Wednesday, 8 July 2020

A Wayleave Payment

Do you know about Wayleave?

Wayleave is a payment for having power cables or poles on or over your land in exchange for allowing the power company onto your land to work on the cables or posts

We first became aware of it at the smallholding where the high voltage power cables taking electricity from Sizewell Power Station passed over a corner of the meadow. Every year we would get letters from companies asking if we would like them to apply for a wayleave payment on our behalf.  Unfortunately we never got a penny because the person who owned the smallholding back in the late 1960s when the first power station was built accepted a one off lump sum payment!
What we did get twice a year was a magazine all about what National Grid were doing, their involvement with nature conservation and how they worked in co-operation with farmers around the country. Plus every now and again the regional Wayleave Officer would ring or visit to make sure everything was OK about allowing their staff on our land.

When we got the deeds to our house up the end of the lane I discovered among the ton of papers that we were entitled to a Wayleave payment for the pole and fixings in the corner of the garden and the wires that run over the hedgerow between the garden and the field, taking electricity across the fields to a distant farm.

This cheque arrived last week.

I can hear you thinking - "that's a handy amount" except that nowadays they only pay out small  amounts like this once every 10 years! .....So £5.50 a year ..........Wonder if I'll still be around in 10 years time?

Still a nice surprise.

I'm taking a few days off while family are visiting.
Back in a while

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

On the Red Hill ; Where Four Lives Fell into Place

 When I wrote about the long list for the  Wainwright prize for nature writing on June 9th, I said there was one that sounded interesting............. so I bought it. 

It was 'On the Red Hill' by Mike Parker

Wainwright Prize Nature Writing 

On the Red Hill is the story of Rhiw Goch, ‘the Red Hill’, and its inhabitants, but also the story of a remarkable rural community and a legacy that extends far beyond bricks and mortar. It is a story that celebrates the turn of the year’s wheel, of ever-changing landscapes, and of the family found in the unlikeliest of places.

I like reading about parts of the country I know and the small town of Machynlleth is a place we often visited whenever we went to The Centre for Alternative Technology which is just a few miles from the town.

 This is a story of a house in the hills outside of Machynlleth and the two people who owned it before passing it to the author and his partner.

 In 2016 Mike Parker and his partner Peredur were witnesses at the civil partnership of their elderly friends Reg and George, the first to be held in the Welsh town of Machynlleth. A few years later when Reg and George died within weeks of each other Mike and Peredur found that Rhiw Goch had been left to them. Mike has put this book together using George's diaries and photographs and Reg's paintings and notes and the memories of people who knew them. This fascinating book is a look at how life for gay couples has changed in 60 years and how the year turns in a quiet beautiful part of North Wales.

There was one paragraph that resonated for me ...........Silence is as rare and precious a commodity as a truly dark sky, and only more so today. Almost no one, even in the countryside, is free of the hiss of traffic somewhere in their soundscape, the starkest proof of our Faustian pact with the car. I know that the irony verges on hypocrisy, for living at Rhiw Goch makes us painfully dependent on driving, but the divine absence of road noise here is the luxury I'd find hardest to give up.

That's just how I feel about this house. As the quiet country roads near the smallholding gradually got busier we (well me usually)  often wondered if there was anywhere left in Suffolk where you couldn't hear constant traffic in the distance. This house up the end of the lane is one of those rare places. That's one reason I will be sad to leave when the time comes.

I enjoyed On The Red Hill - a really good well written story.

Back Tomorrow

Monday, 6 July 2020

It's All About Basil

The common name for Basil might come from the Greek word for King -   Basileus. In some countries it was valued highly and in others thought of as evil and in some old herbals it was thought basil could turn into scorpions- Strange what people thought hundreds of years ago.

Back in early smallholding days, when I grew herbs to sell at the Suffolk Smallholders show, I often grew different sorts including Purple Ruffles and Large Leaf Lettuce basil. Basil is supposed to be a good companion plant for tomatoes so always planted out into the polytunnel beds - it did well there.

 This year my basil seeds failed to germinate - twice - so (when I eventually remembered ) I bought a pot of basil from Morrisons for £1 and took lots of cuttings, put them in water and hoped for roots.

(The pegs around the edge aren't pegging the cuttings to the jar, just there to lodge the cuttings so they don't fall right into the water.) Every few days I stood the jar in the sink and ran in some fresh water.
The leaves I took off the cuttings before putting them in water were dried in the microwave on a bit of kitchen roll, then crunched up and stored in a jar.

For ages they didn't seem to be doing anything but eventually the cuttings produced some good roots

Only one cutting failed to root and the others have now been potted up into compost to grow on and hopefully give me plenty more to use fresh and dry for winter.

Thanks to everyone for comments on Saturday.
Back Tomorrow