Tuesday, 7 August 2018

View from the East Yorkshire Wolds, near Enthorpe.

12 x10 inch, oil on canvas.
The weather forecast is for a change, from this wonderful, prolonged hot weather to cooler days and, worryingly for the harvesting farmers, a strong likelihood of rain. Consequently, the Wolds farms are harvesting in earnest before any rain arrives. Driving along the narrow roads near South Cave, I find I am heading for Goodmanham. The road climbs and reaches a high point near Enthorpe. A feature at this time, is to see, unusually, as one drives along, that the five bar gates, leading to the fields are open. This indicates activity, specifically the intense harvesting. The combines are working flat out. I have seen green ones and yellow ones, some ancient and some very modern. They all make slow, deliberate linear progress creating clouds of dust in their wake. Close observation reveals tractors, parked, still, waiting .. they are ready to respond and move in quickly, towing the high sided grain trailers which will be fed from the combine's swing arm dispenser. Then the tractors race back to the storage facility before returning .. to take up their position again. All machinery seems to be utilised in this harvesting endeavour  and I notice an ancient, small red tractor parked in a distant corner of a field. 

I think of a nephew who liked seeing a red   t r a c t  o r  when, as a small boy he visited D'reen.

As I drive along I spot a promising field opening. It reveals pale golden stubble; so, this field has been harvested. Along one side is a copse providing shade from the 32 degree sun as well as sheltering me from the strong breeze. I inspect the entrance, and yes, I can drive into the field without damaging the car. Though I have some slight reservations, will a passing farmer object?  I quickly set up, the view is wonderful. I am high up looking east,  to the coast. The field I am in is huge and rolling. It links to distant fields, which become light ribbons of fading colour. The horizon is paler and hardly distinct from the sky. I decide to paint the horizon higher than usual, to emphasize the huge cropped field in which I am standing. As I paint, I realise that I like this place, a special place, it has it's own manicured beauty. Farmers with full trailers,  now pass regularly on the nearby road. They smile and wave  greetings from their high tractor cabs. I need not have worried. I think they are getting to know me and realise I am harmless. Being here is like being on top of the world, or I guess the Wolds. The scale of the work to collect the harvest, is staggering. It is a busy time for all the farmers. As I paint I hear a rustling behind me. I ignore it and continue to paint. Then, as I paint, I become aware of a movement to my right. It is a beautiful deer. It is now just standing, very close, looking... at me, looking at it. I keep still and it stays a few moments then turns, showing a white rump as it walks away. Yesterday, walking near Millington I was lucky to see a stoat. It was moving in jumps and starts, dancing and sinuous, before suddenly stopping as it became aware of me. It stood on it's rear legs, clear of the recently trimmed verge showing its white front and pointed head. 
For a brief moment it was like an Ernest H Shepard illustration from Wind in the Willows and it made me smile. I packed up and noticed that the distant view had now changed, the weather is already getting cooler. I drove to the Pipe and Glass at South Dalton, had a light drink and wandered through their wonderful herbarium garden.

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