Thursday, 23 January 2014
What's in a name?
Have you ever felt like the Universe is trying to tell you something? Over the last few weeks I have started to feel like I have the wrong name….I have received no fewer than 5 emails, all from unrelated people on unrelated subjects who, having written in my email address (which has my name in it) have then gone on to start the email ‘Dear Caroline…’. If this wasn’t bizarre enough I also received a Christmas card through my letter box from ‘neighbour’ (no name given) also wishing ‘Caroline’ a happy Christmas. So what to do? Find Caroline? I can only continue to sign my name Catherine in large letters and hope the universe backs off in its quest to rename me.
Now back in October, some students from Southampton University came to film a bushcraft event I was doing with children, for a film they were making about the National Trust’s scheme of ’50 Things to do before you’re 11 ¾’. If you haven’t heard of this scheme, look it up as its great fun and basically all about getting kids out the house and enjoying everything the outdoors has to offer – all free things that only require enthusiasm and imagination. I've found the adults seem to enjoy it just as much too.
Anyway the finished film was put up on YouTube this week and if you paste the following link into your internet address bar you can watch it. Myself and my colleague Ryan both feature in it from minute 6 onwards – we watched it between our fingers as I hate hearing what my voice sounds like and Ryan thinks he has a face for Crimewatch!
But putting aside our own insecurities it is a nice bit of filming and the students have done a good job of getting the message across so thanks to them for including us. One minor flaw – they got my name wrong! Not Caroline this time, but they have put me as Catherine Hadley (not Hadler) so now everywhere I go at work people are singing Spandau Ballet tracks at me….but hey, what’s in a name?
Now, on February 16th,17th, 22nd and 23rd, we are hosting a wild snowdrop walk, from the grounds here at Mottisfont. This walk takes people across our parkland and fields and into a private woodland off the beaten track where a beautiful secret lies hidden within. This woodland hosts a sea of wild snowdrops that carpet the floor and make you feel like you’ve wandered into Narnia. I walked the route the other day to check for any problems or tree damage after the storms and I was struck by artistic looking remains of this tree that I came across – it is literally the very outer shell of a tree, all that is left after years of decay and it has been smoothed by the wind and the rain until it resembles a undulating, flowing river of wood and bark.
I spent last weekend in the Isle of Wight doing Dormouse habitat work with PTES (People’s Trust for Endangered Species). This is an annual event and always good fun and a chance to see old faces again. This year managed to bring me a first for my adulthood, in the form of a real live wild red squirrel – the first I had seen since I was a child. We got a good look at it as it pirouetted its way through the trees above our heads and I was struck by how much lighter they move than their chubby grey counterparts. This red squirrel barely seemed to touch a branch when it skipped between them, whilst when you watch a grey leap into a branch it sways and wobbles.
The Isle of Wight has no grey squirrels, no deer (so no deer protection needed on coppiced woodland) and, due to their dislike of crossing water, no Tawny Owls! Now there’s a fact that might win you a pub quiz one day.