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Daniel A

[ website | meadowcopse ]
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eternal winter... [Nov. 29th, 2010|12:48 am]
Daniel A
[Current Location |57.00 n 2.00 e]
[mood |tiredtired]
[music |Damh the Bard, noon of the solstice]

"I shall be as the dark Holly King, darkness and cold in my cloak I will bring..."

Hopefully the last Sunday lunch of a two week stay on a remote island, although with no helicopters since Thursday and still with sideways snow here and 150 miles away in Aberdeen, the delays to catch up make a Wednesday departure home look a touch tight.
(I guess the 7 hour train journey through the Scottish Borders, Shap and the Lake District will be scenic though).
Hopefully home for some of my two week break and weekends away before a return off-shore for Xmas.
In the early morning sky Venus can be seen as a bold bright light.

Bedtime reading is The Tree House Diaries six months living off the land in a tree-house in a Sussex woodland, a good read and handy tips and recipes...
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halfway [Nov. 24th, 2010|12:37 am]
Daniel A
[Current Location |57.00 n 2.00 e]
[mood |awakeawake]
[music |Celtic Legend - sweet rosemary]

Mid-way through a spell on a remote island east of Aberdeen and just about adjusted to night-shifts again.

A bit nippy in the small hours of the morning with the cold silver light of the moon on the waves around us.
One's social and entertainments calendar has been filling up for my next spell at home (loosely home, as it involves travel as usual).
Saturday 4th. December for the Mediaeval Baebes at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral (taking Mother for a night out too).
Saturday 11th. December and over to Sheffield for Rotersand at Corporation and a stop-over (maybe also more tree acquisitions or a Sunday at
Yorkshire Sculpture Park).
New Year's Eve will expire in London for the Vagabonds Goth night.

In between dates a few excursions into Oxfordshire and Wiltshire (missing a performance of Handel's Messiah in Salisbury Cathedral on Dec. 15th. due to work), maybe a drop into Bristol again for fine food at Source and an hour or two at The Watershed or Arnolfini and a random night out...

Still a few things to do at the meadow if the ground isn't too frosty (tree-planting, willows to trim and fencing to finish).
I'm now registered and on the map with The Great British Elm Experiment, 5 regional clones to observe for years to come for resiliance against Dutch Elm...
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Back to work... [Nov. 16th, 2010|05:13 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |Crewe Cheshire]
[mood |apatheticapathetic]
[music |Wolfsheim - the sparrows & the nightingales]

The end of 4 weeks off and back on the train to work. Quite a few miles travelled: 
Salisbury on the first weekend looking at meadow landscapes and sampling heritage apples at Stourhead. 
Next, Whitby for the Goth Weekend (fine cakes at Becketts Cafe, 80s music at Laughtons on the Sunday, reasonable nights at the Spa Pavillion - although I felt the whole weekend has become a bit fragmented over all. Good to catch up with folk as it seems ages since I did...)
The third weekend was an early morning drive through mid-Wales to  Camarthen and looking at woodland and then across the River Severn for a couple of days around Bristol. (Still haven't acquired any grey squirrel from Source Deli, but apparently they'll have some for Xmas).
Finally, last weekend was a bit open ended - no set agenda, but a pleasant Sunday drive into Oxfordshire. Bicester Outlet Village was a regret on a damp Sunday morning (heaving with shoppers, I got a new 'lumberjack' shirt though). Over the back roads to the cafe at Heyford Wharf and a fine full brunch, bypassing Rousham this time and into Oxford for an Xmas shopping attempt- retreated as darkness loomed via The Grand Cafe for an Elderflower presse and cakes and along Addisons Walk and around Christ Church Meadow for a further look at trees and landscapes now the leaves are almost off.
Back on the road westerly and to Uffington Hill with it's enigmatic White Horse on a cold starry night. 
Looping down country lanes towards Marlborough for light refreshments before a late evening drive home with hardly any traffic about.

Monday started with tying up a few loose ends and then off towards Oswestry to check a woodland conservation plot and then over to Shrewsbury and a look at some small woodland areas planted in the last 10 to 15 years to make a few notes and comparisons before finalising my own planting scheme...

