a splash from the pond and I see a leg kick up in the air. The frogs
are back for their spring party in the pool.
This shop-bought bunch of daffodils is almost over but
in our garden the miniature variety are just starting to flower. I draw
these in my finest nibbed Staedtler mars professional pen. Drawing those
flowers yesterday at the hospital, I've realised that the 0.17 nib is
ideal for botanical subjects; it suits the delicacy of leaves, stems and
I'd still use the chunkier 0.7 nib for most quick sketches though: buildings,
people, trees seen from trains; subjects where the extra boldness, to
suggest weight or movement, is an advantage.
I use the 0.7 to draw the speakers at tonight's meeting in the village
hall where the problem of motorbikes in Coxley woods
is discussed at a packed and lively meeting.
Here are a variety of views, starting with a boy, aged 12 or 13 - a motorbike
enthusiast - who complains:
Chair of the meeting
Chair of the Parish Council
'We take our bikes into the wood and we get told off so we come
back here and we get into trouble for hanging about.'
'We're lucky to have two Wildlife Trust reserves in our village
and we should look after them.'
'I started riding a motorbike in the wood 25 years ago. I'm an
endurance biker. Green lanes in the Dales have been closed to
us. The woods have always been for everyone - walkers, horse riders
'I've got a dog at home with a broken leg. I had it on a long lead
which was stretched across the path when a motorbike came along.
The rider didn't give me chance to retract the lead. He didn't understand
that dogs can behave unpredictably when something unusual happens.'
'The council is quick enough to give away our green spaces to
developers. Why don't they get the developers to give something
in return for what they're taking away from us and get them to
contribute towards a track for these young people.'
'The council has to act within the law. We can't twist developers'
arms to contribute anything extra.'
'We mustn't forget that it's not just children doing this. You
see 4 x 4s with trailers parked up by the cemetery. They say phone
the police but I did and nothing happened. Six weeks later they
called at my house.
' Only the police can take action. Where are the police? Why aren't
they here tonight?'
'The inspector had to attend a very urgent call and can't be here.'
'We had these same problems around Birstall. Everything we tried
failed until we got together to provide somewhere for them to
go. We found a suitable site and got a grant from the Coal Board
Fund of £250,000 and another £250,ooo from the National
Lottery. We operate as a charity, we're open every day, we run
trials and competitions. We have qualified staff on hand and we
'The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust isn't saving these
places for the rare plants, we're not saving them for their outstanding
natural beauty; we're not saving cuddly animals, like otters; we're
saving these places for our children - for future generations.'
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
r eserves officer
Richard Bell, email@example.com