Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK
Date: 11th May 2020
Time: 08:56 – 09:11
Weather: Sunny, light cloud with a moderate breeze
Average Sound Level: 64.3dBSPL (LAeq)
My ‘BBC Weather’ app reads; ‘Sunny and a fresh breeze’ but this description does not seem to capture the experience, having been buffeted by the wind, hands numbed and tripod blown over. Sitting huddled on the park bench, my ears grumble with waves of wind noise, each bluster conjuring breakers of white noise passing right to left, north to south, following the line of trees marking the edge of the green. These tumbling gusts mask tyres and engines on the Goring Road along with the many movements I cannot see. I notice that the commercial vans have returned after the long weekend, but only the low rumble of their engines radiating from the adjacent Reading Road, can duck beneath the wind noise. The ‘breeze’, cloud and cooler air seem to have convinced many to stay indoors. An elderly man with a dog, prosthetic throwing arm and tennis ball, a lady running laps into the turf and a well-clad gentleman sitting atop a diesel mower circling the cricket pitch, infield, outfield. Cold and eager to return home, I dutifully record five minutes of the soundscape, all the time uneasy with the flashing ‘low battery’ indicator. Then, pack-up, load myself with the paraphernalia and walk briskly back across the park weaving to respect the invisible two-meter boundary surrounding people milling outside the corner-shop.