The Island

Tuesday, 26th October 2004
Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

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Tufty Farm

Tufty Farm, Ossett, 9 am

wood pigeonTraffic is slowing up along the M1 towards Leeds and the M62. Wood pigeons are gleaning the left-over grain in the field - or rather they're doing their own field to field commuting. Domestic pigeons and crows are about plus a single magpie and a pied wagtail (?).

magpieThis is the Old Park area, once a medieval deer park. During the Victorian period one of the farms here belonged to the Earl of Cardigan. 150 years ago yesterday he led the Light Brigade into the 'Valley of Death' at Balaclava.

Here's a part of a report from yesterday's Times from Balaclava:

Lord Cardigan watched yesterday’s re-enactment from the sidelines. He complains of the unfair weight of history that burdens him. “The English schoolboy is taught two things: that the Charge of the Light Brigade was a disaster and that Cardigan led it. They inevitably assume it was his fault,” the present Earl said with more than a hint of exasperation.

View from the Bridge

It turns into a warm sunny day. I go down to the bridge over the Calder, rest my sketchbook on the parapet and stand there drawing this view of 'The Island' for my next Sushi Sketchbook which I'm intending to call Four Corners of Horbury. This place has always fascinated me. When we first moved down here there were always hens and guinea fowl around the house and I once drew at goat at its gate for this diary.

It hasn't been an island for a long time: in Victorian times there was a navigable channel connected to the river behind the house. Until the owners put up a high fence recently you could see the remains of the channel - a depression in the ground - and what appeared to be the bridge that took the road over it. While the house itself has been spruced up recently this old outbuilding retains its 19th century appearance, with stone walls and flagstone tiles on the roof. Ash and sycamore grow on the bank. In times of flood the river flows around their roots, lapping not far below the wall of the house.

cormorantfootballAs I draw a cormorant flies downstream above the island and a white football floats down the river and disappears under the bridge.

Spiral Stairs Spiral Stairs

My final session on this Vue d'Espirit 3D design project: this looks more like a stage set than a historical reconstruction. The curving balustrade beyond the arch is intended to suggest a terrace outside. I had planned to have moonlight visible through the windows on the stairs and, as a contrast, the glow of a fire seen through the arch on the left but it's turned out the other way around and those windows now look as if they lead to rooms in a rambling castle.

I don't write fiction but I could imagine some kind of story developing from this scene. Next Page


Richard Bell,

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