There is a road here, built by two men to allow children to walk miles to school across bog and cliff face. It is beautifully crafted and it is all that remains of the crofts and villages along most of its route. Those buildings lie in the bracken like patches of fur from some road-killed animal. But the road is like its sinews, indestructable, tracing an outline on the ground when all else has rotted away.



Some city skylines have a mathematical symmetry. From whatever direction you slice the view, the city announces itself with a subconscious whisper. Not just the pretty places. Glasgow has a skyline punctuated in non repeating tiles, each with a needle-thin black spire, sometimes in clusters. They suggest a certain functional, spiky resolve.



Frost Damage

At the beginning of May we woke to a hard frost. A month later, the toll is evident. The poor young mulberry was halted in its tracks. Its tiny leaves turned black. Now, new leaves are pushing from the base of each stem and new stems are growing, but all the original branches are struck dead almost to the main stem. What this means for the shape of the tree remains to be seen. The Old Laughing Lady has been cruelly used by the frost. Whole branches high up in the tree seem to have suffered the same fate as the mullbery, struck dead back to a thicker branch.  On other branches, thin leaves are breaking out to replace the ones that were lost. A young cherry has been hit in the same way. A new pear had half its leaves turn brown, so much so that we thought it had fireblight but now seems to be recovered. The burgeoning quince, with its ten thousand huge blooms, has set a single sad fruit. The medlar has lost every fruit. At the top of the garden, the odd multi-story quince and pear triple graft hybrid combo has just dropped it's quinces but the pears have survived. The hedge-plums have dropped all of their lower fruit. Which is strange. The grapes had hardly started and slept through the damage. But the apple trees? Not a bit of it. They are so thick with fruit that they look like grapes.


Water stain

A tiny bird flies onto the drenched window and sits stunned and shivering on the sill. Past the drip-run glaze the sodden fen is frothy with new growth and topped with glistening, bouncing haze. On the horizon where the dark clouds bellied with rain dip grey as an ache into the green, watery ferment, yet more clouds rise up. These are whiter but not white and round topped, like a damp stain rising into the wallpaper of the sky. The tiny bird recovers its composure and zips away into the water-grained distance. The swelling water-spirit under the land is filled with creaking, hissing joy at this summer feed and its billion bouncing acolytes tap-dance on the roof as it rains, and it rains, and it rains.



We had a long lead in to spring, both cold and also very dry. The cherries had already bloomed at the end of March but everything else was held back so that a burst of sun and showers brought most of the orchard into blossom at the same time. The pears were almost finished, the once sickly quince was thuggish in its glory, all the apples were white clouds and the Old Laughing Lady still had her plum-blossom. The medlars were set. The new mulberry pushed tiny leaflets from the tip of every stem. It was perfect and glorious.

It was doomed. At the beginning of May we woke to a hard frost, as beautiful among the blossom as it was awful to behold. I can't say that I'm immune to the fickle nature of, well, nature, but I managed some detachment and went to study the damage. I will track it over the summer.

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