Pure folly


Making way for another container


Mowing Victoria avenue

Mowing Victoria Avenue

Always jobs to do… for starters the small bales of hay had to be moved to make way for a container at Cobbs Wood Farm. Seem to be running out of secure storage space- not that the items going into the container are of any great value, it’s  more so the rats and mice don’t destroy the tents, cables and more delicate indoor things like Christmas decorations etc. With a shortage of vehicles a little planning was required to usefully employ everyone. Paul went off to finish  mowing where the scrub was growing in Victoria Avenue; Jim and Tom went felling up at the Folly and Sarah and I finished all those ‘just-a-jobs’ that are the tail end/ bits left over from the major works.

Finishing off the very last of the guards for this years planting

Finishing off the very last of the guards for this year’s planting

Go on, hit it!

Go on, hit it!

We had a few tree guards to erect in the front Park and a few to re-plant up which we had missed earlier. Don’t get on the wrong side of

A bit of recycling

A bit of recycling

Sarah- she wields the sledge hammer to great effect.  Next was a small job for the office and then, with only the two door truck available for use, we took all the unwanted rubbish back to Cobbs Wood and recycled what we could.

Murky day

Murky day

This one replaced a beech that had died after 20 years

This one replaced a beech that had died after 20 years

Felling the elm by the folly

Felling the elm by the Folly

Last guard to erect was at the Folly; lost a beech last year… just decided to turn its toes up, ‘brown bread’ it was…

Meanwhile Jim and Tom were getting along with great gusto; they had pretty much decimated the wood behind the Folly near the Folly ruins (mainly to help stabilise the north tower which has got some problems with subsidence).



Graffitti one

Graffiti one

Graffitti two

Graffiti two

Now that the Folly has been renovated and the scaffolding taken down, all that remains is to point the joints with lime mortar and tidy up the building rubble etc. Interestingly there is quite a lot of carved graffiti on the walls, some quite old, 1795 I think is the oldest. However, since I have been at Wimpole, the amount of graffiti has exploded and some of the modern scrawls are, well, typically modern and, one has to say, pretty poor compared to the clean-cut and eloquent examples. Still, in a hundred years, someone will be looking at the modern stuff and, err,  think the stone age had better graffiti!

Graffitti three

Graffiti three

Removing the felled timber

Removing the felled timber

Chipping the residue

Chipping the residue

Back to the Folly… but with the chipper and John the horse as he could pull all the felled timber out so that we can remove it later with the timber trailer. Had to chip the brash to make a clear passage for John to pull the timber.

Tom looking for treasure!

Tom looking for treasure!

Lets try this spot!

Let’s try this spot!

Meanwhile Tom had a little job digging around the main tower, mainly to see how much the rabbits had undermined the Folly. As it turned out the footings were huge and the rabbits had only scratched the surface.

Tea time


T’was a cold, dank day and a little fire helped keep the damp out of the old bones at teatime.

Huddled around the fire

Huddled around the fire plotting

Oh dear poor Cory

Oh dear, poor Cory!

Of course, instead of being miserable and cold, the forestry team plotted Cory’s fate while I was away. Mind you he looked like the wolf from Red Riding Hood pretending to be the grandmother.

More pine pulled out

More pine pulled out

Some more horse logging soon had most of the timber stacked up but we still had the big hole to deal with.

This stuffs quite heavy

This stuff’s quite heavy

Apparently Sarah was wondering why we were putting twigs in the water!

Apparently Sarah was wondering why we were putting twigs in the water!

Had lunch and could not help but tease Sarah as she thought that, when we put the twigs into the centre hole of the kelly kettle, we were putting them into the water that was to be boiled (she had politely declined the offer of some tea thinking it would taste awful). So, here are the instructions for those that don’t know how to use a kelly kettle:

The Kelly Kettle® is easy to use.

Kelly Kettle Instructions

To start with, remove the fire base from the bottom of the kettle and place the base on level ground – flat side down.

1. Remove protective cork/stopper from kettle and fill kettle with water. Do not replace the stopper/cork – the water spout must be free from ALL obstructions when the kettle is in use. (Note: If you do not need to carry water in the kettle, we recommend that the stopper/cork be removed entirely from the kettle as this will ensure that the kettle is not misused)

Then place the kettle securely on the base.  Additional fuel (small sticks, pine cones, etc.) can now be dropped down the chimney of the kettle.

2. Fill the base with combustible material such as newspaper, dry grass or very small tinder.  Add some kindling on top of the tinder.

3. Light fire through the hole(s) in side of the base and face the hole(s) into the wind for extra draft if required.

4. Insert additional fuel through the chimney top as required.

5. When the water boils, use both hands to hold the wire handle at a 90° angle to the body of the Kettle (the wire handle will be cool to touch), then lift the Kettle clear of the base. Once clear of the base, the kettle can be carried around camp like a bucket if needs be.  To pour, simply hold the handle in one hand and lift gently on the chain with your other hand.

If additional water is required, simply refill the kettle with water and place it back on the base when the fire is still burning.  Refill the chimney with fuel and you can look forward to a second kettle full of boiling water within a matter of minutes!

When you have finished using your kettle, empty it of all water and store it in a dry place. When in storage, the stopper should/cork should be left out of the spout to allow air circulate through the water chamber.

Last lot chipped

Last lot chipped

To finish the day we did some more horse logging but also chipped the remaining brash. There is a fair bit of work left to do but we’ll do that in a few weeks time.

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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