Blue Flower

Thursday 4/5/23 Eddie took the Cherry tree to site and cut brambles overhanging the track on the way, I took the mower and cut the grass along the track, this was all in preparation for our open days on 13 & 14 May. Posters for Mills Weekend have been put on local notice boards and facebook pages.

At the mill, I cut the upstream grass areas and the lawn near the old Duck’s nest, which had been left to avoid disturbing the nesting Duck which has now gone. Eddie checked the nest cameras, there are seven eggs in the Great Tit box, and four Jackdaw chicks, so we had a cup of coffee and watched the Jackdaw feeding her chicks. I have added a page about the bird nest boxes with pictures from the nest cameras.

Our first job was fitting the stabilizer bracket back onto our footbridge which Ryan had welded. When we finished, we put the bridge across and invited Victoria, Darren and their dogs Chukka and Betty over to look round as they had walked down to see the water wheel. I showed them videos of the model mill and the water wheel turning. They are from Stratford on Avon and were on holiday in Dereham, I gave them a guided tour of the site and explained our projects. We needed to test our donation box for the open days and Victoria and Darren made a very generous donation, its working, but we always check the donation box carefully before open days as it often needs new batteries or minor repairs, particularly after mice nested in it once and chewed through the wires.

Anne Marie checked the wildflower meadow where there is a lot more height, then weeded around the Lambs Ears and Lupins, a pair of Swans sailed past while she was there. Anne Marie then weeded and watered the Honesty and Lavender which she planted recently near the small Oak tree.

It was a dry sunny day, so the three of us had lunch outside at our picnic bench, we saw Pied Wagtails and a Robin flying around nearby. In the afternoon Eddie cut the rest of the grass and strimmed along the edges while I used the push mower on the area between the damaged walls. I brought a multipack of safety goggles today, so I tried out a pair when strimming in front of the visitor centre. Eddie filled the bird feeders and I oiled the water wheel ready for testing it for the open days. 

On the way back I mowed the rest of the track, then Beryl and I put up bunting on her holiday cottages along the main road through the village ready for the Coronation on Saturday.

Sunday 7/5/23 We took our trailer with seats to the mill to test it ready for the open days, we loaded up the petrol strimmers and the pump & hoses for turning the water wheel

Emma and Ryan planted the Cherry tree, Ryan watered it and I put the plaque in the ground. Emma weeded the hammer mill area, David and Ryan strimmed the site including around the sign and bench on the footpath, I mowed the grass on the footpath opposite the mill.

Ryan and David loaded up rubble from the pile where we started clearing up the fallen wall, Ryan tipped it in the yard and brought back oil for the pump and an open days flyer which he put on the gate frame post on the footpath. I tested the donation box again and noticed the model water wheel was not turning so I took the module out and made some adjustments to the gears, cleaned the contacts, re-assembled it and gave it a thorough test. 

Fred, Debra, Abbie and her Labrador Hector joined us, Debra identified some of the plants in the meadow using a phone app, there are Forget Me Nots, Chamomile and Poppies, some of which we hope will flower for the open days. Debra also weeded the trench and cut the grass around the wagon. Fred got the pump working, David had connected the hoses and checked for birds nests, I unlocked the water wheel, so Fred started the pump and got the wheel turning. Abbie and I threw sticks for Hector who kept going in the river.

Fred was discussing the proposed repairs to the damaged walls with us, we plan to start after the open days when we expect the track will be dry enough to take the digger and tractor to the mill to start clearing up. I made a sign directing visitors down the steps to avoid the area between the damaged walls, and cleaned the information signs for the various site features.

Emma invited the Garford, Gilmore and Crellin families over to look around and have a drink, they were leaving as we were packing up to go, so we gave them a lift back on our trailer which the children thought was great fun. Mark contacted us afterwards and made a donation which was very much appreciated.

In the evening Ryan remembered we had not secured the water wheel and went back down to lock it with padlock and chain. There will be another work party on Friday to set up for the open days which are on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 May.

Graham Bartlett  

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