The Grounds Team of Compton Verney – A Talented Bunch Indeed!
Earlier this year, when the landscape was cold and damp, the Compton Verney grounds team gathered in the cosy grounds workshop for a day split into thirds.
For the first segment of the day the team headed out to explore the wider landscape, including a public footpath that takes in the lengthy lower pool over towards Combrook. Rosy faces returned with chatter about the newly discovered views of the impressive historic landscape.
The second segment, after lunch, included some housekeeping items on the agenda before heading into the third and for me; the most risky segment of the day. I had in my wisdom set some homework for the team, and it was in this final session that the results would be revealed – to a good few oh’ s and ah’s, an awkward moment or two, and a fair amount of giggling!
Needless to say, the team is a real cross section of talent and experience, and it leads to some fascinating discussions and laughter during work sessions, and especially during break times…I sometimes think the success of our volunteer team hinges largely on the quality of our break time chatter…and the tea, naturally!
And so, back to the third and final segment of that grounds team meeting – it was time for that homework feedback…
I had asked the team to offer a sentence, a maxim, a paragraph, poem or similar, about their work or volunteer experience at Compton Verney. Well, I have to say I was blown away with the effort the team went to for this part of the day, and the quality of the ‘homework’.
To this end I have, with permission, reproduced some of the work in this blog for you to enjoy. Prepare yourself – they are pretty honest and raw creations, typed as they were given to me. I give you, The Grounds Team of Compton Verney…A talented bunch indeed:
Oh, crikey, are you kidding me
We’ve got to write a rhyme?
Look, I’m a retired lady now
I haven’t got the time!
But “write some words” said Gary
No doubt with a smile on his face
So…I think Compton Verney
…is a lovely place!
The people that I’ve met so far
Are quite a decent lot.
I can’t speak for the galleries
Of which I know not what!
But Gary, Chris and Adam
Have all made me feel at ease
I’ve herded sheep, dug artichokes
And chopped up plants and trees!
So thank you, Mr Gary Webb
I really love this place
So much so that when I get home
I’ve a big smile on my face!
The manicured landscape
The abundance of wildlife
The cold of winter
The heat of summer
The freshness of spring
The colour of autumn
And everything in between
A favourite can never be chosen
As the variety and changes within the landscape both natural and those influenced by people
Make working within a landscape such as this a wonderful treat
Whether the grass is green
Or if the sky is blue
It has to be experienced not just seen
When the bonfire roars, crackle and burns with a red hue
As the smoke billows skywards
I ponder the tasks that will take us forwards
The shriek of the strimmer or the rumble of the mower
All working hard to cut the grass a bit lower
Whatever the task in hand, it is made all the more fun working with a great bunch of staff and volunteers
But it would be even better if we could also neck a few beers
I also enjoy working alone
As it gives me the chance to have a great bloody moan!
I have to say I’m not quite clear
Why I chose to volunteer.
To study the birds at Compton Verney
And trudge the park when the morning’s early
With cold and wet hands in the winter deep
Leaving a cosy bed and losing sleep.
Telling myself it’s quite absurd
To go in search of a feathered bird
And pretend it really is such fun
Getting burnt in the summer sun.
But then I think, look what I’d miss
Seeing happy, happy smiley Chris
With his knapsack blower upon his back
Keeps blowing off on path and track.
Then he changes jobs and litter picks
While his whiskered friend on his tractor sits
Yes that’s Adam with his hairy face
And a bobble hat kept firmly in place
To hide his shiny head that he cleans with a flannel
A bit like me he’s got a solar panel.
Also it would be a little hard
Not to mention Gary, CV’s bard
Whose use of words keeps us agog
As he spins a yarn on twitters blog.
So, it’s the park, it’s the birds that I see and hear
And the smiley faces that I hold so dear
It’s the real thing, not false, no veneer
I think ‘that’s why’ I volunteer.
And to finish, a delicate Haiku poem by Anne:
Cross the Adam Bridge
Bright morning sun on the lake
Compton Verney calls…
What a talented team indeed… Many thanks to all who contributed, and to those going forward. If you’d like to learn more about volunteering at Compton Verney, do follow this website link.
Gary, Head of Landscape & Gardens, Compton Verney.