On the shortest day we found a basher

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Because my hand held GPS unit (as used for geocaching) knows exactly where it is in the world, it can tell you exactly what time the sun up and sun down in. This morning, I was at N 54° 00.814′ W001° 31.395′ when I snapped the above photo (just down the bottom of Bilton Lane, near The Gardeners Arms. 7 hours and 22 minutes – that’s all the sun we were getting today. Tomorrow, we’ll get a few seconds more. Yesterday, we had a few seconds less. Bright boffins will spot that the readings are actually an hour out. Sunrise was 08:22. I think this may be due to me not setting / unsetting adjust for daylight saving or something.. I need to look into that!

Whilst we (myself, Elsie (a dog) Kitty (a friend) and Bruce (a dog)) were on our walk, we came across a basher, in a little gulley next to a stream. Pretty cool, thought we. It had been constructed well. A small fire pit remained outside, that look like it had not been used for a while though.

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It got me thinking – I wonder why someone built this. It looked pretty well considered – more than a kids attempt (or certainly more than I would have been bothered with when I was a kid… I could be wrong. The aspect was really well considered – in a sheltered steep walled gulley – sheltered – with running water. It made me think of life all those thousands of years ago perhaps – long before we had GPS and dragondrop.org. How, even in the bleakness of mid winter, some of us, even on this latitude, lived outside – in some cases, possibly in dwellings not too dissimilar from the one that stood before us. It wouldn’t have been exactly comfortable, but it may have meant you survived. The difference between life and death.

A peaceful spot. I guess I’ll never know the real inspiration. A nice project? Too much Ray Grylls? A bust up with family, concluding with a ‘right, I’ll show them, yes I can fend for myself thank you very much’. Who knows. If you do, let me know!

The significance of this day is good. From now on, the nights will be getting lighter. We’ve probably not got over the worst of the winter, but at least we’ve broken the back of it now.

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