A Poem for May
( Francis Butcher May 1916 – 2008 )
Dad I often wonder where on earth I’d be,
If you hadn’t been the one who taught and cherished me.
You taught me to be truthful, you taught me to be straight,
You coached my sense of humour and to you I could relate.
I saw from your example that life’s basic things are sound,
All that’s really needed are both feet on the ground.
No highfalutin extras were needed in your life.
You found what most are searching for from morning until night!
WOODBOROUGH BADMINTON CLUB
The Tuesday Evening Badminton Club at Woodborough Village Hall are looking to recruit a couple of new players. There’s no need to feel intimidated – the standard is not very high! We play most Tuesdays from about 8.15pm to around 9.30pm.
If you would like to give it a go, please ring Andrew on 07948 729577 and leave a message containg your name and phone number – men, women, young and not-so-young are all welcome.
Lambley Historical Society
At our March meeting, James Wright FSA gave a very interesting insight into the inner workings of mediaeval castles. James is an archaeologist and historian based at the University of Nottingham who has studied buildings archaeology for over twenty years.
In direct contrast with most talks on castles (which tend to focus on high status patrons and their architecture), the talk offered an alternative viewpoint of life in English mediaeval castles: that of the ordinary folk. Using archaeological evidence gleaned from historic building survey of many different castles and great houses, contemporary literature, artistic representations, graffiti and architectural history, James presented the story of the masons, carpenters, cooks, clerks, servants, stable-hands and lower status visitors to great castles. He delved into the kitchens, stables, staircases, cellars and garderobes to uncover evidence of how these castles were organised which he illustrated with lots of interesting photographs.
He explained that the basic layout consisted of three areas – the Hall, the Solar (private rooms) and the service area (kitchens etc). There would also be barns, lesser halls (for the use of servants), offices for stewards, wells, a brewhouse, a slaughter house etc.
During the building phase, the Master Mason was the architect who had constant discussions with the owner. The design was passed to the stonemasons, fixer masons, carpenters to create the building and finally to plasterers and painters.
The household could consist of up to 200 people. Staff and horses lived in an outer courtyard. Most of the staff would be in shared accommodation, often shared beds! Although there were not many women in the household, laundry was always done by women.
The talk concluded with mention of the effect on adjacent settlements such as markets, employment, religion and environment.
Photo by Amy Lewis / BTO
The Dawn Chorus – Nature’s Symphony
Over the last few weeks, you may have been more aware of birdsong early in the mornings. This beautiful natural sound will gradually reach its climax in early May. There may also be the added bonus of some migrant birds to be heard, e.g. cuckoos, blackcaps and other warblers. In fact a Cuckoo has already been heard around the village.
In my area, there does seem to be a clear order in which the birds sing. First, I hear the fluty song of the Robin but have you noticed, that sometimes this bird sings during the night where there is sufficient light near lampposts. People sometimes mistakenly think they have heard a Nightingale but it is far more likely to be a Robin which is heard. Soon after the Robin, the Song Thrush sings its repetitive song. This is followed by the mellow sound of the Blackbird which dominates as more of them join in. Blackbirds are one of the earliest risers because they feed on earthworms which are usually near the surface of the soil in the morning. Shortly after, the Great Tit‘s strident “teacher- teacher” call suddenly pierces the air and it is often accompanied by the very loud and complex song of the diminutive Wren. In the background, I usually hear the cooing of Woodpigeons and the guttural sound of the Pheasant.
Other species such as finches will sing later. They don’t need to sing so early because their food source is readily available in the form of seed. Most insectivorous birds also sing later because insects don’t appear until it warms up.
Dawn is undoubtedly the best time to hear birdsong as the air is normally still at this time of day and there is less background noise from traffic and industry. The result is that the birds can be heard more clearly. In fact their sound carries twenty times further at dawn than at midday. Some birds like the Great Tit sing louder in urban areas than their country cousins so they can be heard above the sound of traffic.
Did you know there is an International Dawn Chorus Day every first Sunday in May? This year it will be held on Sunday 5th May. It started when the environmentalist, Chris Baines held a birthday party at 4 a.m. in Birmingham in 1984. He picked this time so all his guests could listen to the dawn chorus. This spring symphony is now celebrated throughout many countries of the world, even Antarctica.
If you are more of a night owl than a lark, you can always listen to the chorus of birds just before sunset before they go to roost. It is not quite as good as the morning one as there is more general noise around.
Enjoy this celebration of song before it dies down during the summer months.
Jean is a voluntary Ambassador for the British Trust for Ornithology’s Garden BirdWatch scheme in Nottinghamshire. If you enjoy watching birds and other wildlife which visit your garden, Garden BirdWatch may be perfect for you. If you would like a free information pack about the scheme, contact Jean at email@example.com or visit www.bto.org/gbw