30 November 2012

Underwater hedges and swedes on the fire

We don't need to tell anyone it's been a wet month, especially these last few weeks. Most people will have done their best to avoid the rain though, but we've not been so lucky. When there's a hedge to lay and a group of volunteers who've come here to lay it then we've got to be out whatever the weather!

Not ideal conditions - the hedge after laying.
So it was with some trepidation we headed out last Monday morning with the Chester National Trust volunteers for the first day of their week here. They have a regular slot here at this time of year and are always keen on a bit of hedgelaying. The rain and wind though was doing its best to blunt this keenness, but we find that it's normally a lot worse when you're indoors looking out at it than it is if you get out and get on with something.

Chester National Trust volunteers ready to beat a retreat after a wet day.
 And so it proved for the Monday and, amazingly, the Tuesday as well. With no let up in the foul conditions the group could have been forgiven for hiding in the toilets but they were ready and willing again for the second day! Their free day on Wednesday saw some better weather before normal service resumed for the last work day on Thursday. Despite these terrible conditions they managed to get a good stretch of hedge laid, but it all proved too much for the fire which was eventually battered into submission ......
Top tip - Fires and pools of water don't go together well ...
This week has seen some much better weather for our next group, a National Trust hedgelaying working holiday. There's been a few novel experiences; firstly, we've taken our waterproofs off and secondly the cooking of a swede on the fire.
Fire cooked swede - lovely!
A new one on us, the holiday leader threw three swedes, unpeeled, on the fire. After 45 minutes he fished them out and peeled them and they were lovely - cooked to perfection with a nice smokey flavour. There's always something new to learn!

Follow this link to find out more about National Trust working holidays:
http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/holidays/working-holidays/

By Rob Clarke, Community Ranger.

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