Flaybrick / Tam O’Shanter, 12th February 2023

There’s not a lot to see at Flaybrick at this time of year, although we visited the Tibetan Cherry and stroked its lovely ruby-red shining bark.

Last February we spotted some newly-planted Holly trees, with oddly symmetrical leaves, and thought they were the variety ‘Nelly Stevens’, which is said to have lots of red fruit without the need for pollination. They appear to have lived up to expectations, with plenty of berries set in the first autumn since planting.

We went over to Tam O’Shanter Urban Farm for lunch. They seem to have had an infusion of new life, funding and enthusiasm. There was a new kids playground, new fences, new little huts being built, new walkways, fences and gates, more picnic tables, and many more families visiting. One area had marked-out vegetable plots with the names of local primary schools, and they have even cleaned out the pond, possibly for pond-dipping sessions.

There were half a dozen Redwings in the Alpaca field.

The first Hawthorn leaves were breaking.

A member of staff and three young volunteers were cutting Ivy in the enclosure of the Kunekune pigs. It wasn’t for the fat little pigs, but they eagerly snaffled any of the fallen bits.

The Ivy was a treat for the Alpine goats, Norma and Noel. It made me think of the old nonsense song “Mersey Doats” and the line “a kiddlea tyviettoo”

All the domestic birds were enclosed, and there were bowls of disinfectant dip for everyone’s boots, measures against the spread of bird flu.  They have ducks, chickens and Guinea Fowl and the ducks had a couple of tiny paddling pools to mate in. There was a sign up about it, for the benefit of the kids.

Public transport details: Bus 437 (West Kirby) from Sir Thomas Street at 10.04, arriving Upton Road / Boundary Road at 10.30. Returned from the opposite stop on the 437 at 1.45, arriving city centre at 2.05.

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