After hacking down the shoulder-height nettles, we discovered all sorts of weird and wonderful objects including a fire extinguisher, a games piece from Connect 4 and Pure Garage Rewind Back to the Old Skool CD.
Any initial fears about ordering too large a skip proved unfounded as we soon began to fill it with weeds and debris.
There were shrieks of "Can I hold him?" and "Look at the funny-looking mouse!" (n.b. shrews aren't rodents) from the kids.
As shrews have a high metabolism and need to eat every few hours (some of these little mammals will perish if they go without food for as little as two hours), we retreated from the vicinity to let him find a hidey hole.
After four hours of tilth and filth it was apparent that we needed a second day so we returned on Sunday to begin the painstaking job of removing the nettle roots and levelling out the mounds of earth.
The area in front of the burnt trees is a horrendous mess of masonry, metal, Tyvek-like material and broken glass - all of which seem to be fused together after the many arson attacks. Clearing this section is going to be a long term project.
We've still a lot of work to do but we are almost at the stage where we can put in some raised beds and get sowing some vegetable seeds!
Next step is for East Lothian Council to remove the fire-damaged trees; and for the Friends of Cuthill Park to thin out the foliage along the wire fence ready for planting the edible hedgerow in November. We also need to buy a water butt, build a compost bin and about a zillion other things. Why not join us? We're on the 26 bus route, we're a friendly bunch and you could be part of a fantastic community project.