Ponderings from the Polytunnel

These are short musings inspired by creation around me. Their intention is to help you engage with the natural world by relating it, in some way, to current events and to the human experience. During the first national lockdown response to the global pandemic 2020, I was asked to write something for a newsletter. The ‘ponderings’ have subsequently taken on a life of their own. They are meant to be thoughtful and uplifting. I hope you find them so. Here’s one I prepared earlier!

No Kidding!

In a small seaside town, a group of kids are causing trouble. They roam the streets in gangs; sometimes terrorising, often vandalising. Helpless residents nervously pull back curtains with trembling hands to gaze upon the havoc wreaked. Oh, the things their eyes have seen! The untold horrors! The trouble makers are a well-known group of local lads from up the hill. A wild bunch – Hill Billies you might say – and nobody can stop them. It’s not just youngsters behind hooded woollies causing the mayhem. Whole families are confident and bullish as they move in on new turf. Irresponsible adults show their kids how to decimate a garden, leave their calling card at the traffic lights, and butt their way through the local superstore. No garden is safe! They trash the streets, lounge on the beach and even disrespect sanctified ground. They lavishly break all social etiquette and flaunt the law. Yes, the renegade goats of Llandudno are having a wonderful time while human beings bemoan their incarceration!

This pretty town on the north coast of Wales is nestled between two limestone peninsulas – the Little Orme and the Great Orme. The wild Kashmiri goats are usually content to live on the Great Orme, only taking a trip into town in stormy weather or for essentials – you know, essentials such as, dining out on prize winning cultivated rose bushes! When it went so quiet during the first national lockdown 12 months ago, they decided to take a closer look at how the other half live. It seems they’ve found their Nevada and have no intention of climbing back up that giant hill! By in large, their antics have delighted and entertained but a problem has recently come to light. Every year the goats are given contraceptive injections to manage their numbers. Due to the pandemic, they didn’t receive them last year and the population is growing. They’re also roaming further than they’ve ever done before (as far as 2 miles), and there are concerns that they might set up home in ‘Newfoundland’.

No social distancing for these boys queueing outside the barbers! Photo: Brian Lane

Climb every mountain or wall. Photo: Andrew Stuart
Synchronised hedge trimming. Photo: Andrew Stuart


Now, here’s a sentence I never thought I’d write – I quite envy the goats of Llandudno! They’re free to go where they want, meet who they please and ‘be goat’. There have been reports from around the world of animals exploring these strange habitations we call towns and cities, making the most of our inactivity. Like them, we too have an innate curiosity; a need to venture and explore, to see and try new things. But it’s been supressed for the last year. Oh, for a map, a flask of tea and the wind in our hair!! With childlike curiosity, we can at least explore the micro worlds at our fingertips; leaves, spider webs, morning dew on the grass.  I am so grateful for them.  I don’t know about you but as soon as I can, and with the exclusion   of their rather anti-social activities, I plan to be more goat – no kidding!

Has anyone else gone to seed?

 I do marvel at seeds. Little knobbly, insignificant and sometimes plain weird looking, pockets of life. Nothing to look at with so much potential! This year seems to have been one of sitting in the furrow, with not much going on – other than a world wide pandemic! Nothing else to do but sit in the cold, damp soil, biding time, waiting for the right conditions to come along for us to get going again. Those times will definitely come. They always do, no matter how long the winter seems. If you’re feeling a bit like a seed right now – perhaps a bit knobbly around the edges – that’s perfectly understandable. But just remind yourself; you’re full of life and potential and, in the same way that seeds are a source of shelter, provision and protection for the little critters out there, so can you be to those you know around you.  

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