2nd Five volunteers and Dave drove down Marbury Lane to Haydn’s Pool. We chose our weapons from Dave’s van and set off on a mission to cut back invading vegetation. Our primary targets were the thorny, prickly and stinging species. Jayne and I stood with loppers and bow saw hesitating beside dog rose branches that were almost blocking the path. The many buds promised a magnificent floral display. Dave was less sentimental and threatened to clear the way with the hedge-cutter. There was a brief stay of execution as he struggled to start the machine. We were left to remove the debris to the bank. We continued along the bund, down the Stannah Steps and alongside Witton Brook, attacking brambles, dog roses, thistles, gorse and nettles as we went. Jim, Jayne and I reached Carden’s Ferry Bridge before turning back for lunch.

We had sold the last bag of charcoal on Sunday, so another burn was needed. Elna and I operated the log-splitter, while Jim, Ian and Vernon loaded the kiln.  There was still more than an hour left for Elna and I to go litter picking beside the mere. We chose a popular route for duck feeding and found enough rubbish to make it worthwhile. In addition we had enjoyed a walk in the sunshine.

16th I took Jayne to meet Dave and Liz at Anderton car park. We cut back around the picnic tables in bright sunshine. We moved through to the open area behind the fishing ponds, making sure that there was adequate width and headroom along the paths. Jayne and I worked our way up the hill, while Dave and Liz were clearing steps down by the river. We all met up again on the other side of the hill to remove Spanish bluebells from the bank. We got some satisfaction from squishing the bulbs underfoot on the track. The ground, however, was bone dry and Dave eventually gave up on the last visible clump. 

After lunch Chris took Rosie, Elna, Frances and me to Cartledge Moss in Sandiway. We had to pick our way over garden refuse dumped from back gates as he gave us a tour of this site, which had recently become his responsibility. The main purpose of the visit was to find Himalayan balsam that Chris had discovered on a previous visit. When I was about ten years old I would have relished the adventure, pushing through the brambles to create a path to the marshy areas that harboured the invader. I wasn’t too confident when Chris bounced up and down on the spongy ground. It didn’t smell very sweet either. One consolation was that the young plants lifted from the bog easily.

17th It was another sunny day that got rather warm. The charcoal had been bagged up while Jim and I were on holiday, but it still needed stapling and labelling. I set about that task in the shed, but I caught sight of Joanne in the yard and couldn’t resist taking time out to snap her at another of the penitentiary jobs that Chris dreams up.  Later, he was more considerate in finding us something to do in the shade. This involved a gentle walk through Big Wood looking for any hindrance that needed the attention of loppers along the paths.

24th Chris took Elna and me on a walk to see what might be available for the Food For Free event on Saturday. Sustenance seemed thin on the ground, which made us appreciate the significance of the autumn harvest in days gone by. After lunch I did a litter pick at Furey Wood. It was very pleasant in the sunshine, especially along by the river, where I took my time to look at the wild flowers. Carrying rubbish back up the eighty odd steps was not such fun. I stopped off at the out-of-hours- car park at Marbury to collect more litter.

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