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Diary Article 6.

It was so wet earlier in the week that I didnít even think about having a bonfire this Saturday, but instead was given some odd jobs to do around the site. I started by moving half a dozen plastic sacks into one of the greenhouses and realised that they were bags of moss that would be used for lining baskets and troughs and perhaps in some Christmas displays of some sort. It is obviously the wrong time for normal hanging baskets so I shall be interested to see exactly what the centre is going to do with so much moss now. Talking of Christmassy things, Dave showed me dozens of bowls with bright ribbons on that had been planted up with Hyacinths for sale over the coming weeks and especially on their sales open day that they have in December. The next job I was given was to cut some Holly, preferably with lots of berries on, from the trees growing in the various hedges round the centre. Armed with some long loppers and a large green, plastic, trug or bucket with handles, (I am never quite sure what to call them,) I soon had a pile of Holly covered with plenty of glistening, red berries. Not knowing how much the staff would want I cut some more plain holly, without any berries, for good measure.
While in the big Poly Tunnel I also cleared the potting bench, removing a pile of compost and the compost hopper to make some more bench space for the staff to assemble the Christmas wreaths the following week.

Being a bit of a cool morning my 11íss consisted of a lovely cup of Hot Chocolate and a slice of Strawberry Drizzle cake. Most welcome, but I did feel a bit silly sitting outside on the bench, in the cold, in my dirty work clothes and wellies when the customers were all sitting warm and snug in the bright coffee shop.

Then, refreshed I went back to work on a somewhat less pleasant job than those of earlier in the morning. The manure and waste pile, from the barn with the calves in, was getting very untidy and spreading round the field, so it was a case of forking the pile into a more tidy heap. Admittedly, Dave helped me and it didnít take many minutes, but my next job wasnít much better either. Various people, including many of the youngsters had spent days clearing up the great piles of leaves that had been blowing everywhere, but what they hadnít done was to get into the drainage ditch and clear out the rubbish from there. A large underground pipe was in danger of blocking up, so with yet more rain forecast it was an important job to clear it and prevent flooding. With wellies on and armed with a fork I got to work removing the leaves and small branches that had broken off in the high winds and had meshed together to form the blockage. It was a simple matter to throw all the rubbish up onto the soil banks under the trees where it would eventually rot down into the soil. Pleased with removing the mini dam that had started to make the water back up I walked back to the tool shed to return the fork. Glancing down on my way, it dawned on me that all the drain covers around the old house, or as it is now, the office block, were also covered with leaves. With a lot more rain forecast it seemed sensible to clear all those as well. My thick gloves soon got very wet, but never-the-less I was very grateful for them as some of the leaves were starting to rot and get very smelly. However, it was a job that needed doing, and although I did miss one drain and got told about it, I was pleased to have done something so useful and no-one else had thought to do it. The centre is on a slope and therefore drains naturally into the ditch across the bottom of the site, but it is still better for the water to run through the proper drainage system than to make itís own way all over the paths and everywhere. Happily, that was the last job of my morning, so I could go home, get a hot shower to warm me up and put my wet gloves to dry for the next weeks jobs.

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