Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Summer Break

Tomorrow is the first of June. Surely then it will be summer (though there was almost a frost a couple of nights ago). The blog is having a break, and so am I.

The breakneck pace of everyday change has started to slow down. The trees are fully green now, the hedges too. The rose and the honeysuckle will be here soon. The bryony and the hops and the brambles will keep on growing tying up the hedges in long twisting strains of creeper. But the changes will slow as the summer comes.

What should I have told you that I still can? The sorts of trees that were planted when the hedges were laid maybe. All native English species, hawthorn, blackthorn, field maple, guilder rose, wayfarer tree (a sort of viburnum). This to add to the oak, ash, elm, hazel, dogwood, holly, elder and rowan that were there before. The hawthorn is standing 18 inches out of the tubes now and the guilder rose is in flower.

How old is the cut? Several hundred years for sure, probably as old as the huge oaks at the top end. It must have been used since there was a village at the bottom and a hamlet at the top. There's been a village at the bottom for a thousand years. At the top our house is the oldest building standing maybe 4 or 5 hundred years. The cut they say used to actually go through woods (by the look of the flora). Two hundred years ago there was a house at the bottom on and probably one at the top too. You can it from the fact that nettles grow there. Nettles only grow where man has been. They stay on a lot longer though. You can find Roman sites in the forest by looking for patches of nettles.

I haven't even talked about the people who use the cut, or the animals that live in the burrows or nest in the trees and hedges. I haven't talked about how the hedge was laid. (Here's a joke from Ashok. Good news - you can get a grant from the EU to get laid. Bad news - you only get it if you're a hedge.)

What are the beauties of the cut? The flowers (it used to be called Madeira Walk because of the flowers there.) The scent of the cow parsley. The changing sunlight on the leaves leaves, the feel of the curve under foot where thousands have walked before you.

The pictures today show the cut at the beginning of March bare and brown, then the yellow of the daffodils and celandine, the blue of the bluebells, and finally the cow parsley filled path of May now slowly going. Finally a picture of the oak at the top finally in full leaf.

The blog may change direction and follow me and my wife around England or it may just rest until autumn the next big season of change. Thank you for looking.


Blogger ashok said...

Hi Nick. I found this old blog. Why not revive it this spring?

1:08 pm  

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