'Pocket Plum', the Bladder Bullace Fungus, Taphrina
pruni, infests the developing fruits on many of the Blackthorn
bushes around Pugneys Lake.
After our errands in town we walk back across Thornes Park
which in the evening sun and the fresh lush greenness looks like
the grounds of some English country house (as it was before Thornes
House burnt down in the 1950s).
Driving back I suggest to Barbara that we walk around Pugneys
Lake (a former opencast coal mine). Although it's one of
the low points around Wakefield, Pugneys has a panoramic topography;
it sits in a wide stretch of valley so you can see the Pennines
in the distance in one direction, the cathedral spire in another
while Sandal Castle looms over it on the ridge, caught in low sun.
It's feels good to have time to do impromptu things again. For
most of the last few years I seem to have been in a state where
there's always been some errand looming.
hadn't thought to bring our binoculars but just being here with
the open water, terns and gulls makes us want to get back to some
wildness and we decide that it was time we had another trip to Flamborough.
It will be good to see puffins again.
But this is the nearest thing we can get to a wilderness experience
around Wakefield this afternoon. There's a feeling of a great green
circle - the lakes and the gulls, terns, ducks and swans - so it
feels like being surrounded by a kind of wilderness, even though
there are built up areas hiding away in almost every direction.
90% of what we can see is random vegetation - rushes, reeds, willows
- sheets of water, a big sky.
The name Pugneys is thought to mean 'Puck's meadow'
or 'goblins water meadow' in Anglo Saxon. Puck appears in A
Midsummer Night's Dream, he was also known as Robin Goodfellow.
It might have been will o-the-wisps, glowing marsh gas, that made
people associate the marshy area with this capricious nature spirit.
There are so many people enjoying the country park, walking, cycling,
a few rowing on the lake. While not every one of the strollers is
here for the natural history I'm glad that these days so many of
them appreciate these green places. I heard on the radio that the
appreciation of natural history, of various types, is now the number
one pastime in this country with 2 million people for whom that
is their main leisure interest.
like the experience of being on my own, or with just one companion,
when I'm walking but sharing this place with people who were simply
enjoying the place without wishing to destroy it in the many ways
we have of destroying the spirit of places, was a part of the experience,
it was a part of the feeling of harmony on this summer evening.