Saturday, 14 March 2009
No, it's not the latest cruel twist in the tale of The Recession (2009 Edition).
Not a story of writerly oppression, either, though I know some who've paid to be published (just don't get me started on that kind of scam).
But it is true that I just paid to do a week's heavy work. I was on a National Trust working holiday - and it's actually a great way to spend a few days learning rural skills and supporting a great charity in the process.
The group (ten of us) stayed in what the NT affectionately call a 'basecamp' (a sort of private hostel) and spent the week working at Winkworth Arboretum. We were very lucky with the weather, which is just as well because we were outside all the time: planting birch trees, replanting camelias & mahonia, coppicing hazel, planting snowdrops, building fires, and playing with Seren, the four-month-old puppy belonging to Chris (our supervisor & teacher for the week).
One of many beautiful woodland paths at the Arboretum:
Our sitting room at 'Hunter' basecamp in Haslemere:
Snowdrops ready to be planted:
The adorable Seren:
Coppicing (note the one trunk hanging in the air - happened quite a lot!):
I'm now completely exhausted with aching muscles, but I'm also refreshed after a serious break from anything resembling thinking (I didn't even take my laptop). I did however have time to think about photography, and loads of chances to practise - meaning I took nearly 1,000 pictures during the week! Haven't had chance to look through all of them yet.
We also had a very enjoyable day off in the middle of the holiday, but that's a story for another day.