Thursday, 30 April 2015

Grovelands Orchard Park Volunteers

Oh dear. A day late again. Sorry everyone.

I've been doing Camp Nanowrimo this month, and have failed miserably. For those who don't know, Nanowrimo runs in November and the aim is to write a 50,000 word novel during that month. I managed to do that, but this month, at the virtual camp, I set myself the target of 15,000 words and have only managed 11,500 or there abouts. How did I manage it in November?

I started a new novel at camp and so have been neglecting my current one, which is about a boy taken as a slave by the Romans. He is bought by a Roman merchant married to a Briton and brought to Britannica as a present for his wife.

The boy has a hatred of the Romans and wants to escape in order to get his revenge, but escape is difficult and the Romans inevitably recapture escaped slaves who are then branded.

I am getting on not too badly with it, but I must get back to work if it is to be finished and publisherd in a reasonable time. If anyone has read Book 2 of The Wolves of Vimar, The Never-Dying Man, you will have seen an extract from the book in there.

I am also working on Book 3 of The Wolves. That is well on the way and I hope it won't be too long before that is out too.

So much for my work. It is Bank Holiday Monday here in the UK next Monday and so I will be busy in the local park. It is a small park, just behind my house but 12 months ago I decided that it was becoming rather unkempt and so I contacted the local council about it, asking why the other parks were kept well, but not this one.

A local councillor came to look at it. He'd been dong some research and it seems that when the land was sold for the housing development, the owner gave the land, which had been the farm's orchard, to be made into a small park. The council laid the paths and dug some beds and then handed it over to the community to look after, them being responsible only for grass cutting.

The park was looked after by some elderly ladies, so I was told, but over the years the community aspect has been forgotten and as it was not under the council's jurisdiction it had become a haven for brambles, nettles and self-seeded ash trees. Steve, the councillor has cut down three of the self-seeded ash trees, and myself, along with my husband and a few other neighbours have been working in the park and have made serious inroads into the undergrowth.

We have cleared a lot of the brambles and stuff and seeded the beds and re-planted. Mrs Coldman, the previous owner who gave the land, had also been far-thinking enough to leave some money for the upkeep. Therefore next Monday is Planting and Tidying Day. We hope it's fine and that people will turn up to help. On our Autumn Planting Day we had a good turnout.

There are, however some downsides and they are:
1) Dog walkers. While the majority of people who use the park have made very positive comments (but not volunteered to help!) there are a few dog-walkers who think it's a good place to leave their dog mess. No excuse. there are 2 bins for the stuff.
2) Kids. While it is good to see the young people using the park, and we would not want them to stop, we do wish they wouldn't pull the buds and heads off flowers.
3) General idiots. As it was an orchard, there are a few fruit trees planted to remind people of this, and a couple left over from those days (a damson and a plum) unfortunately, some people think (and it's not just kids) that it is a good idea to pull the forming fruits off and throw them for their (uninterested) dog. Do they not realise that if they left them they could come and pick a nice apple, pear of cherry and eat it?
4) Thieves. We bought 10 yellow roses. People said how lovely they were. Too lovely it seems. 8 of them were stolen! That cost Mrs Coldman's legacy nearly £150!

Still, most people are nice and appreciative.

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