Well played D.

Tim is away for a couple of days, but home tomorrow. I’ve been catching up on housework and washing – I’d have liked to do something exciting, but it needed doing.

On Thursday, I went to the Annual Common Inspection. Nothing vulgar about the common, it’s open ground, that sort of common. It is not publicly owned, however, it’s an unusual situation. 400 acres are shared into 300 ‘goings’ which are privately owned. Russell owned ten of them, which I’ve inherited. Once a year, owners are invited to a drive round in a trailer, pulled by a tractor, while we’re told what maintenance and improvements have been carried out in the past year.

The value of its habitat is as grassland, some of it acid soil. A large part is let as a golf club and much of the rest is let as grazing for cattle, which is good for the grassland as the cows eat tree seedlings as well as grass, and keep it manured. The rest includes paths where people are welcome to walk, scrubland, grass with wild flowers and copses with trees. If it were left, the tree seedlings would take over and it would be a wood before long, but the conservation people don’t want that to happen, for the sake of biodiversity. This type of grassland is more rare than woodland and there’s a fine range of plants, birds and animals that breed and live there.

The present chairman of the management committee (known as Common Reeves) is my cousin D. A bit younger than I am, he’s a local solicitor and has lived in the area all his life, except for his university and training years. As he spoke to us, on the drive and at the AGM afterwards, I thought what a lovely man he is. He often spends his lunchtime walking on the common – from his office to a circular route, taken quite briskly, takes him about 50 minutes and he makes a point of chatting to other walkers, to find out any concerns and be our representative. He so clearly loves the place and takes a lot of trouble to ensure it’s managed as well as it can be, taking into account everyone’s interests and feelings.

I’m sure he doesn’t know I have a blog, so won’t be embarrassed by this. I don’t suppose anyone else from Yagnub reads it either, though it’d be obvious who I’m talking about, if they do. Nothing but praise and appreciation, so I can’t think there would be any objection! As Di said the other day, it’s lovely when someone has done research – and it’s great when someone really knows their subject and speaks from the heart.

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