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Moseley Bog Friends' Blog 16/12/2015

Posted: Monday 4th January 2016 by Joe.P

Xmas volunteersXmas volunteers

These blog posts are sent in by Mary Girvan of the Friends of Moseley Bog & Joy's Wood to give a personal perspective of a day in the life of a volunteer. She also does the twitter feed for @mosbogfriends.

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas, or could that be Spring! 14°, blue skies, hawthorn coming into leaf, new shoots coming up, wasps and bugs a plenty - what's going on?

Let's hope it's a blip, as it doesn't look like the leaders of our world are going to sort it out any time soon. We knew it was Christmas because Santa Claus came to town (the bog) today, a jollification of Santa's in fact, milling around the car park full of good cheer. Gabe tried to hand out some work wear fleeces ordered on our behalf, but either our body shape is more like Santa than we care to think, or there's been a mistake. So even though we all feel more like children at this most wonderful time of the year, the faithful declined to squeeze themselves into the children's coats.

Paul accompanied a chap from New Zealand (ex local) who came to plant some oaks in memory of his mother, and the rest of us set off, lords a leaping and ladies dancing through the meadows, to our place of work.

This time of year we're usually coppicing, tree thinning, cutting and clearing, getting as much management done while things are dormant. It might be a small window this year, unless that cold spell does arrive in January. We set about a small plantation of hazel engulfed in bramble, gelder rose, bramble, Holly and Ivy. As we sawed, lopped and tugged at the vegetation, ripping the brambles from their heights, and swinging off the guelder rose trunks like festive Tarzans, the most frequent cry to be heard was "boy it's warm" - no red nosed reindeers here, and definitely no frosty the snowman. Three french hens flew overhead, followed by two turtle doves and a partridge, and that strange modern phenomenon of gulls almost as far away from the seaside as you can get in this country. 

It was too hot for chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but we did manage to feast on mince pies, homemade biscuits, fruit bread, chocolate and cherry liqueurs, as we pulled open our crackers, and drank our red berry tea. The cracker jokes and trivia kept us entertained, and a little girl passing with her friend and their mothers, was delighted to get a small comb out of hers, which she was going to use on the cat later!

When we got back to our much reduced thicket, the same foursome had built a wigwam from the coppiced hazel, and the girls were happily playing. We must have been a strange bunch to the girls. As they left one called to her mother in a stage whisper "they're hanging their coats on trees!"

The dusk came in quickly. We are approaching the winter solstice. As we walked back along the muddy paths, wishing for a frost and a White Christmas, we spotted and chatted about or tasks in the New Year.
So on our last volunteer day of 2015, in the words of a famous local band, we're now off to hang up our stockings on the wall, and hoping that the fairies will keep us sober for at least a day - Merry Christmas Everybody!
Mary Girvan

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