Branches West Vale Reports
Shrivenham, Watchfield, and Bourton Parish News. September 2016

Our dwindling bunch of aged branch volunteer old codgers are always kept extra busy every spring and summer tackling an over exuberant Mother Nature and so it was again this year! So as many times before, we were delighted to have some most welcome extra help from visiting volunteers from BT and Nationwide. We get them from lots of local businesses who give their employees the day off to help local charities and some actually choose to come to us for a day out in the countryside doing hard labour, they must enjoy it though as some come back time after time! But it is fun and most worthwhile and they usually get to have a picnic or a pub lunch as an incentive/inducement! We are expecting some more soon but don’t let that put you off if you fancy volunteering in the mean time!

Now Mother Nature has been about for ever, even longer that our branch members, and she really has got the hang of growing luxuriant varieties of tough vegetation and arming them to the teeth with many protective devices, thorns, stings and poisons to name a few. She works with her mate, the weather, so with a wet spring followed by a mild summer she really got a move on and our paths became all but impassable, even our new fangled mechanically powered scrub bashing equipment struggles to keep up, mainly because it has too few old codgers on the non-business end, so we were relieved when a dozen volunteers turned out from BT and set about bashing a lot of that invasive scrub for us, they worked wonders but there is still more to do!

She’s even had a good go at recovering that nasty scar that was left after the electric board grubbed out scrub under their overhead lines in the park. Hardly a sign of it now, must keep an eye on it though or it will get out of hand and the electric board will be back again!

The branch is now stony, broke that is, because we have just spent all our hard scrounged cash on stone for the new path by the electricity sub station. Luckily 7 fit men from Nationwide Building Society volunteered to lay it for us, the same group that laid some of the stone on the new path in the park last summer, we never had enough stone to finish it though so we need to get the begging bowl out yet again!

Alan Norris