tearing down the sheds has revealed a lovely view to the north of my garden. you can see Field Dalling Hall there amongst the trees in the distance, and if it had been clearer today you could have seen the top of the church tower as well.

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however, the rebuilt sheds will block this out, as well as winds from the north and north west. I will have a couple of windows, but we are planting a hedge along the boundary, so unless I am allowed to cut a window in the hedge too, I will lose the view eventually. the co-owner of the boundary lives in a house which overlooks this meadow and he needs the trees we are removing to be replaced by some sort of landscaping. Peter and Alan hired a mini-digger on Friday and cleaned up the ground behind the sheds.

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I have a group of pots sitting outside in the sun and breeze (August’s last day is very warm and humid) to dry for a biscuit firing. they are all made with the pale clay and most have porcelain overlay. humidity has been high all week although we have not had any rain, and the pots have been drying unexpectedly slowly.

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the combed lines on these pots are beginning to remind me of the decoration on old African pots or carvings. I suppose this should be no surprise since I recently bought “For Hearth and Altar”† a beautiful book on African Ceramics from the Keith Achepohl Collection by Kathleen Bickford. the shapes are vaguely totem-like as well.

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I hope to have a biscuit firing and then a glaze firing this week, before the new pitched and tiled roof goes on the sheds. I am keeping my double corrugated tin roof, with its sandwich of rock wool insulation, over the kiln; but there will be a stainless steel duct wrapped in ceramic fibre to take the heat from the chimney to the gable end rather than through the roof, and I may not get this for a little while.

while the harvest is in, due to the dry week we have just had, (although many farmers cut the wheat very damp and have had to spend a fortune drying it; it wasn’t dry enough until four or five in the afternoon most days) I am hoping for more dry for the shed building. tomorrow two of the five sycamore trees will be cut down, and from Tuesday things should be progressing with some speed. there is the concrete floor to lay, with the rest of the posts in, and then the framework should go up.

today we are forecast thunderstorms later, but meanwhile the butterflies are busy on the buddhlias. there are a good few small tortoiseshells. this is the first time I have seen them this summer, but they are supposed to be a very common garden butterfly.

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my garden is full of goldfinches too, chattering and whistling away in a delightful fashion in the sycamore trees. I can hear them in the pot workshop.

a found photo of a male goldfinch.


I have had to stop feeding the birds as the greenfinches and chaffinches had begun to die from a parasitical infection called trichomoniasis which lives in the upper digestive tract of the bird, and its actions progressively block the birdís throat making it unable to swallow food, thus killing it by starvation.
the RSPB says;
“birds with the disease show signs of general illness, for example lethargy and fluffed-up plumage, but affected birds may also drool saliva, regurgitate food, have difficulty in swallowing or show laboured breathing. finches are frequently seen to have matted wet plumage around the face and beak. in some cases, swelling of the neck may be visible.
the parasite is vulnerable to drying out and cannot survive for long periods outside the host. transmission of infection between birds happens when they feed one another with regurgitated food during the breeding season and through food or drinking water contaminated with recently regurgitated saliva, or possibly from droppings of an infected bird.
good hygiene practice, specifically the regular cleaning of all feeders, bird baths and feeding surfaces, is an essential part of looking after garden birds and will help to lower the risk to birds of diseases, including trichomoniasis.
if trichomoniasis is suspected, it is recommended to temporarily stop putting out food, except in tit feeders, and leave bird baths dry, for around two weeks, or until sick or dead birds are no longer found in the garden. this is in order to discourage birds from congregating together, which may increase the potential for disease spread between individuals.”
I have taken down the feeder and used Milton steriliser on it. I wonder if the wet weather we have had through August has made transmission of the parasite easier.

this is a found picture of a male greenfinch.