The little park near our house, was granted to the people who live in the streets surrounding it, by the Duke of Buckingham 1n 1703. It is called the Grove and the deed, of which he was the chief signatory, makes special mention of "the trees there growing preserved for shade and not any of them to be cutt downe nor any building to be there erected." Three hundred years later, despite the storm of 1978, which felled many trees, and the introduction of a children's playground, it is still a place where trees rule. There is a continuing policy of replanting and the appearance, in the last few days, of a little cluster of three, new oak saplings is a reassuring sign that the Duke's wishes are being heeded three hundred years after his gift.
I wake this morning with Gerard Manley Hopkins' Pied Beauty on my mind:
"... for skies of couple colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh fire-coal chestnut falls; finches wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced - fold, fallow and plough;
And all trades, their gear, tackle and trim."
The other morning there were two layers of cloud. Low down and fast moving, a billow of dark grey smokey stuff; behind it and much higher, a bright stack of silvery, gold-lined cumulous standing out from patch of blue.