Rain! And rain! And even more rain! Were we bothered? Nope. Nothing much stops The Wrekin Forest Volunteers in their quest to keep our wildlife happy, although this visit was cancelled 2 weeks ago, due to snow which made this somewhat remote part of Shropshire inaccessible.
So Friday Jan 22nd saw around 15 of us arrive at this former ash dump for the Buildwas Power Station where we met up with host Mary and other members of the e.on staff. We were later joined by Kevin who unfortunately had arrived at Allscott on the other side of the county before discovering he was on the wrong site, whilst Nigel in the meantime alighted from the No. 94 bus only to watch our mini-bus disappearing up the lane to the top of the site. Managing to almost catch us up at the next set of gates he again stood waving as we set off once more without seeing him!
Anyway, our mission today, apart from ensuring we all got thoroughly soaked, was to clear the young alder from two adjacent sites to open up the area and encourage other flora and fauna.
So this was the main site just as we launched the attack
A couple of hours later and we’d virtually finished, complete with fire ready for lunch!
But not before we caught Lis growing a second head so that she could talk on her mobile and t’other Liz at the same time!
And a shot of a very wet Penny who holds the notion that on days when rain never abates it’s best not to wear a hat or hood and enjoy, instead, a 3-hour rain shampoo. I have to say, after struggling with my sodden woolly hat and fighting with a hood that constantly gets in the way I entirely agree!
Lunch-time arrived very quickly. Pete announced there would to be no jacket spuds today but fortunately Steve from e-on had the superb idea to bring along a mountain of Sainsbury’s Butchers Choice Sausages and a crop of onions. All of which was a very welcome addition to my soggy egg sarnies.
As I gratefully accepted a fabulous hot dog from the barbeque I optimistically asked if there was any English mustard and tomato ketchup much to everyone’s amusement but then… guess what? Nigel obliged and produced, as if by magic, a large plastic pouch out of his rucksack which was stuffed full of all the condiments anyone could ever wish for. Bliss! Sheer bliss!
Later Penny treated a few of us to a fascinating dissertation about Primroses which apparently can be quite promiscuous - or was that the cowslips? I’m afraid, the remainder of this fascinating and impromptu talk passed me by as I mused on how primroses could be in the slightest way promiscuous.
A vision in my mind was conjured up of these rather innocent looking plants slowing slinking off in the dead of night to visit other beds, returning to their exact daytime spot just before dawn breaks. Vivid is the imagination when daydreams take hold but I will probably now never look at a primrose in the same way! But, I fear, I must make more of an effort to rein in my thoughts as I now have to ask Penny again what promiscuous primroses really do get up to!
Enough of this frivolity!
After lunch we moved on to the other site just over the lagoon inlet stream where we again set-to cutting down the alder. Still in the rain.
Look at that. What? That… that thing in the pool. Have I photographed for the first time that elusive, rarely seen Devil’s Dingle Lagoon Monster? I’m certain that’s what it is. I watch it for some minutes. It doesn’t move, but it seems to be quietly and eerily observing.
It suddenly disappears and then slowly, very slowly emerges, bedraggled from the water.
Now that’s scary. Very scary! Identified as Reptilia Keethica this is something we shall have to be careful of when we spend the night here on a proposed moth night! This was something Pete, Mary and I discussed (could that be Peter, Paul & Mary of 60’s fame?) and agreed it would be a great idea. So once a date has been set I’ll let everyone know. As Mary explained, there have been surveys for butterflies, plants, birds and bats but not our resident moths. It should prove very interesting on the diverse habitats that exist here at Devil’s Dingle.
Before I disappear back into the oblivion I call ‘offline’ just wanted to introduce a new member of the Wrekin Forest Volunteers. So… a big welcome to James, a very competent and enthusiastic guy but I just wonder, James, whether you know what you’re letting yourself in for here?!
Catch you all later - oh and a quick note to Kevin - next Friday, we’re at Apley Castle and could someone please look out of the mini-bus rear window in case Nigel’s running behind again!
PS. No-one yet has answered correctly both parts of the ‘Where Is It’ competition to win another of my much sought-after and highly prized prizes so it rolls over for another week. Here’s the pic again.
I need the name of yonder hill and from where was it taken? See ‘Comments’ at the bottom of the Lilleshall post to discover what’s been said so far.