The Days of the Triffids

The farm is rapidly changing as Treesponsibility sporadically plant up the paddocks. From the little, green canal bridge up to the farm there’s now a small oak wood; above that, a hazel coppice; out to the north, the start of an oak coppice; and at the very top of the hill, the start of the large oak wood. They’re confident that the whole place will be planted up by the end of April. I overheard one of the core team, up at the high planting area, exclaim that this is definitely the most scenic site they’ve planted in all their fourteen years. How kind. All of their volunteers have been happy to work here, even though it’s a steepish site, because the views change rapidly as you climb or contour about the hillside.

I’ve been closely involved in the planting, from marking out the coppices and paths to actually sticking the saplings into the turf. The hessian mulch-mats are visible from miles away, so an added bonus is that I can now identify specific locations on the farm in much greater detail than I could just a fortnight ago. Using planting canes and blue wool, I’ve also marked up a path that zigs and zags easily up to the top meadow, passing the small places of interest that we’ve discovered (the fox’s lair, the Stone-Age campsite) and revealing the views dramatically around bends and bluffs. Now that the land is drier, it’s more accessible. The SA campsite has been in use recently, by the Scouts; it’s well-sheltered, out of sight and has a wonderful view South along the valley. Somewhere for us to spend a night in a tent?

This is all happening rather quickly and has distracted us from our unpacking, though, just today, we seem to be over the hump with that. It hasn’t all been plain sailing. We both feel overwhelmed much of the time; the Warland project is so complex that we can’t be as in control as we’re used to. Monica had a bit of a melt-down yesterday when a driving licence’s expiry dominoed into a bunch of tasks she was trying to line up. Ralph poked his pick-up into the yard on Sunday but soon retreated when he saw how busy we were, answering questions from three dozen planters during their lunch break. So much is happening, in fact, that I’d bore you with just the summary. I guess I’ll have to get serious and start blogging the whole affair if I want to remember what has happened in our first year at Warland.

Monica had a mixed time in Spain. The place, climate and food suited her well but other factors were a trial. Luckily, Kevin was there to share a laugh. I believe she spent a few days sketching. I haven’t seen the results but it’s a healthy occupation.

A funny idea occurred to me this morning, half-awake. You know the problem I have with my surname? Changing back to Harvey was my best idea until I thought, “Warland has a nice ring to it.” At last, a name that has a positive meaning for me. I’ll kick the idea around for a bit, until we’re settled, then maybe do the deed-poll thing before my identity here solidifies again. No-one will ever be able to trace me after my fourth name-change!

The Vespa is street-legal now, so we have a fun, fuel-efficient way to nip to the shops together. Huzzay!

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