Issue number 101
1st March 2009
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Front Cover by Micky Thompson
Cover photograph this issue was taken at last year’s Victorian Evening. There isn’t, photographically speaking, much light about, but the very fact that it is moody lighting, as it would have been back in the Victorian era, that makes the picture. It is this mood that helps to give the scene it’s appeal.
The photograph has been taken with what photographers call ”available light”. This is when no flash or other auxiliary lighting is used, and the photograph is captured with only the light that is evident. If this picture had been taken using flash, everything there would be crisp and clear, but all the mood and atmosphere would have been completely washed away.
So how is it done? Well, because there is not much light, the exposure time will have to be quite long, using a slow shutter speed. This will, unless the camera is kept still during the exposure, result in blurred shaky pictures. This is why I used a tripod, to keep the camera steady. Another point to remember when taking this kind of photograph, is that the subject has to be still as well, unless movement blur is desirable. Notice some of the blurry people walking past. The slow shutter speed can be speeded up by increasing the ASA/ ISO speed, but the higher the speed the greater the graininess of the picture. So don’t put the camera away, just because the evenings are drawing in, get adventurous and creative, wrap up warm and get out there with the camera.
Drop in and say Hi. My contact phone number is 01488 686946
Message from the Chairman of CHAIN
I can hardly believe that I am writing this report again in readiness for our Christmas issue. As I am writing this (end of October) it has been snowing so I hope it isn’t going to be a long cold Winter. By the time you read this the Town’s Christmas Lights will have been switched on and I am sure the Town will look as wonderful as ever thanks to Rod Desmoules and his team. Don’t forget the Victorian Extravaganza on Friday 12th December between 5—9pm. This is organised by a small committee and they certainly deserve your support.
There are lots of Christmas parties taking place in December for different clubs and organisations but these would not happen without the hard work of just a few people who make sure that the parties do take place and you all have such a good time.
Chain has been pleased to support a regular weekly run to the Hydrotherapy Pool in Swindon. This has helped many people over the years and if anyone is in need of this type of therapy then please contact Betty Grant on Hungerford 682607.
The Blue Badge scheme for disabled drivers or passengers is a great help to lots of people. If you think you may be eligible please contact Social Services to obtain the necessary forms.
Christmas is a time when we must all make an extra effort to look out for our neighbours. If you know of anyone who is on their own then pop round, have a chat and a cup of tea it could make all the difference.
I would like to thank all the Chain Volunteers for the many hours they have freely given to Chain during the past year, this includes Drivers, Office Ladies and Chain Mail Links. Where would we be without you!
On behalf of everyone at Chain I would like to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.
Janette Kersey. Chairman
Stating the obvious, it’s Christmas in a few weeks time and then some more holidays for the New Year. Easter next year is Good Friday April 10th (20 days later than this year).
One of the many joys of being retired is that my week feels like a week of Sundays, and with that in mind a little ‘Christian type’ message to you all. If someone doesn’t turn up to their regular haunt, club, lunch, Church, social, or whatever meeting, and they have not let anyone know, ask around and contact them if need be, to check on their well being, not just for Christmas, but all the year round! And neighbours look out for your neighbours, one day it might be you that needs it!
Please think of this as your magazine and feel free to write in on any subject, be it a letter, a half page article of interest or just factual information, of or on, events. If it’s a TOWN DIARY type matter I am part of the team that enters the ‘data’ to Hungerford’s web page, so come on people, it’s just costing you your time! There are not that many FREE things in life but this is (believe me!).
Tony and his team from A&M Electrics have again brightened up our town for Christmas. Well Done!
Articles for publication should be sent to me by the 7th of the month preceeding publication, i.e.7th February for the Spring issue on March 1st.
If you send something to me I will always acknowledge within 3 days. No reply from me then I have not got it, so please re-send. Thanks & regards David Piper.
Tel: 01488-683152 firstname.lastname@example.org
t was very sad that we lost Gerald Ward who passed away in October. The Ward family have been great benefactors to Hungerford, he will be sadly missed.
The Christmas lights as I write, are being put up and the trees will soon arrive, a busy time for the Councillors.
We had an election in October and Shelagh Parry has joined the Council. We wish her well in her future endeavours.
Concern about policing has been in the press and I am glad to say that Hungerford Policing is up to full capacity with 24/7 Police presence in the town. Just to remind those who have to park on the pavement. Please leave enough space for mums and their pushchairs to get past. Also it should be remembered that disabled carriages also need room to pass.
The Council has spent a lot of time clearing St Saviour’s Cemetery and with the help of the community service team the grounds are looking more respectable. We still have two more years to finish the full refurbishment.
This year the Council have agreed to have sets of 5 different Christmas cards which are on sale at the Council offices and in the offices of Newbury Building Society. These cards are of Hungerford Christmas lights and are a bargain at £3.50 a pack. The profit will be for Hungerford good causes within the Town. We have 200 packs and they are going fast.
