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My neighbour here in Wales said thank you, thank you so much and it really did mean a lot to me

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 1 June 2021

Joshua and I were discussing elderflower cordial and champagne and so decided to wander to the elderflower bush at the top end of the upper field here at the Welsh Hovel, next to the graveyard. Gosh, the recent rains have seen everything sprouting ahead. I shall take some pictures of the gardens here tonight as I water them as they are starting to look mighty impressive.

We wandered across the inner upper field which I have tamed from being six foot high in grass, nettles and ferns and turned into a new orchard next to the strawberry patch and herb garden. Everything is flourishing. The trees are now nearly all taller than me and it looks wonderful. A neighbour called across for Joshua and we went to chat. She has always been most friendly but she really was so friendly to the Pest and asking about the Mrs and little Jayarani.

Then she talked about the work we are doing. She can see the upper level but also what we have done to clean up the land around the Ha Ha, taking away the tonnes of junk and pollutants, expanding the flood plain, cleaning the barns. And she can see the barn being repointed right now. “Thank you, thank you so much” she said for turning her view into something amazing. That made me feel good. And her view is – with one obvious exception – that of all of the folks whose houses border our upper fields.

Do I like living here in Holt she asked? I suppose I do so I said yes. I have more plans for this place as you will all see in due course, as I consider life after investigative journalism, and that should make me even happier.

Joshua and I walked on to the far upper field. Here the grass, nettles and weeds were much taller than him. So I had to put him on my shoulders which are a bit sore and sunburned after Saturday. We ambled along. There was another call for Joshua. It was D and his wife, leading members of the Joshua fan club. Within a minute, he was hoisted over the fence and was sitting in D’s garden enjoying an ice cream while I wandered on to discover that we have missed the elderflower boat.

Nettle beer it will be, I said to D, who said that he had not drunk any of that since 1948. I have ordered some brewers yeast and some cheesecloths and we are not short of nettles so that is the next project after organising for a cut of that field. One day I shall have goats “mowing” it but pro tem the cut will be mechanical. I will also have a path in the grass cut around the other fields and invite the village to use them for walks as last year something that hugely annoyed mutant teenage curtain twitcher Abi’s family in 2020 but caused pleasure for many others.  Those are both very good reasons to do it again.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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