English weather

The clocks have just changed, so it isn’t as early as it feels but it’ll be a while until Monica shakes a leg. Bandit gets me up at dawn; why, I don’t know. This morning we stood outside in the fog before she went in to sleep in the kitchen, leaving me awake and bored!

Later, the fog will burn off and the day will be hot (21°!) and hazy. I might even need to find shorts to work in. The South East is in a drought but we’ve still plenty of moisture in the soil and the spring keeps flowing. The lawn grass is coming out of the ground at a hundred mph so mowing is my new favourite pastime though, soon, it’ll feel a bit odd. That’s because we got the fence finished and there are no cattle grazing the lower field so it’ll be waist-deep in meadow grass while I’m torturing the little patch up here at the top. Neighbour Doris said that when the animals were last kept off, during a disease outbreak, all sorts of flowers appeared in the field. That would be nice.

The fence also defends the trees from nibblers. There are about 2,000 planted, of 14,000 planned. The photo is from the opposite hill, a week ago. Treesponsibility hope to have them all in by the end of April, covering everything between the corners already planted. Then we just have to patrol the hill to check for breaches and to keep the paths open while the undergrowth goes wild (literally). After a few years, the leaf canopy will close and the colonising plants—brambles, bracken etc—will die back but it’ll be a very different place, very soon.

In the lower field, we hope to create a park-like feel so, in addition to the meadow-grass, we’ve been asking the neighbours to vote for their favourite trees to dot around, picturesquely. Soon, I’ll dig a test hole to see whether a pond down there will hold water.

Monica and I are pretty good but both nursing strains from lifting too many boxes and carrying too many fence poles. Naproxen seems to be a magic drug for my ailments but it hasn’t helped Monica. The last few boxes and bits went up into the barn loft yesterday, leaving the house sorted and habitable for the first time in a month, plus the workshop is coming into operation now that I know where all my tools are. Next job is to build some shelves in the shed for the sports equipment and then we’ll really be ready to get stuck into some projects.

There’s no sign of the fog lifting yet but, when it does, I’m going to wear Bandit out on the morning patrol in revenge for this early start.

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