Sunday, April 28, 2013

Frilford Heath Golf Club, 27th April 2013

This was our second session at Frilford Heath Golf Club.  Last time we met here, back in February, it was bitterly cold with snowfall and a very wintery atmosphere.  Having experienced a number beautiful spring days leading up to Saturday, there were high hopes that it would be a good deal warmer on this occasion.  Unfortunately, despite temperatures being up to a balmy 23 degrees a couple of days previous, we were back to chilly conditions as we assembled in the golf club car park where we once again met with Alison Muldal from Natural England who directed our tasks.

As we gathered, it was ascertained that the bag containing our gloves and our first aid kit were missing.  What could have been a calamity was swiftly averted after determining that a number of members had extra pairs of their own gloves to lend out, and I was able to provide a first aid kit that I had concealed within the glove compartment of my car!  Panic over, we drove a short distance along the road closer to our work site at the Boundary House fen.  Here we gathered our tools and began our stroll across the golf course.  The party was 14-strong including a German couple who were involved in a house exchange with regular members Barry and Enid.  As well as exchanging houses, they appeared to have exchanged their lifestyle too and were keen to give the Green Gym a go.

Our main activities at the fen this time were to clear away the remains of felled trees on the opposite side of the site to where we worked last time and to build a large wood pile, ready for burning at a later time.  In addition some raking was necessary to clear some of the dead vegetation and smaller branches/twigs.  

Keen to keep warm (though not dry for the fen was once again very wet and boggy as one might expect!), we set about working at quite a pace and had made quite visible progress up to the tea break at 11am.   Indeed, our increasingly muddy, bedraggled appearance drew looks of bewilderment from onlooking golfers tee-ing off nearby, resplendent in their golfing finery.   At the break we enjoyed some biscuits and brioche kindly provided by our visiting German lady, Ursula to go with our regular refreshments which were very positively received!  

Energy levels replenished we eagerly re-commenced and ensured that we left the site looking a lot neater and tidier than when we had arrived and crucially had gone some way in halting the encroachment of suffocating new tree and shrub growth upon the fenland habitat.  Some evidence of wildlife was observed with a pair of frogs hopping into a small pond, unfortunately they were too quick for me to capture on camera!  

Not to worry, we accomplished all that we set out to do and had an impromptu photo-call by the wood pile before leaving.  The group photo images were not captured on my camera but perhaps they will be forwarded-on at a later date.  Watch this space!

Upon completion at 12:30pm, we gathered ourselves and our tools together ready for the walk back across the fairways to our vehicles.  An unfortunate casualty of our mornings activities was a rake that was partially beheaded.  We therefore looked on in envy at the shiny rakes deployed in each and every bunker on the course on our return!  The journey back took a little longer that our outbound stroll due to having to wait for a group of golfers to hit their balls.  They kept us waiting longer than anticipated despite us being greater in number than they, but such is the hierarchy on the fairways and the greens alas.  At least on this occasion we were not warned to stay quiet while the shots were taken!

assembling in the golf club car park

tools at the ready having re-located closer to the work site

on our way across the rough to the fen

work commences

tea break!  note - golfers looking on behind!

forget me nots

Robert clearing the stream

Lauren posing at the work site!

Kevin and Alison shifting a large tree branch

a pond

tactical discussions

the wood pile/future bonfire


off to the 19th hole!

panic over - Lauren shows off our emergency first-aid kit

hatchback frenzy - tools and wellies being packed away

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