PLACEMENT: Alba Trees, week 9

My final week at Alba Trees and today I get ALL THE WEATHER. Full on sunshine, torrential rain, a bit of hail. Gotta love Scotland. Since I had been sick and missed a few days, I had offered to come in for an extra week to try to make up for that, and they were kind enough to say that would be ok.

I did bring in a huge bunch of yumyums to share with, well everyone that was on our break shift (they are staggered since there are so many workers). They went down a treat with everyone.

Today I was back with Ann in e-sales, however in their new location in an area in the huge Despatch polytunnel (it does not seem fitting to call it a polytunnel). Her normal assistant Ivan had been moved to another section for a bit so she welcomed the extra pair of hands for the day.

Today’s activities:

  • Shown round new location for e-sales in the Despatch tunnel.
  • Picking orders for Water of Leith.
  • Tidying, assessing and sorting excess stock.
  • Discussing new location issues.
  • Other order picking (on my own!)

The new location for e-sales. A bigger section in the Despatch tunnel that offers more space, more light but still has some shortcomings, like a lack of hose! There are still a few things to work out how it will work here as the plants need water, but the despatch materials need keeping dry. A quandary but that I’m sure will be worked out. At least the plants are getting more light during their short stay in e-sales.

An outside view of one of the large site sheds.

A view of one of the yard areas.

This is ‘Willie’ who hangs around Despatch. A good pest controller if there are any slugs about.

Ann prepared some analysis data for e-sales as Alba Trees prepared for an external assessor visit.

Note: It’s really quite challenging not to join in the group smoking during breaks. Here’s one of the smoking benches, in a total suntrap of a nice ten minutes. You can spot my cup of echinacea tea there.

While Ann and I were sorting out the excess stock, she allowed me to try to group the miscellaneous trees, which I grouped *almost* entirely right! Only knew what a few were though – they were all just twigs a few weeks ago! I surprised myself with this development.

Some lovely Hazel for an order.

Some lovely Sessile Oak for an order. They look much different to their hitherto twigs!

An outside view of the Despatch area.

More lovely Hazel. When Ann was having a meeting at the end of the day, I got the opportunity to offer to go out picking on my own. It was some more Hazel and Oak that we had already done that day, so I remembered clearly where they were located and what they looked like. I was glad to be able to do that task for Ann before so it wasn’t an outstanding task for her as her meeting ran up until the end of the day.

I forget what this is!

As well as Trees, and wild flowers, Alba Trees also supply some lovely grasses and reeds.


I got to know Ann and Ivan quite well in our time working together. There is plenty time for work and non-work chat while you’re pulling a trolley round a big site like that. I was mostly shadowing them and learning tips and pieces of knowledge, and history of the company etc. as I went along. There wasn’t significant opportunities for feedback on my performance, but I did listen carefully, ask questions, and always checked that they were satisfied with how I was doing a task after a short time doing it, to make sure I didn’t continue doing it wrong for long. I demonstrated what knowledge and skills I was picking up when the opportunity arose so they didn’t feel they needed to repeat unnecessarily. Overall I made it clear I wanted to be a help rather than a hindrance and made great effort to do so. Lovely people. Great banter. I will miss them!
It was impossible not to get to know Carol a bit as she works really hard and chats really hard too, in the most wonderful way. The quickest but most thorough training session I think I’ve ever had, with her hands moving like lightening but pausing to show me points of particular note, repeating when further emphasis needed, and regularly checking back with me to make sure I was ok and feeling confident enough with what I was doing.
All brilliant people! I might just pop back for a visit sometime with some cheese scones as it’s only ten minutes from my house.