday, June 08, 2013


Today being Worldwide Knit in Public Day, or Journée Mondiale du Tricot, as it is known in French, I thought this would be an opportune moment to do a knitting post.  The nearest rendez-vous for this occasion are in Dinan or Morlaix, which are a bit far to go, though I do plan to get to Fil-de-Lune in Dinan, where it's being held, sometime soon.  I had a notion I might just go and sit somewhere with some knitting and see what happened, like these new benches in the centre of Quessoy, by the church, under the magnolia tree.

The photo is courtesy of Lise's blog, my Gallo speaking (and writing, but the link is her day-to-day blog in standard French) near neighbour; she is rather amused by them, as am I, suggesting they look as though they're arranged in someone's living room, and there ought to be a little table for aperitifs in the middle.

But as yet it's really rather a cold, wet and windy day, and not too conducive, but I may yet do it some time.

Knitting is something I've always done, since my teens anyway, from time to time, but not with any particular skill or enthusiasm, so the sudden craze I have developed for it now is rather odd, but very interesting.  I suppose it started with the socks:

Molly gets into the shot
for which I bought the wool ages ago, a pack from Lidl, who often have good craft materials, including for knitting, I've some interesting pure wool felting yarn from there too, and needles and an excellent pack of stitch holders, markers and gauges.  I stored it and resolved to learn to knit socks one day, but the arcane knowledge of turning heels and shaping gussets and grafting toes daunted and eluded me.  Then a month or two ago I decided it was time to get me to the internet and learn.  At about the same time I discovered Pinterest and thence Ravelry, which are endless and fantastic sources of inspiration and information, and I suppose that was where it really took off.

And I realise now that one of the reasons I never really enjoyed the practice as much as I might have was because I was just too lazy to do it properly, to take the trouble to learn the language and symbols of patterns, to prepare swatches and check gauges, and perhaps above all to count, count, count.  I begin to wonder if the world isn't divided into those who do and those who don't care to count.  I think it really is at the bottom of quite a lot of skills and gifts; including and especially music.  Most children, I think, count compulsively at times, and for some people, as I understand, including certain advanced Buddhist practitioners, it continues to be a normal part of their internal landscape. For others continual counting inside their heads can become a torment, but it does seem to me that a predisposition to need and want to count can be turned to advantage.  It can make you a better knitter, anyway, (and for crochet, which I learned to do before I even learned to knit, but which I'm holding in reserve, it's even more important). I'm still making mistakes owing to imperfect counting, but I'm improving, and this redirecting and pushing against my natural lazy tendencies is one of the things I'm welcoming.

Another thing which has discouraged me in the past, and which left any projects more complicated than straight scarves unworn or unfinished, is facing up to your mistakes and undoing them, in part or total.  Time and again this comes up in the books and blogs and websites I'm discovering and collecting as part of my new-found preoccupation (I'm rather wary of the over-used word 'passion' but it's hard to avoid it): don't be afraid to unravel it; yes it represents a whole investment of time undone, but you're wasting more by abandoning it.  There are some good lessons to be learned here.

Well, the socks are far from perfect; the tension is inconsistent between them, which leads to what's called pooling with variegated yarns like this, where there are uneven solid blocks of colour instead of the stripey transitions they're designed to produce, in one of them.  The toe is simply cast off and seamed as I baulked at doing a Kitchener stitch graft.  But they're quite wearable and comfortable, though the yarn, a thin blend of mostly cotton and wool, isn't particularly appealing, either to work with or wear.  Which brings me to another thing I've learned: it really is worth getting hold of nicer materials.  You can spend the earth on fabulous fibres,  of course, and not everyone, myself included, can afford to, but shopping around, or sticking to small projects, you don't have to spend a fortune to get something which really is a pleasure to anticipate, to stroke and to visualise, to work with and ultimately to wear.  And the small extra cost will also perhaps chivvy you enough with a sense of guilt to get you working on it.

The matter of anticipation leads one onto the subject of Stash.  I hadn't quite grasped what a major element this was in knitting culture.  I've always stashed stuff, of course, not so much wool but fabric (my mother's vice, hampers and drawers and boxes of it) and paper and paints.  I just thought it was a bad habit, and indeed to excess it is.  But in fact the imagining and touching and organising of one's stash of yarn is one of the intense pleasures of the activity, and in fact while working one's way through the more uneventful and potentially boring stretches of a piece of knitting, it's rather pleasant to think ahead to what one is going to make in the future.

