Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Round straw bales above Riccard's Lane
In the great heatwave of July 2006, the corn was cut and for a long time these huge straw bales stood in the field north of Riccard's Lane. These harvest bales are eternally popular with photographers, perhaps because of their standing stone-like quality: heavy, solid, casting a dark shadow, monumentally arranged across brown summer fields.
When I was young straw came only in the much smaller cuboid bales, or loose in stacks, and there was a period when it was regularly burnt where it lay on the ground. I traveled much by train in those days and the lines of flame and black smoke from burning straw were a familiar feature of the English summer landscape.
Bales like those above suddenly disappear. Perhaps someone can tell me if they go for cattle bedding or some other purpose and why they always seem to stand for a while patiently awaiting collection.