Friday, 15 October 2010


I went for a walk with Philip along the small local road, past Broad Marston Priory and Farm, and through the silver birch wood. We were joking about how little we, especially I, know about nature. Right on cue, a Little Brown Bird flew across the road and into the hedge, then we spotted some Unidentifiable Red Berries. Philip later saw some asparagus in the verge and some deadly nightshade - more red berries. I thought nightshade was dark purple, but apparently there are varieties. Perfect illustrations of two of the reasons for writing this blog: to prompt me to become more observant; and to learn a bit about the things observed.

The field before we got to the Priory was ridge and furrow. It would be interesting to know more about the history of the ploughing, enclosure and the hedgerows, and uncover other pieces of evidence for what the area might have been like 200 or 500 years ago.

The silver birch wood isn't just silver birch, but also includes British and American oak, and probably some other species which I can't now remember. Some of the trees are being felled and cut to a length; the birch had a pale cream wood, but the other heartwood (probably the American oak) was a glorious warm orange. Philip told me the land was bought and the wood planted for the village by Felix Dennis as a philanthropic gesture. I still think the tree planting could have been better executed, without the straight lines!

Oxford Diocese has a project called Earthing Faith, which is a collaborative website to resource and encourage us as we connect our spirituality and faith with the earth around us, and provide a space to share ideas and experiences around the environment. This autumn, they ran a competition "Inspired by Creation", and I submitted a poem inspired on Iona. Today I got an email saying it wasn't in the top three, but was one of five other poems commended by the judges, which was quite nice!


  1. You're being over-modest here: having read through up until now you seemed to know a great deal about the wildlife!

  2. Am standing on the shoulders of giants, and looking up most of it. But thank you.