A few days ago while walking the dog I spotted a sign taped to a lamppost down the road. It was a call for volunteers to help clear up the copse. We were asked to meet at 11 am this morning (Saturday) on the copse near the Russel school entrance. The copse is actually a grove of ancient oaks, near our house (in Israel it would probably be called a hurshah). We walk through it with the dog at least once a day. It has lovely paths through the huge 400 year old oaks which lead to a nice field behind Ham House. I started walking there as spring sprung, and got to watch the oaks, silver birches and cherry trees bud, then burst into color, then walked by as the leaves slowly turned the last few months, and now squelch through on the spongy layer of damp, fallen foliage. We picked wild berries in summer, spotted foxes and badgers, try keep Roxy away from the grazing polo ponies, and now need a torch (flashlight) to not trip over storm-fallen branches during dark morning walks. I really like our copse.
So I figured we would volunteer. Bwo took little convincing as she too is a friend of the copse. So we rushed over at 11am this morning. It was one of those strange English autumn days, sometimes sunny, sometimes blustery and darkening. I truly expected there to be a bunch of people out helping, there are many dog-walkers in the neighborhood who use the copse daily. But, to my surprise, besides Gena the "official" in charge (contracted by the council it seems) and Andy the local who seems to have organized the event, it was just bwo and I. Our task was to clear a patch of "brambles" (thorny bushes) clustered around some oaks at the entrance to the woods. Well, we hacked and pulled and clipped and raked. I have not worked so hard since I dug at Megiddo two summers back. Even in the fresh autumn air I dripped sweat. We managed to clear out a good bit of undergrowth, but now a few hours later I can hardly move. I must say, I was a little underwhelmed by the local support, you would think that people that use this wonderful piece of nature daily could donate a few hours of their time - Andy claims it's all because of the Germans (don't mention the war).
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