Location: Village Green, Woodcote, Oxfordshire, UK
Date: 10th May 2020
Time: 08:54 – 09:09
Weather: Sunny, clear skies and light winds
Average Sound Level: 48.7dBSPL (LAeq)
The skies are clear of aircraft today, but I sense a gradual return to normal. A lady pulls up in an MPV dropping two children at the primary school, repeated a few minutes later by another family of three. The intermittent crests of combustion engines that have drawn my attention over the past few weeks, are morphing back into one forgettable modulating stream. A dog pursues a lady out jogging, surrounding her with barks and intimidation. It’s elderly owner, unable to break the dog’s singular focus with calls, slowly gets close enough to attach a lead. The brief commotion prompts another dog to join in from a car window, its yapping bolstered by reflections off the village hall. Sensing the mood, a crow’s aggressive cawing intimidates a small, but fiercely undeterred bird. Having passed a van and trailer on the way on to the green, the anticipated buzz of hedge-trimming begins. This is swiftly followed by a sit-on lawnmower, taming the green in concentric circles, driven nonchalantly, slumped one-handed to allow for mobile phone conversation.
For those who sit long enough to hear, there is an audible subjugation silently at work. The rising snarl of engines subdue birdsong and psithurism, routines and expectations rekindle old habits, even the fauna, domestic and wild, seem angered by this oppression.