Towards the end of this week in the Dales I started think that those few glorious sunny days were to be the ‘last of the summer wine’ (in my bobble hat I do look a bit like Compo). In Ribblesdale, sunny fields of buttercups at the start of the week were followed by dull grey outlines and mist-covered Three Peaks. I dived for cover in the car at Ribblehead then watched the heavy storm pass overhead near Clapham on Wednesday. I’ll let the pictures tell the story …
Mike’s sweet music to my ears
I had a snigger the other day at a Facebook post by Mike Harding who was complaining, partly tongue in cheek, about noisy lawnmowers disturbing his relaxation in the sun. Yes, it’s the traditional sound of summer in England but like Mike I think that too much grass cutting goes on. It’s not so much the noise that frustrates me (although the electric and motorised ones can be ridiculously loud – over to you Mr Dyson for your inventive juices to get to work) as the fact that some people want their lawn to look like a snooker table. It’s completely unnatural. I was walking by the church in Settle this week and watched a guy driving his mower around the graves chopping the heads pretty daisies, buttercups, clover and a host of other plants. What a waste of Nature, depriving bees, butterflies and insects of nectar, and our own senses of the smell and sights of summer, just to satisfy some man-made vision of neatness. By the way, if you like folk music do look up Mike’s great free podcast at www.mikehardingfolkshow.com
Waste of money
Unfortunately I don’t have a garden, only a tiny patch used mainly for herbs. I tidied up a section of the path around the house this week and put the odd bits of soil, small stones – general garden rubbish into a box which I dutifully took to the council tip. “You’ll have to pay £3 (something-or-other) for that, mate, and we only accept credit or debt card.” WHAT!? After a couple of expletives I requested details of whom I could complain to, then took my rubbish back home. I’ve emailed North Yorkshire County Council’s waste management services to register my disgust (I’m really getting the hang of this grumpy-old-man routine). I also told them I’d put the rubbish into bins bags and deposited them in dustbins for their employees to pick up. Perhaps they’ll sue me for putting garden waste in with household waste. It’s no excuse, I know, but I’m not surprised more people are tipping waste around the Dales.
This week I dropped a couple of groups from my Facebook account. I’ve been sharing my photos with thousands of the groups’ members for a long time, quite happy to let people see the Dales for free. However, a minority of viewers have started to hijack my posts to spread their own opinions – mainly comments about race and immigration. Yes, I can block the bigots but many members won’t, which means I am unwittingly providing a vehicle for those twisted views. If they want to express their opinions they can get themselves a website like this one, or they can go post on more appropriate Facebook groups. The situation has been worse recently because immigration has become, quite wrongly in my view, the main issue in the Euro debate (which you’ll be pleased to learn I’m not going to go into here). Perhaps I’ll return to those Dales groups when the referendum circus has left town. Here’s a photo of several animals living in perfect harmony, just to remind people that land can actually be quite easy to share.