Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Trailer trauma and a load of pea sticks

750 pea sticks in the small trailer

750 pea sticks in the small trailer

One of the pleasures of doing this job (and there are several), is meeting our customers. It may be that an interest in sticks makes people laid back and interesting or that we often sell sticks to basket makers and gardeners, and that they are particularly friendly. I’m sure there’s a connection.

Yesterday I delivered lots of large hazel poles to a customer in Hemel then went on to Buckinghamshire where an estate gardener needed a huge number of hazel pea sticks to provide support for herbaceous plants in their wonderful formal gardens.

Deciding to take our large trailer made a lot of sense but after my first drop in a suburban cul-de-sac, I very nearly got stuck in a turning head so small that only drivers of Minis and Smart Cars would approach without trembling. If you ever use a trailer, you’ll know that there comes a point after a few attempts, when one’s brain can no longer tell which way to turn the steering wheel. I had to admit defeat, which left me in an awkward position. Clearly, the only way out was to reverse 300 yards through a tangle of parked BMWs and Mercedes. And then backwards out onto a main road. A huge thank you to my first customer whom I had to drag out again, away from a large pile of paperwork, to walk very slowly down his own street, presumably hoping that his neighbours weren’t watching.

Then on to my Buckinghamshire estate. Even in yesterday’s murky drizzle; this was the most beautiful example of an English country pile.  Not really textbook though as everything seemed so perfect, from the sky-scraping beech hangers and sheep grazed pastures alongside the 2 mile drive (exquisitely maintained with recently gravelled verges), the estate cottages and mellow old brick and flint stable and coaching block (now converted to offices), right down to the paint work on all the gates and fences. It’s easy to be critical (and yes, even jealous) of wealth but here seemed an example of money buying real quality and beauty. And the people I met were jolly and enthusiastic about what they were doing. Lovely; really.

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