Currently we have over 90 requests for allotment sites and we are actively sourcing sites for the town.
Just a reminder that the Council office in the Library building is open from 10am to 2pm Monday to Friday, and Clerks Jennie or Claire will be pleased to help with town matters for you.
I would like to invite you all to The Mayor’s Christmas Carol Service at St Lawrence’s on Sunday 21st December at 6.30pm .
May I on behalf of Hungerford Town Council wish you a merry Christmas and a safe New Year.
Peter Harries Mayor of Hungerford
Letters & e-mails
George Phillips of Gold Coast, Australia was going to bed when his wife told him that he’d left the light on in the garden shed, which she could see from the bedroom window. (Does this sound familiar!) George opened the back door to go turn off the light but saw that there were people in the shed stealing things. He phoned the police, who asked ‘Is someone in your house?’ and he said no. Then they said that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be along when available. George said, ‘Okay,’ hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again. ‘Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people stealing things from my shed. Well, you don’t have to worry about them now because I’ve just shot them.’ Then he hung up. Within five minutes three police cars, an Armed Response Unit, and an ambulance showed up at the Phillips’ residence and caught the burglars red-handed. One of the Policemen said to George: ‘I thought you said that you’d shot them!’ George said, ‘I thought you said there was nobody available!’
There are 7 girls in a bus, each girl has 7 backpacks, in each sack there are 7 big cats. For every big cat there are 7 little cats. How many legs are on the bus? The answer given over the page is
Ed’s Comment…………The original maths problem was sent in by a CHAIN MAIL contributor !!!!
An apology to Hungerford Town Council. Regarding the letter from ’BW’ in the previous issue of CHAIN MAIL, and the letter from the Mayor (below this). I do apologise for attributing the blame to our local Council, not realising for one moment that it was West Berks Council that were the ’culprits’. However, hopefully BW’s letter has highlighted the tripping points around the trees, and that no one else suffers the same fate. Recently I was in Carlisle and they had a much safer solution to protecting the street trees by using a BRADSTONE (MK) type kerb block that gradually sloped upwards. However my apologies once again to HTC, and I will check with the Town Clerk’s office in the future before publishing.
Yours sincerely, Peter Harries Mayor
Dear Old Codger,
Ron has indicated that he feels that the time has come to ask that he be taken off the list of volunteer car drivers.
His time, energy and organisational skills have been given to Chain for 26 years as Car driver, Chain Mail Editor and Chairman (and at times odd job man).
So thank you Ron we wish you well in all your future endeavours.
Thanks also to Eric and Daphne Hayden – drivers who have removed to Haywards Heath.
Another wonderful CHAIN PUB Lunch at the Wheatsheaf Chilton Foliat. The next is at the Three Swans 1st December. Call Alan Pollitt 01488 682606
A Christmas present idea……………(two in fact)
Norman Hidden’s “Aspects of Medieval Hungerford”, published by the HHA, and hopefully(!) it will be ready for early December, for about £8.00 [as we go to press the publication date and the exact price are not yet confirmed].
Hungerford – A Pictorial History – Dr Hugh Pihlens (Revised and enlarged edition), which includes the original 170 captioned photographs that were in the first edition, plus a further 48 new pictures covering the period from 1930 until modern times, for £17.95. Both on sale in Hungerford Book Shop.
From an edition of the SAGA magazine…………Optimistic forward planning????……….
Cruising for Company
F=female, n/s = non smoker, GSOH = good sense of humour, WLT=would like to
This article summarises the main features of Pension Credit. What is Pension Credit? Pension Credit provides older people with a minimum level of income and gives extra cash to people with modest incomes who have made savings for their retirement. Pension Credit has two parts: the ‘guarantee credit’ and the ‘savings credit’. Some people will get both the guarantee and the savings parts while others will receive either one or the other. Both parts are based on people’s income and other circumstances.
How does the guarantee credit work?… The guarantee credit is available to people aged 60 or over. It tops up someone’s income to a set level. The guarantee credit is set at standard amounts; from April 2008 it is £124.05 a week for a single person and £189.35 for a couple. The amounts are higher for some disabled people, carers and homeowners with certain housing costs.
Example…………….Sandra Wood’s only income is her state pension of £90.70 a week and she has no savings. She gets £33.35 Pension Credit to bring her income up to the guarantee level of £124.05.
What about the savings credit?……….The savings credit is available to people who have reached the age of 65. The maximum amount is £19.71 a week for a single person and £26.13 for a couple.
You could be entitled to some savings credit if you:
Brief information is given here about calculating the savings credit – it aims to give you an idea of the calculation but does not cover all circumstances. The savings credit is based on what is called ‘qualifying income’ which includes the main types of income that pensioners have. But if your income includes any ‘non-qualifying income’ the way that savings credit is calculated will be different to the information given below. See later in this article to find out more about how income and savings are assessed.
