Thursday, 5 April 2012

A Day in the Life of a Volunteer

This grand and recently renovated mansion stands in the grounds of the vineyard where I do my voluntary work.  I think it is due to open up to visitors in time for the forthcoming Olympic games.

Yesterday I woke early, got showered and dressed, had breakfast, fed hens and Gizmo, made a packed lunch (well, cut off a chunk of cheese, gathered some Ryvita biscuits, a banana and a bottle of water), picked up the badges and brooches to donate for the fund raising at the lambing weekend and set off on my long walk to the vineyard.

As I approached the vineyard I noticed early morning risers jogging around the grounds of the mansion.  It was a beautiful day despite terrible weather being forecast!  I walked up to Warren field past the pigs and chickens and spent a couple of hours pruning the vines and weeding around them along with about 7 other enthusiastic volunteers, with a short intermission for a tea break.  We then collected up stray guards (used to protect the base of the vines from being eaten by rabbits and muntjacs) and any metal rods that were laying around so that the tractor doesn't go over them.  We had a productive morning's work and my aching body was testimony to the physical work I had done.

Back at the cottage, which is our meeting point, we stopped to eat lunch.  I showed a few of the volunteers the things I had  made for the fund raising and was encouraged by their positive comments.  The morning's work at the vineyard completed for the day, I was now to embark on something else for the afternoon.

At 2.00pm I joined five other women for a willow weaving session.  Now, this wasn't a relaxing willow weaving session as I had done once previously.  This was a willow weaving session to make items to sell for the upcoming lambing event at the weekend!  I said I didn't feel confident enough to make items to sell but was told that there would be people there to guide me.  After two hours of intense concentration I produced a five foot tall pea support!  I wasn't entirely happy at working under pressure and once I had made the support I didn't give it a second glance and I packed up to go home leaving the others to continue to produce more things to sell!

Tired and cold, I started off on the long walk home contemplating what I was going to do for dinner that evening.

I am looking forward to my session at the vineyard next week but I don't care if I see willow any time soon!


Lisa said...

You accomplished so much in your time at your voluntary job and a lot of it outside in the sun which is a bonus.
Lisa x

greenrabbitdesigns said...

You so obviously enjoy your voluntary work and what good, healthy, outdoor, worthwhile work it is too! :)
Vivienne x

greenthumb said...

Sounds like you had a busy day.

Lyn said...

What an interesting time you have when doing your voluntary work and I am sure your effort is much appreciated.

A garden just outside Venice said...

Hi Simone, wishing you and your family a happy and colourful Easter!

Rosie said...

What a beautiful mansion house! I wonder what it is like inside? Your work sounds interesting and fulfilling, Simone as well as being productive too. I guess you won't be making any more willow products, then? Hope the lambing weekend goes well and that all your lovely homemade items sell well. Have a lovely Easter:)

Louise said...

Nothing like being thrown in at the deep end re the willow session, but I imagine what you produced was well received. I very much like the sound of your voluntary work, and in such beautiful surroundings. How lovely to see lambing too! Happy Easter Simone. x

Toffeeapple said...

I can understand and sympathise with your feelings of not wanting to do the weaving. I recently joined a drawing class to get me back into doing it, but it was all about drawing your hand and self portraits,
not what I wanted at all, so after the second week I resigned and feel much happier. Life is too short to do something that makes you unhappy.

sharon said...

My volunteering has shown me that the volunteer most often receives much more than she gives. Sometimes in unexpected ways!
Happy Easter, dear friend.

Helen Philipps said...

I found this very interesting indeed, Simone! You obviously work very hard as a volunteer! I have never tried willow weaving, but I do like having woven willow structures for my plants to grow through....I shall look at them with new eyes now!
Wishing you a very Happy Easter.
Helen x

Puppet Lady said...

What a worthwhile day you spent, even though you didn't enjoy every part. You must have been tired after your morning in the vinyard, maybe too tired to be inspired to weave!

meadowsweet hare said...

i love this post Simone. you really make us feel we are there with you :)