Because it must be said that, lovely though the result of long, even stretches of fairly plain fine knitting are, some of what kept me away from it in the past has been the threat of boredom in their execution.  I think this is less of a problem now than when I was younger, patience does grow with age, but I nevertheless need ways to avoid it.  One of these is to have several different projects on the go at once. This is quite contrary to the way I feel one should to operate in other areas; I can't be doing with reading more than one book of the same kind at a time - though I might dip in and out of poetry while reading a novel, or make excursions into reference while reading history or biography.  I've always been haunted by unfinished things, whether sewing or drawing and painting or whatever, that I've lost the application for and left half-done to chase after other things.  But now my surroundings are dotted with paper carrier bags and baskets with various different pieces of knitting in at different stages of production; if one starts to get a bit onerous, I switch to another, and come back to the first one later.  At the moment, and I hope it continues, it seems to be working.

There are other ways to maximise the value of time spent knitting and keep from tiring of it: watching telly is an obvious one, and the one I've in the past tended to reserve knitting for, particularly programmes I'm only moderately interested in and would feel a little guilty or restless just sitting and watching otherwise. Things which really do need one's full attention however - films where catching all the action is important, say - perhaps aren't ideal.  Radio is great; I've been mining the In Our Time podcasts (the link is for the Philosophy archive, but those for culture, religion and science are on the sidebar), all of which for more than ten years are still available - I am converted to Melvyn Bragg in his mature years, he is confident but never patronising and holds his own admirably with all the specialist speakers they have on a vast array of subjects; I used to chuckle and concur with the I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue joke about things found in the BBC lost property office including 'Melvyn Bragg's credibility.  Still unclaimed...'.  At 30 minutes a time, a couple of those and a knitting session after supper is very bliss.

Much the oddest thing, though, which I've discovered I can do, is to knit and read.  I never used to think this would be possible, the movement of the eyes between page and needles would surely be too disruptive to both activities, and I couldn't imagine being able to knit by touch alone, but it's a revelation. It does mean I both read and knit a little more slowly than I otherwise would, but that's OK.  I can do a lot of the knitting by feel, and find I make very few mistakes. My sensory awareness indeed seems to be improved by it, I realise how much of the sense of rhythm and tension involved is nothing to do with the visual faculty. The flitting between text and hands, every couple of sentences and every few stitches, perhaps, is surprisingly easy without losing my place in either, it's something that we do all the time in other activities, such as driving, and which I, for one, need to practise and sharpen.  And I'm certain it improves my concentration on the reading, as if the fidgetty, distracted part of the mind which flickers away from the words, chasing off after distractions so that I find I've 'read' whole pages and not absorbed any of what I've read, is occupied and calmed by the hands' engagement with needles and wool, and a more tranquil and receptive faculty takes over.

Further, and I've yet to establish this, but I think it might also help to fix what I've read, or listened to, in my memory better.  I remember my mum, who often used to sew with the radio on, picking up a piece of sewing and remarking on how the work actually contained the programme she was listening to the day before - 'it's held in it,' she said.  This combining of the mind and the hands, of ideas and words touched by the fingers reminds me of Heather too, who said that when she read she always felt in quite a concrete way that the words were running through her fingers.

Reading from the Kindle is easier, though, as it rests more stably and doesn't need to be held open, and also I use the Kindle a lot for knitting patterns; with the 'send to Kindle' extension most forms of text on the computer can easily be transferred to it, so I can take the patterns outside or anywhere.

