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2:48pm Friday 22nd March 2013
ONE of the best known wild animals in this country is probably the grey squirrel. If we do not see several in our woods or fields, or raiding our bird feeders for food, we are highly likely to be aware of them in town parks and formal gardens. In the latter case, they are well fed by human visitors who encourage them to stay and make their homes nearby. In some cases, these cheeky squirrels show no fear of humans and will even take food from the hand.
2:44pm Friday 15th March 2013
THIS morning, as I write these notes two weeks ahead of publication, the sun was shining as I awoke and a thrush was in full voice in our cherry tree. He remained for more than an hour before moving a few yards into some neighbouring silver birches and finally performing from sycamores behind the house. All those trees are leafless as I make these notes but clearly he senses that spring is in the air and equally clearly, he is declaring his presence to other thrushes and marking the boundaries of his territory. In the near future, there may be a thrush’s nest somewhere nearby.
11:21am Friday 8th March 2013
ONE of the interesting facets of writing about the countryside and local communities is that the same surnames often appear profusely in certain places. Clearly, it means that those particular families have lived there for many generations, whether or not they originated there or moved in at a later stage.
2:44pm Friday 1st March 2013
WHEN I was a child, much of my early exploration beyond the boundaries of my home village was upon the neighbouring moors. It was around that time that I became interested in the local history and legends of my locality, along with an understanding of the wild life that surrounded us.
12:18pm Friday 22nd February 2013
I BELIEVE it is fair to say that many of us will have been brought up to remember the sequence of colours of the rainbow by recalling the well-known mnemonic Richard of York Gains Battle in Vain. For those who did not have this pleasure, the initial letters refer to red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
12:24pm Friday 15th February 2013
SCARECROWS of the traditional kind – an old stuffed coat with a head and hat to make it look like a human standing in the middle of a field – are now more likely to be found in our villages during some kind of celebration. They often feature in competitions for the best scarecrow and last year someone built one in the highly realistic form of a policeman, then stood it near the 30mph speed limit signs.
10:46am Friday 8th February 2013
MY brother has been researching our family history and has produced something of a surprise. For many years, we thought that our grandparents lived at Rosedale and were amazed to learn that granddad walked from Rosedale to Skinningrove and back every day for his job at the iron works.
12:56pm Friday 1st February 2013
TOMORROW, February 2, used to be one of the most important days in the rural calendar. Before the Meteorological Office messed about with alterations to the first days of spring, summer, autumn and winter, February 2 was widely regarded as the halfway stage of winter. It has long been known as Candlemas Day.
12:42pm Friday 25th January 2013
THE North York Moors are known for many reasons, not the least of which is because it is England’s largest area of open heather. There have been other claims too – for example, that it is one of the last great unexplored and unexploited parts of England. It contains hundreds of square miles of beautiful and spectacular scenery both inland and along the coast with some of Britain’s highest cliffs and it has also witnessed the world’s first flight in a manned aircraft.
12:23pm Friday 18th January 2013
THERE was a time not long ago when Thirsk was widely regarded as a somewhat dismal place with more than its fair share of heavy goods vehicles parked in the market place. There were lots of transport cafes to cope with their drivers’ hunger and, in turn, they attracted customers, not all of whom were very pleasant. It was widely considered to be not the sort of place to visit for a happy day out, except perhaps the racecourse.