The night before
Grey skies and steady rain accompanied the drive up the M6 and A591, but we all arrived in decent time. Lisa and I had brought a tent, which we managed to put up before dark. We were slightly apprehensive about the volume (and poor quality) of the music being played by our neighbours in the other basecamp block 100 yards away, but thankfully the rain had sent them indoors long before we turned in for the night.
|Home for the night ...|
The next morning we were woken by the flapping of wings as birds flew over our tent on their way to the feeders that hang outside the basecamp veranda. We were treated to blue tits, great tits and coal tits, chaffinches and goldfinches, and a couple of nuthatches.
|The nuthatch opts for the seed feeder rather than the nuts!|
|Lisa and Gordon multitask by flattening the old wire while imitating some animal or other|
|Little lunchtime visitor|
Lisa beat me in the opening round of Giant Connect 4, was then beaten by Neil, who was then beaten by Martin. Martin managed to avoid the 'Curse of the Champion' and went on a half-dozen game winning streak before I came out on top in an epic tactical battle that eventually came down to whoever was the first to be forced to drop their big plastic disc into the 'column of instant death'.
|The tension is palpable: Giant Connect 4 doesn't get more epic than this ... Note the 'column of instant death' third from the left!|
|Lisa expects while Ally ponders. The rest of us keep a safe distance!|
Day 2. Task: spruce clearance. Small green visitor of the day: lizard
Day 1 had seen us complete the fencing work in double quick time, so we stayed closer to basecamp today and did some spruce regeneration clearance at Nor Moss, a task that we had done last Christmas.
Any job that involves mattocks is usually an unwelcome one, with 'backbreaking' and 'attritional' being uppermost in the vocabulary of descriptive terms. And there were some big trees to remove (Philippa cunningly demonstrated on a small specimen, exactly as her colleague Matt had done last Christmas!).
|"Can we fit this in the car?"|
Excitement was provided when Tim and Tricia discovered a small lizard beneath a big tree (which unfortunately they'd just destroyed). This definitely trumped yesterday's frog as the most exciting small green thing to appear on a worksite over the weekend. It was allowed a couple of minutes of fame before being released back under the trees.
|The best small green visitor of the weekend|
Mick and Pip turned yesterday's excess pasta into a delicious lunch that was enjoyed by all. It was a glorious afternoon and felt too soon to be heading home. But we'll be back, whether that's in summer or winter next year.
Day 3. Optional day of leisure
Neil, Ally and Madeleine did some stuff. I'm not sure exactly what, aside from visiting Wray Castle (judging by Ally's Facebook page) as by this stage I'd gone home and was lifting bricks and shifting soil in the garden. I'm sure Wray Castle was much more enjoyable!
|The Weekend Reprobates (sorry, 'Hard-working volunteers'!)|