About Me

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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.

Tuesday 16 November 2021

It's beginning to feel a lot like end times

We didn't take a lot of photos in the field and the wood and the common last autumn, because for most of it we were dogless, and therefore had less reason to go there, and even when we did get Cwtch, almost a year ago, she had no intention of going outside, thank you very much, unless it was dry and positively balmy, which it wasn't often. 

Happily she's a bit less fussy these days, and it's good, finally, to see how the hollowing oak looks in its autumn glad rags. 

The rookery is looking magnificent too. Empty at midday, it fills with the squeaking of jackdaws in late afternoon, before the rooks get home.

bramble leaf

hoary ash

through the Small Dark Wood of the Mind

still-life with maple leaf

There's also a few flowers, berries and fungi providing dabs of colour here and there. 

haws on the witchy hawthorn of the fairway

pleated inkcap

Robin's pincushion



some ragged ragwort

wild carrot


blackberry blossom

bindweed berries

golden waxcap

magpie tail feather

Even the poo's colourful. Not sure what this fox has been eating - rose hips, perhaps?

Several trees have been felled on the lane leading to the golf course. We heard a rumour that the top end of the golf course is going to be used for landfill. Maybe the trees have been sacrificed to the need to get bigger vehicles up it than the usual BMWs and Jags. Meanwhile we're wondering what the bats will make of the loss of their shady summer tunnel and whether they'll come back.

Beyond the field and the wood, earth is being moved, and buildings are beginning to rise on the old airfield. 


There's been work going on down in the railway cutting too, maybe getting Charlton Halt ready to receive building materials.

One day we saw a high-vis on the piece of farmland we walk on. A sign of things to come, perhaps. 

Our walks out on the land earmarked for development have started to feel a bit ritualistic, like beating the bounds before they disappear. I hope some of the big old trees and hedgerows survive the upheaval, even if they have to adjust to completely different surroundings.

The farm is Elm Farm on Fishpool Hill. I've been squinting at an online map of the new suburb, and it looks like the house will remain. Not so the barn. 

The road comes to an abrupt halt at the boundary of what was the airfield, now the construction site. It's a reminder of how this area has seen brutal change before, in 1948, when the village of Charlton was razed to extend the runway. I suppose I could try to frame this in a way that it feels comforting, but it would be entirely specious. 

The original part of Charlton Common won't be built on, but rather than remain in its impenetrable state, it will be opened up with grass pathways, which will be nice for walkers like us, though I can't help wondering what the cost will be to its wildlife that up until now has been completely undisturbed. 

As befits the melancholy season, in the field there was a sighting of another ghost bird, thanks to the vagaries of my camera ...

... and signs of a rabbit come to a sorry end. 

The last time we were there Cwtch sat down in one of the fields beyond the Common and refused to budge. She had a bit of a worried expression on her face, so we went over to where she was and found the skeleton of a roe deer. 

We love our occasional sightings of deer, so it felt very sad, though there was comfort in seeing that it had provided sustenance for some of the other animals that call these edgelands home. 

To end on a more cheerful note, there have been happier encounters for Cwtch too, like the one with Ronnie, whose mother was a runaway miniature poodle/West Highland white terrier and whose father was ... clearly much larger. A German Shepherd? An Irish Wolfhound? We'll never know.

Then there's the local foxes. Or rather their musk. Poor Cwtch, she never learns. 


  1. As always, a joy to see such lovely pics and marvel at your observations!
    What a sorry state we are in, as a race, aren't we!?
    I am cheered too, by Roselle (Angwyn)'s poem recently, which ends with the line '...the soul has its own resilience' - which reminded me of you, and other 'friends' both known and not-known, trudging a weary furrow xx

    1. I am trying to persuade myself that noticing and recording - and writing poems - is activism. And thank goodness for small consolations.

  2. Whoops - Roselle Angwen!
    Ah, yes, I often think that picking up discarded plastic and buying my clothes in Oxfam is a poor substitute for being in Glasgow.
    Small consolations indeed, though xx