May 8th – a late afternoon escape and another grim wind. I took the easy option and went looking for deer on the common – I’ll find the buggers if it kills me, not had a sniff for weeks. Sadly, there were too many dogs about and too many kids making too much noise. I investigated the old Slough Arm canal branch that used to run parallel to the old rail line and take the coal from the pits on the common, and noted the bridge was still in decent condition. A trip up round the tracks on the common ensued; Marklew’s Pond – named after the farmer and tommy shop proprietor who lived nearby – was looking gorgeous. The woods are dotted with yellow and orange poppies, too. On the north common it was quiet, and buzzards were mobbed overhead by crows. Not a bad couple of hours out and about, all in all.