Monday, November 13, 2006

green town, moving animals, abutilon

Tunbridge Wells, where I live, is rated, I see, as one of the UK's greenest towns. It comes third after Norwich and Peterborough.

Transhumance means the seasonal movement of livestock. I like the word because it evokes the way civilisations create regular patterns of life, which affect, and become part of, geography and history. I came accross the word in today's paper, where there was an account of farmers driving a flock of sheep through the centre of Madrid to protest against the erosion of ancient routes and grazing rights, some of which go back 800 years.

The white abutilon in the garden has been in flower since July and its white cup-shaped flowers with yellow centres have never looked better than today.


tristan said...

the sheep drive is an annual event for the drovers re-assert their ancient rights of way

i think you'll find a vivid description of some drovers in pritchett's "marching spain"

Unknown said...

Thanks for that. I first came across the term "transhumance" when I had my foot up with a broken ankle, a few years ago, and read a massive history called The Mediterranean by Fernand Braudel. He brilliantly describes the movement of people and animals between plains and mountains, cities and rural areas. And you seem to see it speeded up as in a movie.

Kate Thornton said...

I have often absently tapped strangers, bidding them to "Come on, Hon, it's time to go!" only to find my husband with a puzzled look on his face across the room and a tolerant stranger under my hand. But all you wonderful men seem so similar in shops...!

Unknown said...

Perhaps weshould wear labels.