This morning was one of those really lovely English summer offerings: warm, but not too hot or humid, with no threat of rain as a bonus. A group of nine of us gathered, suitably attired for protection from nettle stings, to have another bash at the Himalayan Balsam that threatens to overwhelm watercourses all over Norfolk (and who know, possibly even beyond). It was wise to dress so cautiously, but even then your correspondent failed to prevent himself from wiping a tall nettle across his unprotected forehead. That in itself was daft, as his stylishly worn-in baseball cap had only recently been removed.
Here is a shot of some of the Beastly Balsam, so you can recognise it when you see it.
As usual on these occasions, we wondered which was the biggest specimen to be extracted. Our Chairman claimed the prize for the day, and who are we to dispute it? (The nettles in the picture, incidentally, are the very ones that inflicted such suffering on your unfortunate correspondent.)
As tends to be the case, there were moments of great hilarity: the high security of the tool store causing such frustration to one volunteer being one, and the unwilling sitting down in The Beck of another volunteer being another. (The latter seemed all the more fun for the onlookers, because she had just received the message that it was no longer necessary for her to cross the cataract in the first place. My, how they laughed!) The refreshment de-brief in the "garden adjacent The Common" was both welcome and hilarious as a result; we even wondered if the new craze of bog snorkelling had spread to Southrepps, but thought perhaps not, on balance.
Here is Chairman John's message of thanks:
I've just sent an email to Norfolk Wildlife Trust trumpeting our achievement this morning. They've been told there's nothing anyone can teach the incomparable Southrepps Commons Volunteers about the fine art of pulling up Himalayan Balsam, or making heaps of debris. Perhaps we could generate some income by running workshops, the only necessary qualification being that you have to be very loud! Thanks to everyone for contributing to one of SCT's success stories.