Issue number 102

1st March
to
1st June 2009

Please click a heading or just scroll down to read the articles, click the Up arrow to return here


Front Cover by Micky Thompson

Saturday 10th of January was a truly magical day, if you braved the cold, and ventured into the country. That day I was making a photographic record of a project Bill Acworth of Little Hidden Farm is organising. Our modern world has limited use for woodland coppice, which is the habitat of the Duke of Burgundy butterfly. Because of this, butterfly numbers have severely declined. Bill is organising the creation of some new habitat for the butterfly by running coppicing courses in aid of FARM Africa.

Coppicing is the periodic cutting back of woodland to stimulate the growth of new shoots which will in turn be harvested for use in making hurdles etc. This process lets daylight into the wood which then allows primroses and other woodland flowers to flourish. This in turn supplies the food plants for the Duke of Burgundy butterfly. For those interested, the next two coppicing course days are on February 14th and March 14th.

As I said, the day was very cold, but this allowed the haw frost, which had transformed the trees and hedges into a winter wonderland, to remain all day.

It was during lunch that Rachel, Izzy and Minty walked towards us as they returned Frazer and Minnie to their paddock after their regular Saturday morning ride, and it is this image which is on the cover of this issue.Click photo to see it again

Sue Acworth’s riding school attracts many local adults and children, for whom the care and preparation of the horses is considered to be an important and enjoyable part of the ride. Either Bill or Sue can be contacted on 01488 683 253

My contact phone number is 01488 686946


.

 

 


Message from the Chairman of CHAIN

Well here we are looking forward to spring but as I write this at the beginning of February we have had some very heavy snow falls. The grit bins which are placed in most areas are for everyone to use and most people have been very grateful for them. There have been some selfish people who have used the whole bin to do their own drive leaving an empty bin for their neighbours. If anyone needs a grit bin re-filled please contact Streetcare 01635 519080.

People in Hungerford have been good neighbours during this long cold winter and I know that Chain members have been at the forefront checking on their elderly neighbours. We are very lucky to live in such a caring community.

Volunteering is something that anyone can do, it is very rewarding and you only need to have a spare hour or two per month to make a difference. There are lots of clubs and organisations that need your help so come along to the Town Hall Complex in Hungerford on Saturday 2nd May and find something to suit you.

If you are interested in driving for Chain, either your own car, the Chairman Vehicle or the Handybus please contact the Chain Office on 683727 (9.00 – 11.00am Mon-Fri) or Janette Kersey on 683302.


Editor

Hello,

Whoopee, British Summer time on the 29th March and a fortnight later it’s Good Friday 10th April, 4th & 25th May, more Bank holidays. I do look forward to all of these days off even though I’m retired.

Have you noticed that the splendid cover pictures on CHAIN MAIL are taken by the same chap that did the Town Council’s Christmas cards? As I opened up his e-mailed pictures to me, it was snowing outside, how topical was that? If you can log on to Hungerford’s website and see our magazine there Micky Thompson has done us a coloured version, quite fantastic. Thank you Micky.

A very advanced date for your diary is 8th June 7.30pm in the Magistrates Room Town Hall.It is our AGM and you are all welcome, especially volunteers. Help us to help others, one day you might be the other! An hour a week or an hour a month is still helpful and very welcome by CHAIN.

Click Canal               New Canal Bridge! The pedestrian and the boater, and still very much                                   ongoing with Hungerford Town & West Berks Councils.
Click Small Articles   Two important announcements about your Travel Tokens
Click Small Articles    Look out for the DOWNLOAD?
Click A Cry for Help  A passionate plea.
Click Our Community Our Library gets it before Newbury.
Click Our Film Club   Well not the Regal but Hungerford’s very own Film Club
Click Under 25?         Under 25 this could help you
Click Small Articles    Well another Ron retires and a Bill! Unsung Heroes.
Click The Mayor        Peter’s goodbyeeeee, but do look at his last paragraph and go!

Please tell your friends that have moved away that CHAIN MAIL can be read so much easier now (new format / layout) on Hungerford’s Web page, just click on Community and it will take you there. Yes well this is what you are reading!

