Today was the coldest day I can remember working in the wood. The floor was very hard underfoot and freezing mist swirled around all morning. I honestly thought that no one would join me today even though I had laboriously carried a fruit cake and a bottle of honey mead across the slippery east field entrance. It was my turn to host the birthday drink at the end of our work and I worried in case I was going to have to carry my offerings back out of the wood again. Amazingly we had a very good turn out and we all set to work immediately to keep warm. John took charge of the party making bean poles and pea sticks, Margaret worked on protecting the freshly coppiced hazel from hungry deer and Liz, Carol and I continued repairing the steps to going down to Derek’s bridge. It was worth noting how many dog walkers came out for a walk today, an extraordinary number, all quite cheery as they passed us by. Needless to say I needn’t have worried about carrying my cake and mead home, everything was consumed by a cold but cheerful workforce.