Dear Giles,

Yesterday's hour or so at the allotment was a mixed bag indeed. Much of the plot is in raised boxes making the task easier, giving me a real sense of progress as I tame it back and limiting the net amount of work I have to do.

But at the end of the plot, the opposite end to my shed is a rough bit of ground with three trees standing there. I have started to clear that bit of ground slowly but it is not proving as easy as I might hope.

Last week I cleared part of it and have planted some flowers in the hope of drawing in some colour to the browns and greens of the earth and hedgerow. Yesterday I tackled the upper half of the scrub ground. And in little time I discovered why it has stood untended. The volume of broken glass, pottery and assorted rubbish is quite impressive and taking time. But further, the weeds and their roots. I spent a thorough hour just turning the soil with my fork and then manually lifting shaking the roots from the earth so I can keep the soil and dispose of the weeds.

The ground certainly looked better yesterday morning when I left it. But the best output of this was the animation that followed. As I paused in the turning of the soil and went back to the shed the activity that flew down to the earth was a joy to behold. I appear to have a robin, some sparrows, a pair of blackbirds and more.

They are territorial, brave and confident. The robin is increasingly personal and gets very close - we are within inches of meeting and touching. The blackbirds are more nervous but more determined to get to the worms first. Other birds seem to be just interested in my more commercial 'fat balls' I hang from the trees.

Of a more hidden or nocturnal nature are the foxes - lots of talk but no direct evidence yet if foxes - but more obvious, larger and perhaps more worrying is a badger. I have assumed male but no evidence for that either, but clearly curious - he has got into the shed, opened up my compost bin and generally stomped around the allotment. This grubbing and snuffling is significant and so I have taken some measures to close off the fence from the river and try and limit him capacity for getting in and around. Not least because I am trying to give some space and succour for the hedgehogs that used to proliferate but I suspect, due to the Badger Set no longer do...

More to follow my friend, more to follow. Regards to my cousin Robert.

I am always, your good friend,

Edward

(Footnote: Robert Bloomfield was a successful poet of the early 19th century, born in Suffolk, a farm boy himself, before going to London to work as a shoemaker and where he found great success as a poet. His success was builder on his account of the years of a Farmers Boy: Giles. Ed Fordham, is distantly related to Robert Booomfield, and knows well and fondly the local villages of Suffolk, places of Bloomfield's youth).