The last working party of 2016 was blessed by fine weather; not too cold, but not too hot. 17 volunteers turned to with their usual will, and by the half time break the cutting of the main reed bed was completed. At the end of our efforts there, the area looked like this:
And looking back towards the boardwalk, it looked like this:
The customary break is recorded here:
The session was of course not without incident. I have reported previously, perhaps with poorly disguised glee, how volunteers have found themselves up to their knees in muddy water. It has happened to me often enough before, but not in the current season. I thought experience had brought wisdom. However, we who serve must follow our leaders, and I was following Chairman John as we carried two rolled up drag sheets between us across the recently cut marsh. I thought it helpful to point out to him that he was heading for the most treacherous spot, as delineated by canes and tape, but he chose to ignore the warning, moments before he plunged knee-deep into the mire. This I found particularly amusing, but once he recovered his feet he set off again in the same direction we had been following. Attached to him as I was by the sheet we were carrying, I was doomed to fall into the same pit of despair, which I found strangely less amusing. I was quickly aware that my left foot was soaked, and of course for the rest of the session it was considerably colder than the right one.
Working as we were in the wettest part of the site, the risk was always that Grizzly would also become bogged down, and so it proved, as indeed had happened the last time we worked on this area. It’s not much fun when that happens, and the machine can only be retrieved by the application of considerable skill, and even more brute force. These pictures illustrate the point.
Because we finished the main reed bed by half-time, we moved on to the much easier section immediately opposite the central area. We also took the opportunity to clear some scrub from the edge of the area, and used our excellent new ‘tree popper’ to pull out small trees growing where they are not wanted. A previous blog entry showed the popper in use, but this picture shows the tool in all its glory.
Here is Chairman John’s usual message of thanks:
What a delightful morning on which to finish before having a well-earned break.
We've broken the back of this season's programme, and nearly a few other backs as well! Although it became slightly easier as we progressed, the reedbed was very heavy work as shown by the fact that we broke both the original wooden draw-bars. We worked equipment to its limits and achieved something quite impressive; the view across the whole Common is to be treasured.
All in all thank you for a job well done that you can be proud off. We start again on Sunday 8th January, 2017. In the meantime I extend the compliments of the season to you and your loved ones.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year