The old railway line was becoming busy as I made my way back from my exercise run this morning. The delight in watching men struggle up the slope knowing that they have a days work ahead of them and are rushing to be at work by eight o'clock leaves me quite satisfied. Very satisfied that I no longer require to do this. Better to travel to work this way mind rather than on a commuter bus or train where you have no control whatsoever over the running of the transport. Nothing but punctures and women with dogs can annoy you as you race to work. For me of course the women and dogs often mean a few words exchanged, Fifi keen to rub her head into my knee although the dog was less keen for some reason, and then a few words with a retired man and his close to retirement dog, 'seen it done it, just lets walk and feed me' type dog, and all this while trundling slowly down the slope and not struggling upwards.
Six thirty and I was heading into the old railway line. The mist was dissipating quickly from the dip in the land as the sun rose majestically (what does that mean exactly?) and soared into the sky. I tried to stop it and told it to wait until I was in position but it did not listen to me. As Jenny noted fields like this, somewhat enlarged in recent times, contain no birds. Those that exist do so in the areas off the old railway where trees and shrubs have arisen since the trains ceased forty years ago and wildlife has increased. The Rangers control the area well and yet if we relied on the farmers much would be lost. It must be said that many farmers do cut corners when harvesting and allow larger areas at the ends of many fields to go wild. Some have dropped fields altogether, possibly for EU money, and encouraged wildlife in this manner. The man here just wants to sell this farm and plant 3500 houses but the council said 'NO!' Good for them, this is the wee towns one real country area, a link between town and village with no reason to bring the two together except money making. Three area on the other side of town will have housing, more appropriate in my view but not popular with all.
This was supposed to be an interesting image of the sun hitting the mist as it hung over the trees. No matter what I did, no matter what I fiddled with nothing like the actual picture I saw arrived in my camera. Still it's OK as an image. It does however make the pylons look like they are the stars of one of the 'Star Wars' type movies, pylons ready to march across the earth dominating the land, although some would say they already do that. Mind you if they did not march those who object could not communicate their objections as they would have no electric!
One thing I love about this time of year is the bright early morns when I can get the bike up the old railway and take a picture or two, even if they don't work out right. The sheer brightness of the sun over the fields brought to mind those who had to work those fields in the days of long ago. The harvest would be cut by man and scythe, heaped by women into stalks and only late in the 19th century did a man, usually a grumpy self important one from the north, arrive with a machine and thresh the crop for the farms. I did read an item about this that Thomas Hardy put into one of his books. I got the impression he had read it also and made use of it but I could be wrong. Even with the machine to help this was hard work from morning till night and the pay was not good. After the harvest there comes a time to plough and sow and start again all the time watching the sky as country folks know the weather required watching all the time. The sky hinted at slight red this morning as I rose and I suspect the old agricultural labourers would tell what the day held even from that, though they would be working by six in the morning to tell the truth. Hard work all day for what? Possibly seven shillings a week? Maybe more for the ploughman or cowman, but nothing at all when the crop fails. One of the first acts of the Cameron government was to drop the protection given to farm hands, not that many exist today. Country people vote Conservative and they are important to the Party.
This old fashioned type of signpost has been removed in some areas but Essex keeps them and I think this right. There are enough modern tin signs on main roads and these add a wee bit of character to the area. One, standing in town since long before the war had become a wreck yet the council replaced it with the same type of sign, not a modern one. Good for them I say!
The 'Crix Green Mission' looks like a hall grafted onto the back of a typical Essex farmhands house. The hall roof has a Dutch inclination to it but I am afraid as this Hamlet comprises a mere 13 houses it does not have much use. Services led by St Michael's occur but how often I know not, and the hall is used during elections for voting purposes. At one time it must have had a full time member who know ll the people round about, and there would be many more farmhands then, but today while the house is occupied the hall clearly does not have a full time staff today. Imagine living in a Hamlet of 13 houses, most of whom are now quite pricey.
Nothing for it but to run back down the line and head for breakfast. My knees have had enough exercise this week but none tomorrow as I am on my last Thursday at the museum, I think. With local kids back at school on Thursday I suspect we will be quiet for a change with only normal people arriving. I may have to just sit there quietly all day and read a book....fat chance!
For those who don't understand 'Brexit' and such stuff, here are a couple of Irish Comedians to explain things in a simple and clear manner, sort off.