On Tuesday 3rd November 2020 anything could happen. Will there be a clear result to the US election?
4th November 2020, England goes into lockdown, again. Stay home, Stay Safe, Protect the NHS, again.
There has to be an anti-dote to our times and, for me, it is often history and natural history.
This morning’s On Your Farm: Solway Marsh Cattle drew time and place together. I listened with a map of the Solway Marshes on computer screen, scanning the salt-marshes to locate Burgh Marsh, following the channels of the rivers debouching into the estuary, the Esk and the Eden. Barnacle Geese overwintering at Caerlaverock fly across the estuary to graze on the salt-marshes on the southern shore. Cattle graze the salt-marshes in summer and at Halloween they are brought off for the winter by the Marsh Herd. The Solway marshes are common grazing, divided into stints with an allocated number of beasts for each portion of marsh- documentation goes back to the 17th century. There’s a Solway bore on this dangerous tidal estuary. Easy to be cut off by big tides, fast currents, fast-filling creeks, and there are quick-sands – says the Field Reeve who administers stints and everything concerning cattle grazing on the marshes.
We might follow Hadrian’s wall to its most westerly point, looking for waders as we go.
Edward 1st died of dysentery whilst camping on Burgh Marshes, facing an insurrection of the Scots. Hard to observe hand-washing discipline whilst on campaign. King Edward should have washed his hands frequently in hot water and soap, the full 20 seconds, whilst singing the National Anthem,
‘God Save Our Gracious King,
Long Live Our Noble King,
Goodness, that’s me.’
King Edward died at Burgh by Sands in July 1307 and his body was placed in the 12th century church. His monument looks out over the salt-marsh, over the Solway to Scotland.
24 November 1542: the Battle of Solway Moss, a rout of the Scots- many of whom drowned between the River Esk and the Solway Marshes. James V of Scotland, died shortly after the battle, overwhelmed by illness, by defeat and the news that his wife had given birth to a daughter - Mary, Queen of Scots.
BBC Radio 4. 1st November 2020. On Your Farm: Solway Marsh Cattle
Go to Blog Archive November 2016 for a series of items on the BOC birding trip.
3rd November 2020. Floodlight from a full moon at dawn. A moment of wonder.
Waiting for Boots the Chemist to open, I heard geese and looked up to see a chevron passing over town.
'Look,' I pointed at the sky.
'Pink feet, ' said another masked woman.
We agreed on the solace such a sight brings at such times as these.