Monday, 8 October 2018

Goose Fair time

The lawn is a shining emerald lake, lapping its’ surrounding banks of perennials, grasses and shrubs. Heavy rains followed recent mowing - especially satisfying. A glossy carrion crow with distinctive paler flight feathers slowly measures the lawn in deliberate steps examining something within the grass, frequently pecking.
Scythed ‘islands’ in the meadow were further shorn when I mowed. The scuffed and open soil will receive seeds of yellow rattle. This little grass parasite will weaken its’ hosts so that the seed of harebells, cowslips and birds foot trefoil can take hold without being lost in the sward. Field poppies are plants of disturbed ground and so the meadow islands must be roughly treated to give these annual plants a chance.
Our work outside sees us tidying and mulching in readiness for winter. We are also planning ahead - tomato plants have been taken out of one side of the polytunnel and winter brassicas planted - white broccoli, kale and spring cabbage.
A punctuation mark in Nottingham’s year is our Goose Fair held to coincide with the first Thursday in October. It is now a huge funfair retaining the name given in a royal charter by King Edward I to the already established fair in 1284. The fair thrums distantly on calm evenings.
Horse chestnuts leaves have been shredded and destroyed by tiny leaf miners, but sycamores retain their spotted leaves - still green. The trees hissed with white noise during recent rain. I stood on the terrace in the dark of the early hours where rain fizzed down rain chains then chugged into the barrels. During the long dry summer the barrels’ staves shrank and now water weeps down their sides, slowly entering the wood and eventually closing the slats.
The return of small birds to the garden attracts a sparrowhawk. A magnificent female - marbled chocolate -sat on the bird bath long enough for us to admire her. The connection between our species and nature is so strong it feels physical. Whatever else we are doing stops to allow us to enjoy moments like this. Little wonder that claims are made about the power that nature has to affect our wellbeing.
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