Farewell Monty, you will be fished!

On Wednesday 30th April Community Greenspace said a fond farewell to our colleague Ian Montgomery, who retired from PKC after 21 years service!

Ian was shackled to PKC in 1995. After 10 years working in the Print Office, Ian saw the light and joined the free spirits in the bright outdoors, working as a Countryside Ranger (Greenspace Ranger these days).  We are told that colleagues at that time were pretty sceptical – printer ranger – ranger printer?   Whilst Ian’s credentials in persecuting the wildlife of P&K in terms of hunting, shooting and fishing were the stuff of legend and never in doubt, how he was going to convert that into becoming a careful curator, nurturing and protecting our flora and fauna as a ranger was clearly a bold step into the unknown.

We now believe that this was part of Ian’s cunning plan – being fully aware of the impact his fishing talents had in the decline of salmon stocks in our Perthshire Rivers and thinking ahead to 2016, he set about replenishing them.  Getting school kids to grow new ones in the classroom was the only way forward to secure a lifetime’s supply in retirement.  So his plan to get his hands on the Salmon in the Classroom initiative was hatched (forgive the pun) and in his hands has gone from strength to strength with upwards of 1,500 alevins (young salmon) being released.  And this year, after all the hard work, this excellent programme is a finalist in the Securing the Future Awards.

Ian with Fish

So with bags of personality and a passion for the natural world and an ability to communicate with everyone, Ian did become a fully fledged and highly valued member of the team.

Needless to say Ian made a great impression on his ranger colleagues – so much so they were queuing up with tales to tell when Ian decided to finally hang up the hat…

Unfortunately we cannot repeat any of these…  we hope that our Comic Book “The Life of Monty” will make up for this, and make you smile as much as he has made all of us smile in the past 21 years.

Happy fishing Monty!

Monty1Monty2

Monty’s comic is available to download here: Monty Comic Strip Original Photo Format

 

“Season of Mists and Mellow Fruitfulness”

The words of poet John Keats were on message for this Wednesday, 28th, as four volunteers helped out (despite the mist and gentle rain) on Kinnoull Hill.

One volunteer was a PKCV regular, the other three were council staff who were able to take part because of the PKC’s corporate volunteering policy, leaving the comfort and warmth of their offices to guddle in undergrowth in the gentle rain.  They had been encouraged by the promotion of the task by Patrick, in honour of Make a Difference Month.

The tasks were to clear out weeds from fruit tree cages, clear whin / gorse from a viewpoint and remove a few invading beech seedlings.  Grass and tall plants like raspberries suppress the growth of the trees and are best removed. The gorse was cut back to re-open the view from a seat installed in the 1980s.   For an explanation of beech clearance, please see previous blogs.  As Heledd’s comment illustrates, sometimes it is the simple things that make it: “It was quite nice to do some sawing.”

It was rather beautiful among the autumn colours and everyone enjoyed themselves and we all had a good laugh.

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Ode To Autumn  

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o’er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,—

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft,

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

John Keats