• Brampton gets it’s mojo back – 2014 Fete

    Brampton Fete 2014 - at Low Farm
    Brampton Fete 2014 – at Low Farm

    So that’s it then. The end of August and the Brampton Fete of 2014 has brought Summer to a close. A day of traditional games, tombola, tea and cake, hot dogs, welly wanging – all as it should be in the village. Some things are timeless and the village fete is certainly one. Almost a tribal gathering with the opportunity to renew acquaintances and to relax whilst the weather thankfully favoured us.

    It takes effort from many people to set it all up. We must thank Jill and Andrew, who so kindly agreed to their grounds being taken over for a day, as well as extending gratitude to all the marquee erectors, sign painters, plant growers, tea and cake makers, barbecuers, stall providers, face painters, beer sellers, washer-uppers, grass mowers, welly wangers, removal men, raffle sellers and ticket folders and all of those who attended the event for making the Fete such fun.

    Brampton has got its Mojo back. Now we start planning for next years fete – so please put 29th August 2015 in your diaries


  • Roe in gold

    It is one if those fine Summer mornings. The barley looks fit and will be ready for harvest soon, the wheat is still green but is on the turn. The ghostly crop marks of the Roman Town are showing themselves in the wheat for that short period before they disappear in a smear of gold as the crop matures. A Barn Owl weaves it’s way amongst the dappled shadows of the trees along the old railway line. As the dogs and I walk up to our turning point we become the focus of attention of a sole Roe Doe. Her ears in sharp v-shaped relief against the white gold of the barley in which she stands. It is not until we haves turned and are at least fifty yards distance, and moving away, that I see her relax and continue browsing in the golden morning.

  • The asylum of Cuckoos

    One of the four gathering in the Brampton asylum
    One of the gang of four gathering in the Brampton asylum

    In the first place it was Andrew’s desire to actually see and not just hear a Cuckoo that made me keep my eyes peeled. The occasion was the Village Barbecue – a gathering of neighbours, which this year was to be held on Geoff and Helen’s ground. Their garden has an enviable location, lying snugly along the western edge of the grazing marshes known as Brampton Common. The Common itself is a wildlife highway. The focus of movement is the route of the clear, slow flow of the River Bure. It seems that much wildlife migration, whether local or international, follows this line.

    It was across the Common or at least on electricity cables which cross it, that the Cuckoos gathered. Not just one Cuckoo but, as our eyes adjusted and binoculars were gathered an as we watched four Cuckoos grouped on the cables. Each would call from time to time. Almost in turn they swooped down intermittently in what must have been the pursuit of some hatching insect. Some food item had drawn their attention and collected them together.

    I attempted to photograph the event with the camera which I had to hand. Grainy images were all I could muster. Some provided a recognisable silhouette, others merely proved that “bird sits on wire”.

    what we saw was a rare event and certainly as far as I am concerned, unseen before now. My original theory that it was a pre-migration gathering (although a little too early in the year) has since been disproven as Cuckoos have continued to call locally all the way through to the end of June.

    it was solely down to that helpful combination of gatherings, a food source and many pairs of eyes. That goes for those at the barbecue and those birds on a wire.

  • Scent

    The scent of Woodbine or Wild Honeysuckle is a glorious assault on the sense of smell. Conditions have to be right. Warm damp mornings, just as the sun warms up the flowers are best. To walk through the fugitive cloud if scent is the very essence of June.

  • The first day of June

    The morning of 1st day of June and Brampton is at its verdant best. Last week, a period of showers and occasional sun drew out out the first crop of Mayflies, But now a blue cloudless sky only serves to highlight the rich green of the oak and ash trees which border the old railway line, where Speckled Wood butterflies bask on leafy branches. On the Town Field the wheat is in ear and nearby the allotment gardens are near fully planted. The growing Sunflowers are leaning towards a warming morning sun.

    In the garden the air resounds with the feeding calls of newly fledged Blackbirds and Blue Tits. In order to sustain a nest full of hungry young the Barn Owl hunts constantly over the grazing marshes. The meadows carry a golden cloudy glow with the flowers of thousands of buttercups. The lanes and verges are brim full of Cow Parsley and Red Campion.

  • Surrounded by Swallows

    A warm Sunday morning in Spring and we are surrounded by Swallows. Walking through the Long Meadow amongst grazing horses, the Swallows swoop and hawk for insects around us. Skimming along just above ground level, their blue-black backs looking polished and glistening in the early sunshine. Their beaks close with an audible snap as they scoop insects. We stand and watch, almost mesmerised.

  • Summer fruit

    Late Summer. The cherry trees promised much. But the Thrushes have got there first. In an early raid they stripped the berries from the garden cherries in a frenzied feast. The wild cherries in the hedgerows do not seem to have much left either. It takes time to get your eye in for spotting the wild cherries and they are often later than the garden varieties, so there is hope yet.

  • Dog day Swifts

    As the village basks in the dog days of Summer, the grass of the Common takes on a tawny hue. Looking up, Swifts wheel and swoop around the cottage roofs. They gather in flocks at height and then descend in pairs or small groups, shattering the air with their screaming calls. There is a rushing sound of air as they brake and turn in front of their nest sites in the cottage roofs. We try to count them in the warm evenings but their speed and sudden changes in direction defy us.

  • A Brampton centenary

    This weekend we celebrated a birthday – the hundredth birthday of the largest musical instrument in the village, the Church pipe-organ. Built by the Norwich firm of Norman & Beard, the organ was originally dedicated in March 1913 with an organ recital by Frank Hill overseen by the incumbent Rector, V C A Fitz Hugh and Canon De Chair. With slightly less formality, the centenary was celebrated on a midsummer Saturday with a concert given by the Nonsuch Singers directed by Dominic Vlasto with Alex Little providing organ accompaniment and recital. The church was packed. It will be hard to beat the relaxed enjoyment of the event which included such an eclectic mix of Bach, Mozart, readings such as James I’s diatribe against the evils of Tobacco and the tongue-twisting spoonerisms of Cinderella (“Rinder-Cella”). The evening culminated in a wine and sandwich supper at the Old Rectory thanks to William and Jenny Youngs. An event to remember.

  • A June Otter

    Otters have a habit of putting in an appearance when you least expect them. It may be their natural inquisitiveness. This morning’s Otter was a case in point. All four of us were walking upstream on the Common. As usual there were several conversations going on at once, and whilst our attention was diverted, the Otter surfaced for a few seconds before submerging and leaving a trail of bubbles as it disappeared. But that few seconds was enough. We had been Otter-less, or at least lacking in sightings, for a few months. Perhaps they were not in the area or maybe they were keeping a low profile whilst rearing young. Now they were back. All we need to do is to not expect to see them, not worry about how much noise we make and then we should see them again.

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