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Friday, 29 April 2016

Moonscape conversion


      The big potato planting machinery came and went in under two days, power harrowing, planting and furrowing over thirty acres with GPS precision, giving an accuracy of between five and ten centimetres to plant spuds. Not like your average allotment or back garden.
      We were wondering what variety of potato would be planted expecting to see Maris Bard or King Edward but it turns out they are a new variety called Agri, needless to say we are looking forward to tasting them. One small six acre field has been planted exclusively for seed potatoes and they will be used for growing next years crops.
      The only question remaining is what colour will the flower be? Pink, white or lavender?
      Meanwhile Minnow, one of our rat slaying Parson Jack Russells, is totally unimpressed with the Buddhist precision of the planting because the field is now a rat free zone.



Thursday, 28 April 2016

Rain. Hail. Sun. Wind



      A dramatic view from Cambridgeshire into West Norfolk and the weather seems to be gearing itself up for an all out assault on the countryside. There have been squalls steadily passing through all morning but this looks like a really big one that seems to be giving our little part of West Norfolk a real hammering.
      When we finally arrived home the lawn was covered in hailstones the size of swan shot and although they were rapidly melting in the sun they must have been a good size when they landed. When the clouds are covering the sun it's really chilly but when the sun breaks through the temperature races up the thermometer. Well it does until the next dense grey cloud and wild squall comes racing across the sky then down it goes.
      Light switch weather really. Rain. Sun. Rain. Sun.
      April, it's a cruel month.


Monday, 25 April 2016

An early sunburst



      This lovely little sunburst detail is above the double front doors of a house in the village. In another life the house was a bank but the bank closed its doors years ago, probably with a promise of a more streamlined and customer focussed service.
      Believe that if you want to.
      The four main panes of glass are clear glass and the smaller pieces of glass appear to be coloured, what a pity it faces north and doesn't get any sunlight through it. Mind you if all of the glass had a thorough clean it would help.
      A good coat of paint, the application of a little glass cleaner and some enthusiastic elbow grease would have everything back to as good as new but remember, don't forget to sort out the brickwork before you reach that stage.



Friday, 22 April 2016

Another heritage colour



      The entire gable end of an old shed or garage painted in a new hue, well painted quite some time ago as it happens but without even a hint of Norfolk Bog Door Blue. The colour looks like Army Surplus from the North African campaign in World War 2 and you have to admit that it does look as if the last time the wood saw fresh paint it was the 1940's.
      It does remind us of one thing though and that was those young lads at infant school who always had a green or a brownish cream yo-yo hanging out of their noses that they tried to waterproof their sleeve with.
      No tissues in those days.
      So in honour of that memory from the fifties and Beechwood Infant School we'll give it the Norfolk Heritage Colour name of Norfolk Brown Bogie.
      Nice.
      




Thursday, 21 April 2016

Two different moonscapes

      

      At the top is a moonscape that is really the texture of the soil in a field after cultivation to improve the tilth before the sowing of spring wheat. This section is the piece of headland where the tractor turns and also where the tractor enters and leaves the field.
     When the soil is wind dried like this the surface of the soil always reminds me of those pictures from the Moon or Mars Rovers but I can't see any London buses or World War 2 German Bombers, or were they only on the dark side of the Moon? Below is a nearby field that looks untended but is going to be planted with potatoes in the next few days.
     We'll record the change from the deep ploughing you see here, ploughing that has overwintered to allow the frost, rain and wind break the soil down, to the neatness of the furrows when the seed potatoes are planted.
      Or maybe those NASA photographs are really a set of pictures from the moon that were actually taken in West Norfolk...




Wednesday, 20 April 2016

The forests are still growing



      Down below the surface of the dyke the weed is now definitely on the march, even since this photograph was taken it will have inexorably advanced still further. Proper underwater forests with the weed caching the surface forming a canopy that provides shelter for the underwater wildlife. Goodness knows what is lurking down in those underwater clearings and weedy canyons.
      We've seen a few eels in the long dyke and there are small perch, roach, rudd and bream plus hundreds, probably thousands, of sticklebacks. No doubt there are plenty of damsel fly and dragon fly nymphs too and there must be masses of bloodworm down in the depths; we've also seen some beetles in there that were well over an inch long too.
      A spot of wild swimming anyone?
      


Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Brewing up in the west



      Across the fen and out to the west a storm is steadily brewing up. Two lines of cloud and they both look particularly menacing, there are definitely a few gallons of rain in there just waiting to fall and somebody is going to get a real soaking.
      We often see these apocalyptic skies and nothing happens then, the next day, you are talking to a friend who lives five or six miles east and they start asking about the effect of last nights heavy rainstorm in your part of West Norfolk. At that point you know precisely where the storm broke.
      Weird stuff weather but you can see why the British are obsessed with it, just sitting and watching it develop is an entertainment in itself. Weather, it's brilliant.