Single people………If your income is more than £91.20 a week but less than £124.05 you are likely to be entitled to savings credit. You will normally receive 60p savings credit for every £1 of income you have over £91.20.
Example………….Christine Smith has a state pension of £90.70 a week and an occupational pension of £10 a week. She will receive £23.35 guarantee credit to bring her pension income of £100.70 up to £124.05. She will also receive £6.00 savings credit (60p for every £1 of the £10 pension income over £90.70) making her total income £130.05. If your income is exactly £124.05 you will normally receive the maximum savings credit for a single person of £19.71. If your income is more than £124.05 but less than around £174.00 the maximum savings credit of £19.71 is reduced by 40p for every £1 of income you have over £124.05.
Example………James Brown has an income of £144.05 from his state and private pensions. This is £20 more than the guarantee level of £124.05 so the maximum savings credit of £19.71 is reduced by £8 (40p for every £1 of the £20). He will receive savings credit of £11.71.
Couples……….If your income is more than £145.80 a week but less than £189.35you are likely to be entitled to savings credit. You will normally receive 60p savings credit for every £1 of income you have over £145.80.
Example……….Naresh and Mira Gupta have state and occupational pensions totalling £165.80 a week. They will receive £23.55 guarantee credit to bring their pension income up to £189.35. They will also receive £12.00 savings credit (60p for every £1 of the £20 pension income over £145.80) making their total income £201.35. If your income is exactly £189.35 you will normally receive the
Example…………Freda and William Jones have state pensions of £145.05, an occupational pension of £46.30 and £20,000 savings (assumed to produce an income of £28 as explained below) making a total of £219.35 a week. This is £30 more than the guarantee level of £189.35 so the maximum savings credit of £26.13 is reduced by £12 (40p for every £1 of the £30). They will therefore receive
How are savings and income assessed?….Pension Credit is based on an assessment of your income and savings and some of the main points of the assessment are given here. For couples the income and savings of you and your partner are added together to work out your entitlement to Pension Credit. For Pension Credit £6,000 savings is ignored and there is no upper limit. Savings over £6,000 are assumed to produce an income of £1 for every £500 over £6,000. For example, someone with £10,000 savings is assessed as having an income of £8 a week from those savings while someone with £20,000 is assessed as having an income of £28 a week. (The limits for people living in care homes are different and not covered here). Some types of savings and capital are ignored, including the value of your home. Similarly, some types of income are completely ignored or partly ignored – for example Attendance Allowance or Disability Living Allowance are not taken into account.
The calculation for savings credit is based on ‘qualifying income’. For most people ‘qualifying income’ will be the same as the income used to work out their guarantee credit. But Incapacity Benefit, Severe Disablement Allowance, contribution based Jobseeker’s Allowance and maintenance payments are not ‘qualifying income’ and will not count towards the savings credit. If you have any of these types of income the rules for working out your savings credit will be different to those explained earlier and you will need more information to find out about your own position.
What if my circumstances change?……….Most people over the age of 65 will receive a Pension Credit award lasting for up to 5 years. (The Government has said it will change these rules so that people over 75 will have an indefinite award of Pension Credit). During this period you will not need to report changes in your savings or pension income to the Pension Service, and your Pension Credit will be automatically up rated every year. The Pension Service will automatically increase the amount they take into account from your state and private pensions. If your income goes down during this time you can ask for your benefit to be reassessed. During this period there will still be some changes that you will need to report such as: a change of address, becoming widowed or going to live in a care home.
How do I make a claim?……………You can make a claim over the phone or ask for a claim form to be sent to you (see the phone number on page 21 ). You could also ask for a form in person from your local Pension Service or advice agency. Sometimes the Pension Service or an advice agency may help you fill in the form. Pension Credit can be backdated for up to a year.
Will the Pension Credit affect my Housing Benefit or Council Tax Benefit?…..If you are awarded guarantee credit you will also receive the maximum allowable Housing and Council Tax Benefit (for more information see Age Concern Factsheet 17 Housing Benefit and Council Tax Benefit).
If you receive savings credit only, you should check with your local authority to see if you also qualify for some Housing or Council Tax Benefit (HB/CTB). If you are already receiving HB or CTB when you are awarded savings credit, the amount of HB/CTB you receive will be reduced (but you will still be better off overall after claiming savings credit). Your ongoing entitlement to HB and CTB will only be reduced from the date when your local authority are informed of the award of savings credit, and will not affect the HB and CTB you have already been paid.
Where do I get more information? For an application form, ring the Pension Credit Information Line on 0800 99 1234, Monday to Friday, 8am – 8pm, Saturday 9am – 1pm.
This article gives a brief overview of how the Pension Credit will work. For more detailed information see Age Concern Factsheet 48, Credit Pension which is available from Age Concern’s Information Line. Further copies of this article are available from the Age Concern Information Line on 0800 00 99 66, 7 days a week, 8am-7pm. If you would like to receive this information in large print phone 0800 00 99 66 (free call) or write to Age Concern FREEPOST (SWB 30375),Ashburton, Devon TQ13 7ZZ.
