Blue Flower

Thursday 4/1/24  We didn’t know if we could get to the mill today as the river was very high and fast flowing after all the heavy rain and the riverside track was partly flooded in several places, but we put the Gator in four wheel drive and managed to get through the floods. 

At the mill, the water level was the highest we have seen since work started in 2015, the inlet floor in front of the water wheel was flooded for the first time and water was coming up inside the wheel again. Only 20 courses of bricks were visible on the pier, there are normally 30, in the floods of 2021 there were 24. We kept an eye on the river level throughout the day as we couldn't risk being stranded, but the level went down slightly.

In the wagon, the rope seal around the woodburner door was hanging off, so I found the fireproof glue and fixed it back in place. Eddie lit the fire to set the glue, then got the clock on the wall working by fitting a new battery.

Our next job was picking up the fallen insect hotel we made last time, as it had blown over. We put all the insect hotels in a row so that each stake is shared between two stands, this gives enough stakes to hold them all down, including the new one. In spring we will move them to the wildflower meadow. I noticed Poppy seedlings already growing on the meadow, there is not much grass growth so it doesn’t need cutting yet. The river level is so high it can be seen when standing in the wildflower meadow.

Eddie cut up brambles and brash and burned them in the incinerator while I fitted the new nest camera wiring loom which arrived recently, after the original one was chewed by mice. I connected the power cables then plugged all the camera feeds in, switched on and tested the system, all cameras are now working again. The hole under the seat where the cable goes through has been enlarged so Mice can get through without eating the cable. I kept the old cable as it could be repaired if needed. We will treat the cable with Mouse repellent.

Beryl gave us suet balls and a tub of mixed bird food with seed, peanuts and mealworms, as we are running very low on bird food, so I filled up the feeders and topped up their drinking water.

Our compost bin had a gap at the top of the sliding hatch which would allow compost to fall out, so I cut and drilled a block of wood and fitted it to the bottom to prevent the hatch going down too far and leaving a gap, we’ll use this compost bin when we start cutting grass and weeding gardens.

The back of the towed sweeper had split apart at one end, so I put new nuts and bolts through to hold the baseplate, fabric and metal strip together. I then damaged the ends of the threads with pliers to stop the nuts coming off. We will need the collector when we cut the meadow, as wildflowers prefer poor soil, so cuttings are left for a few days for seeds to fall in Autumn, then cuttings are cleared to prevent them enriching the soil.

We went over our footbridge to look at the high river level from the other side, we could clearly see how much higher it is around the water wheel. We dragged back some large fallen branches from the footpath. I got the saw horse out and Eddie cut the branches up for firewood and put the logs in the wood store.

Paul and his colleagues from the Fishing Club and partners from Norfolk Rivers Trust were doing a survey along the river bank, they visited us and looked at our finds on display and watched videos of the water wheel turning in our visitor centre. We made it back along the river bank through the floods with no problems.

Graham Bartlett  

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