Chairmans Chat 2020

April

Hello all Country Linkers,

Spring is now here with the clocks going forward at the weekend and what a strange Spring it is. Every morning I wake up and think that this current situation has just been a bad dream – then reality hits me and I realise that the social distancing and self isolation is really happening and that I’m on my own and cannot meet any friends or go on group walks or trips.

We must count ourselves fortunate as most of us live in areas where we can still get out for decent walks with people we live with or our dogs. Whilst out walking last week in the beautiful, warm sunshine I noticed the lovely smell of newly cut grass and saw the woodland flowers – primroses, wood anemones, wood violets, celandine and the very tiny flowers of wild strawberries.

This week the weather has changed to very cold with northerly winds “blackthorn winter” which usually happens when British Summer Time begins.

After all the very wet weather we are able to get onto the fields at last and on the farm I have been working down the ground ready for drilling the spring crops. I’ve noticed that the soil has capped on the top, but is still very wet underneath.

Due to Coronavirus our Spring weekend in Buxton has been postponed until 2021 and will now take place on April 30th to May 2nd 2021. All the deposits are safe and will be kept by the hotel so that our booking is secured for next year.

Due to the current situation we all need to take extra care and hope that we all keep well and safe. During our enforced isolation maybe we can think of some new ideas for walks and trips when we eventually get back to normality.

Charles Humby - Chairman

If you are reading this and would like to know more about Country Link, please take a look at the programmes section on the website to see what sort of things we get up to. You are welcome to get in touch with your local club directly or use our contact form. If there's no club in your area, you are welcome to join in as a national member.

Country Link looks forward to hearing from you.

March

Hello all Country Linkers,

Having just experienced the wettest February on record, we are hoping that the weather forecasters are correct that March will be a drier month. For those of us who work outside February has been a nasty, cold and wet month and we've been glad to get home in the warm and dry to concentrate on indoor chores. The farmers who are fortunate enough to work on slightly lighter and drier land have been able to get on with chain harrowing and ploughing up corn stubbles.

Whilst out walking today, Sunday, 1st March, at Kingston Lacey in Dorset, we've enjoyed wonderful displays of daffodils, primroses, blue and white scillas and very early camelias.

Now is the time to get your nominations in for the National Committee members. Please send them to either Liz, the National Secretary or myself, the National Chairman. These need to be in by 20th March at the latest. If your Group Organiser's name or email contacts have changed, please, please let us know.

Charles Humby - Chairman

February

Hello all Country Linkers,

Well, February is here with the evenings drawing out and on a bright day, it is still light at 5pm. The harbingers of spring, the snowdrops and yellow aconites, are all in full bloom making our walks much more colourful. Daffodils are also blooming a full month early, a sign of global warming.

Our Wiltshire and East Somerset groups got together during a beautiful late afternoon in early January for a trip to the Somerset Levels to see the starling murmurations. What an incredible sight with hundreds of thousands of starlings flying in over the levels with different flocks merging together to make remarkable shapes and patterns in the evening sky. When the starlings eventually go to roost in the reed beds they turn the usual light brown colour of the reeds completely black.

If any of you are visiting other areas for a weekend away or are on holiday please be aware that you are perfectly entitled to visit other groups and join in with their activities. The only stipulation is that you contact the group organiser to say that you would like to join them.

As a result of the extremely wet field conditions this winter some farmers have not yet been able to get onto their land to plant their winter wheat. Hopefully, they will be able to drill before the end of the month or the crop will be unprofitable. If that happens then an alternative crop will have to be planted, i.e. spring barley, oats, peas or linseed. Now, most farmers should be ploughing and preparing the land for drilling the spring crops.

Finally, if any of you have not yet paid your annual subscription, please let your group organiser have the money as soon as possible, so that Lesley, our Treasurer, can balance the books.

Charles Humby - Chairman

January

Hello all Country Linkers,

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy and Peaceful New Year. I hope that you all had an enjoyable Christmas. December was a busy time for us with many meals out. Some of us joined the Cornwall group for their Christmas celebrations at the Pentire Head Hotel. An enjoyable weekend was had by us with the added bonus of dry weather with bright blue skies and plenty of sunshine, despite very windy conditions. Valda's partner, Martin took us on a cliff walk above the Fistral beach on Sunday morning, again in very high winds and managed to bring us all back to the hotel safely without losing anybody over the cliff edge, although one chaps hat did blow away. Thank you to Valda and Martin for organising a lovely weekend.

Here in Wiltshire we always have a post-Christmas celebratory meal as it breaks up a usually dull and empty time. We are looking forward to welcoming members from both Wiltshire and Somerset to our meal next Saturday, 11th January.

It was good to have a drier time for about a week just before Christmas to give the ground a chance to dry out a bit as everything is definitely well-watered!! I heard in the news that some farmers in Shropshire had to use 3 tractors to pull root harvesters to get mainly carrots out of the ground to cater for the heavy demand from the supermarkets just before Christmas. Unfortunately, this has caused soil compaction with resulting plough pans, which will ultimately reduce yields as the soil structure is ruined. Such is the greed of some supermarkets with complete disregard for nature.

Yesterday we were travelling in Somerset and saw the first signs of spring-daffodils were blooming on January 4th!!

Now that January is here it's time to plan our future events and look forward to booking holidays, not forgetting our May weekend in Derbyshire, details of which are on the website.

Charles Humby - Chairman

If you are reading this and would like to know more about Country Link, please take a look at the programmes section on the website to see what sort of things we get up to. You are welcome to get in touch with your local club directly or use our contact form. If there's no club in your area, you are welcome to join in as a national member.

Country Link looks forward to hearing from you.

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