Normally I take a train at some point on my travels, but the above was leisurely in the Landrover for flexibility and timing (and picking up a few more trees).

Between the weekends, a reasonable bit of fencing and a new gateway down at the field - it's first winter river inundation, conveniently while I was off to Bristol and nothing serious. (judging by the existing trees and hedgerows I doubt it will be and the risk of seasonal winter floods was why the land was cheap).

At Crewe Station between trains and just learned of delays of up to 80 minutes due to overhead line problems between Oxenholme and Penrith. 
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entertainment and travel [Nov. 6th, 2010|09:21 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |Bristol]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |manuskript - state of affairs]

Three weekends in a row away, initially at Stourhead and Salisbury for the first one, then away for a long weekend in Whitby for the Goth Weekend. Rather enjoyable, but the Thursday to Monday passed far too quickly. As always it was great to catch up with folk I hadn't seen for ages, quite enjoyed a couple of the bands and the Sunday 80s night especially. Excellent cakes and ambiance again at Becketts Cafe and some decent evening dining (although I didn't cope for long on the Saturday night, the Crohn's giving me hell for the first time in a while from 11pm until getting to sleep at 5am - I blame a seafood sauce with an otherwise fine salmon main course).

Departing the 'house of Goth' (cheers and thanks again to the arrangers) on a fine Monday, back across Fylingdale Moor (attack warning red, attack warning red...), there was a lonesome roadside fir-tree that someone had bedecked in Xmas decorations (wish I'd taken a photo now).

Tuesday I tried to sort some field stuff, and then it rained :(
Wednesday I put a new field gate up and some fencing repairs and carried on until Friday - when rising river levels by Friday forced a retreat.
Thursday night saw another fine meal at JosephBenjamin in Chester (pheasant casserole).

Up and about early on Saturday for an informal view of some woodland near Carmarthen organised through a small woodland group - quite a pleasant trek down the A483 into daybreak (and mixed weather).
Fine hospitality and some interesting landscape features and spread of varieties of trees and undergrowth.

Across South Wales and the 2nd Severn Bridge to Bristol, and a fine early evening meal in The Watershed.
Monday I have a couple of gutted and prepared grey squirrel to collect, the deli have them available but they aren't on the restaurant menu - so the recent recipe I saw will come in handy...
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travel... [Oct. 24th, 2010|03:26 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |Salisbury england]
[mood |cheerfulcheerful]
[music |Hurts - better than love]

A fine Thursday evening meal at Joseph Benjamin (pheasant casserole) after a day catching up at home after 2 weeks away at work and part of the afternoon in the County archives looking up odd bits of info on the field.
Friday was catching up with the folks and a trip down to the field and chasing sheep out and back to their own field.
Saturday saw an early rise and down the A41 and M6 / M5 to Stourhead, the Farm Shop had an 'apple day' quite a few old and interesting varieties to try and buy (fruit only, no trees for sale).
Unfortunately variable weather and back on the road in a downpour back to Salisbury.
fine and sunny for Sunday, and a wander around Harnham Meadows - a historic conservation landscape and habitat and the subject of a fine book: Water Meadows.

Cafe Monde for fine breakfasts, then back up north for home on Monday and the Whitby Goth weekend at the end of next week...
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homeward bound... [Oct. 19th, 2010|03:33 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |57.00 n 2.00 e]
[mood |accomplishedaccomplished]
[music |Absolute 80s]

One more sleep, hopefully just a couple of hours work in the morning then the helicopter to Aberdeen and home to Chester by nightfall (although the weather has taken a downturn).
A little bit of chasing around for Thursday, then odd jobs at home and the field depending on the weather and Stourhead and Salisbury for the first weekend of four weeks off...
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Sunday... [Oct. 17th, 2010|03:44 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |57.00n 2.00e]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |Hurts - mother nature]

The last Sunday lunch of the trip consumed whilst on a remote island, last week's cold has gone, but still got a lungy cough and aching a bit after swinging loads of valves open and closed (pig-launching down the pipeline) - an intelligent pig arrived on today's boat, it looks like something out of a sci-fi film and the magnets were almost powerful enough to pull spanners out of my pockets when walking past it.
Apparently, a bat has been spotted fluttering about in the evenings - 150 miles from land! It must have been in a shipping container or something although I doubt there is much for it to eat...

