A couple of years ago the Rangers were approached by some local vintage tractor enthusiasts who offered to help us out with seed-time and harvest. Due to changes in staff and other distractions, nothing came of it, but they are a persistent bunch and they just kept coming back. Luckily they contacted Ranger Matt Hall this time and his enthusiasm for broken-down old machines is unequalled. (Check out his car and his boat for a start!)
Saturday was overcast and cold at Paxton, but warm and sunny everywhere else. All the same, we had a busy day but Sunday exceeded all expectations in terms of weather and visitors. Almost 400 people came through the visitors' centre; almost twice the number one would expect.
Not everyone was there for the tractors of course. Two coachloads of bird-watchers came down from the West Midlands to hear a nightingale, and they were not disappointed. The Wolverhampton RSPB group also managed to tick a real rarity in the form of Trevor Gunton. "Are you still alive?" he was asked. How can you reply to a question like that?
Trevor founded many of these members' groups when he ran the RSPB's Development Department. He is still alive, by the way.
Thanks to all of those involved, especially Rangers Sophie and Matt, and all the volunteers who worked extra hard over the weekend to man the marquee at the event and the visitors' centre. Thanks especially to David and Marjorie Chappel who did put in an extra long shift on Sunday and to the tractor-guys who put on such a terrific show.