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In the woods with Springwatch

June 9, 2010

By Nicky Hoar

Communications Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust

We so nearly won!  We had last night’s Springwatch pub quiz in our grasp but, as I am sure you saw if you pressed your red button, we ended up with a draw.  Not a disgrace but as Chris Packham said, winning is the only thing that matters.   But not quite – dinner is quite high up the list and pudding (with custard) puts it even higher.  First things first:

Last night's menu - brain food for the Springwatch pub quiz

Yes, I know it’s blurred of me but you can read the menu, which is the main thing.  Well, we needed our strength because we had a call from Becky at the BBC in the morning – could we join Simon’s pub quiz team from the live broadcast site that night and pit our wits against Chris’s Pensthorpe team?  You bet we could, so Ian Smart, our Kingcombe Meadows farm manager, (who’s been helping the wildlife cameramen over the last couple of weeks) and Imogen Davenport, our Director of Conservation, joined me in a quest not to let Dorset down.  What a responsibility! So off we set with Ian (BBC production controller) deep in to the woods of our Powerstock Common reserve, to find the whole Outside Broadcast set-up moved from windy, wet Eggardon to a sheltered and idyllic glade in the wild wood.  Simon was busy in rehearsal (this was 6pm) so we had a cup of tea before tucking in to dinner with him and the  crew.

Imogen, Simon and Ian on the first course

I must say my colleagues are taking their dinner very seriously, maybe they were worrying about the quiz!  Anyway, the chilli was excellent, with salad and soured cream.  I’m not supposed to eat puddings during the week, but, as a cake specialist, I knew I would be expected to sample the home made apple sponge and custard.   The BBC team seemed intrigued by my fixation with food, but we explained that Dorset Wildlife Trust is fuelled by outdoor cooking and CAKE, especially our many volunteer work parties.  In fact our wardens are becoming known for their cookouts.    Anyway, the pudding was excellent, I am pleased to tell you.  (I promise this is the last eating picture today:)

Sampling the pudding (Simon's still on the first course)

And so we were ready.  Simon disappeared up the track to a beautiful opening in the woods with wide views.  We sat down in ‘the office’ (a white van) to watch the show.  And didn’t Kingcombe look beautiful on TV?  I had been walking through those very buttercup meadows earlier in the day and he really wasn’t exaggerating – it’s like stepping back in time and absolutely buzzing with insects and full of birdsong too.  Before the show ended we set off up the track to join Simon on a fake log for the quiz, thinking it was a bit of fun.  Well, it was, but James, Simon’s producer and our team spokesman, left us in no doubt that he was relying on us to trounce the opposition, and I think Kate and Martin in Pensthorpe looked as if they were trying to pretend it was just for fun but life depended on beating us.

With our team name ‘Universally Challenged’,  we got off to a good start (glad I went on a deer ID workshop recently) but they levelled with us on the geek question (for Simon and Chris only), which was surely just a question of guessing  – it was about St Elmo’s fire and none of us had a clue.  So Dorset can hold its head up, even if we didn’t quite win.

The cameras are still rolling at Kingcombe Meadows, so keep your eyes on the rest of this week’s shows and our Dorset Springwatch pages.  I’ll be back with some watery news.


One Comment leave one →
  1. June 10, 2010 3:31 pm

    Great blogging Nicky! Your cake fuelled exploits are a joy to read about.. Keep up the good work!

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