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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Friday 20 May 2022

Softening the edges

It's been a hard two or three months. The edges of loss have been softened by the greening of the landscape but my usual delight in spring has disappeared. And yet the friend I'm grieving would be taking joy in all the daily changes, so the important thing is to keep getting out into what passes for our little piece of nature and honour it, and her. 

Prosaic things first. We haven't ventured over the far side of Fishpool Lane lately, where most of the building work on the new suburb of Bristol is going on, so I don't really know what the situation is over there, but possible signs of incipient building work on the land alongside the footpath at Charlton Common are evident, in this ugly fencing.

Meanwhile, up on the golf course, the development of the pitch and putt continues. One evening we saw a rabbit hopping over turned earth ...

... but squint as we might, we can't see the wonderfully witchy whitethorn that used to grace the fairway in splendid isolation. It had a tree preservation order on it, so I can't quite believe it's been felled, but I can't see it from the footpath either. 

Here it is, two years ago, with our old collie, Ted. I'll be really upset if it's gone for good. 

Apart from the rabbit, we've seen - well, there's more evidence of burrowing all across the field, but I'm not sure who's responsible. 

At first I thought it might be the work of that very rabbit and its tribe, or maybe foxes, but now, having seen some poo, I'm wondering if they might be badger scrapes and snuffle holes. Certainly you have to be careful if you go off-piste and walk the narrow track that crosses the field above the footpath (another badger indication), as you're likely to put your foot down a hole and come a cropper. 

Not that we've seen any badgers, having Cwtch in tow, despite often being up the field at twilight.

Otherwise, there've been games with other dogs ... 

... and their monkeys ... 

 ... and several encounters with unfeasibly large sticks. 

You're not taking that in the car!

And when not running about or carrying wide loads, Cwtch has been chilling in the buttercups, or the shade of the hollowing oak, and watching the sun set. 

The illuminated dog

Talking of sunsets, we've been watching them from the footpath over the fairway ... 

... and the pond ... 

... and down on the Common ... 

... but mostly the field. 

There've been a few moon rises too.

Meanwhile, the rookery is now fully leafletted ... 

... and I was so happy to meet this field maple out on the farmland. I hope it survives the building of Brabazon. 

Book launches, and rehearsing for them, meant I missed the damson blossom but it looks as if there might be a harvest later, again if the trees survive the building development till autumn. 

As for flowers, there've been loads and here they are: 

TOP:  cuckoo flower (lady's smock); white nettle and herb Robert; cowslip
MIDDLE:   bugle and red clover
BOTTOM:  vetch; oak apples (OK, not flowers); early elderflowers

TOP:  lesser stitchwort; pignut; cow parsley
MIDDLE:  cutleaf cranesbill; hogweed; speedwell
BOTTOM: bluebells and bird's-foot trefoil

I've left my favourites till last: blackthorn ... 

... whitethorn, which scented the air headily for a couple of weeks and is now just about over ... 

... and assorted treasure. (I left the snail where it was.)

buzzard feather

magpie feathers

Bah, humbug!

Postscript in November 2002:  Google maps seems to suggest the hawthorn tree is still standing, or at least was standing when this photo was taken

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