Sunday, 4 February 2018

February Brings the Rain.....


More rain.  Not much different from January, really.  Are those who live in the country more conscious of the weather?  It certainly dominates the conversation at the moment.  I felt quite pleased to see it was the subject of an article published by a regular contributor to the parish magazine, The Dover Beck, and to see that I am not the only one to feel that January is a hard month to deal with.  Admittedly we only had a dusting of snow in the south of the county but there have been some bitter winds.

The garden birds have made the most of the birdfeeder, which is filled daily. On several  occasions we have  hosted a group of long-tailed tits; a heron was spotted, inspecting the pond for fish, but flew off disappointed.  A  thrush has joined the chorus of birds tuning up for spring.  He is easy to spot as he sits on the topmost branch of the Lebanon cedar on the lawn in front of the farmhouse.  I hope it is a song thrush, not a mistle thrush as there are fewer of  them but I need a few more clues before I can be certain.  From time to time a horde of starlings also descends to feed.  They nest in a small spinney of beech trees behind the farm.  It shows on old maps as quite an extensive wood which probably accounts for the name of the farm being Eastwood.

Lowdham Bookcase First Friday talks in the Methodist Chapel kicked off with
A Nottinghamshire Pitman's Story, a book commemorating the ending of an industry which was once a way of life.  The  author, David Coleman, a former pitman, held his audience spellbound with his many authentic stories, anecdotes and poems, the while dressed in full miner's working kit.  It seems regrettable that an industry which employed so many men has no mining museum in Nottinghamshire.  Steam railways have their volunteer enthusiasts; perhaps it is something that could be considered by those who feel that mining was a major industry  in the county and a part of our heritage and should not be forgotten.

Life on the farm, at this time of year, is concentrated mainly on maintenance, tidying, apple and pear tree pruning (by the end of the month) in fact all the jobs which need tackling but for which there is rarely time  in the spring or summer.  Talking about the farm got us wondering about the meaning of the word "Hagg" as in the address, Hagg Lane.  I once read that it was an old Norse word, meaning a ravine.  I like that explanation as the lane, fifty years ago, really was deep and steep, with a high bank on either side.  If anyone has an alternative suggestion do, please, pass it on to me.  I would be really interested.