Archive for August, 2019

Have you seen our latest PR material whilst out and about over Bank Holiday? No…., if you’ve a good idea where we can make our presence known and recruit some new people, then get in touch with this editor; Chairman Chris; or Matthew H / Christine B from the Comm’s team!

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Flexibility and adaptability that’s what makes a successful team….along with tasty bites to eat and some sunshine for encouragement…or so it seemed on Sunday.  

Thanks to the gardens team at Shugborough, we were able to find a replacement slot in our summer calendar when another NT property could not find work for us this last weekend.  So with a sunny day forecast the Group turned up expecting to wade in the canalised offshoots of the River Sow and pull weeds. But the previous week’s rains put paid to that – leaving the water levels too high, even for those prepared to wade up to their chests in the water.

Special thanks to Treasurer Peter who made the largely fruitless journey to collect the waders, only to end up spending the day weeding and pruning.

As a concession gardener Derek found a small patch of water for a couple of SSTV’ers to paddle in the muddy silt and pull weeds and shrubs around the Boathouse.

The rest of the group swapped their water-wear for thicker gloves and boots and started pulling out weeds and shrubs around the Tennis Court; and pruning shrubs near the Chinese bridge to improve the vistas.

Chief bonfire lighter Ron was even seen to smile and seemed to enjoy pulling weeds!

Then it was over to the Doric monument and a chance to practice real gardening skills, watched on by a large inquisitive public.  Could the SSNTV’ers achieve a straight edge across the top of  the young, developing holly hedge to meet the exacting requirements of workday leader Russell – the visitors seemed to think they passed!

With masses of visitors in close proximity it was a chance to turn PR men (and women) and sell the benefits of the green gym and the friendliness of the Group to all those who stopped and chatted.  Perhaps we recruited a few more too for Caroline’s grey-shirted garden volunteers who were busy mowing away in the background,; or will do when people spot our new posters!

The sub-teams largely managed themselves. Lucy and Ann lead with advice on what was a weed and what a specimen plant.

Amongst all that there was some great chocolate cake for cake-o-clock elevenses –  thanks to the photographer / baker and a lardy cake which appeared in the afternoon; along with an alleged home-made fruit cake from Head Gardener Caroline, which appeared in a convenient tea-shop wrapper, plus copious sweets and Gold bars for snacks. 

We’re back in a few weeks when perhaps water levels will have fallen, giving everyone in the Group the chance to jump in the water and practising reed-pulling skills recently on display at Morville Hall.  That’s after Bank Holiday, so for one weekend all SSTV’ers can have a restful weekend off – perhaps visiting a previous scene of their hard work courtesy of their volunteer cards – or if Bank Holiday weather permits, enjoy a trip to the seaside! 

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SSNTV Chair and workday leader Chris reports:…

Well, with all the recent wet weather we came prepared for rain…but Gardener in Charge Nick’s sunny disposition kept the drops away.  We made a traditional start of a good chat, welcoming a new recruit to Benthall in the form of Jill Wells! Then gathered our tools and girded something (ed!) to begin the heavy work.

The tasks were varied; weeding the drive, gathering hay and mulching borders, but most effort went into relaying the gravel around the front of the Hall – which a special hush-hush project had recently had cause to remove – shovelling into a trailer and then back off again to lay outside the front door and all along the drive.  Everyone worked well, but special mention must go to Matt and Russell for sterling work on the shovels – Nick, do get that pneumatics fixed for next time!

Being front of house and strategic deployment of the SSNTV sign, provided the ideal opportunity for John and Chris(tine) to employ their natural nattering skills, engaging with two seemingly earnest potential new recruits.

The end of the day tea on the terrace at 3.30 was most welcome (even if it didn’t actually turn out to be the end of the day’s work…Ed!).  Maggie, unable to make the workday, had nevertheless kindly baked us a glorious victoria sponge.  I can confirm it arrived on site in one piece. But it didn’t live long, with its last crumbs finally mopped up by Russell who, by not liking a key ingredient (coconut), ruled himself out of the running for a piece of Shugborough Derek’s post-Fuggle leftover birthday cake thoughtfully brought to us by Lucy.

A job for next time may be the replacement of a roadside post we planted some years ago; it appears that a vehicle got the better of it (it was prostrate on the ground). But no doubt it will have made its mark before succumbing!

Sincere thanks to Nick for looking after us…..And for being the first to put up our new recruitment posters (….watch this space..Ed!).

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Thanks to specialist “summer” workday leader David for getting yet another consecutive workday seamlessly organised as this report describes:

SSNTV returned to Morville on Sunday for our annual summer reed-pull in the long pool.

Those who didn’t mind the mud, smell and risk of getting wet, donned full waders and clambered in to continue the gradual task of clearing the ornamental waterway of bullrushes and weeds.

The day’s result was a further six metre section of the pool cleared – and varying degrees of dampness for those involved ….do read on…., as green (and brown) matter was hauled up onto the banks to dry out.

This time not everyone worked in the pool, with a small group cutting back rampant valerian and other plants from the end of terrace wall above the parterre in the garden, starting the work to help the newly installed Hall tenants tidy and prune.

We were given a very warm welcome by new occupants Mel, Andrew and their children. Thanks to them for the tea, cake and biscuits they supplied (twice) on their “first day”.  We certainly look forward to working with them again soon – it sounds like they are developing some interesting plans for the garden.

The threatened thunder and rain showers did not materialise – so with the sun out all day, perhaps that was why as work came to an end, Russell decided to jump right back into the water, flooding his waders and getting a real soaking (sorry Peter – we did try rinse them all clean)

…They say mud is good for the skin, but surely not this sort of mud, Russell!

Only another few years work at this rate………

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