Wild West Yorkshire nature diary

Trouble brewing

Thursday 6th April 2000
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BLUE SKIES; a Heron perches by the cherry blossom in a suburban garden in Ossett. I guess there's a goldfish pond not far away.

Peacock and Comma butterflies are out in the sun, a contrast to Monday's wintery weather.

cow parsleyground ivy Ground Ivy grows by the side of the lane. Its purple-blue flowers make a striking colour combination with the purple and green leaves of Cow Parsley. Ground Ivy, once known as Ale-hoof, was used to give beer a bitter flavour before the introduction of Hops in the

Talking of brewing, here's a story from my forthcoming book on Coxley Valley, to be published next month. It isn't recorded whether ale-hoof or hops were used.

In his diary, Oliver Heywood, a puritan, tells us that in 1681 Mr Armitage of Netherton (who was at that time in the Debtors’ Prison in York) had a mill re-located 'To ye great River Calder in Horbury.'

Malt was sent for brewing for the workmens’ celebration on the completion of the work. 'At first they drank quaffing cups. After they grew merry and fild a peck (9 litres!) with ale and agreed to drink it off a peece. Some of them are dead since that. O dreadful folly.'

pike The Land Rover has been dragged out of the canal. Floating further downstream is a Pike, about 16 inches long. It has a striped and spotted greenish camouflage. I didn't know there were pike in the canal, but it shouldn't be a surprise; there are plenty of Roach for them to feed on.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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