Four weeks off from Wednesday and already the days are filling in with things to do and places to go.
Today however I'm missing the Quince Day at Norton Priory (one of the trees at home is bearing fruit and the Farm Shop at Hawarden Castle has a pair of quince trees abundant with fruit.

Pillars of the Earth was reasonably good as an alternative to X-Factor on the telly last night (topical too, as I've been delving through on-line land deeds from the National Archives at Kew dating from around the years 1200 to 1400 for the meadow).
Downton Abbey on TV tonight after the muster Drill - apparently it's filmed at Highclere Castle, just off the A34 / Newbury By-pass. Just south is Beacon Hill - an ancient hill-fort with Egyptologist Lord Caernarvon buried on top...
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halfway [Oct. 12th, 2010|09:25 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |57.00n 2.00e]
[music |Wolfsheim - the sparrows & the nightingales]

One week down, one to go out here on a remote island.
The cold has gone as quick as it came and hopefully the last one for the rest of winter.
The weather has been reasonably fine, but I guess that's the same back on dry land too...

Another week and then four weeks off work - in the middle there is The Whitby Goth Weekend. I missed the spring one and as autumn and winter fall upon us, 2010 seems to have been a 'fast' year as time marches on.

When back home, fencing and hedging to crack on with down at the meadow and the start of a reasonable sized tree-planting scheme to get on with.
In the summer, I mowed early to reduce weed seed distribution in the field - this took down quite an area of Meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria - As a perenial, it's started to come back reasonably well and I'm a little surprised that it fetches £2.50 to £6.50 a plant +p&p on Ebay and from conventional and specialist nurseries.
Historically a 'strewing herb' and additive to mead and mediæval brews and even reputedly revered by The Druids as well as being the original basis for Aspirin - I think I'll be thinning it out of the grassland slightly, potting it up or into nursery beds and seeing if interested parties want up to several hundred sustainably grown plants...

Of native / wild plants and meadows - the Flora Locale website is rather interesting and informative.

A few more music based evenings to sort out for nights out and more than likely forays into Oxfordshire and Wiltshire again too. (walking, fine food, historic and scenic places and interesting nightlife to shortlist).

When I was in Bristol, I explored the options of grey squirrel to eat - I quite like rabbit and it's supposedly similar.
Apparently they need 48 hour notice to obtain it, although if I was a vengeful person I'd have sorted the one back home by now that had 200 odd walnuts off the tree in the garden...

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travel [Oct. 6th, 2010|12:37 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |57.00n 2.00e]
[mood |awakeawake]
[music |Greensleeves]

Eventually got to Aberdeen not long before midnight - the East Coast connection at Edinburgh had been delayed down south due to track-side cable thefts!

Out to work after a 6am check-in and circling around 150 miles east of Aberdeen with too much fog below to land. Back to Aberdeen and then back east as the fog had cleared...

On my extended train journey north last night (now with only 15 minutes free WiFi on the East Coast service, and unable to download a re-run of Downton Abbey), I managed to look up some old land deeds on-line from National and local archives going back to as early as the 13th. Century for lands around my meadow.
From before the By-Pass cut across it, there is an acount of an attempted raid on Holt Castle from the Farndon side across a bridge of boats across the Dee.
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Back to work... [Oct. 5th, 2010|04:21 pm]
Daniel A
[Current Location |Chester England]
[mood |contemplativecontemplative]
[music |Ultravox - the voice]

A quick weekend away at Salisbury and home via Bristol - taking the train rather than driving this time.
Mixed weather but not too bad. A decent book on Water Meadows picked up (Salisbury's Harnham Meadows is of historic and ecological importance).

A busy couple of weeks mainly at home and at the Field - the first lot of hedge-laying and gap replanting done:

Not much musically attended whilst off, other things going on meant missing the regular things.
Now for the train to Aberdeen and work on a remote island...
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