Hello again, and welcome to my November blog. Madai the Labrador here, reporting on my comings, goings and musings in and around Church Minshull. Well I've had a busy October in the village and elsewhere. Apart from regular field and canal patrols I met up with my pal Dexter, and his dad Roger the Dodger, early in the month to check out the Whitegate Way. This was followed by lunch at The Plough where the lady serving themselves took a shine to me and Dexter (well me mainly – of course). To plagiarise and somewhat alter accident claim solicitors' adverts I've invented the phrase "where there's a trip there's a chip" which summarizes our tactic of lying between themselves' dining table and the route from the pub kitchen. Unfortunately unsuccessful this time. Later they took me to Scotland for a few days of nautical nonsense: the weather was great but I'm sure you'll agree that I didn't look my best with my lifejacket on!
Now to the main part of my blog: back home field hedge cutting has been at full swing – so here's the dilemma: farmers and landowners, as opposed to private individuals, are not allowed to cut hedges during the nesting season from 1st March to 1st September, but having to cut in the autumn and winter means that hedgerow fruit and seeds – a valuable wild bird food source – is lost and greater ground compaction is caused in the wetter weather particularly when contractors are using conventional tractors rather than light weight machinery on low-pressure turf tyres. Banks of wild bramble, a valuable habitat for nesting birds and other wildlife, never have the chance to develop. Anyone walking the hedgerows at this time of year will be aware of the squishy conditions and the risk of wellington or paw perforation by hawthorn chippings. On the plus side this year has been a bumper one for autumn fruit, berries and nuts so perhaps the birds will have enough to eat? The hawthorns along the canal where flail cutting can't reach are laden with berries and trees such as oak have given us a huge harvest of acorns – a so called mast year. The squirrels in our garden are busy burying acorns in the lawn – they don't seem to learn that I am on 24/7 squirrel patrol – and to be honest I know they don't have good memories judging by the number of acorns that germinated resulting in tiny oaks appearing in the lawn during the summer.
So why "Remember November?" A virtual dog treat to all of you who immediately made the connection with the many acts of Remembrance that will take place on November 11th. Did the Poppy on my collar gave you a clue? Perhaps fewer of you will have thought of the connection to the Gunpowder Plot of November 5th 1605 celebrated, if that is the right word, in our November bonfires and fireworks displays. The worrying link is that the trigger man (he was not the originator of the plot) for setting off the gunpowder under parliament was Guy Fawkes – similar name to himself, whose birthday I've remembered is also in November. So cake for me and hopefully a safe month for you all.
Madai, your rovering reporter
PS I've reminded himself that he usually puts in a music link, or something similar. He said there are lots of songs about remembering but here's one that can be interpreted in so many ways. I hope you enjoy it.
PPS I've also reminded him to update my Old Blogs section (done he adds) and when we are locked down again he should have plenty of time to bring my home page up to date as well (after he's done all herself's jobs he adds)