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Rusty Hammer

Monday, 1st April 2002, West Yorkshire

YellowhammerSurprisingly it's not the yellow that catches Barbara's eye when a male yellowhammer flies up into a canal-side bush, it's the rusty coloured patch on its rump.

trellis I'm spending much of the bank holiday in the traditional English pursuits of do-it-yourself and gardening. I've repainted the collapsing trellis by the patio windows, repaired the homemade brackets (both made from recycled timber, of course) and by 11 a.m. I've got around to re-drilling the wall.

The Knack

I enjoy this kind of work when I've got the time but not without a guilty frisson that I'm betraying my middle-class, middle England background, not to mention my middle-aged age group. Actually that's not strictly true, my inspiration comes as much from the northern working-class tradition of make do and mend, or 'knackling', as Barbara's dad used to call it.

It's a tradition that continues; you can still always find somebody, somewhere amongst the garden sheds and pigeon lofts of post-industrial West Yorkshire who has the knack to tackle just about any job you can think of.

Another tradition is helpful advice from next-door neighbours;

'Does that drill have reverse on it?' asks Jim who is watching me struggle as he drinks his coffee, 'You might do better if you took it out of reverse.'

Slug Patrol

toad I train the honeysuckle back up the trellis. As I sweep up I notice a small portly toad sitting under the overhang of a paving slab. That should help keep the slugs at page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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