Saturday, 14 March 2009

Paying To Work

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.


Kazzy said...

Looks very therapeutic to me. Nice! Love the first photo of the funky trees.

Chef E said...

Oh I would so do that! In college I spent three months in Holland, Germany, and Denmark helping to repair schools and stuff, and I paid the to do it...not to mention all the wonderful people I met, and the feeling of helping.

Jeanne said...

One of the wonderful things about digital cameras is one can afford to take a thousand pictures and then cull through for the keepers. Sounds like a good (though sweaty) time!

Diane said...

What a great experience! I would love to do something like that.

Jenny Beans said...

Oh, what a fantastic experience that must have been. I used to do a lot of volunteer work for our state parks program, and I miss it. I should give them a call and see if they need anyone to get to work for them this spring. I hope you'll post some more of your photos.

SUSAN said...

The photos are a wonderful reminder of an excellent week, many thanks to you and Andy for helping to make the holiday so enjoyable.

Domestic Executive said...

Winkworth is indeed one of the great Arboretums. Gosh, how I miss the national trust. This new world location you miss out on all that old world stuff! Great work that will I am sure make a big difference to the Trust's work.

Raj said...

Great pictures. I like the one where your're doing all the digging, while Andy is 'busy' taking the photograph. Or was that just for show?

Thanks for a great week!

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