All rights reserved. This article has been reproduced with permission from Age Concern England.
Bogus callers…………Fear of crime should not stop you enjoying life to the full. Overall, older people are less likely than other age groups to be victims of crime. However, one type of criminal may try to target older people. Bogus callers, also known as distraction burglars, try to trick their way into your home so that they can steal your money and valuables while your attention is elsewhere. Simple steps for safety at the door Most callers are genuine and mean you no harm, but bogus callers can often seem very plausible and will try to fool you. If you read this carefully and follow the advice given, you will be less likely to be fooled and more likely to feel safe and secure at your door.
Age Concern Berkshire provides the following services across West Berkshire.
The Old Codger
The Old Codger’s Column…….
Well I reckon that the Icelandic Government cannot complain about their banks being seized under our terrorism laws. What did they think, when they held to ransom, funds taken from our savings accounts & Town Hall monies. Did this not cause country-wide unrest and consternation? Has it not caused hardship & disruption, and how the Devil does the Icelandic government think that they should sue our Treasury? I’m not a Gordon lover after HE raided so many of our pension funds, but this time I say ‘Well Done’. I write this some weeks before you see this in print and things might well have changed, but I’ve still got a lot of money ‘’locked’’’ up until the FSA gets it sorted!
Still on the subject of money/credit crunch/recession doesn’t Robert Peston get on your nerves? 1; Never answering the question with a yes or no, and then giving an explanation that’s so loose it could be the answer to almost anything,
2; Never actually being positive when the odd improvement happens. Talk Doom & Gloom you will get Doom & Gloom. As for those presenters who think we don’t know (without stupid examples) what ‘up & down’ & ‘Liquidity’ & ‘U turns’ mean without them talking to us in a lift, pouring water or doing it in a car!
Why oh why do these television companies have to (expensively) send the in house ‘anchor’ man to the latest hot spot, when the on-the-spot local man has been doing the job well for years (& without pretentious illustrations/examples)?
And on my usual theme:
One last thing, if you see any problems with Street Lighting, Gritting & Snow clearance over the coming months please phone Streetcare in Newbury on 01635 519080, if you don’t, no one else will.
Please contact me through David’s e-mail,
Or to CHAIN Office…..address on outside back page and title your words/thoughts as…….Old Codger column please …….
Bye Bye & keep safe
Gardening by Stacy
Gardening on a Budget
At times like these, when we are being careful with spending, gardening might seem like an expensive hobby. It’s all too easy to trot off to the garden centre in the Spring, fill a trolley and spend a small fortune. The seed and plant catalogues are coming through the door, trying to tempt you with their delectable, colourful wares, and who wouldn’t be tempted by all that colour and the promise of summer in the midst of winter?
Take heart, however. It is possible to maintain your resolve to spend less and have a beautiful garden next year at the same time. If you do order from a plant catalogue try to combine an order with that of a friend or group of friends. You will save on postage and packing by spreading the cost plus the catalogues often offer free gifts for different levels of spend. For example one of my plant catalogues has the following offers:-
Any order- 1 Bay Tree at less than half price
Spend £15 and receive free Impatiens
Spend £39 and receive free Begonias
Buy 3 packs of mini-plants and get 4th pack free
Divide the costs and the free gifts between you and you are doing well.
Getting plants for a bargain is great and for free even better! When you divide up plants, pot up any extra plants and start a plant swap with friends and neighbours. Or have a look online. There are many seed and plant swap networks which are running so look for one near you. I usually have a plant sale when I open my garden during Hadcaf week but I am wondering whether to try a plant swap this time also. If anyone is interested in taking part please let me know as it could be fun to pass plants around the neighbourhood.
Joining the local horticultural society is an excellent way to not only meet people with similar interests and get advice but also to exchange plants and seeds. Societies usually have better buying power too, with some having preferential rates with particular nurseries or suppliers.
I love car boots sales and have picked up so many interesting things there at a snip. There are of course individuals selling excess seedlings in the spring (usually tomatoes!!, but if you didn’t get round to sowing any early enough, that’s perfect). However there are often small growers who have excellent plant knowledge, grow unusual or old-fashioned varieties and sell for really reasonable prices. Local growers include Sheila from Long Lane Newbury, who sells beautiful Delphiniums and Geraniums, and Yvonne from Ramsbury, who has a large selection of perennials, including Penstemons and Echinaceas. Its good to support local small businesses and to get to know your suppliers.
My two favourite sources of plants in and around Hungerford are the St Lawrence’s Church fete in the summer and the Shalbourne Plant fair in Spring. I’m afraid I am always at the front of the queue at Shalbourne because there is nothing like it! I browse the large plants lined up outside, itching to hand over the money, but no sales until the fair opens officially! Last year I bought some large box plants which I used at my Newbury show Show garden in September. The tables are set up around the village hall, usually the small pots are on the right hand side as you go in the door, followed by perennials, while on the left hand side there are vegetables, fruit bushes, and grasses etc. Finally at the far end of the room there is a home-made cake and preserves table, which my husband makes a beeline for. Last year he bought me a “Clootie dumpling”- he had heard me rave about this great Scottish delicacy so often!
