Great to be on top of the hill !

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWell the weather didn’t let us down on Sunday 27th September and we managed to make a difference to the pond area and thoroughly enjoyed our Tai Chi lesson. 

Although windy, the sun was glorious enabling us to tackle the unwanted weeds on the bank surrounding the pond.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAVLUU L200  / Samsung L200This year the meadow had become very overgrown with too many “thugs” (couch grass, thistles, nettles, docks), resulting in little hope of the wildflower seeds  germinating.   Hopefully  they may still appear, but only if we control the meadow “thugs”.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe therefore concentrated on a small area of the meadow – thoroughly digging and removing (as best we could) all traces of these unwanted weeds.   Unfortunately despite the amount of rain, the area  chosen was dry and stony – so very hard work.

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Rescuing the Mulberry Tree from the nettles !

We also “rescued” the newly planted mulberry tree which had become smothered in nettles.   However we have yet to remove the nettle roots, so no doubt they will be back !

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The Challenge Team

Our small band of FOEP supporters was joined by youth volunteers from The Challenge, a national charity that was founded in 2009,which is the largest provider of NCS (National Citizen Service) in England and will offer more than 18,500 young people the opportunity to graduate from the NCS programme.  For more info. see www.ncsthechallenge.org .

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEveryone worked very hard and seemed enthralled by the number of small newts they found, although not everyone was so keen on the very fat worms.   (No creatures were harmed in pursuit of our mission !)    

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe would like to thank The Challenge and the team of youth volunteers for helping us prepare the meadow for winter and for making the task so pleasurable.  We hope to see them again.

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Patrick Galloghly (also known as Mel). Thanks for your help.

We would also like to thank Parks and Open Spaces for the loan of garden equipment and staff support – Patrick Galloghly (Park Ranger).   Patrick worked with the youth volunteers throughout the day providing advice and guidance.   Finally, the prompt removal of rubbish was also much appreciated.

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We made good progress towards the winter preparations, but there is still much to do.  There are still plenty of docks, thistles, nettles and brambles to be removed and bulbs to be planted.    Can you help us?

We are particularly concerned about the dense growth of grasses/reeds intruding into the pond and the spread of the water lilies.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to the Froglife report (June 2014 see http://eaglesfieldpark.org/its-official-vital-habitat/ it is important to regularly reduce their spread to maintain a mosaic of different zones of vegetation in the pond which provide a diversity of structure: floating, submerged, marginal, emergent etc as well as some areas of open water (maybe up to 30% or so).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We do have 4 sets of ‘chest high’ waders that we can use to enable us to clear the margins of the pond but will be seeking professional advice before tackling the more drastic and difficult aspects of the pond maintenance.   We aim to do this by the end October. Can you help us?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe day wasn’t all hard work.   We were able to enjoy another Tai Chi lesson with Chew-Yeen Lawes.  Everyone was invited to join in.  Eaglesfield Park couldn’t have been a better location for Tai Chi and the blue sky and views across Kent added to the wonderful ambience.   We would like to thank Chew-Yeen and her students for giving up their spare time to provide our local community with the opportunity to learn more about Tai Chi.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe first part of the lesson was about breathing, posture and awareness of what is going on inside our bodies – particularly maximising oxygen flow to our organs.   We then tried simple moves!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey look simple and beautiful, but I’m afraid not when I try!  However, I will persevere.  Four weeks ago I joined one of Chew-Yeen’s classes and thoroughly enjoy the lessons and learning about the benefits of Tai Chi.  It is gentle exercise and can improve your life focus and restore calm and balance.  No special equipment is required.   All it takes is your body and a willingness to learn.  If you would like to learn more about Tai Chi, please contact Chew-Yeen by email chewyeenlawes@yahoo.com.

Following the Tai Chi, Chew-Yeen organised “cake sharing” for a donation in support of MacMaillan Cancer Nurses, our Tai Chi teacher’s chosen charity.  However, it was more like a picnic as members of the class contributed with various other dishes – rice, chicken, salad, cheese, fruit, etc.   Thank you to everyone!  Dare I say it – it was the “icing on the cake” for a perfect day !

 

 

 

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