Remembering at Dancersend
10.50am. "It won't be long now."
Autumn sunlight brings out the gold of the beech leaves and warms the Dexters as they watch us lazily.
The work party drifts to a corner of the field where rucksacks looped over fenceposts mark 'base camp' for the day's operations. A silenced strimmer is propped against a gateway, loppers and saws are carefully left in place for afterwards.
10.55am. Quiet conversation.
"Do you remember when we did this in the pouring rain?"
"That was the year the Extension fields looked like the Somme, after the excavators had been in to make the new scrapes."
11.00am. The first maroon goes off at Tring police station, then another from further south, perhaps from Hemel Hempstead, and another from Halton Camp, the sound muffled by the intervening hillside.
Three buzzards spiral up over the Meadow Plots mewing. From deep inside Bittams Wood a raven cronks.
We stand in silence.
11.02am. Back to work, to patiently cut back hazel, dogwood and hawthorn and make space for next summer's orchids, gentians and meadow clary.
Another season beckons from beyond the winter.
"It won't be long now till the lunch break."