FOMBL work party: Saturday 19 December 2015

This time we really did celebrate, with a Christmas lunch very kindly hosted by Janet Reid-Thomas in her Glengyle Terrace flat. This was in fact the warmest December day on record, though very windy.

We earned our lunch by assembling at 11.00 a.m. at the Croquet Pavilion, where Peter Davidson the Ranger had helpfully left the necessary tools, and even more, a large bag of crocus bulbs. We had eight workers, including Conor aged 9 (with his Mum), who turned out to be extremely enthusiastic and helpful. (He now has his special FOMBL tabard, small size.) Jimmy Forrest the Park Ranger came along as well, even though he was off duty, and supervised the bulb planting on the small mound near the Pavilion where there had been a cache of compost. Conor was the main worker here, and we look forward very much to the Spring when the crocuses will be on show.

Others concentrated on path edging and stick collecting, resulting in a much-improved Croquet Corner. We were slightly disappointed to see that the grass we had carefully preserved (we thought) on our last work party by sweeping and bagging the leaves that covered it was now bare earth, since the mower had been over it, scrunching and mulching the remaining leaves. However, no doubt a scattering of seed in the spring will rectify matters.

Many thanks to all who came, at what is a busy time for everyone. Special thanks to Jimmy, who came beyond the call of duty on his free weekend. Janet's hospitality was greatly appreciated, and we ate our wonderful lunch with a feeling that we had done a good year's work.

HG. 21.12.15

FOMBL work party 28 November 2015

We had a good turnout this morning: seven of the usual suspects, plus Shaun (3rd year Chinese student of mathematics from Edinburgh University), plus a mother with two young boys, and Jimmy Forrest the Park Ranger: eleven in all. We were later joined by another small family: immigrants from the Netherlands. Andy has now had delivered a new lot of FOMBL tabards, so we all looked very smart, including the two small boys.

Richard and Brian are now experts in removing guards from trees (already identified and marked in white by Mike Shields): they found two more needing the treatment, and did the necessary. In the meantime the two small boys with their mum found the hollow tree trunks along North Meadow Walk originally planted with wild flowers, and added bulbs to the mix. The remainder of the team concentrated on sweeping autumn leaves round the Pavilion, particularly round the memorial fountain and along by the nearby fence. Then we did some edging of paths near the Pavilion, using the spare turf to mend two muddy patches near the café: this area has been greatly improved since we started working on it a couple of years ago.

In the meantime the Climate Challenge march was assembling near Middle Meadow Walk: we kept out of their way.

After most welcome coffee provided by the Pavilion Café (this was their last day of the season) we headed off to the Croquet Pavilion for more leaf gathering and path edging. We filled a large number of black bags with leaves, piling them up near the Pavilion for collection. We needed a fresh supply of bags, which Jimmy and Andy collected from the south side in Andy's car.

The first family consisting of two young boys with their mum, now resplendent in new high-vis tabards, still worked enthusiastically gathering leaves. Then, just as they had to go, two more even smaller boys aged 4 and 7 arrived with their mum, on their way to the playground, and also wanted to join in: so we now have three more recruits to the work force!

It seems that this back-breaking job (to me) is huge fun for children, who don't have to bend down so far to gather up the leaves. We exchanged contact details and hope that next time too they will want to join us.

Just as we were packing up the rain started. As Richard said, for the last few years since he has been co-ordinating our efforts, it has never rained on us. (Richard, you are obviously good for us: you don't really want to emigrate down south, do you?)

Shaun and Alec then joined Ken and me for lunch: it's good for Ken to have some company other than mine for a change!

HG 29.11.15