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Country diary 1917: passing companionship in the wood

Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 3 November 1917Surrey, November 1Unlike the bare ground at the foot of the beech, grass spreads almost up to the root-trunk of our oaks, and fallen leaves lie thick among the bents. Underneath them are acorns, a full crop this year. It takes but a little time to collect a full sack. They are so plentiful that a litter of young pigs throw small showers upward as they nose about while they scutter along the edge of the wood. A sudden loud whirr of wings is heard. A cock pheasant, all brown and gold, goes one way just above the yet green nut-boughs; three hens fly the other. There is passing companionship, but not much more, among these birds. Rooks now chatter together in the upper branches of elms, going from one to another as though to test which will best stand the coming winter gales. The old hedger, slicing off faggot wood with his bill-hook, "reckons them as almost overwise. If they could but speak they would tell us a good deal more than we'd know." The air is warm, bees in something like small swarms are out on the remaining autumn flowers. St.John's wort is here and there open on the hedge bank, and in a corner of the cornfield which has not been ploughed a few poppies bloom, but they are dull, not scarlet as in summer. The campion has not all gone, but it is foliage and fruit which to-day complete the picture of the hedgerow. This week the robins sing longer and oftener. While one pipes another will accompany you along the lane, flitting from side to side, but never far away. Continue reading...
Zdroj: The Guardian

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