Distal Bodies 45.7dBSPL (LAeq)

The short daily listenings and recordings that comprise this project, document the changing soundscape in the village of Woodcote, South Oxfordshire during the Covid-19 lockdown and beyond. The writings and reflections investigate themes of social, spatial and temporal distance.

Woodcote Village Green

Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK

Date: 6th May 2020

Time: 08:50 – 09:05

Weather: Clear skies, sunny with a gentle cool breeze.

Temperature: 11oC

Average Sound Level: 45.7dBSPL (LAeq)

The skies are clear blue and no vapour trails dissect the sky. Sitting on a bench at the periphery of the village green, the welcome warmth of the sun is slowly saturating the back of my hoodie. The cloaking wind has subsided today and the works vehicles and occasional car are audible as individual streams of sound. The blackbirds seem busier, darting above me between the line of trees bordering the school playground. A dog walker passes-by exercising her two Westies. The dogs are curious and eager to chat, panting and padding, jangling as they tug on their lead. The owner, a lady with a South African accent, stops to ask whether the tripod is mine and what I am doing with it. I explain and we exchange information about the local conservation group and the dawn chorus. I agree to share the recordings made for International Dawn Chorus Day on the pages of local groups. Saying goodbye, my attention returns to the gentle, cool breeze. A dog barks from the direction of ‘The Close’. The rustle of fresh green leaves and soft cooing of pigeons form a backdrop to the scene. Cawing crows dart, twisting and falling through the sky, chasing each other frantically above the cricket square, while red kites observe the commotion from higher above the green. The fifteen minutes it takes to measure the average sound level has passed quickly, and I return home, passing my youngest daughter on a rare excursion from the house.

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