February

image5th It was cold, wet and windy, but Jim, Connor and I had a bonfire on the far field. The newspaper and cardboard soon started to blow across the field. To make things more difficult the rain came down even harder. We anchored the cardboard with some of the kindling and tucked the driest of the paper in between. We didn’t light it with much confidence, but miraculously it caught fire. The strong wind helped to whip up the flames. We piled on the hawthorn and forgot about the rain. Everything was burning by lunchtime. When I sat down I realised just how wet I was! Dave was kind enough to give me an inside job, casting an eye over the Northwich Woodlands website.

6th Jim had a badly swollen finger, probably as a result of handling blackthorn yesterday, so he stayed at home. Dave asked me to sort out the noticeboards at Anderton. I took everything off the one next to the car park, except for FoAM’s next event. I opened up the board by the canal, but I struggled to extricate the panel holding the posters. I pulled, pushed and twisted it, but it it had become too wet and swollen. I managed to get it half out, but it jammed. I decided that if I ever got it out, I was never going to get it back in again. At the risk of splitting it, with a bit more force out it came. I closed the board and chucked the panel in the car along with the notices, ready to sort out back in the cabin. I left the panel in the workshop for the attention of the woodworkers. Dave and I sorted out the faded and out-of-date posters. I switched on the laminator to prepare new items. The first one was successful, but the second disappeared into the machine and, even after dismantling it, Chris could find no sign of the paper and laminating pouch. It was not a good day and there are no photos!

12th It was very wet. Jim and I took Out and About booklets and Explorer Guides to Northwich Library following a request that Chris had received. We returned to Marbury to join the other volunteers removing birch saplings from the area that suffered a brine spill several years ago. The plan is to retain it as a glade attracting bird species not seen elsewhere in the park. It rained all morning and by lunchtime we were very wet. We didn’t need any persuading to down tools and return to the cabin. We could hear the increasing wind from inside the steamed up cabin. When the decision was made to venture out again, I decided to come home. The height of the storm came in the early evening.P1060192

13th We awoke to clear skies so after the storm it was calm. By the time I arrived at 9.30am Chris and Connor had already started making the park accessible by sawing and moving trees on Marbury Lane. Throughout the day a team of eight joined Chris on a tour of the Woodlands to find fallen and dangerous trees.IMG_0093
We had to wait while Chris got to work with the chain saw and then we dragged the branches clear and the ‘strong men’ lifted the heavier pieces of timber out of the way.

In a couple of places, where the paths were damaged, we could only warn of the damage created by uprooted trees with hazard tape.
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27th Elna and I prepared to turn ourselves into scrubbers once more. We negotiated with contractors working on the new Anderton footpath for our space around the first bench. We used wire brushes, lots of water and elbow grease to remove twelve months of accumulated algae, most of which seemed to have transferred as a slimy coating onto our gloves.IMG_0236

Bench number two was close to those installing the upturned barrow of salt. We left both benches to dry over lunch. Jim and I returned with wood preservative and treated them. There was time then to observe the final stage of the installing of the sculpture. IMG_0285

Dave looked as if he was attempting delivery of a newborn barrow at one point.

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Those who had been involved were rightly pleased with the results and we’re looking forward to the completion of the Anderton footpath project.

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