The woods, frisbie, liqueurs and tongue-twisters

Day 5. 31 July 2003

Thursday. We return to the farm in our school bus but this time not to transfer to a collection of faithful if ailing vehicles. The woods where we are to be working are just a short walk through the potato field at the back of the farm. To save us the bother of horse-flies and mosquitos Tom performs his Tool Talk in the garden (where we are used to siesta in the mid-afternoon sun), instructing us in the safe use of bowsaws, loppers and billhooks. We then decend on the woodland where Hagrid can already be heard hard at work with his chainsaw.

The work is to gather and stack cut wood, and cut what isn’t in preparation for bonfires and the restoration of this area to a traditional woodland meadow. Steve, Hannah, Jan, Vicky, Paul, Ela and Karin opt to work in the first shady area (and for the sake of convenience we shall them Team A). It is reported later that they quickly adopt Union Rules and adhere to a strict work ethic, involving frequent and regular tea breaks and everyone downing tools and enjoying this communal activity.

Team B, consisting of the rest of us, move further on to woke in full sun clearing a larger area. This group sub-divides, and after some minor confusion as to what we are doing is sorted out, Alice and myself set off to work over the far side. We are joined during the day by Tom, and I get to feel increasing like a spare part as flirtation between Tom and Alice intensifies.

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