For me, the answer is quite a lot. It happens to be my preference. I might go so far as to say need. If I don't get a decent dose of solitude and natural noises (of the wild rather than the man made kind) I get grouchy.
A recent report has suggested that people in Britain get an average of 52 minutes silence per day, although of these, 29% spend less than 30 minutes in silence and 16% have no silence at all. The report goes on to say that unwanted noise at night raises stress levels and contributes to cardiovascular problems.
As a species, we began in a world where noise was only constant if it was natural, and I'm not sure we've evolved to the degree that our bodies can cope with the constant stream of loud and invasive man made noises so many of us are subjected to so often today.
A similar question could be asked of darkness. Occasionally we have people to stay here who can not cope with the concept of natural dark because they are not used to it. We have no street lights, only stars. And there is no noise here at night beyond owls hooting and foxes calling. Our more urban visitors usually struggle to sleep, but for me and M it's the opposite. The change between light and dark is also important for the production of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone. We need the distinction between the two as, it seems, we also need periods of sound and silence.
Something to ponder.
Busy weekend here, everyone is home and we've been out and about. J has finished her A Levels and as a celebration we took her to see As You Like It at the Playhouse in Salisbury last night. It was a superb production and we all enjoyed it (especially sipping our G&Ts at the start and eating Marsh Ice Cream at the interval).
Poppy gained huge credibility on our walk this morning by walking determinedly into the river at Houghton and swimming while Ted danced anxiously from paw to paw on the bank side yelping. L and I saw a water vole swimming across a brook on the way back. My Water Vole Radar is clearly 'on' right now :-)
This afternoon we have been drinking wine in my in-law's gorgeous and bountiful garden while chatting to people I haven't seen since last year's garden party. We managed to disgrace ourselves twice: firstly me, by assuming a 33 year old child minder was 18 and had just finished her A Levels, and then M put his foot in it by asking whether Carrie (svelte mother of 4) could still fit down the slide into their swimming pool). Carrie's sister in law is about to collect an MBE from her Maj this week, which inevitably turned the conversation round to fashion and whether it's correct to wear open-toed wedge-heels for such an event when tights are stipulated. M looked completely lost by this point in the conversation, but was saved by the kids bombing into the pool and soaking us all.
The Moth Box was out on Fri and yielded 156 moths with a total of 55 different species, of whom 17 were new for the year and some new for the garden. Not Bad.
Here are some shots...
|Ele and Poplar Hawks|
|Four Hawk Moths: 2 ellies, 2 poplars....|
|Grey Arches (real moth on right, picture in book on left)|
|Round-Winged Muslin Moth|
|Willow Beauty & Marbled White Spot demonstrating size differences!|
I'll leave you with some shots taken round the garden. My Cornflowers are just starting to come into flower (sown this year from seed) as are the Poached Egg Plants, and the Cosmos remains an interesting study for close ups....
Clover close-up is also worth a second look...
Mining bees have been busy throwing up holes in the lawn...
And the damsels continue to hatch and match....
We perhaps won't go into the subject of my field vole (s) who have eaten most of M's kale and sweetcorn over the last three nights. I told him they'd got babies to feed but he wasn't moved....
And the mouse is still in the utility room. I have ordered a Longworth Trap.... so may have pictures to show you next week.
In the mean time, ma and I are off to see the roses at Mottisfont tomorrow and then I have another Roding Woodcock Survey to do in the woods after dark, as well as more water vole searching later this week, so it's All Go.
Hope you're having a lovely weekend and enjoying the sun if you have it.