Of course I have realised that I don’t want to encourage everyone to visit the Shalbourne fair, so I am hoping that by the time Spring comes round this article will be a distant memory and I will have the run of the plants!! You’ll see me on my way home. I’ll be the one driving the mobile garden!
Nature Notes by Hawkeye
“Where to see the most birds in the shortest time?”
On Monday October 27th I decided to go birding for the morning. It was a clear sunny day, ideal for bird watching. There are a number of nature reserves in the Hungerford area but they all seem to specialise in particular species or flowers and none have huge quantities of birds. Then I remembered my favourite, the jewel in the crown, Lower Farm Newbury. This abandoned quarry has been turned into a lake and lies at the end of Newbury Racecourse. It attracts large numbers of good birds from September to March and is a unique habitat for West Berks. Furthermore it is close to the Discovery Centre in Thatcham. In my opinion, the Discovery Centre is an ideal place to take grandchildren to introduce them to the natural world.
Lower Farm was converted into a nature reserve by Tarmac in 1996. They built a bird hide there and planted some 4,000 trees. Obviously the trees are 12 years old now and an attraction in their own right. But, the bird hide is the main attraction for me. It means I can watch birds seated on a wooden bench in the dry and eat my sandwiches in comfort. I always go there on a week day as I have always found it unoccupied then. An empty hide is perfect for leisurely birding as you can consult your Field Guide without feeling embarrassed. Although here you can actually consult a book that Newbury and District Ornithological Club have provided, I believe. I’m sure they manage the site as they have their information on the walls of the hide. The book is known as the “AA Book”. However the proper title is ‘The Complete Book of British Birds’ and is written by a team of RSPB Experts. It is the best book I know for casual birdwatchers or beginners.
There are literally hundreds of birds here during the winter months. I particularly like all the different ducks and gulls. It is sometimes a challenge to identify the female ducks if you have not been bird watching for a while. If you use the female mallard as a guide and learn all her features then you soon get up to speed with your recognition and begin to enjoy birding. I dislike listing birds I’ve seen but on the 27th the following ducks were present and indicates the importance of the reserve: Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Wigeon Teal, Golden Eye, and Pochard
Also on the day I visited there were several Great Crested Grebes swimming around. I am sure they will stay here and perform their well known “Weed Dance” or courtship routine in late winter. In the past I have had to travel to Coate Water in Swindon to see this. In my opinion there will be several displays throughout February as the Grebes time their courtship to breed in early Spring. They normally raise two broods each year. The young are striped and are often carried on their Mum’s back.
There are more Cormorants at Lower Farm than can be seen fishing at Chilton Foliat by the road bridge. In late winter there are usually large flocks of Golden Plover and Lapwing at Lower Farm. It is also a good place to see Coots and Moorhen in large numbers as well as Canada Geese and Mute Swans.
The reserve is approximately 10 miles from Hungerford and can take as little as 25 minutes by car to get there. It is sign posted from the bottom of Hambridge Lane. However it is a little tricky finding it if you have not been there before. You have to drive up to the Tarmac quarry and turn right for the reserve’s car park. From the car park you have to walk through the small gate on the right before the bridge.
University of the 3rd Age…..Newbury U3A
Situated in West Berkshire, Newbury U3A caters for all older people, not in full time employment, living in the locality of Newbury. It offers them an opportunity to join any one or several of a wide range of interest and activity groups and to meet other people who are discovering that the Third Age is an age of freedom and adventure.
Antiques & Collectables 2, Architecture, Art, Art Appreciation, Art History, Badminton, Bird Watching, Calligraphy, Chair-based Exercises, Civilisations, Crochet, Digital Photography, Embroidery, Flower Arranging, French,
University of the 3rd AGE…………….U3A. Marlborough
As a temporary measure, for information about U3A in Kennet Contact our Membership
Philosophy of Ambiguity
More of………..For those who love the philosophy of ambiguity….( as well as the idiosyncrasies of the English language)
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
If a deaf person signs swear words, does his mother wash his hands with soap?
Is there another word for synonym?
Would a fly without wings be called a walk?
If the police arrest a mime, do they tell him he has the right to remain silent?
HUNGERFORD TWINNING ASSOCIATION
Hungerford Victorian Evening
People packed pavements where progress is slow,
He is giving the children rides on his sleigh.
Outside the Town Hall stands a real Christmas tree
The Church in Bridge Street has opened its doors wide
The smell of the steam and the coal and the oil
All shops are open; the antique shops are too,
Health by Liz
Beat the Burn
Digestive diseases, imbalances and lifelong disorders are on the increase in the UK.
