It's the 2nd January, 2012, and Matt's cajoled me into doing some conservation with him. On an annual basis (January/February time) the island in the middle of the lake needs to have the grass and willow trees cut. This prevents it from becoming too overgrown and gives plenty of space for nesting wildfowl. The task is not hard, but it does require a little planning as access is only achieved via a boat (steered by Matt) - and a fool in some waders (me - Jason).
So, with the boat loaded with essentials (strimmer & safety gear, fuel, loppers, bow saw, rake, pitchfork etc..) we paddled across to the island. With the boat unloaded, Matt set to work strimming the grass whilst I wandered around the edge trimming the willow - hence the waders.
Very soon the grass was cut and the willow chopped. Now to rake it up and burn it.
For safety reasons the fire was kept small and manageable but the damp grass still caused a thick plume of white smoke. However, the light breeze dissipated it before it reached the apartments - or so we thought. Matt and I stood there tending the fire, chatting away, when he spots something unusual. Not a rare bird or the elusive otter, but 2 fireman walking along the path towards us! Apparently, someone had called the fire service and reported a fire. Matt jumped in the boat and paddled over to meet them, expecting to get an ear bashing (you're supposed to inform the fire service if you plan to have a fire). Thankfully, no ear bashing was received, as they were happy that we had it under control. What did intrigue them was how they would have extinguished a fire on an island!
Anyway, with the firemen satisfied they left us to it and Matt came back over.
A little while later the fire was out and we had finished the annual clearing of the island.