I haven't had a rant for a while. So sitting here looking out over sunlit green pastures with sheep walking from one field to another, swallows flitting from one phone wire to another and Postman Pat bringing me my latest e-bay purchase of Meccano green string (don't ask), I just felt I had to moan about something. And then bingo! This photograph is typical of the lanes around here, old drovers roads dropping down into the Welland Valley that have wide verges that in May suddenly cloud over with billows of white Cow Parsley. Or Cow Parsnip, Queen Anne's Lace, Keck or just Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). All of which means absolutely nothing to the local council, who as I blog have sent a man out on a tractor to mow it all down. And not only that, to poison the road edges with a weedkiller that leaves virulent yellow bands down the lanes like a badly-painted parking restriction. So why do they do this. It's that wretched Health & safety mentality again, the crass thought that it's only safe to drive down roads if there's 100% visibility. The same ignorant thinking that gives us the appalling excrescences of giant road signs and digital wagging fingers. Why don't councils realise that if motorists can't see round the corner they'll slow down. And if they don't it's their own stupid fault. Perhaps they should uproot all the hedges. And those trees are a distinct menace. In fact there's far more of a distraction and danger from running into the back of an unpredictable tractor and mower wandering about on the road edge. There. That's it. Back to looking at those sheep.
I am a writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)