And a recommended addition to your BBC iplayer downloads: - Franz, a story of two families struggling with the aftermath of WWI - this may may you weep but remains unpredictable right to the end.
This was a week when springtime became more visible, and hopes of real-time connections were enhanced by plans for a summer festival and band-dates in Frome, with Black Swan Arts hopeful of reopening soon, and the popular River House Cafe team leaving their premises on the bridge to join them there. The Frome Wildlife Watch group has been practically flooded with otters, now frequently spotted along the town river (video here from the phone of Oliver Wright) and the other major news this week was the siting of a White Tailed Eagle by member Julian (Bugsy) Hight - re-posted here with his permission - a bird not seen in England since 1810 when the last one was shot, but recently re-introduced to the Isle of Wight.This one seems to have decided that Longleat was a better residence - probably attracted by the number of ancient trees and wildlife in that estate. "Rewilding is happening in unexpected places" Bugsy reports encouragingly. Primarily known as the champion of Frome's trees, he's created on commission from the town council this short video to tell the story of Selwood's oaks. Oaks grow best in solitary positions: It's a popular misconception that Selwood Forest comprised dense thicket, as in fact 'forest' was the land the commoners lived on until hunt-mad William the Conquerer invented land ownership and claimed vast swathes for his deer. Nick Hayes' excellent Book of Trespass explains "Under Anglo Saxon rule these tracts of land were recognised as the vial source of subsistence for all peasants of the area ... commoners had rights not just to graze their cattle and pigs, but to take wood, dig peat and gravel, and fish the ponds. For the first time in English history, the commoners and their cattle were barred from the land they used. These areas became known as 'forest' from the Latin foris meaning outside of because they were areas that operated outside of common law." Next time you visit a stately home and wonder how the family came to own it, you can remind yourself that they just did what William did: they took it from the people who lived there.