The kitchen table is Out Of Bounds To Dogs (a shock, I know). One dog (who shall remain nameless) finds it enormous fun to leap on the chair and from thence onto the table and chew whatever is on it. I thought I had shoved all the chairs tightly under the table when I left this morning, but certain people are evidently cleverer and more determined than I realised.
L, whose homework sheet this is, will either a) find it hysterically funny and spend the rest of the week telling his chums with great glee that his dog ate his homework (literally), or b) he'll be cross. Given that no actual work has been done yet and this is just a sheet of instructions, which can be replaced following the handing in of a note containing the legend 'please Miss, my dog ate my homework,' (which he has been dying to use ever since he started school), and also because he shares my sense of humour, I suspect it will be a).
There are two potential culprits as you know, but I don't think I need to point out who was actually responsible, do I.....?
I said it was Medieval in the header because there are records of it dating from the 1600s, HOWEVER, it is also mentioned in a document from the 1100s, and given that the Parish it sits in has been around at least since Saxon times I would hazard a guess that it has probably always been here.
The road next to it is now a very busy one, but up until a hundred years ago it was the turnpike way into Winchester and there were few houses on it apart from the nearby manor, church and farm. The pond had long been used as a watering hole for cattle from the farm and for sheep that were brought down from nearby Teg Down (a Teg is a sheep in its second year, or before its first shearing). During the latter part of the last century it had been somewhat neglected, and a few years ago underwent a restoration project which involved lining the sides and base with concrete, putting two rafts at either end which reeds now grow on, putting in drainage channels from the road and a pump in the pond itself.
It was hugely overgrown with reeds when we arrived this morning, and so our primary task was to cut them back as far as we could. The main source of water for the pond is rainwater, or run off and drainage from the road, so it isn't rich in wildlife because the water quality is poor. Even so, life will find a way to make use of a resource like this and we found a Common Frog, a Leech, some goldfish (apparently they get tipped in after Christmas when people receive them as unwanted pets), a yellow water lily, wild mint and purple loose-strife growing among the reeds. I spoke with the pond manager who told me a surveyor found a newt in it a few years ago, and that he himself had seen dragonflies using it. I saw crane flies while we were talking, and I'd lay money there will be moth and butterfly eggs among the greenery, so it does have wildlife value. It is also an amenity for the local people so the management plan has to reflect all these different uses, views and needs.
It quickly began to look better when a number of Brave Ecology Students donned waders and intrepidly went in wielding slashers and clippers......
I was dying for someone to fall in and had the camera ready to record the moment, but Sash (who can usually be relied upon to oblige) was keeping well away from the water, and everyone else was steady on their toes.
Large amounts of disgusting rubbish were fished out and chucked away.....
And the reeds themselves, with attached gunk from the bottom, could hardly be called fragrant. But ecologists don't let a small thing like a putrid smell stop them.....
|Fi, demonstrating her muscles. Go Girl!|
|Harv, being Lovely And Polite, as always....|
|Caroline adding to the pile of growing reeds|
Stu came up with an ingenious method of drawing the copious quantities of duck weed off the surface using a piece of rope stretched between himself and Dave. They dragged it across the water, trapping Cal in the process....
We were all surprised when it worked and soon the pond was looking much, much happier.....
It had taken us a couple of hours to return it to a healthier state. Man (and girl) power and a few simple tools can achieve much, eh?
|My buddy Dave, looking dashing as he models this season's must-have item....waders|
|Fi, lending grace and elegance to a spade, a pair of wellies and workmans' gloves|
|Sash with Harv (who is not as frightening as he looks in this piccie. Promise).|
|Yellow lily Nuphar lutea|
All in all it's lovely to be back :o)
I'll leave you with Poppy 'All Your Homework Needs Taken Care Of' Russell.
Hope you're all keeping well?