For a while now, I've felt that I needed something new, worthwhile, constructive to do.  I suppose I assumed this would have to be either some surge of original and inspired artistic creativity or else something that would generate money.  This sudden knitting jag is neither, and something of a surprise, not what I thought I was looking for. As a raison d'être and driving passion it might seem rather ridiculous.  Despite the rather tongue-in-cheek (I assume...) re-branding of it as 'fibre art', I don't really think much knitting is art as such (not that I'm looking for a fight about what exactly art is or anything).  It is craft and skill, for the makers of the patterns it is design, it can allow one to immerse oneself in beautiful colour and texture, some of the things you can make are quite beautiful, or amusing, or serviceable (some are ghastly, as perusing Ravelry has shown!). It can induce a quite meditative state, for many it becomes a source of social activity, for me it seems to be enabling me to engage more fully with other aspects of my life, I go about my other tasks with more energy and enthusiasm too. 'Creative' is in danger of being a fairly generalised, bland and over-used word; it is creative in a constructive if limited way, and it produces something solid and often useful.  In fact I am welcoming the limits, the need to bend myself to forms of it, to abide by how it works, to follow other people's designs and use their materials, while at the same time making choices and adjustments which make it my own.  To a point I suppose one might see it as a little like music; it is governed by quite mathematical rules and structures, relatively few musicians compose their own music, but they do interpret and reproduce it in their own unique way.

Whatever, it seems to answer a need for me just now. I'm aware I'm preaching to the converted - except I'm not preaching.  But either you probably know much more about knitting than I do already or you aren't interested, but I thought I'd tell you what I've been doing, and why I might have been a bit patchy on the blogging front!  Anyway, here are some more of the things I've been doing, or stashing and thinking about doing at least...

J said not to buy her anything for her birthday, but as she is addicted to useless cat kitsch, I thought I'd make her some more.  The window cat is a good practice for knitting in the round and other sock-oriented techniques - it has a Kitchener graft between the ears.  The blue ribbon is part of one which I tied round a box of wine for her late husband's eightieth birthday about ten years ago, since which time it has been recycled and circulated around our group of acquaintances and become a popular symbol of our general thriftiness and disinclination to waste a nice bit of gift-wrapping.  The bottom of the cat is filled with a bag of black kidney beans I never cooked with and decided were too old to do so. She was pleased with it and is now using it as a door stop.

Mol was less impressed.

As I say, you can pick up some nice yarns shopping around, and clearances often provide some bargains. However, it tends to be the nurdy brownish colours that get left.  I don't mind this too much, but decided this cotton/rayon/silk blend on sale at Black Sheep Yarns needed some patterning to lift it a bit.  I played about with various patterns, designed a nice intarsia tulip motif with an on-line chart generator, but finally settled for a Greek key pattern which I lifted directly, only enlarging it by a factor of 2, from a page of motifs used in Roman mosaics. I'm quite pleased with it, though it does remind me a bit of hippy shoulder bags or those first rough alpaca jumpers which started coming out of South America in the 70s,  which I loved at the time. The yarn has a lovely soft drapey feel and the hoodie sweater pattern I got from a book looks good. It's for me.

Initially, I ordered a ball of the only other colour still available for the patterning, which was called 'sunflower' and on the screen looked much more golden, but turned out to be zingy bright orange.  This is a problem with ordering on-line, but then it means you get some nice surprises as well as the other kind, and you can stash it and look for something better.  Then I saw a pumpkin baby hat and knew that was what the orange yarn was right for.  Trouble is, no babies around at the moment, so I had to find one on the internet.  So this will spoil the surprise for Rouchswalwe, who found me a suitable recipient, but not for the baby or her mother who I don't imagine read here.  The pattern was originally devised by Suse from Peasoup, who I've known of in blogging circles for years, and has had a massive take-up as a Ravelry freebie.  

This is the hat being blocked over a soup bowl.  I didn't even know about blocking before, but it's amazing, it really works! My brother in Australia who does wood turning makes real hat blocks for milliners.

Anyway, I had to go and get some green cotton from the Phildar shop for the leaves, so then there was quite a bit left of that so I thought I could just make some socks to go with the hat...

Then I read somewhere that socks for babies this size need to be non-slip as they're always pulling themselves up and falling over, and as these were so thick as to be more like slippers anyway, I gave them soles with puffy paint.

The hat's being modelled by a melon.

