A Turkey in the Meadow

Saturday, 17th December 2005

ash tree
The first casualty: this 150 year old ash by the stream was felled before work started in the meadow.

Coxley DellThe housing development at Coxley Dell, as it will be known, has been moving on slowly during the last year but the scaffolding that is going up now is a sign that, after all the groundwork, solid walls will soon be rising.

Coxley Dell? You might think that as this is a streamside meadow, with most of the trees and hedges retained, the result might turn out to be a rural-looking group of structures, in harmony with their surroundings but the scale of the £5000,000 houses means that this will no longer be a rural retreat of any kind: it will simply be more brick, tarmac and high panel fences inserted into a flood-prone wildlife corridor.

tree surgeonsIt broke my heart to see the old ivy-covered ash (left) go, along with some hawthorns that screened the site. Ironically, it later turned out there was no reason for these to be felled because the plans were modified and the approach road is now at the other side of the site.

ice crystalsAfter all the work distributing Rough Patch over the last few months, I'm winding down and catching up with domestic routine which has been ignored such as bringing order to my studio. The afternoon, my enthusiasm still undimmed, I wash the car but the days are so short and the sun hardly gets around to our front garden at this time of year. As I leather off the car I notice that on its roof swirly ice crystals are forming fern-like patterns.

turkeysSmithy BrookBail Birds

Beyond Smithy Brook (right) on Hostingley Lane what three 'genetically modified' mega-turkeys (made from plastic-covered hay bails) sit in the field. Usually at this time of year you'll see the real, un-modified turkeys enjoying the last few weeks of their lives outdoors but, presumably because of the uncertainty about bird flu, they're being kept under cover this year.

The Hostingley Lane turkeys always looked like relaxed, contented birds, so much so that one customer at the farm said:

'I'd like to order a turkey, but not one of those that is out in the field.'

I don't know where they think their turkey would come from! Next Page

Richard Bell, richard@willowisland.co.uk