You can take the girl out of the park but you can’t take the park out of the girl….

…. to appropriate and misquote a phrase. One of my previous jobs was as a groundsman in the parks of Finchley and Hendon. I spent lots of my time putting straight lines in grass. Cricket tables and wickets, bowling greens (it’s much harder than it looks!) and posh the grass outside the town hall. As a result I developed a bit of a thing for nice stripy grass. It’s very satisfying to do and always makes me smile. Before you ask, yes, I do know how sad that makes me, I’ve made my peace with it.

Most of my job as a Lenghtsman is exactly the opposite. I make the river look wild, natural and as though I haven’t done anything at all, which is a skill in its own right that takes a bit of practice and lots of work. The lock sides and mooring lines however do need to be neat and tidy. That’s great for me, I still get to channel my inner groundsman some days while still being a card-carrying tree hugging conservationist. It’s the best of both worlds.



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