Posted: 10 March 2022
The plan for today was to get out early in the morning to carry on with the work, started yesterday, to clear the dyke. The weather was perfect and I was at work just after 09:00. I was so keen to get on with the work that I forgot to take a photograph before starting so the first image here was taken after I'd cleared a further yard of the dyke.
Perhaps it was the fact that I was fresh after a good night's sleep, but unlike yesterday afternoon I didn't need to take the constant breaks I did then. By 10:40 I had reached my target for the morning session, roughly half of the remaining distance. I took two more photos showing how much had been done and how far there still was to go.
If the second of these photos is to be believed you can see I had made impressive progress since taking the photo ninety minutes earlier!
Peter, from next door, came to see how I was getting on and offered, as he had done a couple of years beofre, to supply a plank to use as a bridge to save having to walk the long way round, via the road, to his side of the dyke but worried that it would be difficult for him to bring for me as these days he uses a wheeled walking frame, I was able to tell him that I could supply my own.
During the conversation I told him that I had seen what I can only think was a water vole a little earlier. It was in the area where I took photographs of two holes in the bank in 2014. All I saw was an oval of rust brown fur, just the right size for a water vole. It moved directly across the dyke away from me to disappear into the vegetation on the opposite side and was out of sight within a second of me noticing it. Reading up on voles it seems I should have noticed a distinctive "plop" as it entered the water, but I did not. But that is hardly surprising as there was insufficient depth of water for it to make a sound like that. In any case, rather than water, the dyke might better be described as containing near-fluid ooze and not water at all.
I did take a break as there were other things to be done and once I did get out again, well after lunch, I found myself in much the same state as I had been yesterday afternoon. My work rate had definitely slowed, so I put in little more than half an hour figuring I'd finish the job tomorrow when I was feeling fresh again.
However, I did have an excuse. It was genuinely a little harder work, because the land gets slightly higher the nearer you get to the house. That means you have to reach further and stoop lower to bring up the weed that you drag from the dyke. It's only an inch or so but it seems to make a difference. At least it does when you're not as young as you once were!
It was also a shame that I couldn't replicate the angle of the earlier photograph. The sun had come round so my own shadow fell on the tree. I had move further back to get the shadow to fall lower on the tree, then adjust the zoom and hold the phone out over the dyke to miss my shadow. It was pleasing to get the shot looking even vaguely similar.