Saturday, 16 May 2009

A Wattling We Shall Go!

I was out with the National Trust Weekend Volunteer Group today. We assembled at the former gasworks, opposite Mount Stewart Estate on the Ards Peninsula in County Down.

It is a short walk from the gasworks southwards, past the Temple of the Winds; then crossing the road into a field where there is a willow tunnel. Beyond the willow tunnel there's a lagoon which is becoming increasingly popular with sea birds.

The Trust is in a difficult position here due to the dangerous main road. It had been intended for the general public to gain access to Anne's Point by means of a path in the Estate which leads down to a blue gate; thence crossing the road at that point and reaching the lagoon via the willow tunnel. Regrettably the authorities forbade this proposal, including the erection of signage and a bird hide.

This spot is otherwise a very good location for ornithologists and bird-watchers. Today some of us wattled. We used flexible willow branches to make a screen overlooking the lagoon.

I had my usual cheese-and-onion sandwiches with a flask of tea for lunch. There was a big craft fair taking place at Mount Stewart. There were eight of us today; by the way, we're keen to recruit new volunteers so, if anyone is interested, contact the warden at


Anonymous said...

Hi Tim, Im a fan of the cheese and onion sandwich too but I never quite prepare them properly. Whats your secret to a good 'un?


Timothy Belmont said...

I cheat and take the easy way out, I'm afraid! I buy them in a supermarket. I frequently haven't enough time to buy a fresh loaf, grate the cheese, chop onion etc. And that's just for one.

If I'm making them I get a bowl and finely grate mature Cheddar into it; add finely-chopped onion; a few raisins or sultanas; and mayo to bind with a dash of honey and a tad of English mustard to taste.

As I said, it saves time and effort by simply buying them when I haven't really fresh bread at home and if I have other chores to do before leaving at 9am for Mt Stewart at 9.30!

All the best,