The 11 plucky volunteers who turned up for today’s drenched working party were excited to have the opportunity to show off their treasured rainwear. It is fair to say that the standard ranged from snazzy to scruffy, as illustrated here. As a modest person (with good reason), your correspondent has to say that his rainwear tends towards the scruffy end of the spectrum: see the soggy object in the middle. Conversely, we have admired those striking yellow trousers before.
Most of us discovered as the morning proceeded that our waterproofs were not, in fact, waterproof. Perhaps this picture of the group being addressed by Chairman John at break time conveys our level of enjoyment. Margaret declared that her cup (which didn’t cheer) was filling faster than she could empty it.
A particularly plucky subset of plucky volunteers had attended the site the day before: the site being the main reedbed, which is only cut every four years. There is usually a small session before each working party, to prepare the ground as it were, but this time it was particularly necessary. Four years of being left alone means that Mother Nature runs amok, and numerous alder saplings/small trees had sprung up. Not only are they not wanted there, as the reedbed would soon cease to be a reedbed and have to be called an Alder Carr, but a substantial woody stalk would do the cutter on our Grizzly mower no good at all, and the last thing we need is another spell of it being in dock.
So four of us attacked the spreading alders, and cut some reeds to create access routes for the main group of volunteers, who, as we have established, can be truthfully described as plucky.
Here the wonderful tree popper is being deployed to persuade an alder to move.
And here is the resulting pile of uprooted alders.
Anyway, back to the plucky but soggy Sunday band. Just visible behind this pile is fellow blogger Julie, being pluckily cheerful.
It being a Sunday, prayer was the order of the day, but if these two were seeking a dry spell, answer came there none. Annoyingly, several hours later, the sun burst through the clouds for a while. Shame it couldn't happen around 10.00 a.m.!
Having said that, there was a brief period when the rain reduced to the status of merely drizzle. Kevin’s happy face conveys the joy caused by this brief respite, as another load is winched to the dumping site.
Winch Captain Dave poses proudly beside the rapidly growing pile of reeds.
Finally, the happy time came to stop slaveing away hauling reeds to the periphery of the site. Instead, it was time to slave away at folding the drag sheets in the approved manner. More prayers were called for, perhaps to give thanks for the end of the ordeal.
The next working party is a fortnight away, but before that several of the volunteers will meet again on the mournful occasion of the funeral of our much-lamented Secretary, Paul Bailey. He greatly enjoyed working on the Common, but even he might have found today’s session a trifle too damp.
Here is Chairman John’s message of thanks: