Saturday, 11 October 2014

Ranger Task Force

Our Ranger Service has a monthly meeting at Hinchingbrooke Country Park but we all usually stick to our own patch to work, so we don't know each other's sites very week, nor do we really know each other! But now we have a plant to put that right.

The plan is to hold a series of sessions during which we all descend on one site and give it a good going over. In that way, we hope that any pressing work that has been held up through lack of time or manpower will be dealt with in short order.

This week, we held our first session at Spring Common, which is somewhere in Huntingdon. I say "somewhere" because it is a really hard to find and, if you stop to ask directions, you will either get a blank look or be sent to Spring Common School, which is a mile away.  In fact, lots of residents walk across the common but don't know what it is called.

Ranger David Robinson looks after Spring Common and so he directed our work. Basically, if he gave you a litter picker you went litter-picking;  if you found yourself with a chainsaw, hedge trimmer, strimmer of brush-cutter you cut down all in your path and if you had a rake or fork in your hand you tided up behind the cutter-downers. Meanwhile Ranger Brian Gardner raced around on a Formula 1 mower until a blow-out on the twelfth lap put him out of the championship.

The place certainly looked tidier after we left and I quite enjoyed being outside on a lovely autumn day. What it really taught me was how it felt to be a volunteer!  Every week these heroes turn up and have no idea what they will be expected to do until they get given a tool. They are wonderful.

The other things I learned is that refreshments are vital, cakes are better than biscuits and don't forget to fill the water flasks.