Monday, 25 May 2015

Underwater world

      A view into another world in one of the dykes that we walk the dogs along almost everyday. Down there in the crystal clear water are tadpoles, eels, leaches, frogs, toads, newts, sticklebacks, small perch, roach and rudd too, plus a mass of insect and beetle life as well.
      Most of them are well concealed from prying and hunting eyes when the sunlight is on the gin clear water so they must be tucked away under the weed and vegetation in the underwater forest.
      All the underground terracotta field drains were cleared and cleaned out earlier in the year and since then the rain water that has filtered down through the soil, silt and peat has been running gin clear and that's not how you imagine fenland waterways.
      I wonder what it's like in whisky?

Friday, 22 May 2015

A 'Wee sly ones' prize?

      Who says that the Church were not generous to a fault? In this case the Wesleyans.
      Come on hands-up, and if you do put your hand up you won't get the prize of a ceramic mug.
      We did wonder what the lucky recipient had done to receive this ceramic mug; good attendance, learning the scriptures, remembering a psalm word-for-word or simply staying awake through some two hour sermon? 
      The mug has staying power though because lasting from 1876 is no mean feat. Sadly you couldn't get half a pint in it, of tea obviously, but it's a nice artefact and a piece of social history too.
      How did it get to West Norfolk? A travelling preacher probably, maybe Bible John brought it all the way South.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

The soothing symmetry of Fenland

      One of the pleasures of living in the West Norfolk Fenland is the symmetry of the farmland which, in turn, provides a massive contrast to the wildness of the orchards and riverbanks.
      The neatly rolled lines in the prepared soil and the dark line of shadow at the edge of the wheat. Behind that an orchard and the blossom on the Jonagold apple trees followed by the poplars.
      One of the farmers was telling me that the poplars were originally planted to be used in the manufacture of matches but that market has disappeared, so now they are used as windbreaks and managed for firewood.
      They are still being burned but in a different way and after all they are lined up like matches in a box.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The end of a dyke

      We are always fascinated by this lonely cottage, surrounded by plum and apple trees, that sits at the end of a long straight dyke. Mostly it is used as a weekend cottage and the owners are both fanatical twitchers, if you have a query about the local bird life they are certain to have the answer for you.
      The dyke itself twist and turns at right angles, joins with other dykes and ditches, and finally runs into one of the major drains, namely the Middle Level, and it must be from there that the small fish originate that make their home in the Dyke.
      With the warmer weather the Cott is beginning to appear on the surface of the water so the little fish will have some respite from the Herons, Egrets and, worst of all, the Cormorants.
      The Norfolk Reed is beginning to grow too, so it it won't be long before we hear the Reed Warblers along the embankments.
      Summer is coming.

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

The case of the lost upper case

      We don't know if this is a farmer indulging a little post modern irony but it's not just the asparagus that has been fresh cut. After five years of austerity maybe the cuts have reached the farm's paint supplies or should it be the board supplies as well.
      Perhaps a strip has been sliced off the sign or does the sign writer write backwards, it's a sign that is a little bit of an enigma, so we bought some extra 'sparagus and the farmer agreed with us that the sign was intriguing and eye-catching. Certainly he was doing some brisk business so the sign writing seemed to have worked.
      Maybe he's a bit of a latin scholar? Was 'sparagus related to Spartacus?
      Whatever the answer the man has a sense of humour.

Monday, 18 May 2015

No apologies, more blossom

      Yes, it is more apple blossom, this time on the Bramleys, everyone's favourite cooking apple although the pictures were taken a week ago. Once again there is an absolute profusion of blossom on the trees which should augur well for the crop to follow in the Autumn.
      Now, here is an interesting Bramley cooking apple fact, so pay attention.
      The farmers have told us that they should not be sold green. They say that when the Bramleys are ripe they should have a red blush on the skin and as far as they are concerned the later they are cropped the better they will be.
      The supermarkets like them green because they 'keep longer' and now that they have convinced everybody that they should be green the public expect them to be green.
      There you are, the 'supply chain solution' strikes again.
      So that all makes perfect sense.

Friday, 15 May 2015

The religious house

      We live in the old Baptist Church and the Baptist Minister, when the church was functioning, lived a quarter of a mile up the road.
      Whilst the old church is very austere it is an interesting contrast that the front door of 'The Manse' has this beautiful Victorian stained glass above the door and all very ornamental and decorative it is too. The fancy stained glass is most unlike the Baptists who tended to keep things simple and straightforward with no unnecessary decoration and ornament.  We know, we have one of the original pews and you would not want to spend two hours sitting on that. Even with a cushion.
      Anyway, the glass is original and looks splendid.
      The Lord moves in strange ways.