This was our first project of the academic year and we had a great turn out of new students despite the cloudy day. The community group gave us lots of tasks including digging up the vegetable patch, bringing gravel up to the top meadow (with the help of Nick and a tractor), working on the meadow, weeding around the apple trees in the orchard and building a path near the willow patch.
Mohamed and I spent most of the day building the gravel path, with significant help from various other dirties who carried gravel up to us. It was absorbing work which to be honest makes it difficult to recall anything anyone else did, as a corner of my brain is still preoccupied with the precise measurements of edging planks and number of stakes needed. Mohamed was renamed Thor because of his precise and effective wielding of the sledgehammer, Dan and Marion worked with us in the rain after lunch sawing planks to make extra stakes. We made about 20 metres of path which was very satisfying!
Here is a brief description of the method we used:
The food was excellent thanks to the many talented people in the Duddingston community group; we munched on bread and soup and home-made cake and sat at the massive picnic table we helped build last year. It was nice to see that it no longer wobbled, as that was a bit of an anti-climax when we all set it up last semester.
Bramble (the senior Labrador of the community group) looked greyer around the muzzle but still full of beans and happy to help us out by standing on our feet and wagging her tail. The puppy called Mogsie was just as wriggly and ridiculous as she was last semester, though slightly taller.
Ratchet screwdriver was a muddy affair with some truly heroic escapes (or mostly grim, determined dragging of opponents along the ground) some of which were filmed on the GoPro by Jesus. It was a typical game which delighted the players and mortified some of the onlookers.
Will (aka Lord Grantham) tried out his new Chinese military shovel and confounded us all by claiming it could shovel, hoe, saw, slice, grapple, defend you from zombies, open beer bottles, write scathing editorials, hammer, open interdimensional portals AND tighten cable wires!
Gareth took up his assigned place in the compost heap and proceeded to coax the plants to decompose by whispering to them at a tonal frequency which only Scotsmen (and some cats) can reach.
by Martha Cronin