Geophys at Duncombe Park 2007 ... Peacocks and all!

I was very sad to hear the news that Arnold has gone to the great geophysical survey ground. I got to know Arnold properly, along with Roger and Cath Walker, whilse we were surveying the area around Duncombe Park House, Helmsley. The resulting paper we produced in the Journal of Garden History built on the earlier work Arnold and Roger has undertaken at other stately homes. The weather over the weekend at Helmsley was wonderful, sunny and dry and warm. We basically had the place to ourselves, having promised the then Lord Duncombe that we wouldn't in any way damage his croquet lawn! The work was progressing well, the equipment, and Roger's new 'cart' were working beautifully. The environment was made all the more picturesque by the presence of a peacock and a few pea hens wandering around, appearing interested in what we were doing. Particularly Arnold, who was being harrassed by the male of the species - being both followed and shown the display of the bird's tail! As the day progressed, and the data was downloaded, we suddenly realised why Arnold appeared to be so such interest to the peacock ..... he was wearing a combination of browns. The same colouring as the pea hens! Whenever I see the peacock colours or a specimen of the species, I smile, and remeber that wonderful English day, and the Duncombe Park House croquet 'pitch' and a worried looking Arnold! A wonderful weekend! And some good results .... under the croquet lawn was a tennis court!!!!!

Dr Jane Wheeler
(University of Bradford)