Arborial wandering

This afternoon i decided to go to the Harcourt Arboritum at Sutton Courtney. This was mainly as I’ve never been and partly because I wanted a nice quiet walk away from people and their noise.

Well, other than the £2 parking fee, which I feel is a bit steep for what is mainly a research facility and partly a public park, it was a nice enough place to spend an afternoon, if it were not for the constant din of internal combustion engines.

OK, I should have known that as the place was near a pretty busy road that there should be some road noise. However, this road seems also to be used as a raceway by a gathering of motorcyclists who love to produce the wail of high RPM motorcycle engines when riding. Add to this the pretty well constant drone of light aircraft overhead and the hiss of tyre upon tarmac and you come to realise that you can’t actually hear anything which isn’t man-made.

I walked as far as I could away from the road and lay behind the curtain of meadow grass and finally found at least semblance of quiet where I could here the jackdoors cacking, the pheasant croaking and maybe, just maybe, the call of a raptor of somekind. Even so, I only managed at most a 30 second break where I couldn’t here the drone of an aero engine.

Oxfordshire is such a crowded place, it’s impossible to get any peace.

On another front, I noticed when I got home that my car’s odometer now shows 20012.. ie. I’ve now driven precisely 20000 miles since I picked the car up from the dealer on the afternoon of the 9th November, 2000.


Just now I have been watching a flock of birds feeding in my garden. This is a rather unusual sight as the most I usually get are 4-5 starlings, maybe a single sparrow or a couple of blue tits passing by or a marauding magpie.

This morning it was different, a whole host of birds arrived all at once. They were mostly sparrows (which itself is unusual here) but in the host was at least one robin and a couple of birds I can’t identify. Alec, you may be able help out here:-

Size: Approximately the same as a sparrow.
Colour: Slightly countershaded light grey, darker on top.
Shape: Slight. Rather more streamlined than a sparrow with a sharply pointed head and a thin beak.

All the birds enjoyed searching through my honeysuckle for spiders and insects, along with my budlea(sp?) which has large number of old flower spikes which are now brown and probably full of insects.