|Sylvia harvesting potatoes|
Six years ago retirement loomed ahead, I had to have some new interests to fill my days. An article in an NT magazine caught my attention, it was asking for volunteers to help with grass snake habitats at Gibside. I drove the 20 miles to see what Gibside had to offer and discovered it is a good place for a long walk, a cup of tea and a nice piece of cake and if you're lucky you might see the red kites flying high above.
I was accepted as a volunteer and after 6 months working with the conservation team through the winter months I transferred to gardening in the flower borders! So on Wednesdays I travel to Gibside to weed, sow dig and hoe. I am also lucky enough to share a volunteer plot with Maureen and over the past 4 years our skill in growing fruit and vegetables has improved and we are proud of our produce.
Despite the backache and tired muscles it is worth the effort in order to meet like minded people, chat to other volunteers and visitors, share gardening tips and work together to make Gibside a good experience.