Sunday, 25 November 2007

Beating the bounds

The hedgerows on the chalk are brightened up in autumn and winter by the fruits of the summer flowers. The Spindle is one of the brightest, taking its name from one of its main uses - its hard wood was used to make spindles for making thread from wool (a task carried out by 'spinsters' of course).

In my home village, far, far away, there was an annual tradition of Beating the Bounds - a walk around the boundary of the parish, hitting each boundary stone with a stick to reinforce the limits of the village in the minds of the inhabitants, and to warn off encroachers from outside.
The youngest walker was 'bumped' on each stone too, presumably better to impress the places in his memory.

This tradition is not upheld in Kingsdown so far as I know, but on a pleasant morning today a similar walk was done here - keeping a list of birds seen on the way.

I'm not much of a one for lists, although I keep a year list and a life list for both birds and butterflies [for the record, the birds lists are 182 and 215 at the moment].

The list (ignoring the sea, which is fickle at the best of times) was 34 species today, with many absentees like kestrel, rook, house sparrow and collared dove, but welcome surprises like two pairs of bullfinches, and a firecrest just down the road.

There were 57 varieties of UFOs (Unidentified Flyover Objects) calling a similar number of variations on 'cheep', but I can't count these.


Steve said...

Some really nicely composed pictures there Simon. And interesting to read about the historry of your area. Frustrating for me at the moment as I can't get out much....enjoying reading the blogs though

Steve of Kingsdown said...

That would be 'Steve', Steve!
There's too many of us about.......but thanks for the comments.
Sorry to hear that you're a martyr to the kids. I was in the same position, but was able to return to the good life when they grew up.

me and my camera said...

What a wonderful traditon to read about! I can mentally 'beat-the-bounds of my old childhood farm where I grew up; the old Oak on the western boundary, the Rock in the river where we swam, the tall willows at the end of the driveway, etc. I enjoyed your meniton of this.