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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.

Monday 27 June 2022

Midsummer Elsewhere

This is the third midsummer since the pandemic started and I discovered the field and the wood and the common that had eluded me all my life till then. 

The light in the evenings is often extraordinary. And for once, the skies on Midsummer's Eve were clear enough of cloud for us to see exactly how far north the sun sets in its journey to and fro along the Welsh hills to the west of us.

The answer is just to the left of the stanchions of the new Severn Bridge. You can see them alongside most prominent tree in this photo. 

I took a video of the last two minutes of light on the longest day. Sitting in the moment, watching the sunset, is one of my favourite parts of the week. 

Here's a few more of the beautiful sunsets we've seen these last few weeks. I guard them in my memory like Silas Marner guarded his hoard of gold.

There have been some moon risings too ... 

... and some interesting weather. Not an awful lot of rain, though when there's cloud coming off the Atlantic, it's almost always heavier on the Welsh side of the Severn estuary. 

Looking south

Sun dog

Another sun dog

And of course this is the time of year when everything's at its lushest, and every day there are new arrivals up the field and out on what was farmland and is now nearly rainforest.

Hogweed, elderflower, hogweed and sorrel, dog roses, a constellation of white clover, pignut, sorrel, hogweed and bird's-foot trefoil, feverfew, grasses, bramble, cuckoo spit on creeping thistle, vetch, goatsbeard

Cinquefoil, field bindweed, lady's bedstraw, camomile, moon daisies, hedge woundwort, wild carrots

This is my favourite oak from beyond Fishpool Hill, looking so wild and Garden of Eden-y out on the no-longer farm-, soon-to-be-developed land. 

Talking of which, there's been some fly tipping out at Elm Farm - at least a skipful, I'd say ...

... and the pond has shrunk considerably in size, leaving its detritus more prominent than ever.

A little further down, towards the M5, pipes are being laid in one of the first fields to be developed ...

... and back by the golf course, the top of Rooky Wood has been taken out completely to make way for the new pitch and putt. 

Before and after

I emailed the council about the apparent loss of the lovely old whitethorn on the fairway, but no one got back to me.  

On the plus side, nature prevails for as long as it can. The horrible fencing that was put up along the footpath at Charlton Common has completely disappeared beneath vegetation, which feels like a temporary victory ...

... while elsewhere my heart soars with the beauty of it all, even here in the edgelands.

desire path

horseshoe bend

The most exciting mammal spot these last few weeks has been another roe deer, which bounded into the hedge where we picked the damsons last autumn.  No photo - it had become aware of us a moment earlier and disappeared from view by the time I realised what it was. 

Things that didn't move as quickly include the following:

Common carder bee, marbled white, lesser stag beetle, large skipper, meadow brown, ladybird, five-spot burnet moth, honey bee, spider, unidentified but very high-flying butterfly, buff-tailed bumble bee, tortoiseshell

There have also been bats ... 

... and birds.

Magpie feather, buzzard troubling the rookery (and being seen off by sea gulls), blackbird eggs

And at all times there's a little collie going her own sweet way ... 

... resolutely refusing to get her paws wet. 

Cwtch in clover

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