Arriving for the final session of substantial work on The Common for this cutting season, the heavily frosted windscreen on a van that had presumably rested in the car park overnight did not bode well, and nor did the suspiciously pale boardwalk.
It was chilly, it’s true, but a few days before the Met. Office had been threatening the start of a New Ice Age, so a bit of frost with no snow, rain, or frogs, seemed like a fair result. And anyway, we were going to get busy, and generate our own warmth with brushing and raking, and pitchforking cut reeds, and tipping those reeds out at dumping points. The range of hats on display at the tea break illustrate our states of readiness, and it must be said, fashion awareness. At this stage, the wording of the warning sign may seem a little ironic…
That break was the more notable for a visit by an extremely confiding robin, now signed up as our latest volunteer.
The final reed cutting of the season was completed by the break…
… so we were free to get on with some of the other tasks needed, such as lopping branches overhanging the boardwalk, and brushing away the accumulated fallen leaves of the autumn and winter – a particularly strenuous job, as it turns out. Here is a section requiring attention…
… and once it had received that attention, ta da!
A long job, but a necessary one to help prevent rotting of the boardwalk is the trimming back from its edges of the grass that threatens to grow across it. It is tedious and backbreaking work, but it can be done sitting down…
It is nice to see at the moment the consequence of work done a few weeks ago, beside the Bradfield Road spur of the boardwalk: a fine crop of snowdrops, proving that Spring can’t be far off.
Thanks to the impressive number of new volunteers joining our ranks, this has been the best attended cutting season since we began recording such things, with an average of 17.4 people attending the working parties. Since last May, we have collectively put in 561.75 person hours. It is no wonder our programme has been completed in record time.
Here is Chairman John’s message of thanks:
Once more I have the privilege and pleasure of sharing an outstanding achievement with an outstanding group of people. Well done everyone, the cutting programme for this season has come in ahead of schedule and to a very high standard. The whole site looks great today, how much greater in the sunshine! Thanks too for using up today's spare time so willingly on tasks that rarely get attention. On that subject, given sufficient support and favourable weather, it would be great to really blitz the boardwalk edges in two weeks time on 4th Feb. Please let me know if that is something you would like to do.
Again, thanks on behalf of the whole village
Kind regards, John