By Neil Ansell
Neil Ansell spent 5 years residing among the again of past and the center of nowhere, on his personal, without electrical energy, fuel or water and successfully purely the natural world round him for corporation. His dilapidated cottage, rented for GBP100 in keeping with yr, is so uncovered to the weather that apparently to rain uphill, and so distant that you should stroll for twenty miles west with no seeing a unmarried different living. because the years cross he feels himself dissolving into, and changing into, simply one other a part of the panorama.
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Extra info for Deep Country: Five Years in the Welsh Hills. Neil Ansell
Twenty-one strokes to the right, and twenty-one strokes to the left. There has been a dry spell, so it makes good sense to saw as many logs as possible while I am here, to split them and shed them before they have a chance to get wet. With the weather here so unpredictable it is reassuring to have several weeks’ wood in reserve in the woodshed; a backlog. As I sit preparing my chainsaw I see that the swallows have built their nest in the porch; I reach in and run my finger around the smooth mud lining.
I first saw the female from my window beating her way up the hillside close to the edge of the wood, in a flight that was utterly distinctive and quite unlike the hawk’s normal dash. Her wingbeats were slow and measured and she was just four or five feet above the ground; she looked like she had all the time in the world. Her tail was fanned almost like that of a hovering kestrel, and as she flew she rose and fell, undulating like a woodpecker. When she reached the corner of the wood she turned sharply and proceeded along its top edge, and a few minutes later, in a shaft of sunlight, she reappeared from around the bottom again, preceded by a little flock of panicking redwings.
This ash tree grew straight out of the rock of my quarry wall; it never seemed to have enough leaves and looked as though it might come crashing down at any time. But it never did. Pied wagtails had tucked themselves away in the drystone wall that separated my garden from the track. This is a bird whose nest is notoriously hard to find; the feeding birds would land on a rock some distance away, their beaks stuffed with insects, their tails bobbing, then scurry along the track in the lee of the wall to throw predators off the scent.