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

You see….

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.