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Today at INTACT

Hello people and welcome to the latest update into the voluntary world of Alex Ashworth in his quest for experience and progression.

Today was Friday which meant two things. One, the start of a long bank holiday weekend in the hope that it doesn't rain and two a visit to Intact at Ingol where I have been attending gardening sessions with the encouragingly brilliant Barry Mann for the past five months or so.

I started the session in fine form by putting all my gardening gear on and as I tied the last shoelace on my boot I looked up and Barry zoomed past me on my bike, it was like something out of an action film.

Having already built a strong rapport over the past five months we knew exactly how to get the work done and in the most effective and diligent way. Before anything began I thanked Barry for writing an excellent reference for me which really emphasised how much he has appreciated me giving up my time to help run the gardens at INTACT.

Barry instructed me into what needed doing this morning and by 9.20am the work was already quite underway. The first task involved uprooting the potatoes with the fork, picking them off the root, cleaning them slightly and leaving them in a warm spot to dry. Once that was accomplished a period of weeding that bed took place.

By this stage fellow volunteer Chris appeared and he began the lengthy yet rewarding task of cleaning the potatoes with a bucket of water that I had uprooted earlier.

At this point in the morning Barry and I were slightly parched so I was pleased when Barry asked if I'd like a brew. I didn't hesitate at all, in fact I was delighted to have a refreshing drink that came just at the right moment in between the next task which I was yet to carry out.

Barry introduced me to the herb bed and his desire for the coriander's in the bed round the corner to relocated to the herb bed. He highlighted specific areas where he'd like them to be placed. Admittedly it was hard to keep them standing especially as the coriander's weren't that robust due to their faint stems.

I completed the task with ease and persuasion. After they were all planted I gave them a little sprinkle of water to encourage their growth. By this stage in the game my brew was ready and I could drink it knowing the majority of the morning's work had been completed.

Chris demonstrated his eagerness and determination to continue by working during the brew break and refusing to have a brew. This meant Barry and I could chill for a while knowing we were in capable hands with Chris manning the fort.

After 11 am the morning's work was rapidly coming to an end. We put all the tools back in the tool shed and said our goodbyes' to fellow volunteer and great grafter Chris.

End of part one for my time with INTACT was fast approaching. I knew that after today I wouldn't be working in the garden with Barry and Chris again but come October time I'll be re-instating my volunteer time with The Work Club.

To help channel that future goal of getting back to work, Barry showed me how much business cards are due to my desire to have my own gardening business at some stage.

As I was about to depart INTACT till the autumn, Barry kindly wanted to extend his help by asking me to send him an email based on the type of work I'd like to do and my contact details. He would then forward that on to social networking sites and any other advertising websites to get my name out there. He was being a realist and said it could take some time which is fine as I like to pace myself in all things I do.

I thanked him for the past five months and he opened the hand of contact by saying he would still like to see me when I attend The Work Club in October.

This is Alex Ashworth signing off for my final day volunteering for Barry Mann but it's not quite the end for my time with INTACT.

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