Volunteering for CHAIN?  Lots of information and FAQ’s now on Hungerford’s website.

Articles for publication should be sent to me by the 7th of the month proceeding publication, i.e.7th May for the Summer issue on June 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    davidhpiper111@btinternet.com


Hungerford Mayor

 

This will be my last entry as Town mayor. It has been a very busy two years and in May I hand over to Cllr Elizabeth Cardwell, Elizabeth is a very experienced councillor and will do a great job for the Town.

May Shirley and I thank all those organisations and clubs who invited us to their functions throughout the last two years. These were very enjoyable times. It was great that the Mayors of Newbury, Thatcham and Marlborough helped us to enjoy our Lights, Extravaganza and Carol Services.

Last year we had various projects to do for the Town. Two of these were completed. They were the two playgrounds, the wall, trees, and path at St. Lawrence’s Church and work to refurbish
St. Saviours. This year we will be carrying on with the work at St Saviours, and we will be replanting trees at the War Memorial ground at Bulpit Lane.

A difficult project has been the obtaining of land for allotment sites around the town. There are some 90 people who want allotments and the council is obliged to supply.

We await with anticipation for the Local Development Framework to give the Town its proposed allocation of Government housing which should happen about May.

The crossing at the canal bridge is now being actively progressed with various bodies to, we hope, a satisfactory outcome. The proposals will then be put to public consultation.

I am afraid that the coming year will require the Council, and us all, to look to our purses and to trim for leaner times, and it may be necessary to lower the Councils financial horizons over the coming year. We have predictions from all quarters with, I believe, no clear strategy.

May I remind you that the Parish meeting is to be held on Thursday 19th March 2009 at 7.30pm in the Corn Exchange, The Council hopes that as many towns people attend as possible?

It is your opportunity to talk to your Council in open forum.


Chain’s Page

UNSUNG HEREOS

After many dedicated years service as a car driver for CHAIN,  Bill Abbot has retired due to ill health. We thank him sincerely and wish him well.

Well done Ron Tarry for all the years (20) as Hungerford’s NWN columnist. Now you have the time, perhaps you can do some articles for CHAIN MAIL?

TRAVEL TOKENS –
NEW SCHEME YEAR COMMENCING APRIL 1st 2009.

Please note you have until only 30th APRIL 2009 to use the current tokens.
(DARK RED & LIGHT PINK)
We want your money
Not just any old money, but your RED PLASTIC money. That is we would like you to bring into CHAIN’s office any old unused Plastic Tokens, before the 21st of April. CHAIN can put the ‘’’Old’’ to ‘’New’’ uses. So to all of you that have some left please bring them to CHAIN because after the end of APRIL they are absolutely useless!

 


Letters & E-mails

Hello,
Not sure if anyone at Chain is aware of an elderly or person with income problems who might be grateful of a set of lights we have, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them as they were only up in our home in Chilton Foliat for a year before we moved back into Hungerford, on moving into our new home we discovered we hadn’t arranged for wall light units to be put in (it was a new build home we had complete choice over fixtures and fittings etc!!), and also in the lounge we had now got 2 ceiling lights instead of the one we had bought and by then we couldn’t obtain a second set! We have tried numerous times to sell the lights for practically nothing (£20 to £30) but even this fails to tempt people into the offer of a 3 armed central light with frosted glass shades and 2 wall lights again complete with 2 frosted light shades each, they also have lovely little frosted flowers on each unit.
They are taking up so much room in our now limited garage (my husband now runs his own dental laboratory in the rest of it!) and I am totally against the idea of them going to the dump but we really need to find a good home for them, and I am now hoping that you will know of someone who could give them a good home. I do hope you will be able to help.

Regards Carol Harrison 01488 686217

Chain doesn’t keep lists of unwanted items, but thanks anyway. Regards Ed


Dear Editor,

Could you please put this in again as somebody called but their telephone number was taken down incorrectly. I wanted to ask, is there anyone living in the Hungerford area collecting Plastic Milk Bottle Tops for Disabled people? If so please ring 683522 I have a quantity.  Regards S.E.


