Hedge laying season has begun! Friend Chris has come down to provide the strength and good looks and between us we put down about 45m of hawthorn hedge beneath the day’s dull grey sky. At around 3.30pm the sun sank below the blanket of cloud and for a few precious moments the damp leaves and dark steams about me were turned to a honeyed gold. This first glimpse of sun was enough for me to unbend my back for a moment and survey the day’s progress. When we’d arrived, the hedge had been a grotty old thing, starved of light by the overarching oaks and cut straight on one side by the lorries which surge round the corner with unsettling frequency in that spot. Now before me, the neatly ordered pleachers snaked away, staked and bound into place with the hazel and willow coppiced yesterday. To create order from the chaos of a sprawling line of trees is a pleasure all of its own and it felt all the better gilded in rays of autumn sun. Of course if the owner chooses not to cut back the oaks as I have advised, our work will be in vain and in a few years the hedge will be little better than when we started.