Monday, 25 March 2013

Sustainability Garden

As part of the sustainability group at College, where I lecturer, I am working with others to persuade the management team that we could have a garden area on the barren flat grass in-front of the metal fencing. (*see drawing) - The purpose of the garden area would be to raise interest and awareness in environmental planting, fruit & veg growing and to increase the biodiversity on campus, it would also be a nice place to sit and relax. I am also keeping a simple log, in a notebook on my desk, of the birds and insects that I see on site but it is amounting to a repetitive list of jackdaws, distant seagulls, pied wagtails and the odd hasty pair of goldfinches. By establishing insect friendly planting, hibernariums, fruiting plants, wild areas and simple habitats perhaps we can improve the number and range of species, an achievable goal we feel, especially in a college that sits amongst the fields and ditches of the beautiful Somerset landscape.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

The sounds of night.

Running to and from Calendar Girl's performances I finally find a moment to try to film a scene for Richard's Little Sweep Opera.

The brief, such as it was, was to film a night walk and it's a tricky balance between being dark enough to be visibly night but light enough to see anything at all on film. Also as the opera is set in a time before electric lighting, it was surprisingly hard to film a 5 minute walk without filming distant street lights or security lighting, even in rural Somerset.

I found a back lane behind Whitley farm at the edge of the village and walked quietly and steadily down towards, and then through, the wood and out onto the bottom road as the land levelled out onto the marshland before the flooded peat workings and the bird reserves. It's not often that I walk alone at night and I must do it more often. Aware that I was filming, and with perhaps slightly heightened senses, I could hear birds settling in for the night and as it got too dark to see beyond the trees around me I could hear the repetitive wheezy rhythm of flocks of geese flying overhead into their night-time roosting fields. Treading quietly over the gravely road and trying to keep a steady hold of the camera as I panned around towards the setting sun I could also hear the unmistakable calls of booming bittern dampened by the distance but clearly audible away over the reed beds.