The Big Digger Driver And The Kindness Of Strangers

P1060816 - Copy

P1060816 - Copy - Copy

I think I’ve mentioned that here in Much Wenlock we’re in the throes of having a couple of attenuation ponds dug above the town – this in a bid to reduce flood risk.  We are in what the Environment Agency calls a ‘Rapid Response Catchment Area’. This means that if a severe storm hits our part of Wenlock Edge, then we have about twenty minutes warning before a flash flood reaches the town. There are other factors involved too. Flash flooding is more likely if the ground is already sodden from periods of prolonged rainfall. Or if it is frozen hard.

Our last bad flood was in the summer of 2007 when over fifty homes were affected. Due to the steepness of our catchment, any flood is usually quick to leave, but even so, it can cause a lot of damage.

One of the attenuation ponds, currently nearing completion, is in the top corner of Townsend Meadow behind our house. Earlier in the year, and in preparation for the excavation work, a number of small trees were felled and shredded into heaps around the pond perimeter. Yippee, I thought on discovering them by the path on the long way round to the allotment. More chippings for paths and weed suppression.

I duly went to collect a few bags full, but it was harder work than I expected. For one thing there is quite a haul up the path from the pond, and then once at the top of the hill and into the wood, another haul down the field boundary to the allotment.

Meanwhile, my chippings collecting habit had not gone unnoticed. Late one afternoon in April, and after the working day was over, I was plodding up the path with a full bag when a truck pulled up on the field track that the construction crew were using. It was the digger driver in the photo. A very Welsh digger driver. At first I didn’t quite grasp what he was saying. I thought he’d come to tell me off. But that wasn’t it.

When I explained what I was doing and where I was going with the chippings, he said it would be no problem for him to move the chippings piles to the top of the hill. In fact I think he would have delivered them to the allotment if there had been suitable access. He drove off down the track, and I carried on with my bag, and rather forgot about the digger man.

Sometime later (I was pottering around in my polytunnel) fellow allotmenteer, Dave, came to tell me that he had  been surprisingly hallooed from the neighbouring field by a very Welsh man who was going on about chippings and some woman he’d met on the path. After some thought, Dave had concluded I was the woman in question, and so we went up the field to investigate, and there at the top of the track was a huge pile of wood chips – enough for all my paths, and more to compost over the winter. There was no sign of the digger man. I expect he’d gone home for his tea, but Dave helped me fill my big blue IKEA bags and carry them back to the plot.

So lucky me! Two very kind men in one day. And a nice new path between the polytunnel raised beds, which incidentally were made by a third kind man who lives in my house.



Black & White Sunday: After and Before    This week Paula asks us to give a colour shot a monochrome edit.

38 thoughts on “The Big Digger Driver And The Kindness Of Strangers

    1. Thank you, Sylvia. I’m beginning to think I’m attracting chippings. The electricity men have now left some more piles even nearer the allotment. Just need somewhere without plants in it to make my own very big composting heap 🙂

  1. What a nice story, Tish. Good men all around you. These days we need kindness more than ever, don’t we. I love the reflections on the digger truck. Wonderful edits both of them!

  2. How fantastic, Tish! I have frequently been the recipients of kindness from strangers, and very grateful I have been

  3. What a gift from the kindness of a stranger. The digger is a splendid piece of equipment visually, a fitting sometime chariot for your knight-in-a-truck. You are depressingly neat! Makes me realise how chaotic everything aroun me is. Although my deck garden is thriving, thanks to my son’s diligence in watering while I was away. Are you in line for flooding?

    1. I think I must have been having a neat moment when I took the photo. It doesn’t last! As to flooding, we’re probably not in the front line. There’s a bit of a bund behind our back garden, and I also rather hope that cultivating the ground along the fence might soak up some excess. Some people downstream of us and on the High Street are very vulnerable though.

  4. We leave in a catchment area, too, but we had to build our own system. We built French underground troughs, a small runoff through the backyard into the woods, and finally, a sump and pump. And FINALLY, we have a dry basement. It took almost ten years to get all the work done.

    1. Sometimes you do have to do these things for yourselves to get them right, though it’s hard work. A dry basement is definitely much to be desired. Much Wenlock is not helped by the fact its storm water drains run into the main sewer with some pretty unpleasant consequences. And when it rains hard, all the roads into the town centre act like water courses. Not a situation that is easily or cost effectively resolved for small population. A fully functioning drainage system would cost millions.

  5. What nice kind men you have there, including the one that lives in your house! 🙂 While reading your post I did not quite understand what you were hauling all that way to the allotment, but it must have been good, then when I saw your poly tunnel, I understood why? How nice you have all your paths, no muddy feet this year! 🙂

    I thought about you several months ago,I ran across a youtube video showing the extensive flooding in England, and started thinking about you and my photographer friend Bren Ryan, I am not sure what year that was or if it was the 2007 you mentioned. All I know is it seemed like it rained 40 days and 40 nights and everything was flooding, felt so sorry for everyone during that time. I am glad they are putting in those retention ponds, for flood control.

    BTW i love your poly tunnel and all the plantings you have going on in there!

    1. Hi Mitch, many thanks for all your thoughtful comments. Flooding has become a big problem in many parts of Britain. The Somerset Levels were disastrously hit a few years ago. Then Cumbria. It’s not only more intense storms, but in many cases, there has been too much building on flood plains and not enough care of river courses. More tree planting can help of course.

  6. Tish I am smiling ear to ear at this happy story. A triple dose of kindness is a very happy thing. Handy that one of those kind men can be found in your house. 🙂

  7. That’s a nice tale. Your path looks great as do the seedlings – tell me how do you manage to stop slugs and snails from eating the lot? I have tried a garlic spray on my hosta but I think the snails just lick their lips 😉 and as for the beans…

    1. So far have not had too many slugs in the polytunnel, but there are plenty about outside. Just been watching Monty Don – he says have a pond – if only in a tiny container. Sometimes grit works round hostas. Not sure about this wool stuff that’s on the market. A bit expensive. Final resort – 3 sessions across the season of watering in v. expensive nematodes 🙂

      1. I might just go down the path of least resistance and plant slug tolerant species! I wouldn’t mind a pond though and will give that some thought.

      2. Problem with my hosta is that the leaves hang down so the snails just hop on board! The garlic spray doesn’t seem to put them off! I will look for the mats though, they sound interesting.

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