School maintenance in March
What joys awaited me during the third month of the year? 'I suppose the ides of March'.
Normally we would hope that the temperatures would start to warm up and the rain would fall a bit too much but then we have to accept the weather as a hazard of the job. This March though was exceptional, longer periods of sun, but cold nights and cool days and not a hint of wet weather.
I had the monthly plan all in place, to shut down football pitches here and here and rugby there and there and prep the cricket tables in readiness.
If only it was that easy!
This March was one of the coldest on record and low and behold it was also the driest so it was awful for trying to germinate seed, let alone starting the preparatory work on the cricket tables.
With the squares prepared as best as we could in the circumstances, we moved onto the first of our rugby pitches. Time to scarify and hollow core. This was followed by an over seed. Once seeded the good old chain mat, came out and there was soon a shine on it as it broke up the cores and dressed in the levels again. Renovation complete, not a bad job and just thirteen pitches to go.
In amongst all of this early season work, I have had to arrange for my guys to start their NVQ'S training, much of which they can do in house and during work time. It is only muggings here, who has to go and get his A1 award at evening school.
Importantly we do need to explain 'why', more often and not just pass on orders.
All my staff now have their own dedicated areas of work for which they are responsible. The only reason that I will step in now is if their work becomes detrimental to the turf presentation. Some may say why am I doing it? I would say that I am about to commit to their training I just want to be sure they are committed to doing it.
All round, March was not a bad month, a few Health & Safety issues popped up. The work experience lad needed his paper work completed in which I had to fill out a young persons risk assessment. There was the small matter of swelling staff numbers, with the interviewing and employment of our summer temp. On the grounds side I need to condemn 3 sets of rugby posts, explain why, to the powers that be, and then find the money from the budget or the Bursar.
The new sightscreens that were lying in bits without instructions had to be assembled and of course there was a repair to the one that blew over in the wind and put the sheets on the cricket cover frames.
Thank god I have the Groundsman software program, yes I know it takes hours to set up properly, but believe me it saves a lot more hours in the long run and also answers most of the questions that I do get asked by my management.
In case I thought March would be an easy month, I was also blessed with a man down sick and other staff taking their annual leave.Now we're half way through April, still no rain, but at least the temperature is rising-plenty of growth to stay on top of!