|Poldark country was hot, hot, hot! Could those be Bee-eaters flying bottom right?|
I have been watching Poldark on Sunday evenings – I know, I know – not really my choice, honest! Anyway, I have been really very entertained by the seasons that apparently took place in those long gone days. Let me explain.
Virtually every time anyone takes off along the coast for a walk or ride, (which is quite often as the scenery is so stunning!), I can definitely hear the soft, liquid “prruup, prruup" call of Bee-eaters in the background. Now, I know that a pair caused great excitement by breeding on the Isle of Wight last year, but in these days gone by they were obviously as common as Herring gulls in Cornwall! There appears to have been colony after colony nesting along the full length of the cliff tops. What an amazing sight it must have been!
In last Sunday’s episode, a young lad set off to try and poach some local Pheasants, which appeared to me a slightly strange time to be doing this activity, as the meadows were in full flower, but perhaps I'm nit-picking now. Well, to cut a long story short, he was caught and was sent hurriedly off to Truro to be tried in front of the courts. Why the rush? Well, the owner of the land where he was caught poaching wanted to get to the local hunt meet on time. Surely not, hunting in what appeared to be high summer with Bee-eaters calling all around, crumbs winters were incredibly mild.
But wait, as Poldark galloped into Truro to try to save this wayward youth from a prison sentence, what could I hear screaming away in the background, but Swifts! Nowadays, these birds arrive in late May and have left our shores again by August, but they were obviously still happily hanging around when the hunting and shooting season had got under-way in those days. Wow, Cornwall obviously used to have a positively African climate!!
Finally, I was a little disappointed to see that they cultivated Cornflowers even back then. The maid collected a fist full of those horrible “pom-pom” type Cornflowers, when surely the fields must have been full of the real deal, which are so much better on the eye. Personally, if I had been her master, I would have sent her back out to get the proper naturally grown flowers from amongst the corn.
Maybe, on reflection though, I suppose if the seasons were so array in those days, perhaps natural Cornflowers did not flower until February!
NB. Note to the BBC. If you would like to employ me on a smallish retainer, I would be most happy to advise the programme on such background matters!