I was very sad to leave my colleagues and the school community at St. Laurence’s. But what a send-off they gave me! Here is the note in case you missed it, my old buddies and Glorious Partners in the Epic Challenge to plant a million trees!

A Chairde Dhíl,
I have been looking forward all summer to meeting you all to express my overwhelming gratitude for the positively glorious send-off. Owen, Aoife, Isobel, Audrey & Sam were equally blown away by the hospitality and the flawless organisation. It was just unbelievably extraordinary and I cannot thank you all enough for the good wishes, the cards, the flowers, the cakes, the surprise breakfast on the Monday morning of the last week which kicked off a total festival…the gifts so thoughtfully chosen! I wear my silver necklace with such pride, it was so good of you to engrave it for me. The painting is so beautiful Anita that I was inspired to run an easy treesie art exhibition with it as centrepiece on Culture Night coming up in September. I was so glad of the superb boots all summer as I planted trees, most recently on Saturday in the midst of brambles; waterproof it says on the box and waterproof they are! How lucky for me as when I discovered my spare socks were saturated on Sunday when I was stewarding in the Phoenix Park it mattered not, my feet were bone dry to the point where I stayed on after my shift ended. The voucher in the box, now that was a total surprise! Carol warned me to make sure and open the card, I was so very touched. I have been thinking all summer about how to spend it most wisely and only yesterday invested in a (okay this may sound frivolous but I am hoping it will prove the opposite) “Roomba”; I have 2 friends who have them and swear by them. When I come in from the tree-planting this robot vacuum cleaner will have run around the house doing all the hoovering; when it is running out of charge it scoots back to its station, charges up, then charges off again to hoover up the rest of the leaves, earth etc. that I trail into the house. I can command it from my phone without so much as a “Máis é do thoil é” and will not have to find cash to leave for it in an envelope at the end of its long day. When we go on trips it will join me; it can learn the geography all by itself apparently. The end of drudgery! I shall call it “Laurence”.

The sterling support of you all in St. Laurence’s has prompted many others to follow our efforts to improve our local environment through tree-planting. 6 counties have asked to participate in the upcoming planting season. So I will keep you posted on the progress towards the million-tree mark and let me know if I can help in any way with your future environmental Green projects!