Dear Editor,

Well and Truly LAUNCHED.           An inaugural dinner held in December, that raised £2700, ensured that the West Berkshire Support Group for ‘Hope and Homes for Children’ was well and truly launched. The charity, based near Salisbury, operates in the poorer countries of the World and aims to close appalling institutions and orphanages and relocate undernourished and impoverished children without a future into Family homes. They also work with street children and generally alleviate suffering of children and families. More about Hope and Homes for Children can be found on their website www.hopeandhomes.org Three Hungerford people, Pat Smalley, Beryl Kellow and Ron Rowland are just three of the Group’s organisers and they are confident that their next event will be well supported. It is:- A Grand Concert by The Internationally acclaimed Morriston Orpheus Welsh Male Voice Choir 7pm Saturday 14th March – St Nicolas Church, Newbury Tickets – (£15)- are available from Crown Needlework (Nr Three Swans). Travel to and from the event is likely to be available.

For more information about this please telephone 01488 683538.      Best Regards R.R.


Hello,
I
am the Chairman of the local Link Group for CCL in Newbury. For the last 3 years we have brought 10 kids over from Belarus for 4 weeks of respite care in Newbury, and we aim to do the same this summer if we can find enough people to come forward to host. These kids are all affected one way or another by the Chernobyl Nuclear disaster in 1986.

I am sure that there must be families in Hungerford who would like to be involved and host one or two children for 2 weeks this summer. The Newbury Link Group offers full support and the group of kids come with one interpreter who can help with translation. We organise a number of events (e.g. canal boat ride, sailing, canoeing, trip to the seaside etc.) and Host family’s children often participate as well. It is a wonderful chance to learn about a new culture at the same time as making a very real difference to children affected by the disaster in 1986. It really is amazing how kids somehow manage to communicate at a level that goes beyond language!

The age of the children we bring over is between 9 and 10 years old, and the visit lasts a total of 4 weeks, but most Hosts are only able to help 2 weeks out of the 4 so we always need additional Hosts to cover the other 2 week slot.

Kind regards, Mark Fulker, 0163536807, mfulker@csc.com   www.ccll.org.uk/newbury


Dear David,
The compliments that Hungerford Town Council and the townspeople, in general, have received about the town’s Christmas Lights are legion. How many people remember the old coloured bulb roundels that lined the High street for years sitting in the trees either side? They were very dated!
Due to the imagination of one councillor Rod Desmeules who takes two weeks from his holiday entitlement to test run the bulbs (thousands of them) and to aid the contractors in putting them up Hungerford has one of the best and most tasteful shows in the south of England and the best show locally!

Hungerford Town Council sets aside an amount in it’s Budget each year, and Hungerford’s traders and businesses make a contribution towards the costs for this magnificent traditional display. We are lucky in having trees on both sides of the High Street on which to drape bulbs, further enhanced by the additional Christmas trees on the buildings, and also the main tree outside the Town Hall.

This is the Town Council’s support of the Chamber of Commerce. It is in time for the Victorian Extravaganza which sees our little town go up from 5,500 inhabitants to more than 10,000 for the occasion. That is a huge boost to the shops, societies and others which line the streets asking for our support. It is a help to the atmosphere when people dress up in Victorian costume. Each year it seems to get better!

The Town Council receives many e-mails and letters complimenting the “Lights”. They come from as far as France. But the most rewarding perhaps was one from a family from West Reading who had heard of the display and had decided to visit with their children before Christmas. They spent the whole day in the town and bought all their presents and most of their food in our shops. That is the best way we can support our shopping profile in these difficult times. By our “Lights” we support the Chamber of Commerce munificently. After darkness fell maybe you agree that our streets were pure magic. Our thanks go to Rod Desmeules and to the councillors for not trimming the budget. May it continue!


Gwynneth Bullock

Ed’s comment.     I saw Reading’s and Newbury’s and they were not a patch on our spectacular display. So money well spent to cheer us all up and encourage visitors to our Town.


STEP INTO SPRING – WITH A SPRING IN YOUR STEP!


