Thirteen Green Gymmers plus three guests arrived at Withymead Nature Reserve near Goring for our annual picnic. Once again we had chosen the weather well as the day was a warm and sunny. First of all, Dorothy, the warden showed us a pretty yellow plant, wild parsnip, of the umbellifer family and warned us not to touch it as the sap causes severe burns similar to those from giant hogweed.
We then strolled down to the Thames, where, after the wild parsnip warning, we wouldn't have been surprised to see a great white shark, but there was only an inquisitive swan. We continued along the boardwalk through the reed bed, reading the helpful and informative notices along the way. We arrived at the site of the old boatyard, which was famous in its day and where you can still see the old slipway. We then made our way back through the garden to the car park and unloaded all the eagerly awaited food and drink.
The weather was so warm and sunny that we actually had to move the tables into the shade. Victor had brought a delicious tortilla. There was cold chicken, sausages, salads, crisps, a variety of cheeses, fruit, cake, Barry's speciality, an apple strudel, wine and soft drinks. Of course, the green Gym tea kit made an appearance so we finished off with tea and coffee. Ursula, who had coordinated the food arrangements and provided the disposable plates, cups etc. had also purchased a badminton set from the pound shop. Proving the cliche that you get what you pay for, at the third swipe the shuttlecock stuck fast in the racquet.
Time passed so quickly that we realised it was time to pack up and go home. We would like to thank wardens Dorothy and Keith for letting us use this beautiful reserve.