The Great British Mow-Off

Last Sunday, 13th September 2020, at 10.00am, a large group of people met at our wildflower meadow to help with the annual mow and rake.

Photo of the wildflower meadow before the mowing. Grass and wildflowers up to 3 feet high.

So, how many people does it take to mow and rake a meadow?  I counted twenty; and they were perfectly splendid specimens of humanity who had given up their Sunday morning to engage in some pretty vigorous exercise.  One of them, pressed into service by his girlfriend’s mother, was seized upon straight away to mantle (if there’s a ‘dismantle’, there has to be a ‘mantle’, right?) a new rake before using it to do some raking.  Bob started on another, but had to stop as he lost a nut and bolt.  Can’t get the staff.  The girlfriend, by the way, had stayed in bed. 

There was a certain amount of standing around to begin with, since an assumption had been made that the mowing would have already taken place during the week.  That assumption is all tied in with an inference about mowers – just because something is mechanical doesn’t mean that it is just a walk in the park.  At some point soon, we will be getting a tractor and then, perhaps, we can talk about walks in parks, but for now, take it as read that mowing with a scythe-mower is a strenuous work-out.

However, this standing around was a brilliant opportunity to engage with new people, to see old friends, chat over how and why everyone had come, put faces to names, marvel over what a little jewel Hreod Burna Urban Forest is, and express surprise that so many people who live in the area do not know of its existence.

Andy took the first shift with our scythe-mower and he alternated with our press-ganged boyfriend over the course of the morning.  Since I have very little muscle, I did a bit of raking to show willing till my little muscle gave up, and everyone else did a lot of energetic raking.  Then I remembered the important job of taking photographs.  I hope you will be able to spot yourself in one of them.  Unfortunately, Andy won’t be able to spot himself as I missed him out (sorry, Andy, one day your turn will come and you will achieve stardom).

Photo of wildflower after the mowing. Large area of rough cut grass.

All of this airy persiflage goes to express our huge thanks to everyone who came and worked so hard.  We are particularly thankful because of all the setbacks everyone has had this year so far.

Checkout our volunteers in action…

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P.S.  During the course of the morning, Jason’s daughters found beetles, frogs, toads, crickets, grasshoppers, and even a mouse.  Several of us were gifted, furthermore, with visits from dragonflies.

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