Someone please turn the wind off though. The prevailing direction is from the West as it sweeps down the estuary and funnels through Oakdale between the taller buildings, making tatters out of the builders' flags and giving our mountain ash (rowan) tree a rakish eastward slant. Oakdale offers shelter and protection to our Scot's pine though. It must be much less exposed now it's not on hole No. 8 of the golf course. I am hoping to see a lot more bats around it this year than last as we've had a much better Spring and I also want to put up a bird box that we bought in memory of my Uncle Tom, who worked for the Forestry Commission up in Yorkshire and whose visits were a highlight of our childhood in Malvern, when he would give us piggy backs up the hills. This was completely in keeping with his kind and generous spirit, as I have three sisters (so four children to carry in turn) and we lived on North Hill, which is very steep. Anyway, 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' is soon going to be part of our garden and we hope that we get our own nest of house martins, swifts or swallows this year, like lots of the other houses in Oakdale did. They moved in sooner than the humans in many cases and have been returning to their favourite gables ever since.
Our latest arrivals are four tadpoles in the Belfast sink in the back garden. It started out as a herb planter, not a pond, but weather conditions prevailed and we gave in to the inevitable, let it silt up and settle and waited for the aquatic plants to blow in. The tadpoles came from the overflow pond on the Oakdale Meadow, where there are thousands. They are also glad of a drop of rain as it was drying out. Sadly, the edges of the pond have been used for fly tipping. If you are interested in helping to manage the green spaces in and around Oakdale, get in touch as we are talking to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust about this as a possible community venture.