Thursday, May 15, 2008

Save the planet - fix a car park

Last week I did my first proper 'Conservation Trip' by joining a National Trust working holiday in Strangford Lough. OK so its not around the world but you have to start somewhere! Having never done one of these holidays before I had no idea what to expect - I might even have to do without drink for the entire week!

I met up with my fellow cohorts on Saturday afternoon (3rd May) all of whom were English (aaagh!) except for 1 Japanese Girl. Thankfully they were all down to earth people and none of them were 18 year old brats or 70 year old coffin dodgers. Also I learned very quickly that not only was drinking allowed but with this group of people it was practically compulsory.

Anyway here are some things I learnt on this holiday:

1. At this time of year because of nesting birds and other things you can't really do any scrub bashing or cutting down of trees so you are left with fixing up car parks and fencing. All noble causes (and hard work!) but you just feel shouldn't a digger be doing this?(apparently volunteers are cheaper!)

2. Do not expect to lose weight on a National Trust holiday. No matter how much work you do it will easily be offset by the large breakfast, biscuit breaks, lunch, dinner with large dessert and of course the obligatory couple of pints at the local pub(s) at the end of the day.

3. No matter how many times you pass through Killyleagh, Co Down you will never tire of pointing out to English people that it is the birthplace of David Healy . I feel a chant is necessary:

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed the little lord Jesus laid down his sweet head.
The stars in the bright sky looked down where HEALY! HEALY! HEALY!

4. If you are going to give a pick axe to a female social worker be prepared to run away very fast - there's a lot of pent up anger waiting to get out! Just as well Becca got her 'Feckin' Whiskey

5. Trying to chat up women by offering bottles of Harp lager (local pisswater) does not work - as demonstrated by a rather drunk Strangford local to two of the women on the holiday - smooth talking bastard!

6. Trying to explain that a 'Poke' in Norn Iron means an Ice cream should not even be attempted to other people!

In fact the word 'Poke' seems to have even gone out of fashion in Norn Iron. Gone are the days when your ma would send you out to the Ice cream van saying "There's Mr Whippy outside - go and get two pokes and a large slider from him" No you just don't hear that anymore.

7. I did learn several Important Japanese Words (which I am not going to even attempt to write in Japanese)

Broh: Beer
Kampai: Cheers
ichi: One
Onegi: Please
arigatoh: Thank you
konchiwa: Hello

I can just picture me in a bar in Japan talking just like the locals:

Come-chi-wah! itchy B-row Oh-my-god; Alligator; Come-by.


Anyway a most enjoyable holiday - and the weather was great too. The only disappointment was not being able to get on the feral goat island - I think I would have looked great running around after goats in my silver wellies.

My Silver wellies - useful for 70's fancy dress parties as well as chasing goats.

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