Blue Flower

Monday 22/4/24  Emma went to the mill and weeded the brick floor and hammer mill as well as trimming the grass edging in front of the outdoor exhibits. Emma has finished making the quiz for the open days, which I have tested, its fun to do and there is a £25 prize for the winner.

I put our open days publicity poster on the local village and town facebook pages as well as local groups and organisation’s pages, including Swaffham Tile Works facebook page which I manage. I also listed the event on Breckland Council’s What’s On page.

Thursday 25/4/24 Eddie filled all the bird feeders and we saw a Great Tit eating peanuts and a Great Spotted Woodpecker in the tree nearby. The Jackdaw and Great Tit are still sitting on their eggs in the nest boxes.

Anne Marie brought Bluebells and planted them at the top of the river bank, then weeded the gardens around the trees and planted another rockery plant near the tunnel outlet.

There was a Swan at the bottom of the river bank which then walked along the footpath on the other side of the river, another one flew along the river and landed near the mill.

We have a lot of D Day exhibits for our open days on 11 & 12 May, so we had to make another display cabinet. I brought my tracksaw and cut triangular side panels, a base and back panel to make a vertical display for one of the D Day newspapers, a gas mask and grenade. We assembled the display case, Eddie cleaned and fitted the glass panel, he fixed wood around the edge to hold it in place. 

We fitted the new display to the table, behind the flat glass panel. We re-fitted the large display case next to them and moved the whole thing into the visitor centre. On the open days it will be put in the gazebo with the other displays. Eddie sanded down the upper part of the diorama landscape we made, then painted it black which will be a road when we landscape it.

I modified the lectern style wildlife notice for the wildflower area by fitting a batten so we can use it as a notice for the radio controlled tanks at the open days. We will print and laminate a sign telling visitors they can have a tank battle game with them, the batten at the bottom is so we can put the tank controllers on the notice board.

When I got home, most of the D Day grant items had been delivered including the Lego style models to go on the diorama, so I built the Jeep with Howitzer gun.

Sunday 28/4/24  We had an extra day to prepare for our open days. It was raining hard to start with so we unpacked the Gazebo and put it up in Fred’s workshop instead of going to the mill. We fixed one of the new notice boards to the Gazebo frame and Fred made wooden posts to drive into the ground to hold the boards steady at the open days. The notice boards will have pictures and information about the D Day landings. Debra unpacked and set up the new camping table which can be used for food or displays. We measured inside the Gazebo, everything will fit with enough standing space in the middle for visitors to view the displays.

Ryan brought some World War II books to show us, they have sections about D Day, he is going to lend us these for display at our open days as well as de-activated bullets and grenade, Army helmets and medals.

We got our trailer with seats out and pumped up the tyres, the Gator truck had a soft tyre with a slow puncture so Fred removed the wheel and tyre, Ryan found the leak in the tube and Fred repaired it. Ryan and I checked the oil and water and filled the Gator up with fuel ready for taking visitors to the mill at the open days. 

Debra swept the trailer out and cleaned the seats, then we loaded up the new pump and pipe for turning the water wheel, plus 3 Oak trees which Fred and Debra donated to the mill, I also loaded some of the grant items.

We went to the mill and unloaded the pump, Fred has made a set of wheels and handle so we can move the pump around more easily, I took it to the clearing beside the river and unrolled the irrigation hose, Fred connected the pipes and primed the pump. We removed the chain locking the water wheel and Fred started the pump which soon got the water wheel turning continuously, so we will have the wheel turning at our open days.

Fred and Ryan planted the 3 Oak trees in the meadow, Ryan found a historic hinge in the soil which I displayed in the visitor centre. I cut posts which we put beside the trees to mark their position and support them. We discussed the river wall repairs, the first phase will be rebuilding the curved brick corner near the water wheel.

I took the model Jeep which I assembled at home, and put it on the diorama landscape. I also brought the rest of the models, Ryan is going to assemble the landing craft and Spitfire at home, I will make the tank and Army truck. I also brought the modelling materials today so we can finish landscaping the diorama soon.

Debra cleaned and tidied up the railway wagon, its now organised ready for the open days when it will be used as the kitchen. We loaded up the pump and took the waymarker signs back to The Maltings, ready to be put out along the riverside track at the open days on 11 & 12 May to inform visitors walking to the mill of their progress.

Graham Bartlett  

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