Blue Flower

Thursday 2/5/24  Debra had an early start and strimmed along the line of saplings, in front of the wildlife habitat, and put a tree guard around the Ash tree which Beryl gave us. Debra printed some D Day photos which I put in the album. Debra brought Hector the Labrador today, he went in the river so I threw sticks for him to catch.

I took the mower and cut the track on the way down, Eddie brought a carpet which I got from the skip, I turned the carpet over and tried our radio control tanks on it, they work well on this surface so I found another piece of carpet when we went back, which will give enough room for visitors at the open days to have tank battles as part of our D Day activities. I put the tank sign and controllers on the lectern board.

Emma strimmed and weeded the area near the water wheel, as well as cutting the triangle of grass and edging along the capping stones over the channel. Anne Marie brought some Geraniums and planted them around one of the trees, weeded and watered the other gardens, uncovering Iron Cross plants and another Bistort which are now flowering with pink lollipop flowers.

Debra strimmed the trench and the area around the small Oak tree. Debra gave us a rug for the wagon and washed all the tea towels and oven gloves. Eddie cleaned the glass panels of the display cases and cut up a red blanket to put the exhibits on, he stapled the blanket in two of the display sections and fitted the glass panels.

Debra had to leave early but the rest of us had our lunch outside, as it was a warm sunny day. We saw a Pied Wagtail on the water wheel again and there was a Lapwing calling and flying over the field. Chicks have hatched in the Great Tit and Jackdaw boxes, we watched them being fed on the camera screen. Beryl gave us two Horse Brasses a few weeks ago, today I put them on the wall in the railway wagon.

I finished off the diorama model, I stuck sandpaper and grass mat on the upper area to make a landscape, put the Army truck which I assembled on the road, filled the beach with sand and put the tank and tank traps on it, and painted waves on the sea. I added some bushes and refitted the side panels.

Eddie cut all the grass at the mill before taking the mower back and cutting the other side of the track on the way. We saw Geese with Goslings, they went in the river and a Swan was flapping its wings and threatening them, but it soon turned round and swam away from them.

Saturday 4/5/24  This was the last weekend before the open days, there were 7 of us at the mill. Howard and I took the petrol strimmers so we could get the site tidy ready for the open days next weekend. Howard repaired, strengthened and re-painted our round table which had broken. I got our donation box out and tested it to make sure its working, it just needed new batteries and an extra nail to hold the cladding in place.

Eddie joined us and got a fire going in the incinerator to burn all the cuttings from recent work parties. Emma and David walked down, David strimmed the corner where visitors watch our water wheel turning, as well as the area between the damaged walls which is too churned up to mow. There were a lot of cuttings from this area which David emptied into the compost bay.

Emma and I took off the glass panel over the downstream brick floor and Emma cleaned it and weeded inside the feature. Emma also weeded around the benches and brick floor.

Fred and Debra came down on the tractor, Fred cut the track and footpath both sides of the river, when he got to the other side of our bridge he came across for a cup of tea with us, then cut the rest of the footpath. Debra and David used the petrol strimmers to cut all the overgrown areas around the site, Debra also went across the bridge to cut the grass areas next to the footpath. The rest of us used the battery strimmers to tidy up various parts of the mill and to clear around the bench on the footpath.

Howard and I moved the insect hotels into the wildflower meadow and staked them down and I moved the cycle rack which enabled Howard to mow the small lawn so I could put carpet down ready for the radio controlled tanks at the open days, I put bricks on it to hold it down and give some obstacles. Howard used Barry’s mower to lower it down over weeds with large thick leaves on the wildflower meadow to remove them, then he mowed a clearing for the picnic bench.

Eddie and Howard got the pulley in a block of wood which Fred gave us, they mounted it above the doorway to the new display room in the visitor centre next to the other pulley.

David and Emma cleared the trench next to the wildflower meadow, Howard repaired the leaning fence posts blocking off the area between the damaged walls and put a sign on the fence to replace one which blew away in high winds, the signs keep visitors out of the danger area.

Thursday 9/5/24  We were very busy today preparing for the open days at the weekend. Ryan brought his Army uniform to show us, this will be part of the D Day displays. Ryan brought the mower which Eddie then used to cut all the grass at the mill.

Anne Marie walked down and planted a Ragged Robin which Beryl gave us, it was put in a pot with compost from our compost bay. We put it on the wildflower meadow, being in a pot ensures it will not get strimmed or mown, when established, it will be planted in the meadow. Anne Marie watered and weeded the gardens as well as digging up some large weeds on the wildflower meadow.

Emma brought Breckland Council Chairman, Peter Wilkinson and Gabriella Crittenden, Community Enabler, as Peter nominated the bone mill volunteers for his Unsung Hero awards which recognise people who work in the community. Eddie, Anne Marie, Ryan, Howard and myself were awarded a certificate and Emma was given a certificate which includes all volunteers which will be displayed at the mill. Howard was unable to attend, so Gabriella held his certificate for the photos of the presentations, which my wife Jan took. 

Peter said the Unsung Hero awards were presented to us for all the work we have done at the mill. I thanked Peter for nominating us for the awards and for his help with the mill over the years. I had already been given a Jubilee Coin by Peter for my community work, so it was good that the other bone mill volunteers were recognised too. There is an article on Lynn News. I showed Peter and Gabriella around the mill including some of the D Day exhibits for our open days, as Gabriella administered our D Day grant with Peter’s support. 

Work then continued, Ryan oiled the water wheel bearings so we can have the wheel turning, he also put the carpet out and made a course for the radio control tanks, then cleared weeds from the brick floor in front of the water wheel and in the river. Ryan and Emma cleaned the explanation signs and put them beside the features. 

Eddie added a wooden brace to the table legs of our main display case, as one of the legs was crooked and there is a lot more weight on it now, with 3 panes of glass and wooden display cabinets. Emma weeded around the site and asked Anne Marie to test the quiz she made. Eddie and Ryan used Barry’s mower to cut the short grass around the various features.

I mowed paths through the wildflower meadow and swept cuttings from the main lawns, as I thought it would look better for the open days. The sweeper was not working properly, so I raked up some of the cuttings by hand. Eddie repaired the sweeper mechanism by cutting a piece from a bolt to replace a worn out part, he tested the sweeper and it worked well, so I used it to clear the rest of the cuttings and emptied them into the compost bays. 

Debra walked down with three Labradors, who all went in the river. Debra is going to lend us her pasting table for the open days to put the food on, as we need the other tables for all the D Day displays. I took the mower back and saw a single Swan in the river.

Graham Bartlett  

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