The Countryside About Us - May 1994

posted 29 Apr 2014, 11:39 by James Mansell
Now that the year has managed to reach that most gentle of all months, May, I expect you will hardly be able to recall the ferocious weather of just a few weeks past. From the footpaths on the “high” ground surrounding Earl Soham, which is about 150ft above sea level, St Mary’s Tower and several roofs are just about visible.  For the most part we snuggle nicely in the valley. You would imagine gales would pass right over the top of us, hardly aware of this small community below.  By all accounts some homes “rocked” almost, but surely not as much as neighbours’ homes and buildings on the peripheral “heights” of the village.  One abiding memory I have of early April. The morning was bright with scudding clouds driven by a howling south-westerly. Above the noise of the roaring wind, loud and clear came the melodious sound of a mistle thrush. Perched 30 ft. up in an oak tree it declared its defiance. It is not for nothing this bird is sometimes known as a “storm cock”!

The agricultural scene that surrounds us has a permanence which the casual observer could be forgiven for thinking changes little as the years roll by.  Wheat and barley still cover our arable fields in varying shades of green in May. Soon the bright yellow of the oil seed rape flowers will intersperse with the acres of cereals. Sugarbeet appears in well ordered rows. That old favourite winter beans will soon be on flower the scent of which will pervade the atmosphere as you pass by. Yet inexorably the old order “changeth”. The political masters of agriculture fear expensively stored surpluses of, especially, grain. Encouragement is given to grow crops for bio fuel. In a nearby parish the whole acreage of a medium sized farm has been planted out entirely with trees. It is so planned that “two rides” intersperse the trees to provide recreational facilities for the many horse enthusiasts in our area. The old order “verily changeth”!

Roger Sykes

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