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had a magic tool at hand to help you enjoy a new lease of life?
Well that tool is at hand (foot actually) and is known as Reflexology.

Principal:- All the organs and glands in the body are represented on the soles of the feet and by gently ‘massaging’ the feet in a particular way it encourages the body to reach ‘homeostasis’
(complete balance of body, mind and spirit).

What does it do:- Reflexology is known to:- reduce stress (and 75% of all disease is stress-related)
improve circulation:- help remove toxic waste:- benefit any age group – young or elderly – healthy or otherwise

How might it help me:- Reflexology helps with a wide range of ailments including :- backache
Headaches:- insomnia:- asthma :- anxiety :- oedema :- IBS :- PMS :- Menopause :-Digestive problems :- Arthritic aches and pains

Treatments are in a relaxing setting and at your own pace. Please feel free to phone and discuss any queries you may have.

Sybil Clayton MAR, , Hungerford 01488 683845

 

The Misery of Backache.

Of all the physical complaints we treat at the Lilley Clinic, the most evident and increasing problem seen by our practitioners is BACKACHE.

All ages and walks of life from young mums to busy businessmen, sporty types and couch potatoes can suffer with little relief other than pain killers. The causes of backache are as varied as the patients that visit us but can be broadly classed as either muscular, often strains or tears: skeletal, where vertebrae are damaged often due to wear and tear: and nerve related, where trapped nerves as in sciatica, are evident.damage to muscles in the back is the most common and paradoxically the most easy to avoid, as it is most commonly caused by lifting heavy or awkward weights .

We have all seen the young mums (and Grandmas) picking up the toddler, often with pushchair or shopping bags to contend with. The damage to the back muscles takes a second and is done at the moment of maximum bend, when the weight is collected. Then follows at least a month of pain, with the constant danger of repeating the problem at an unguarded moment.

Our top tip to help avoid further strain onto the damage or indeed to prevent the problem in the first place, is to practice dropping on to one knee, instead of bending over. collect the weight to be lifted to the front of your body, as if you are cuddling a child, then push up on your leg to the standing position. This means that your legs have done the lifting and your back has remained in a straight position and not at risk. This method will appear difficult at first as you are changing a lifetime’s habit, but the benefits will soon show, as your back pain is not aggravated.

For free information sheets and advice :-
The Lilley Clinic 6 The Courtyard Lower Slope End Farm Stype RG17 0RE
Tel 01488 685320 Physiotherapy, Massage, Podiatry and acupuncture

 

 

Eliminate Inertia – Yes, you too!

“Initiative is the quality that transforms potential into reality.” Paul J Meyer

John Harris of SMI (UK) Ltd, Abingdon, finds out more about taking initiative and putting a plan of action for the future together.

There are a multitude of buzz words being used today to describe the ideal entrepreneur, manager and staff-member. We’ve heard for example: solutions-orientated; out-of-the-box thinker; self-starter; pro-active; self-motivated and go-getter. Like any skill or attitude, we can learn how to be a self-starter; or how to be a self-starter more often and in a greater variety of circumstances.
Fundamental to every self-starter is a “DO IT NOW” attitude, the ability to recognize a need and take appropriate action without waiting for instruction or permission.

Let’s say there are possibilities and opportunities all around us – we just sometimes fail to believe that we can act on them and that our actions will be meaningful. Winston Churchill once said: “People often stumble across a good idea, pick themselves up and walk on!” When we know what it is we are moving towards as set out clearly in our own plan of action, our senses are heightened and we (as if by a miracle) can ‘spot’ the resources and answers we were looking for.
After awareness comes initiative. Without initiative all the talents and potential we have will be unused and we will be left feeling unfulfilled. By taking initiative we are taking responsibility. In Initiative there is no room for ‘victim mentality’. If we feel like we are at the mercy of circumstances or people – chances are we have not taken initiative.


You can contact John on johnharris@smiuk.com

 


HELP ( A plea to have care for the carers)


“If your mother was a dog we would have to put her down” the Matron said while offering me a cup of tea and sympathy. She meant well and was a kind woman.

