4th Chris and volunteers loaded the trailer with old fence posts etc from the yard to take to the burning site. We needed timber to generate sufficient heat to get rid of the first pile of ragwort of the year. This had been dug out of the Scrape Meadow last week. It was dry and breezy, so we were hoping for a good fire. Jim and I met Jayne and Vernon at the bench that had been trashed over the weekend. We added that to all the incendiary material in the trailer. The gusty wind meant that three matches were required to get things going, but we were soon piling on both timber and ragwort. It was almost gone by lunchtime. Alan G treated us all to a couple of ‘Aah!’ moments when he ringed two tawny owlets from a nestbox in Big Wood. Chris asked Jim and me to water trees in tubs in the yard and to try to save a bare-rooted lime that had been left in the workshop. We had to go to the terrace with a wheelbarrow to collect compost to plant up the abandoned specimen. There were signs of buds opening so we may have acted in time. Litter-picking along the Carriage Drive, out-of-hours car park and the main driveway filled the remaining time in the afternoon. Disposable barbecues amongst the nettles and a dirty nappy on the Carriage Drive were the main cause of my irritation this afternoon. “Disposable: use once and throw away”, but surely that means in a bin and not in the undergrowth.

25th Dave suggested that Jim and I fill the charcoal burner. Jim did the ladder climbing bit to get inside and set the fires with paper, cardboard and kindling. There were seven sacks of browns in the barn from the last, not very successful burn. Ranjit helped by loading the sacks onto the wheelbarrow for me to trundle down the yard. Jim, meanwhile, was banking soil around the base of the kiln. He fetched the last of the browns and we tossed them in. By then the kiln was barely half full and we turned our attention to the log pile covered by a tarpaulin. We carefully picked off the logs to avoid the neatly stacked pile collapsing. Underneath one of the logs I discovered a sheltering toad. I found a new resting place for him, or her, amongst the uncut logs in the corner of the yard. By lunchtime the charcoal burner was full and we covered the few remaining logs with the tarpaulin. Elna and I had picked the most promising day of the week to do our Butterfly Count. In the event it was windy, not very sunny and not very warm and we recorded only three butterflies in our hour long transect. We had spotted some litter around the play area and caravan field on our walk and spent the remaining time collecting a sack full of rubbish.

26th It was a miserable, wet day on the whole, but just occasionally we saw glimpses of blue sky. To make it worse it was windy. A couple of people had brought plants into the yard at Marbury yesterday and more plants arrived this morning. They were all on one of the trailers and needed sorting out. I climbed aboard and labelled, split and potted, found appropriate trays for moving and displaying the wide range of plants. At least they didn’t need watering.  

28/29th We had a very successful Bring and Buy Plant Sale in spite of blustery weather. A huge thank you to all those who brought, bought or helped in any way.

Leave a Reply