Mill Road, Marcham, 28th July 2018

This Saturday was a return visit to Marcham for further efforts to clear the himalayan balsam. This was not originally on the programme, but instead down as TBA with arrangements made in the interim.

We met by the barn where we used to enjoy our coffee breaks and watch the house martins nesting in the spring. Unfortunately the barn has had an upgrade, with new doors and windows - to be put to a more useful purpose that we can only guess at.  This means we now take our kit with us to where a kind person has dedicated a bench to a chap who died a few years ago.  He must have enjoyed the spot next to the stream.  A good choice, and it is here that we have to cross to get at the balsam.

The stream water level was low which hadn't been the case a few month ago when waders would have been required!  But now it easy to paddle across in wellies, while being careful of the silt that had gathered at the edge - as some of the first to go across found out.  It could easily seep over the top of the wellies, much to our amusement when this happened.

The dry weather had hardened the ground, needing extra effort to pluck the balsam out with roots and all. This meant that there was enough to keep us going for the session.  It was a cooler day than the last few weeks, with a gusty wind and this made for more pleasant working conditions.

Break time saw us eagerly heading for the bench.  Once convened, James informed us that a branch had fallen down very near his head caused by the wind!  Furthermore, heading our way we noticed some ominous dark clouds! With the wind getting up and the imminent prospect of getting soaked, a decision was made to have a quick break and head home. But before we could achieve this we had to scurry to the shelter of some trees to keep dry, carrying our precious coffee and biscuits.

By the time we had finished our break the storm had passed, so changing our mind we continued until our usual deadline, meaning we could work off that extra biscuit(s) we shouldn't have had!

There was a great turn out of eighteen and we left some good-sized piles of plucked balsam.

The balsam with seeds ready to burst and be carried downstream.

Janet commencing to do battle with the Balsam!

Eleanor relishing the prospect of a good workout on the Balsam!

Carolyn thinking she might enter her prize balsam plant at the next flower show!

We tried to ignore it, but it wouldn't go away!

The storm tried to spoil our party, but the need for coffee and biscuits was too strong.

Satisfaction piling!

Michele leaving no prisoner?


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