Liz Chandler, of Natures Corner, Newbury, looks at some of the factors affecting our digestion. email@example.com
Day in, day out, year after year, we put our digestive system through stress and offer it junk food, irregular meals and stimulants. Then we seem surprised when it doesn’t work properly.
Stress, Overeating or eating too quickly, Irregular eating,
People who believe they produce too much acid tend to relieve their discomfort after meals by taking antacids – alkaline products designed to neutralise the amount of acid in the stomach. In fact the problem usually lies in the stomach lining, where tiny lesions allow bacteria called Helicobacter pylori to take hold and make the lesions worse. Once this happens, even small amounts of stomach acid can irritate the lining and cause discomfort and acid reflux. Antacids merely relieve the symptoms but can cause further problems. Firstly the stomach is now not able to break down foods and kill bacteria and secondly, because the stomach needs to keep the acid at a certain, very precise, level, the brain will send a message for the stomach to work harder and produce more acid, causing more discomfort. Manuka honey is extremely beneficial in these circumstances, as its anti viral properties will fight bacterial viruses such as Helicobacter pylori and in addition, will soothe the symptoms of Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Centaurium is also a helpful stomach bitter, that strengthens the oesophageal sphincter, aids digestion and relieves acid reflux. Another powerful anti inflammatory and natural healer is Aloe Vera Juice, which works within the intestinal tract to help break down impacted food residues and cleanse the bowel.
Finally, it would be wrong to neglect the issue of gut flora and the benefits of taking ‘beneficial bacteria’, known as probiotics. The food industry supply probiotics as food, usually in yogurts or drinking yogurts, but it is worth making the distinction between the probiotic potency of foods and the probiotic potency of supplements (powder or capsules). To get the equivalent of a potency of a two billion bacteria supplement, we would need to eat one litre of probiotic yogurt.
An important fact to remember is that we are NOT what we eat, but what we digest and absorb.
Hungerford Police November Update
We have had several incidents on the Common involving injuries and the death of cows caused by undue care and attention of drivers, I would like to ask people driving along the Common to be aware of the speed limits. I have personally witnessed drivers trying to nudge the cows out of the way with their vehicle. This is totally unacceptable behaviour, and if you do have an accident with a cow you must report it to the police. Failure to do this is an offence under the Road Traffic act 1988.
Bonfire Night has just gone and it reminds me, ready for next year, about some of the current laws that follow:
There has been a series of incidents occurring at Hungerford Railway Station during last month. This involves groups of youths gathering in the evenings, and behaving anti-socially, combined with other offences that have happened on the trains themselves. If you see any groups of youths on the platform, please call us on 0845 8 505 505. We have been working with members of British Transport Police in order to combat the problem, but information from the public is always of use.
We have set dates to target driving offences, including the use of mobile phones and seatbelts in and around the Hungerford area. Leaflet drops have been done in Hillside Road and Tarrants Hill regarding parking. Could people bear in mind that pedestrians have to be able to get past with a pushchair, and disabled people with a mobility scooter.
PCSO Debbie Randall 08458505505 or mobile 07970145703
DID YOU KNOW – 2008 is the National Year of Reading ?
Since the new Library opened on the 4th Jan this year, almost a thousand new members have been registered and many more have visited us for free Internet use, tourist enquiries and collection of Travel Tokens. If you are thinking of joining the Library, now is the time to do it! Enrol before the end of this year, and you will be entitled to borrow a DVD or Playstation / WII game without charge on the day that you sign up. Please bring proof of address, e.g. Utility bill or Driving Licence.
DID YOU KNOW – anyone living in West Berks over 60 can register at the Library for their free Travel Tokens? With proof of age and address we can then issue the amount due to you at any time.
DID YOU KNOW – we have started a Book Group at the Library ? If you are interested, come along and join us on the last Tuesday of every month from 6-7 pm or phone the Library (01488 682660 ) for further details.
Community Action for Savernake Hospital
Hungerford “Rotary Youth Leadership Award” (RYLA) July 2009
Christmas parcels for the over 80’
We are again very fortunate to receive Christmas parcels for the over 80’s from the Newbury Weekly News.
These will be distributed to all listed Over 80’s on Saturday 13th December, and many grateful thanks go to the CHAIN drivers who undertake the delivery . (After last year’s downpour we hope for better weather!).
After organising this happy event for the last 10 years I am now handing the reins over to David and Janet Long who have very kindly offered to carry on the listing and distribution. So if in 2009 you become 80 years young then please ring 682931 when your names will be included in that year’s delivery.
With sincere best wishes to you all and happy memories of the past 10 years, do enjoy your parcels and have a truly blissful Christmas.
