The Water Meadow Chronicles part 4 (December 2019)

BWMG member Iain Carruthers-Jones continues his first-hand accounts of our work parties:

Getting up and looking out of the window yesterday morning I was thinking to myself that this must be the wrong day. Where the day before had been a beautiful, cloudless day, this morning (01/12/2019) was grey and unpromising. It was no surprise that it started to rain quite hard as I began to make my way to the work party meeting point in Abbey Gardens. Surely no one would notice if I didn’t appear? I had just decided that this was a rain or shine commitment when a fellow volunteer called my name and caught up with me. No turning back now. Anyway, the rain seemed to be easing a bit. And then, just as we crossed the bridge at the eastern boundary of the Gardens, a streak of turquoise went past us heading for the old bridge. That kingfisher was on some sort of mission. Blink and we would have missed it. The day was getting better by the moment.

The weather improved through the morning. By the end of the session, which was very ably led by Julian Case (pictured left, pointing), the sun was shining, we all had smiles on our faces as well as a great sense of satisfaction with our work. This session’s task involved sweeping and gathering leaves from the river bank, clearing litter, pruning back some plants, giving some plants more space to prosper in the spring and removing brambles which can rapidly smother other plants as well as cause some blood letting if you are not wearing stout leather gloves.

It would seem that along this stretch of river most leaves have fallen. We moved several big barrow loads and those lying on the grass should be moved by the council soon.

Several barrow loads of dead and dried out plant material were gathered. Their seeds have been naturally dispersed in recent weeks and new growth is already beginning to show. With reasonable weather through the winter we should see a great selection of wild flowers next year.

Some of our time was taken collecting cans and plastic bottles. It’s a pity that such an attractive area is spoiled by the carelessness of a few people and it’s to the credit of the volunteer team that they tackle this clearing work with hardly a comment.

Overall, the session was a success as always. The team worked hard and there will be a touch of stiffness later. More obviously and importantly, there was a lot of satisfaction expressed in being part of a very congenial group working to support and enhance a worthwhile cause. The feelgood effect was evident.

Iain Carruthers-Jones

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