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Introducing: the Summer VSO!

20 Jun 2014

A number of goings on have happened this past week at Haddo, including bushcraft, some fantastic music and the arrival of our Summer VSO, yours truly!

 

A number of goings on have happened this past week at Haddo, including bushcraft, some fantastic music and the arrival of our Summer VSO, yours truly!

My name is Harriet, and I’ve been raised in and around Haddo from birth. My father works here and I’ve been employed in a few differing positions here over the years, from having a summer job at the age of 13, supervising the safety of children on the old bouncy castle, to helping move old archives from the Estate office to a shipping container and back again during the office refurbishment.

Having lived in the area for so long, Haddo is a place of fond memories and friends for me. As a wee baby, my mother used to take me for walks and pick flowers from the rhododendron bushes for me to hold, causing my first non-parental word spoken to apparently be a very loud and happy “Rhododen-DUM!”
Back then, dear old June was still with us and we used to have a collective Sunday roast in the House library. As I was still required to sit in a high chair for meals, I had to sit by the sideboard to make space! Unfortunately, my younger sisters didn’t get to experience the Library Sunday Roast, as my mother remembers June saying: “Oh no, I’m not having two of them to lunch!”

Growing up at Haddo was always fun, whatever the season. From snowball fights at Christmas time, to pooh sticks and egg rolling in the Spring and Summer, and berry picking, consequent jam making and fishing in Autumn. Living here has influenced and inspired me, and I’m proud to say so!

Bodacious Bushcraft

Expert Willow Lohr sets about cooking lunch, while also teaching how to tast bread over an open fire with self made toasting spikes.

Expert Willow Lohr sets about cooking lunch, while also teaching how to toast bread over an open fire with self made toasting spikes.

This past Saturday, we held a bushcraft workshop, taught by expert Willow Lohr. It included lessons on edible plants, such as nettles and wild garlic flowers, foraging for food and materials for shelter and ended with a delicious cooked meal. Many thanks to Willow for joining us and teaching us all such useful information.

Squirrelling around

One of the rope courses which we constructed. The rope will allow the squirrels to move from tree to tree safely and visibly

One of the rope courses which we constructed. The rope will allow the squirrels to move from tree to tree safely and visibly

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On Thursday, Diana and I, accompanied by Steve Willis, Project manager for red squirrel conservation in North East Scotland, and local volunteer, Kate, installed six new squirrel boxes and rope connections between trees around the new squirrel hide. This should hopefully give the local squirrel population a new, fun activity, and make them easier to spot by visitors.

Aberdeenshire Season By Season

A Skoog, developed at Edinburgh University, it can be pressed, rolled, tapped and twisted to make a large variety of sounds programmed onto it by computer

On Tuesday, Aberdeenshire Council’s Youth Music Initiative, in collaboration with Drake Music Scotland – A charity specialising in aiding disabled children and adults in learning to play instruments and compose and perform musical pieces – held a small concert in the Canadian Hall. The musical performances, played by five Aberdeenshire schools (Anna Ritchie School, Banff Primary, Carronhill, St Andrew’s School and Westfield School) were original compositions inspired by Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. They included the use of well-known instruments such as the keyboard, drums and xylophone as well as less popular, more modern inventions such as the soundbeam and Skoog, a cube, programmed with sounds on different coloured spheres. Depending on how the Skoog is touched, the sound varies.

As someone with a passion for music, I found this concert very interesting and exciting. It was the first time that I’d ever seen a Skoog in action, and was highly impressed by the school’s performances. Well done to everyone involved!

Closing line

Well, that’s my first week of VSO-dom done and dusted. I’m certain that this will be one of my more enjoyable and memorable seasonal employment endeavours. From photographing the wildlife, to visiting events in the park and house, and with the official Park opening only just over 2 weeks away, there’s lots to do!