11th June: Raining at Exbury

We are having difficulty covering weekend watches so on Sunday 11th June I was due to be on watch at NCI Stone Point for both the 12:00 – 15:00 and the 15:00 to 18:00 shifts.  I decided to make a day of it and set off early to arrive at Exbury gardens just after the 10am opening.  For some time now the weather has been sunny, hot, and humid.  But on this day an area of precipitation had drifted up from France to cover central southern England.

The rhododendron flowering season is considered to be mostly ended by June, although this year spring was late.  That, and the weather must have deterred many visitors since, as on the 8th June, I seemed to have the gardens all to myself.  I was carrying an NCI waterproof jacket but, although very light rain was falling, it was warm enough not to need it over my NCI uniform shirt. It felt a soft, misty morning as I wandered through the rock garden towards the Dragonfly Pond.

It proved not sunny enough for dragonflies but must have been perfect for baby frogs because the ground by the wooden shelter was alive with them!  I had to carefully tip-toe to the shelter, hoping not to tread on one of the tiny, nearly invisible, froglets.

I’d noticed that the Gift Shop was selling copies of John Stanley’s book about the shooting down at Exbury (on 18th April 1944) of a Junkers Ju 188 and bought one on my way out of the gardens.  I started reading it sitting outside “Mr Eddy’s” cafe with a large sun umbrella keeping the rain off both me and the book, and also a large scone with jam! The detailed research findings described by John Stanley  led me to formulate my own explanation for the incident.