Hungerford Round Table…Santa Foat
Shalbourne 30th November ,
Friday 12th Hungerford Extravaganza – HRT Stall (NO Santa Float) ,
Tree mulching will be on Sunday 11th January 2009.. Outside the Town Hall
Hungerford Town Band
Christmas Concert …….. is to be held in
A Victorian Christmas in the Parlour
A seasonal entertainment to delight and amuse withPippa Longworth & Karl Daymond
In Living Memory……Hungerford Panthers
We had seen it on the cinema news reels; it looked exciting and within our reach. In the 1950s teenagers in London were making use of undeveloped bomb sites as cycle race tracks. Here in Hungerford, a number of friends began to race each other on open spaces using their every day bicycles. This was hard on the bikes, also cumbersome.
Steak and Ale Stew – a hug in a bowl!
It’s ironic really that some of the tastiest meats are actually the cheapest – it’s the longer cooking that brings out the flavour and tenderizes these often less “popular” cuts. In this world of rushing around, getting back from work and snatching something quick for dinner, stews are often overlooked as too much hassle. Nothing could in fact be further from the truth. It takes minutes to prepare and tip into the slow cooker and can be cooking all day while you go about your business!
Steak and Ale stew for me is one of the easiest and most satisfying stews to cook. It is, at its most basic – braising steak, some plain flour, seasoning and ale. Here’s how we do it at home – it’s an absolute favourite. Experiment with adding different root vegetables, and different brands of ale. The brand of ale makes a huge difference to the final taste of the dish, so try different ones to find the one you prefer.
PS The alcohol from the ale evaporates over the long time it’s cooked. If you are in doubt, or on a strict diet, try using a low alcohol one instead. We like this with mashed potato and freshly cooked greens. Or, use as a pie filling for a comfort food classic!
Steak & Ale Stew: (feeds 3-4 people with mash & veggies!)
Dredge about 2 tablespoons of plain flour over approx 1lb (approx ½ kilo) of diced braising steak, and mix well so every cube of meat is coated. Slice one large onion how you like it – thick, thin or diced – it doesn’t matter – and brown in a frying pan with a little oil. After a couple of minutes, when the onion is soft, tip into the slow cooker, preset to high. Peel and chop 2-3 large carrots into quite big chunks and add these to the pot. Tip in your “floury” steak, and pour over about three quarters of a 500ml bottle of your favourite ale.
The meat needs to be just covered by the liquid in the pot. Add in a dash of balsamic vinegar (about a tablespoon), and another tablespoon of demerara sugar. Give it a stir, season with salt and pepper and leave it to bubble away for 4-5 hours.
We are trying ours with some ‘’Duchy of Cornwall Ale’’ ! Ed.
Sometimes called …..Richard’s Bus…….
I wonder if people are aware that there is a wonderful facility in Swindon for people to swim or have a Jacuzzi in thoroughly warm water. We all know that swimming is one of the best exercises for the body as the water supports limbs and the heat relaxes muscles thus helping various ailments or just even “old age”. The Chain Handy-bus leaves every Wednesday morning for the Hydrotherapy Pool. Some people elect to be picked up from their homes ,others are picked up outside Martins in the High Street. The journey takes about 40 minutes passing through Aldbourne ( itself a very pretty ride) and then along the A417 into north Swindon. The staff are very kind and welcoming. They put music to suit for one to swim by. We have 45 minutes in the pool ( and/or Jacuzzi) then a shower and home. The cost is £4 per trip for both the bus and pool. You build up good friendships with people who you see on a weekly basis and share news and views with. So much so that a Xmas lunch is organised for former participants and existing users at the Swindon Wyevale Garden Centre where home cooking is the norm.
I have been going for 6 years a am eternally grateful for the drivers of the Handy-bus, for Chain for organising it and the Pool for just being there.
Each week Richard Grant is on the Handy-bus as an aid to people getting on and off. I should like to pay tribute to Richard’s thoughtfulness and care to his charges. Well done , Richard!
Please contact Betty Grant on 01488 682607……………. Gwynneth Bullock
Blasts from the Past
From the Parish Magazine dated June 1874.
“Hungerford Working Mens Club.— A Cricket Club has been formed in connection with this Institution, open to all members of the Hall, and has provided a healthy and pleasant amusement for the long evenings. The days of practice are Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. A match is to be played with Kintbury Club on Saturday June 6, wickets to be pitched at one o’clock. A large Bagatelle Table has been purchased on the share system, and is now in the Hall. One share has already been paid off. A present of books towards a proposed Lending Library for the Winter has been received from Mrs W.H. Dunn. Mr Clifford, of Charnham Street has been elected on the Committee in place of Mr F. New, retired.”
From the Parish Magazine dated June 1876.
“The Drapers of the Town have happily agreed to close their Shops on Thursday afternoons at five o’clock. This will be a great boon to those in their employment, and a very slight inconvenience to their customers. It is to be hoped that other tradesmen will be disposed to follow their example.”
From the Parish Magazine dated June 1881.
