That’s Christmassy feeling can be triggered by lots of different things. For some people it’s the dodgy Christmas songs in the supermarket, putting the decorations up or finally having a guilt free sherry or cup of tea when all the chores are finally done. For a Lengthsman, like at so many other times of year, finishing a particular task heralds the changing seasons. It doesn’t feel like spring ’til the lock gate beams have been painted, it’s not summer until all the locks sides and mooring lines have had had their second grass cut and it doesn’t feel like Christmas until the winter cut-back is done. So that means the Christmassy feeling starts for me today!
The last few weeks have been a muddy, grassy slog strimming miles (literally) of towpath and river banks. It’s an annual event to tame the plant yobs to allow the interesting stuff to get a look in in the spring. It has the added bonus of widening the path before the really soggy stuff arrives allowing you to step round the worst bits, usually.
Today I completed the last section. That doesn’t mean that there is any let up in the workload. Far from it, but it does mark a psychological seasonal milestone, even if the weather isn’t necessarily wintry. I think it’s the first time there have still been campion and dead nettle flowering for the cut-back but they are nice to see whenever.
There isn’t much chance to do the festive things that most people take for granted so you have to take the ‘Christmassy’ where you can find it. Even the required Work Do is necessarily usually a tame and brief affair. There is a 50:50 chance that you will be on duty, and if you aren’t you’ll definitely be working the next morning. There isn’t much respite for Christmas itself either. The weirs can’t be left, last Boxing Day I was up a ladder putting an owl box up, but I guess not many people get to make new Christmas memories like that. I’ve no idea what this year’s new Christmas adventures will be and what new memories will be made but that’s part of the fun.