Sunday, 27 July 2008

Snakes and Hay

What's the most relaxing way to spend the hottest day of the year? Sunbathing by the pool, cool beer and barbeque, stroll in the country? Certainly not raking hay in the village millennium garden.

The call came by email a couple of weeks ago,

‘Volunteers wanted, Sunday morning, 9.30a.m. sharp, bring your own rake and gloves.’

The millennium garden, an old orchard saved from developers when a local mansion was converted into flats, is a small patch of paradise and my shortest route to the shops.

In spring I skip along under clouds of apple blossom, summer and there’s a shady path to follow. Autumn? Apples to scrump of course and smoky bonfires of leaves. In winter there’s a mud free path with fine views over the surrounding fields.

So, duty bound, I joined my mainly grey haired co-workers, to do my bit for the village. As we stood in line, raking and piling up the hay into mounds, the talk was of how the garden, once a scruffy patch of waste land, was improving local biodiversity.

‘So much more wildlife‘, they all agreed, giggling nervously when a very small slow worm was found.

I pondered, should I mention the large snake my neighbour had spotted basking on the path as she walked her kids to school one morning?

‘Best not,’ I decided, no need to frighten off any of the workers, Many hands make light work on such a hot day. From the reported size of the snake, it was probably only a grass snake, though I’d worn my boots just in case.


Casdok said...

Sounds wonderful! And great that the locals got together to do their bit.
Think i would have worn boots too - just in case!

Fennie said...

Not such a bad way to spend time - I love the smell of hay. So romantic, I am instantly transported. And the snake probably was a grass snake. But surely cider goes with hay, rather than beer?

Frances said...

What a beautiful way to start a Sunday morning!

I'd love to see more pictures of this orchard as the seasons change.


WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Now HS spent this Sunday morning on a work party with the other residents to repair our half mile track. I went down to help once I had fed and walked the animals, but the work was done - but I enjoyed the coffee and scones . . . telling you all this to say that it is actually fun working together with people on a joint project. And no I wouldn't have mentioned the snake either . . .

mountainear said...

Working together with a purpose does seem to bind a community together - whether it is fund raising or on a project which everyone will benefit from - like yours.

Better working in the sunshine than in the pouring rain too I think.

Milla said...

I loved that, the way it just stopped! (frankly because I really didn't want any morphing into cobras stuff going on!)

Edward said...

Wish we could buy up a local building site and save it from being turned into yet another satellite village. Very evocative tale, and nice picture to boot (boots being very important when there are snakes around)

elizabethm said...

Great pictures both by words and images.
thanks for your comment on my journey blog.

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