December gone, the new year is here. With December went the shortest day, now summer is on the way but beware the old saying “As the days lengthen the cold does strengthen”.
December was not as cold as it felt, “a miserable damp barn windy chilly month” as the old folk called it. Yes, the east winds were cold but they blew across the ground not into it and so the earth, the home of all our plants, did not freeze, keeping it warmer than the air. The soil is the thermometer of the plant world, warm or wet that is what makes the vegetation grow – along with the daylight. Already the sap is going up in the willow trees to swell the buds, and in sheltered places the pussy willow that we all associate with Easter is starting to burst, even the horse chestnuts ‘sticky buds’ have started to unfold.
The green plover seems to have done well last year as there are a lot more present in Pett Marsh this winter than in the last 10 winters. I saw a program the other week that claimed the black poplar tree was now near extinction in England and there was a fight on to save it for our country side, the person said there was only a few left in our part of the world. News to me, I know of at least 10 such big trees and I was guilty of sawing one down last Autumn, but I only pollarded it so it still grows along with its four mates that stand along an old ditch, who thinks all these stories up I wonder. Since writing that last paragraph I took a short drive of 10 miles and counted 8 more big black popular trees.
Along with my pet hate of ‘Big is Better’ I think I am going to add the new phrase of “Politically correct news” for now it is no longer right to say B.C. “Before Christ” but “Before Christ Awareness” B.C.A. You are not allowed in certain places to film little children acting out plays in school if a parent objects, if one complains now all the rest have to suffer, surely this is wrong to have a law so great and big. Better the sad parents of that child, is that they lock themselves away for the time and allow the kids that are left to enjoy their fun together rather than allowing one set of parents spoil everyone else’s fun. I know there are sad people out there but at such a function as a school play have all the other Mums and Dads not got eyes to see who is filming who, has the world come to such a sick place that they don’t know who is who to know a stranger in there midst.
A.D and B.C are a mark in our history and are taught in every school from an early age all over the world, to change it now is to try and rub it out, it happened whether we like it or not.
Soon we will have B.M.P (Before Mobile Phones) used as a bench mark, that’s what my daughter tells me (she is 24) How times change, we use to have a scrap yard, now they are called recycling centres which leads me on to my next thing.
When we were kids, along with metal we dealt in rags, this covered a lot of things from horse hair to old mattresses and wool. Woollen garments were sorted into colours, the best being whites there were “Fine whites” like long johns, pants, “Long whites” knitted wool and “Deep wool” that was wool from dead sheep and wool that was gathered from the fences and hedges. A job us kids were up for, we walked miles and miles around fields with portable sand bags pulling strands of wool off barb wire, but it was worth it. All old wool was piled in to huge heaps at the factories and soaked then left. After a while combustion heat rotted all the cotton labels and stitching then it was washed and carded (combed) and used again. Then nylon came along, it ruined the rag trade, the purging system failed with nylon as it does not rot, it was too expensive to undo all the sewing of garments and remove the stitches and reuse. Wool became redundant. Now it is difficult to sell wool from sheep. Modern thinking decided it is better to use up our vital oil reserves on instead of the ongoing supply off a sheep’s back to make our clothing.
“Rye’s Own” January 2003
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