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    Cutting Edge: Fables from the Stables 11-12-19
    Michael Yan Hip

    ‘The cutting edge’

    Well as the sun was setting on another autumn term the lovely sunset from this Monday was a pleasure to behold, however as is often the case, the weather is very fickle in these parts in December and on waking up to this morning’s storm, ‘Storm Atiyah’, we were soon to discover the first casualty…….

    tree

    A sad sight indeed, however as you as may be able to see, the casualty was not overly healthy through the middle, so losing it was only really a matter of time, unfortunately. On a positive note from the healthy parts, we will be able to salvage some wood to replenish the huge amount of photocopying paper that is currently being produced for carol sheets! We will be tidying up the debris as time passes and I’m sure the usual array of scavengers will be at the ‘Stables’ doors looking to stock up for their wood burners: a bartering system will be in operation!

    As I stated earlier, the weather is extremely unpredictable and goes from one extreme to another, here is another photograph from week ending the 30th of November showing a hard-penetrative frost. Unfortunately, this led to the cancellation of all the rugby matches versus Fettes that weekend, with overnight temperatures dropping as low as -6 for 3-4 nights, giving us quite a short but sharp crisp spell with some good clean air for a few days.

    frost

    As I alluded to earlier, the very changeable nature of the weather makes our job extremely challenging: look at the graph from the Institute of Groundsman showing the sheer amount of rainfall (mm) we have had since May. The blue bars show 2019 rainfall to date, and the orange line is the average. It shows that where we started the year below average, up to the end of November 2019, we have endured 30% more rainfall than the average - an interesting set of stats!

    rainfall

    So, it goes without saying, that I think what we have achieved this year, as well as over the last eight, the Grounds team without a doubt deserve their recent award from the Institute of Groundsman a truly wonderful achievement. Just to confirm this, here's a lovely aerial photograph of our rugby pitches.

    aerial grounds

    In saying all of the above I’d like to thank Mr Deans, and all the coaches, who work closely with us to ensure the pitches are kept in the condition they are, even with so much training and so many matches taking place. Sadly, though, the white lines do seem to attract the players more than other areas of the pitch!

    markings

    In our last blog, we spoke briefly of our new starts, this time round I want to mention that Stuart, pictured here with our award, has been promoted to the position of Deputy Head Groundsperson. Stuart has worked tirelessly with us over the last seven and a half years, and although he is involved in all aspects of the team's portfolio of work, his forte is our cricket areas. In fact, he himself is a fully capped Scottish Cricket Internationalist and brings knowledge, expertise and enthusiasm which we are very lucky to have. However, once he is in the company of Messers, Deans and Aitchison, subtitles may be required with their Borders twang never too far from the surface!

    deputy head groundsperson

    Well, that is almost a wrap, as I finish putting this together, the storm rages on. Hopefully, it will abate sufficiently enough to let us get back outside and crack on with ensuring we get our mid-season renovations done to the rugby and football pitches - once we've tidied up after the storm of course! We'll be doing some verti-draining and fertilisation to replace the many nutrients that have been washed out by the recent rain which should keep us going until we allow ourselves a well-earned rest on the 20th of December (a quiet week once the boys have finished up for their break on the 11th) and we can turn our mind to the Christmas festivities.

    Well on that note we here in the grounds team wish the boys, parents and our colleagues a very Merry Christmas and happy and prosperous 2020.