At last overnight frost has whitened the fields behind our cottage, and it feels as though winter has finally arrived. The old medieval field strips, still run as a market garden, are cold and uninviting. Only brussel sprouts are ready for picking, and there will be no other crops until the first potatoes are gathered in spring. Barren long plastic polytunnels used for early strawberries and bedding plants, are open to the elements, providing shelter and some food for blackbirds and robins. Amongst the already ploughed furrows, I can sometimes flush snipe in winter, but there are none again today, and I need to venture out onto the common to be certain of finding them.
I’m not exactly sure of the date of our cottage. Occupied by market gardeners for generations, it could date back 300 years, and our garden is a remnant of what was once a long field strip. Modern housing has gradually overtaken the old fields, and only old names like Long Acre echo the history of the place, clashing with manufactured and irrelevant modern ones. Such is progress.
From the cold fields, I return home via the farm shop to buy eggs. The farm dates back to 1870, originally selling fruit and vegetables in season, all of which would have been fresh and organic. Today’s offerings are mostly bought from wholesalers in Swansea, and could have come from anywhere in the world, and I know the colour of the yokes in the eggs I buy will not compare with those I knew as a boy. Such is progress.