Recovery room gets a make-over
Isn't it funny how once you slip into a habit, it can be quite difficult to adapt to changing conditions?
Over a couple of years of being ‘Team Wednesday’ wildlife cleaning/feeding volunteers, Una and I have developed a finely-tuned, smooth-running system to get us seamlessly through to coffee and biscuits by about noon.
We start the day by collecting the swans’ empty food buckets, washing them and preparing that day’s meal of bread, mixed grain, mealworms and powder supplement, with a side dish of lettuce.
Once all the outdoor animals are fed and watered, we move into the recovery room to attend to the hedgehogs that need extra warmth and comfort to get over any illness or injury and build their strength.
All that has been turned on its head in the last couple of weeks because the recovery room is being refurbished.
In order that Jim and Peter could get a prompt start on the DIY, we needed to rethink our well-rehearsed routine.
Jim has carried out much of the construction work of aviaries and hutches at the trust (assisted by Peter), including last year’s Claw and Talon Room, which houses larger cages for animals such as badgers and buzzards, and this year’s Longridge Towers indoor aviary, built with funds raised by the local school.
And when he’s all done with the big projects, there’s a whole whiteboard full of little tasks, like ‘hinge on Prickle Grove hutch broken’ and ‘hot tap wobbly’.
Jim is also good to his fellow volunteers; he brings in surplus courgettes, cucumbers and tomatoes from his garden, and the odd delicious cake to have with our coffee at lunchtime.
So to speed things up, instead of weighing, recording, cleaning and feeding each hog individually, Una, Jackie, Pat and I got a bit of a ‘production line’ going.
They gathered all the food bowls and brought them through for me to wash and fill, then I took them back and lined them up on the counter ready for putting in cages. It started feeling a bit like a fast food restaurant, with Una shouting: “Three normals and one special to eat in, hold the mealworms.” And me replying: “Coming right up.”
Goodness knows what the hedgehogs thought of all the drilling, sawing, hammering and probably a few strong expletives thrown in. Most of them seemed to stay snug under their towel bedding, secure in the knowledge that their humans would spruce up the cage and provide a tasty meal, as they do every day.
The upheaval will have been worth it though, not least for the humans; we now have a really nice stainless steel sink unit for washing up, a good stretch of worktop to prepare bowls of food, and lots of cupboard space to store things away tidily.
I have yet to see the finished room, but I’m told it looks great. And who knows, it may mean we get to that lunchtime mug of coffee and slice of cake even more quickly.