Tom looked a bit worried to see me knitting baby clothes, fearing an onset of broodiness.  I pointed out that at the age of 51 this was unlikely, and anyway, if I were feeling broody, I wouldn't be able to enjoy knitting things for other people's babies, now would I?  But knitting on a small scale is fun, it comes off the needles so quickly and looks neat.  However, I always remember my mother, who, having given birth to six of us, was not against motherhood, when I was admiring some dear little colourful baby dungarees somewhere, cautioning me that those same dear little dungarees with a big pooey nappy in then weren't nearly so cute.

The other work in progress is also for a small person, but the wool wasn't initially destined for that.  The last time I saw Heather she was wearing a jumper of the most beautiful blue-violet colour.  I admired it, and she said it was probably her favourite colour.  She had been having trouble with her feet, the circulatory failure that was probably the forerunner of her final heart attack, so after I came off the phone to her the last time we spoke, I went into the Phildar shop in Lamballe, and found some very soft fine wool in the same shade, and thought I'd knit her some socks in it.  She wasn't a woman to concern herself much with things like knitting or cooking or the domestic arts in general, but was always gratifyingly impressed with anyone who did and appreciative of the results.  The socks were never started, but a mutual friend has a little boy of rather under a year at the moment, so I supplemented it with a stripe rich crimson, and it will be a slipover for him.

Stashed, but planned for: a chunky jumper for Princeling's sixth birthday in October.  I've promised this so it shall be done. The body of it will be in the tweedy mix in the centre, and striping, I'm not sure of quite what kind, with the other solid colours which the tweedy one contains.  I wondered if it might be a bit drab for a little chap, but the brighter solids will lift it, and at least it won't show the grass stains. It's wool and acrylic, washable and tough but soft, no point in putting six-year olds in cashmere.

And a final reckless extravagance, with as yet no end in mind, a skein of fabulous Noro Mossa.  Holy ground. I only bought one as I couldn't justify the expense of any more, but it's worth having just to pick up and stroke and sniff at.  It's impossible to do justice to the colours in a photo.

It may make a hat, perhaps with some of the regular blue mix.

Thanks if you've borne with this thus far!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Clémentine, reprise.

Clémentine is now living in the old rabbit's cage in the kitchen, since she is pooing all over the place, and her need for constant contact with C is slightly eased.  C suggested I brought my camera to take pictures of her, so after an hour of verb tables and cloze exercises with the past simple, we went outside for a photo shoot.

This wasn't always easy,

Clémentine moves rather fast now,

her feet and legs are very much bigger and stronger, one of the most noticeable changes is how firm she now is on them.

She enjoys grazing on the lawn.

C is quite optimistic that she is a she; apparently her down is rather darker than it might be if she were a gander.  C's cousins have a gander, with a disabled wing, and he is still cherished and lives with them as a pet, though he give the odd peck, so whatever happens, Clémentine, or Clément, is here to stay, and won't be made to go and live with the hens, since they are méchantes, though she may have to have a wing clipped to keep her the right side of the garden wall

She may well be a better guard dog than Rubi, who is the soppiest dog in the world.

Dear creatures.

Sunday, June 02, 2013


I seem to have quite a bit of photographic material for odds-and-ends kinds of small posts hanging around, so I shall try to use some of it over the next few days.

Over the years here, and at Out with Mol, our neighbour Victor has featured occasionally but perennially.  A blogging friend visiting a few years ago brought this to my attention when we passed his veg patch by asking with amusement 'Oh, is that Victor's place?!'

He doesn't have his own tag, but putting 'Victor' into the search box yielded up several pages of results, and though one or two of them referred to Victor Hugo, most of them were to the man himself.  He is now over ninety, and though hip replacements, the loss of his beloved wife Céline, a minor stroke and the final passing of the mobile distillery for making eau-de-vie from home-made cider (which he was one of the last farmers in the commune old enough to have the right to use) all threatened to be the final blow to his continuing life here, he is still going very strong, and seems to me much the same as ever.

He has had to downsize rather.  In the last few years his old orange Fergy tractor has been replaced by a ride-on mower,

but better a ride-on mower than no tractor, size isn't everything (V himself comes in at no more than five foot),

and it's got headlights.

I think he's given up his chainsaw, and is no more to be seen swinging around in the upper reaches of his Scots pine tree with it, but still hangs onto his hedge cutter, which he wields dexterously while scrambling about on the bank opposite.

I think he has the blood of the Old Ones in his veins.