Hev yew gotta loight boy??

We have had something of a change of plan since I last wrote, as Mike and I have carefully studied the local weather forecast with our new volunteer crew, aka Yvonne and Julie.

As the weather was mostly dry on Monday, windy and dry today, and due to be fabulous tomorrow, we decided to work on the lower level clearance.  You may recall that we have a pretty large quantity of last year’s rhodo trimmings that are now dry and require burning – but the prevailing wind would normally take the smoke straight to the bee hives, and bees don’t like being covered in smoke.

The area beneath the rhodo had previously been (ab)used through being the target for hardcore, blocks, cans, drink bottle etc. thrown down from outside the cafe (which was then a licensed bar).  Here you can see Alex and Yvonne either raking down the rubbish so that it can be disposed of, or digging up the half buried rubble.

Only just started working…

Once we have removed the worst of the rubbish, we plan to level what passes for soil and then add a layer of topsoil before seeding to grass.

Closer view of the area being worked

Here you can see that under some of the branches we have several stack of hard core and mixed rubbish.  Our initial plan was to create one hardcore store, and to position this against the rock so that it will not be visible from the building.  Having started to do this, however, we stopped for a chat over coffee and realised we don’t believe we will need this hardcore, so we had a change of heart.

Supervisor and volunteer coordinator having a consultation

We decided to place the bigger bits of rubble at the base of the cliff to provide a steadying hand and place the smaller items above those.  We will then throw bark chippings over this (you can see a heap on the bottom right hand of the photo)  to fill up the small gaps and when that has settled, add a layer of soil.  Once that has settled, perhaps over the winter, we will plant up with ground cover plants so that in a year or two, it should appear to be a natural part of the hillside.

Our final design for the hardcore store

As we have been clearing and raking the area, we have assembled quite a sizeable bonfire, ready for us to light tomorrow when the wind should finally be blowing away from the bees for only about the third day this summer.

The bonfire, ready for a match tomorrow

If all goes to plan, next time I should be able to share a photo with you showing this area cleaned and being prepared for grass seeding – but then again, we are expecting pretty heavy rain from Thursday onward, so don’t hold your breath!

On the refurbishment front, Mike spent today preparing a couple of rooms on floor 2 for the insulated plasterboard that should be arriving tomorrow – but that will have to wait as we plan to be all hands on deck for the rubbish clearance tomorrow.  Here’s hoping one of us has some form of ignition…



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