Andy (m31andy) wrote in urbandiary,

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Well, it’s 2006 and to celebrate the beginning of the month, herewith are the observations made by Edith Holden back in 1906 for the month of January.

Jan 1. New Years Day. Bright and cold with hard frost.
5 Great gale of wind and rain from the south-west.
11 Visited a small wood on the canal-bank, to get violet leaves. On moving away some of the dead leaves lying beneath the tree, I discovered a Wild Arum plant, thrusting it’s white sheath up from the soil. When I removed the outer covering, the pale yellow leaves with dark spots were quite discernable, rolled tightly round each other and beautifully packed away inside the white skin. I noticed that many of the leaf buds on the Elderberry bushes had burst into green.
12 Saw several Moorhens feeding on a newly ploughed field, not far from a pond.
14 Great gale of wind and rain.
18 Today I saw a curious Oak-Tree, growing in a field by Elmdon Park. From a distance it looked as if half of the tree were dead and the other have covered in glossy green leaves. On examination the main trunk and two of the main branches proved to be of a species of Oak that has mossy acorn-cups and large, deeply serrated leaves - leafless in winter. Growing out of the crown of the trunk and forming fully half of the tree was an Evergreen or Cork Oak in full foliage. The join in the trunks was scarcely perceptible.
Jan 23. Sharp frost and thick fog in the early morning. The fog cleared off about 9:30 am and the sun shone brightly. Went for a country walk. Every twig on every tree and bush was outlined in silver tracery against the sky, some of the dead grasses and seed vessels growing by the road-side were specially beautiful, every detail of them sparkling with frost crystals in the sunshine. I saw great flocks of Rooks and Starlings, down on the fields, and a pair of beautiful Bullfinches in a Hawthorn bush.
The Gorse was in blossom till within a week or two ago, but the sharp frosts have nipped off the bloom. The mild winter has brought out the Hazel catkins, wonderfully early, the small green flowers are fully expanded on some of the catkins and the pretty little red stars of the female flowers are appearing. The green leaves are out on the Woodbine too making little spots of green among the undergrowth.
Jan 26. The last few weeks our own and our neighbours’ gardens have been haunted by a very curious Robin. The whole of the upper plumage which in ordinary Robins is brown, shaded with olive green is light silvery grey in this bird, so that when flying about it looks like a white bird with a red breast. I hear it was seen about here last summer, it is so conspicuous it is a wonder it has not fallen a victim to somebody’s gun.
Jan 27. Primroses, Polyanthus, Winter Aconite, Mazereon and Snowdrops are all in flower in the garden. Every mild morning now the birds are singing and they continue more or less throughout the day.
Jan 29. Today I picked some Daisies in a field and saw some Yew in blossom. The young Nettles are shooting up and a number of herbaceous plants are shewing new green leaves, as Foxglove, Treacle Mustard, Ground Ivy, etc. The Groundsel is in flower too.
Ploughing and hedging-and-ditching are going on everywhere. This has been a wonderfully mild January.
Tags: country diary, holden, observations
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