Apocalypse Rhody

13th June 2021, Ravenden Clough, Smithills Hall

We wanted a mission, so they gave us one. Clear the jungle trails of the insidious invader, rhododendron. The Victorians brought rhody across as a bit of exotic colour, their strange love of alien species would be their undoing. Soon it had set up a beachhead and was storming across the our green and pleasant land like a magenta menace. It had to be stopped.

Our platoon set out on its dawn patrol, but Dawn had nothing to do with it so we apologised and carried on to Ravenden Clough. We were horrified at what we found, rhodys to the right of us, rhodys to the left of us, the way ahead was buried under rhody. Captain Francis cried “For Harry.. and maybe William”, and our dirty three-quarter dozen went on the attack.

We forced rhody back a metre at a time, uncovering the paths of glory, but the heat, the smell, the sweat, the ground soaked in sap, it was a nightmare; the horror, the horror. We had to dig a trench to drain away the spoils of war, it all felt like our longest day, but finally it was all quiet on the rhody front. We cleared down to the crossing over the brook and stopped, we didn’t want to go a bridge too far.

The day was ours and it was time for the great escape to the pub lead by the our beer hunter. It all happened, we know because, we were there.

Doffcocker’s Eleven

Doffcocker Lodge 18th & 25 April 2021 (updated 26th April)

Once Doffcocker was the biggest Local Nature Reserve in Bolton, it was the only game in town and we had things sewn up like a cheap pair of task pants. But things change, new LNR’s were muscling in, but it didn’t matter, Doffcocker would always be number one. And we had a plan, a Management Plan. Stick to the plan and you can’t go wrong, said the Boss, this is an opportunity for great things, he said. How could anything go wrong? So, we stuck to the plan and everything went just fine.

Cherry Laurel and her mob had been moving in on our action, she’d travelled from south-west Europe to take over Bluebells patch, but we soon cut her down to size and strung her out like a dead hedge. Just to make sure the message got around we cleaned up the rest of our turf. It was a massacre, there were tree limbs everywhere, those wise guys won’t be coming back any time soon. But remember, no body saw nothin’, we were too far away from each other to see, that’s the alibi.

Willow tit. Chick: Paul T, Adult: Colin M
Willow tit. Chick: Paul T, Adult: Colin M
Common Tern
Common Tern

Now, we wanted to keep some other of our ‘activities’ quiet too but someone was starting to sing, mostly birds. We had Common Tern and his crew flying in, see? They’d been away, now they’re back, and no one says ‘stool pigeon’ (cha-cha-cha-chaa). They wanted somewhere to roost until the heat was off, so we spruced a place up for them to lay low in, like Alcatraz but with fewer visitors. In return they’d slip us a little nest egg, ‘course if they don’t deliver we’ll be very unhappy.

All in all it was a sweet deal, and it was gonna get sweeter. After doing the job the gang holed up for a spell in a local speakeasy were they didn’t mind mud on your boots as long as you took it outside. First in was the guy they call The Barrister; some say beer’s beer, but if it ain’t cask then you’ve got some explainin’ to do.

So, what’s next? The Boss made us an offer we couldn’t refuse, we were getting the gang back together for another job, it was gonna be a dirty job but someone’s gotta do it. Capiche?

25th April 2021
This new job was the same as the old job, which was no bad thing, the only difference being it was also the Boss’s last stand. Word was he took a hit to the hip and had to find a sawbones for some repairs, personally I think he was just out for a free meal. But anyways, we humbly show our respects to the Boss, the original goodfella, and look forward to his magnificent return. In the meantime Franky the Hat and the Bruce Clan will be running the show, so don’t give them no lip.