“On Saturday May 28, the new Coffee House in High Street was opened under very favourable auspices. After a meeting at the Corn Exchange presided over by G. C. Cherry, Esq., which was largely attended by inhabitants of the Town and neighbourhood, the company proceeded to the Coffee House, and the opening ceremony was gracefully performed by Mrs Wroughton. The premises, which have been appropriately fitted up, are very commodious for the purpose. There is a large Refreshment Bar facing the street, of very bright and attractive appearance, and at the back of this is a roomy dining-room in which hot dinners are served daily at nine pence and a shilling. Up stairs there is a Ladies Coffee Room nicely furnished, and two good bedrooms. In the rear of the premises there are five bedrooms for single men, the charge for which is eight pence a night. All sorts of American drinks, tea, coffee, cocoa, lemonade, soda water, etc., are sold at the bar; a list of prices being exhibited in the window. Under the superintendence of the managing Director, Mr T Fidler of Newbury, there is no doubt that the management will be all that can be desired, and it is hoped that the establishment of the Coffee House will be a great boon to the Town and neighbourhood.”
From the Parish Magazine dated June 1892.
“The past season has probably been the most successful that the Hungerford Football Club has yet experienced. A more ambitious match list than that of last season was gone through with gratifying success. Of 21 matches played. 15 were won, 4 drawn and only two lost. The list of wins includes victories over Marlborough (twice), St Marks Swindon, and Stratton Rovers. The season was brought to a close with a six-a-side tournament which attracted an large crowd of interested spectators, silver medals being offered as prizes for the winning team and bronze for the second, and the excitement was intense when Hungerford beat Reading G.W.R. in the final tie by a goal, and so proved themselves best of the 13 teams entered. The Rev. J.F.C. Denning has worked energetically as Captain to maintain the efficiency of the Club, and prospects are decidedly bright for next year.”
Bell Ringing at St. Lawrence Church-part 5
With Autumn now upon us and Christmas just around the corner, St Lawrence Bellringers move into a busy time of the year. In the last edition I explained the basics of change ringing and some of its historical origins, This time, I shall go easy on the technical stuff and let you know what we have been up to recently and what lies ahead in the run up to Christmas and the New Year. Bellringing is a group activity like many others but, unlike some, when we are actually ringing, no-one speaks except for the conductor and everyone is focussed on what they are doing, leaving no room for small talk. So, we arrange a variety of social activities, most of which include bell ringing.
Ringers are quite keen on outings where we arrange to visit other towers and ring their bells and St Lawrence tower is particularly big on these, with a reputation for laying on excellent hospitality and interesting towers and bells. Most recently, we ran an outing to North Devon, centred on Ilfracombe. So, one Friday in September, with around 25 ringers from the Newbury area in tow, we set off heading West, arriving in time for a quick ring en-route to the hotel.
On the Saturday, we toured the towers in the surrounding picturesque Devon hills ending up near Barnstaple and followed by dinner at a local restaurant before retiring for the evening. Of course, with us being away on Sunday morning, our own bells were silent, but just this once, we were able to perform service ringing at both Holy Trinity and St James’ parish churches in Ilfracombe. Unfortunately, they have insufficient ringers for regular Sunday ringing, so the locals were very pleased to hear both sets of bells being rung. For me this was the highlight of the weekend, which was followed by an excellent carvery Sunday lunch, after which we set off for the M5 and home. Apart from our outings, we also enjoy a friendly drink with a visit to the Hungerford Club following our Wednesday evening practices. Once a month there is a Newbury district practice at a local tower, where we can mix with others both while ringing and over a drink afterwards and annually, we have an area ringing competition which includes a buffet tea. The winning band goes on to represent the Newbury area in the much more serious Guild Competition in October. That gives you just a taste of what we get up to both with rope-in-hand and without.
But now, I shall let you know what we will be up to in the Autumn and Christmas seasons. Firstly, there is Remembrance Sunday which some may remember, calls for us to “half muffle” the bells, which produces a mournful quite emotive sound. On Saturday the 8th, we will be attempting to ring a full peal of Stedman Triples, half muffled and including ringers from a number of towers in the area. In our fifth year now, this peal fixture has become an annual event at St Lawrences’ and should see some of the most precise and musical ringing you will hear. The following day, Remembrance Sunday, we continue to ring half-muffled for the service and also attempt a quarter peal for Evensong. Another tradition in the making is that for a couple of years now, we have rung a method known as Grandsire Triples but also with a unique sequence of changes that was composed by a soldier, who was also a bellringer, while serving in the trenches in the First World War. He was Sgt Albert P Wakley from Burton on Trent and, although wounded, he survived the war only to succumb to the Flu Epidemic shortly afterwards. A most fitting tribute I hope you will agree. Towards Christmas there are a couple of weddings to add to the normal Sunday ringing and another peal is planned for 9th December in the morning. That brings us into the Christmas season where we ring for as many services as possible including midnight mass and, as we resurrected last year, ringing in the New Year.
Well that will do for now and next time, I shall return to the more technical stuff with a further insight into change ringing. M.R.