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What happens when the tea kit is forgotten?

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Please join your local wildlife trust today

Posted: Monday 19th June 2017 by Bernwood Project

ragged robinRagged robin by Andy Fairbairn

Charlotte Karmali and the Finemere Wood volunteers tackle an unused stock pen before discovering the biggest challenge of the day

Charlotte KarmaliWritten by Charlotte Karmali

Volunteer Warden at Finemere Wood, Bucks



A 'demolition gang' was a necessity at a recent gathering of the Finemere Wood troops, for the task was to deconstruct an old, unused stock pen. Fortunately, there are many volunteers willing to do such a job. Despite their many admirable qualities, and the time they invest in the worthy cause of conservation, one has to wonder at the destructive nature of these individuals.

And so with hammers and crow bars, using brute force, powerful muscles and karate kicks (not recommended, nor encouraged), volunteers bashed and smashed as they took on the day’s challenge.

Finemere Wood volunteers

In contrast to this devastation, Finemere Wood looks glorious at this time of year, a rich palette of colour, as a great diversity of wild flowers come into bloom.

Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi): Growing to a height of 75cm, with grass-like leaves, ragged robin is pretty and pink. The divided petals give the flowers a tattered, untidy look. Its ideal habitat is damp and wet and it grows almost everywhere in the United Kingdom. It is a food plant for many moths, bees and butterflies, in particular the common blue. Folklore tells how men would carry this flower in their pocket, and if it survived it would indicate success in love. Girls would give each plant the name of a local man, and the flower that opened first would disclose who she was to marry.

ragged robin

Piece by piece the fence comes down, rails are removed, posts are prised out of hard, dry ground. The time arrives for the ritual of tea and cake, when I am struck by the most terrible realisation: I have cake, but in the chaos of the morning the tea kit did not make it into my car.

How was I going to tell them?

There would be a riot, they would never come back again. In desperation I bundled the bemused volunteers into the car. We found what we needed, and more, in Quainton. So I must say a heartfelt thank you, to the George and Dragon coffee shop, for saving my bacon. We had tea and enjoyed fabulous cakes, but the deal was that my cake too had to be eaten. A valiant attempt was made by all to comply. 

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