Denise: Buffy is a super-mum! Yesterday, I added to her own clutch of recently hatched chicks all those just hatched from an incubator – last night she managed to shelter 20 chicks, most less than a day old, under her voluminous skirts (Buff Orpingtons have feathering like crinolines!) and this morning they were all present and correct. What a marvellous mother she is! Today the chicks have been out in the run with her, some even climbing up and riding around on her back! For visitors to the Big Garden, it’s been quite a circus show: if I get round to taking a photo, I’ll add it in later. [Later: photo added – J]
Jonathan: Working at Mouchel office in Chelmsford today – very near the station. Took 80mins to travel 40miles there and another 30mins finding somewhere to park. Carrying out an independent check of major changes to a new road already under construction. The scheme is the extension of a Roscommon Way in Canvey Island, from the roundabout by Morrisons to industrial and housing areas close to the Thames shore. It was designed as a dual carriageway, but due to spending cuts it is being reduced to a single carriageway. Over 32 years in this business I’ve worked on lots of ‘dualling’ schemes: but ‘singling’ a road is a first for me! Original design was done well: the singling in a hurry, and it shows. I never like doing independent design checks: all the fundamental problems are always ignored, usually just a few of the relatively superficial errors are sorted out, and even that’s done grudgingly.
For all that Essex is a wealthy county and Chelmsford the county town, it seems to me a worn-out, dirty place. But the tiny CofE Cathedral has lovely grounds, and I enjoyed my lunch sitting on a bench in the September sunshine, watching the world go by. It was striking what a high proportion of people seemed to be young women: and striking also how most of them seemed to either be footballers’ wives – or wannabe footballers’ wives! Back at the office I mentioned this: Essex Girls, apparently, are in a class of their own.
To be honest, my day in Chelmsford left me more depressed than I’ve been for a while about the dreary shallowness of modern life. I cannot for the life of me think what I would do with myself if I had to live here in Chelmsford.
Jonathan: Still August -just! – but as everyone is saying it already feels like late September. There’s something about the light, the temperature, dew on the grass, the smell of the soil … and already dry soils and hot winds have resulted in some leaves turning golden already.
But how I love this time of year! Winter and Summer are straightforward in what they promise (though rarely live up to!). Spring and Autumn are seasons of contrast and contrariness: Spring of glad relief and untamed hope; and now in Autumn a time of poignant reflection … and a solemn dread of what must yet comem (not an exaggeration for Hebridean winters!)
How soon would I tire of life in a place that knew no seasons!