The banter on a working party on The Common can take surprising turns. Take this morning for instance: the winching team was busy manhandling a large pile of material that had just been hauled across the site to its dumping area, and there was some discussion about the best way to deal with this particular heap. After some debate (heated, only in the sense that we were jolly warm from our exertions on another gloriously mild morning) we agreed on the best approach. Someone said this was an admirable consensus. That led someone else to ask if Admiral Consensus died on HMS Victory, and we all agreed that was the last time we had such an admirable consensus. No politics of course!
It was at about this time of hilarity that Dave performed for us his famous Commando roll to avoid the onrushing reed-laden tarpaulin:
This was the first working party of the current season focussing on the section between The Beck and Warren Road known as Area B. Somewhat predictably, the section on the other side of the boardwalk in that part of The Common is known as Area A, and these areas are alternately cut every two years; this year it’s Area B’s turn. These areas are very special for the large variety of plants growing there, and need to be cut regularly to prevent the nearby alder carr from completely taking over. Before the Grizzly mower gets into action, the latest batch of alder and willow saplings have to be removed, using our splendid Tree Popper. So that the Grizzly could be used to good effect today, a group of volunteers had a preliminary session the day before. Here is your correspondent wielding a “slasher”: with some justification I feel, my swing was compared to Tiger Woods’, although I doubt he ever gets into quite so much rough.
Compare and contrast my style with Kevin’s on Sunday, which I feel is more like Tiger Lily’s swing (he was admittedly hampered by the shadows)
The task in hand on Saturday was basically to cut back the encroaching scrub and in so doing reveal a suitable place to dump the cut material on Sunday. Hence the stylish use of the slasher, saws, loppers and other sharp instruments. Here is Chairman John taking on a tree: the tree lost!
In our last blog we mentioned that there had been a sequence of lost items. This time we nearly lost Grizzly, with Kevin attached:
He did make it through however, as can be seen in Julie’s arty photo:
Taking our lead from the nation’s Cabinet, we all had different views on how best to proceed:
Cutting and clearing Area B was not all that we did on Sunday; the small section to the side of the boardwalk spur leading to Bradfield Road is beautiful at snowdrop time, so now was the best time to give it a cut. Chairman John did the honours with Grizzly before the start of the main session, and then a small contingent of determined ladies set about clearing the cut material away. Here they are setting off for the task, armed to the teeth and looking formidable.
The ladies describing themselves as the A-team cleared the snowdrop patch in 20 minutes flat.
And here are a couple of them on their way back, gloriously triumphant.
Meanwhile, back at the coal face, work also proceeded apace. We had another magnificent turnout of 20 volunteers, and as they say, many hands make light work (or was that just Thomas Edison?)
Two of those many hands belong to Margaret, last seen making space for snowdrops. This time she opted for “no publicity”, but we do believe she’s under that impressive pitchfork load. Either that, or it’s a bad hair day.
As you would expect, the break provided welcome respite and a chance for us all to cool off. Chairman John seized the opportunity to address the multitude again, as is his wont. Quite rightly, he was full of praise for our efforts. Kirsty from Norfolk Wildlife Trust also said a few welcome words, before setting to work with a billhook clearing the boardwalk edge.
By the end of the session we had built a considerable wall of cut stuff. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly this will reduce to nothing.
Hidden behind it is winchman Noel. We don’t think we left him there.
What an achievement, for a couple of hours’ effort!
Here is Chairman John’s message of thanks:
It was daunting to work out a plan for Area B, such was the tangled, rank mess that the top part had become. I'm pleased with my decision on the way forward, though any plan is only as good as the people who carry it out. So well done all, what a difference two hours made, and we were blessed with a perfect autumn morning on which to show off the fruits of our labour.
Next session is same time and place, 10:00am on Sunday December 2nd. The idea is to make it a short session, (try saying that with a mouth full of cream crackers!) adjourning to the Social Club where Alan can give the induction talk and sign up those who want to be registered NWT Volunteers. This is not confirmed yet but everyone seems to think it's a good idea and I really hope it comes off.
I think we need a lost property department, as every session I seem to be left with some item of clothing. This time it's a rather fetching grey, patterned scarf which Margaret is looking after.
Dave Spencer is keen to get on with tree-popping, the idea being to keep ahead of the mowing, as otherwise the small alder whips get cut off and coppiced, only to return more vigorously. Dave would like to team up with anybody willing to help him on Thursday, so if that suits you, please let me know.
Thanks again for a terrific morning.
Kinds regards from John