So as many of you know we have various folk who volunteer their time and come and work alongside us. This may be for a week or even slightly longer depending on the circumstances. Often they are doing placement work through university or college but sometimes they just want a change of scenery from their lives as you have read in Sonya’s (3-part) blog!
There are our regulars Paul and Kathleen who have been visiting us for many years now and who try to get up at least once but sometimes a couple of times a year. Paul being an ex-carpenter and joiner comes armed with his tool box and basically fixes everything we break throughout the year. We also aren’t allowed to touch the feed bag as we would get our wrists slapped by him if we did. He keeps it filled to the brim and we don’t even have to fill our own daily bags of feed as they are waiting for us in the morning… We love Paul! Kathleen has been a great supporter and ambassador of our herd for a long time now and when she comes up to visit helps out in our shop and taking guided tours onto the hill… It’s a nice break for the girls and boy (Dave) who do the tours the rest of the time so thank you Kathleen. Caroline also manages to join us all the way from Oxfordshire from time to time to donate her arty skills and good humour.
So they are our yearly regulars but we still get a few others for week placements through the summer. You have read all about Sonya’s time with us. I hope it’s brought great entertainment to your weekly blog reading. Fran (who volunteered with us in 2015) joined us for six weeks gathering data for her dissertation… that’s a whole different blog so I’ll let her explain that one. Beth is another great supporter of the herd and whenever she comes up on holiday with the family always pops by for a day or two to help out. This year she did a whole week with us and ditched the family, they were obviously cramping her style! It was great having her around and we have all noticed a big change from the first time she came along till now, she has grown into a very independent young lady.
Joe was with us in May and is a relation from Tilly’s side of the family. Along with Blyth, Leander, Erin and Shannon, he was looking to gain more experience within the animal industry to further his career. Amy came to us in August and for those of you who know the history behind our herd, you will recognise the name Dr Lindgren. Amy is Dr Lindgren’s great granddaughter, so it seems it still runs in the blood. Emm, like Beth, has been a supporter of the herd through our adoption scheme for many years. Her enthusiasm and hard work glowed! She knew most of the reindeer by name after only one week of working with them, and her herd list had notes all over it to help her recognise their individual features… Puts any reindeer herder who doesn’t know their reindeer to shame!
I’m sure they all have their individual story to tell of their week, maybe many! And we always try to encourage them to take their very own guided tour by the end of the week. After they have heard all our bad jokes and cool reindeer facts they can then pass that onto the public in their own way. Most of them managed to do this, even Leander whose first language was German so good for him!
But I also just want to say thanks to them all as well. Having that extra pair of hands is great and I hope their time spent here was fun as well as informative. They do all this hard work during their time here yet, without fail there is always a box of chocolates (or other cake goodness) left on the table from them to us at the end. Seems the wrong way around, it should be us giving them the treats but hey who are we to complain… don’t let that comment stop any future chocolate/cake giving!