Saturday 4 August 2007


Wild, windy and sunny. White tops on the waves on the loch, trees bucking and rearing. It's a fairground.

Far too nice to be indoors, though I am supposed to be writing a land management plan for the community woods. Instead I've spent the morning feeding the garden with comfrey soup, weeding, picking herbs, sowing leaf beat, cutting bracken, pondering whether to cut down all the virus-infected raspberries or leave some to fruit next year while I establish a new patch somewhere else. There are no right answers to such questions, just as there's no right answer to the question of what should happen in the community woods. It is enough to decide what general direction we're trying to head in (strategic plan) and what immediate actions this coming year will move us on most helpfully (action plan). Or almost enough. The trick, and the bit we so often miss out, is to stop, look at what we have achieved (monitor) and think about it (reflect) before plunging into the next round of activity. Without monitoring and reflection, there is no opportunity to learn. Too often management cycles are dominated by planning and action, with monitoring and reflection given short shrift. I wonder why that is.

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