Monday, 30 March 2009
Everyone with the slightest sense of what's appropriate has been moved to comment. The planning meeting was notable for the predictable way that the developer had mobilised the old people already resident to attend the hearing, all lined up along the front row. Obviously nobody would want to throw out these vulnerable old folk. Although some of us would have preferred to be able to insist that the developer, the Council's planning department and Cllr Harry Harpham personally demolish the structure stone by stone and UPVC window frame by UPVC window frame.
It's hard to feel objective about this because the building is so large and so utterly without any merit that its presence shouts at you every time you walk on Blacka.
Sunday, 29 March 2009
Friday, 27 March 2009
Wednesday, 25 March 2009
A herd of nine or ten were sunning themselves conspicuously between the showers this morning occupying a fairly sheltered spot near the composters.
Tuesday, 24 March 2009
How easy is it to keep your balance when three pounds or so is bearing down on one side of your head? He seemed remarkably composed and poised.
Sunday, 22 March 2009
Meanwhile throughout the winter my own garden has enjoyed the presence of two blackcaps, male and female. Birders tell us that this is becoming more common and that these are visitors from Europe who've spent their summer on the continent but have cannily worked out that flying to Africa is a mug's game when the mild climate and well stocked bird tables in England can be had for less effort. We assume this fellow will be off back to Europe soon. I somehow doubt it will be staying here and the sight of a blue tit with nesting material yesterday may prompt a move.
Saturday, 21 March 2009
Wednesday, 18 March 2009
By midday all was put right. Possibly the best day of the year for those seeking warmth and sun. A good day to look at beech trees.
Blacka has many of these and once again the best ones are those whose character has not been stunted by obtrusive management.
Uniformity is the enemy of character and that's often what tree surgery goes for. So get into the more hidden parts of the site where paths are less defined and the qualified power tool operative has never trodden.
The beech casts heavy shade and its leaf fall stifles much of the plant life below. But that in itself creates spaces unlike those under any other tree. And what monstrous shapes it makes with boughs going everywhere including so close to the ground you may have to climb just to walk past it.
Monday, 16 March 2009
Sunday, 15 March 2009
The most reliable sign of Spring being on its way is the first appearance of Coltsfoot. On Blacka this is always at the Stony Ridge car park. It should ideally be seen early on a still and sweet Sunday morning with the native songbirds competing and the local motorists still in bed. Which is exactly what we lucky people had.
No better time for a circuit walk much of it in woodland with the sun getting well into the trees in a way that's not possible later in the season.
The walk up from Shorts Lane along the stream can't easily be bettered locally though Gillfield Wood has its advocates. Water is an essential component of any good walk.
Wonderful though it is to get a clear view of deer out in the open, there's something more magical and secret about a half glimpse of them deep in the wilder parts of the woods.
Saturday, 14 March 2009
Friday, 13 March 2009
The issue of this gate may not be the most crucial of those currently being raised but it's symptomatic of the way that dealing with SWT is a less attractive pursuit than a course of headbanging.
Short resume - covers more than the whole winter:
1) Until they brought in their cattle there was no need for a gate. It was all open.
2) When the kissing gate became muddy we asked for the farm gate to be left unlocked. Answer no because motor bikes might come in even though the only ones that did (2 over two years)had lost their way.
3) We asked for material such as wood chippings (plentiful) to be put down. Answer no because it would 'input nutrients into an area of low nutrient soil'!
4) Latest situation: they may get round to doing something when they have some workers up there. Don't hold your breath.
Moral: If they can't manage one small gateway who were the clowns who presented these cowboys with over 400 acres?
Thursday, 12 March 2009
Dead bracken is useful for picking out the deer tracks. Quite a network in this part of Blacka and confirmed by droppings, but no sightings today.
The old field workings on the hillside of the pasture can be seen well when the sun is lower in the sky.
Wednesday, 11 March 2009
Through the dead bracken it's easy to follow where deer have trodden.
Everyone knows they can jump the barbed wire easily (though the smallest calves may be another matter) but the tracks show they are strangely reluctant to do so, continuing to go parallel to the fence for several hundred yards. Humans and dogs are also affected by the barbed wire. So much for the promise of SWT to provide stiles at regular intervals - in half a mile or so there was none.
Not the brightest and lightest part of Blacka but plenty of character and mystery as we overlook the small pools and falls of the stream.