FOR A HEARTBEAT SPRING INTO SUMMER, BUT WATCH YOUR STEP
A car turned into Nethermill Cottages cul-de-sac and stopped. Two women got out and peered into the telephone box. Thinking they might be thinking it had a phone in it I said “Hello and can I help?”. “No thank you, we are fine”, they said, “We are doctors from Spain and we noticed the red box. We are fascinated and very impressed that you have a defibrillator like this” They had never seen this before and thought it was a great idea. They took pictures of each other against the box to take back home from their “wonderful trip around Scotland”. It tickled me to think there will be some holiday snaps of the Aberargie phone box whizzing around Spain when they get home!
Cath Latham has been wielding her spade and created a little wild flower meadow around the Nethermill Cottages name sign next to the benches. Where the soil is already poor she scraped off the turf and raked in sand and “Seeds of Hope” wild flower mix. This will add to the floral cheerfulness begun by Jane and Willie around The Well, continued in the two plant troughs by the benches and in the daffodils around the green. We enjoy the colour but of course the real benefit is to our insects and through the summer.
If you would like to create your own Wild Flower Meadow do ask Cath for some seeds (Aberargie FB page) and if you think it would be nice to have more/another wild flower meadow somewhere about do let us know. With the lack of flowering crops around our insects, small mammals, and swallows and house martins etc etc need the flowers we plant more and more!
I really did not want to write this next bit – but .... needs must;
Also making Aberargie a nice place to live is Helena and her heroic poop stations. Some people maybe think this is a council provision - let me remind you – it is not. Out of the goodness of her heart, and her own purse, Helena places dog poop bags at strategic places in case a dog walker is caught out without a bag when their dog poops, and she put the poop bin beyond where the council men would uplift from making it even easier to poop, pick up and bin it.
Helena, who doesn’t even have a dog, then hauls the stinky sack of poops from the poop station to the council collection point every two weeks. Hooray for Helena!!
This enables us all to enjoy the view and the sky when walking, not to have to watch our feet all the time. Great.
I call it our Doggie Dootie; if you buy a dog, you buy dog food and you buy bags to put its poop in.
Why is there still an issue?
I know that sometimes we head out and have forgotten to pop a poop bag in our pocket when we put the pooch on a lead – (someone should put that to music) - that’s what Helena’s stations are for – for when we forget. But it seems that some people are still walking away from their dog’s poop and some people are taking advantage of Helena’s generosity and are not bothering to take their own bags at all and are even lifting whole rolls of the bags, not just the one they need!! So she is putting more and more out.
So ... now that you know that this admirable provision is not out of your Council Tax but from Helena’s generous pocket – I am suggesting that we all a) pay attention to our Doggie Dootie and b) occasionally put a roll in one of the dispensers or, c) even put a pack of rolls in the telephone box as a contribution to the system.
The sheep that were mentioned in the winter newsletter page munched all the swedes and turnips and were taken away. Now the crop sown after them is greening and growing up. The landowner has removed another area of bio-diversity by filling in the ditches toward the railway line. Lets hope the frogs and newts dug their way out. While one understands the urge to make profit out of every metre of ground it is a shame to witness “nature” being edged further and further out locally. Last year we watched with sadness the loss of a much loved walk on the west side of the Farg. A two acre sand quarry that was dug and abandoned in the 1980’s developed an incredible diversity over just a few decades. Dropping down beside the bridge over the Farg we enjoyed walking through this little patch of evolving nature. Grasses and fescues blew in, quickly settling in the sandy soil. Through the seasons the flowers were delightful from tiny vetches, marigolds and ox-eyed daisies to the flame coloured Fox And Cubs (Pilsella aurantiaca), rosebay willow herb and butterbur gave shelter along the riverbank. Latterly in the summer a fine patch of acid yellow evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) gave the bees a nice supper. Shrubs of willow and alder created secret spaces, saplings of birch and pine were providing all sorts of habitat. Birds - willow warblers, robins, wren, tits of every hue, sparrow, dunnock and skylarks fluttered about. Bats flitted across in the evening. The ground water pond at the lowest level encouraged a population of newts, frogs and toads. Rabbits dug burrows in the slopes encouraging passing fox and badger to nose around. It was here I saw the beaver dive into the river. We enjoyed this quiet area where dogs could have a scurry about safe away from the busy track. But through 2021 the topsoil from the whisky bond shed site was trucked across to fill in the pit. Now all that diversity is gone beneath a desert of grain. We try not to think if the skylarks will survive the spraying of weed and insect killers.
Finally, finding we had some money left over from the project, a table is now completing the phone box square – so we look forward to more outdoors togetherness.
If you have an idea for a community project’ there are lots of funding bodies wanting to give money to community projects. Put any ideas on the Facebook page or a note on the notice board, or written on a note through Helena’s door (No 4 N’mill Cottages) or mine at No1 N’mill Cottages.
And if you want me to write about a local issue for you in a future newsletter – let me know.