This was in the later stages of my mother’s dementia. I was given love and support from my family and friends, which gave me courage to keep going. But the truth was I needed some other kind of support. There were many times I wanted to scream, to cry, to shout. My frustration, helplessness and even anger stayed hidden, unspoken in my head. The pain of watching a loved one die slowly. To see their personality change, their illness destroy their memories is so desperately sad, yet more and more of us are having to cope with just that. What I wanted and needed more than anything was to be able to talk about what I was feeling with others who were also experiencing coming to grips with emotions that were constantly changing.

Now five years on I am strong and want to help by starting a support group in Hungerford and surrounding villages. A support group where you can speak and share your honest feelings in a safe environment, and in total confidence, without criticism or judgmental attitudes.

HELP me start such a group, not only for people who are coping with dementia in the family, but with all problems be they terminal or a need for respite.

Please contact Esther Fairfax on 01488 683609 at 25a Park Street, Hungerford, RG17 0EF


The Old Codger

So The Chancellor of the Exchequer (no Darling to us, just like the previous one, we all remember you Gordon) is considering (considering only mind you) as I write this to raise the tax free allowance for pensioners by £2000, and thereby saving us up to £400 a year. Now what a sop that is. Most of us are in the 20% bracket (not the 40% band, much higher pension people, like him) so that means a maximum of £200. Less than £4 a week, and absolutley nothing if you don’t pay tax. As this is INCOME TAX that will mean 12 months before Inland Revenue computers will get re-programmed, won’t it? So how much are our Council Tax bills going up again, Local & County? Of course it really isn’t needed, because ‘pensioners’ are still getting 10% interest on their savings! Not many people know that, but the Government does, because this is what it DIS-ALLOWS when counting up your savings for assessing any additional OAP benefits that you might be applying for.

How about an instant bit of help by abolishing tax charges on our hard earned savings?The Building Societies could do that at a stroke. If they stick mortgages up instantly it shows that they can move quickly, so it only needs a keystroke to make it ‘zero’ tax, doesn’t it! This of course is just too easy and wouldn’t cost the Government a penny extra in administration costs!

As I write this, there is snow on the ground. The authorities have gritted somewhere (not a lot) and after two days they are worried that they are going to run out! Well our money is certainly not being spent on salt is it?

So those damned gas guns (bird scarers) have been going off now for nearly 3 months. At least this latest version is random and fires in a variable direction, but it still interrupts my afternoon snooze. Those of you lucky enough to be in work only hear it on your days off, although their code of conduct for ‘use of’ says Avoid Sundays!

Have you seen the drawing of the lovely (proposed) high metal bridge over the canal in the Town Clerks office? One boater has, and has written an article to me, but David has put it on page 8 along with Alan’s article.

And on my usual theme:
One last thing, if you see any problems with Street Lighting, Gritting & Snow Clearance, Fly Tipping etc over the coming months please phone Streetcare in Newbury on 01635 519080, or e-mail streetcare@westberks.gov.uk if you don’t, no one else will.

Please contact me through David’s e-mail,
davidhpiper111@btinternet.com
Or to CHAIN Office…..address on outside back page and title your words/thoughts as……… Old Codger column please ……. Bye Bye & keep saf


Gardening by Stacy

THE CONTENTED GARDENER

I recently received the latest copy of the Beth Chatto Gardens Mail order catalogue which is always to delight to read. So often in plant catalogues you find the same plants over and over again. How refreshing to open it and find over 30 Daylilies in a variety of shades and colours, Hostas with names such as “Tallboy” and “Thumb Nail” and architectural Alliums to die for.

Mrs Chatto’s foreword to the catalogue is beautifully written and sums up perfectly my own feelings about gardens and gardening. She talks about gardens which feed “both the body and the soul. Banks cannot do that… We go into the garden however small to be refreshed, strengthened in body and mind by our bonds of nature, enabled to face what each day may bring.”

I have long been an admirer of Beth Chatto, her down to earth approach to gardening and her naturalistic style. Indeed I was a follower of her before I even knew it, such has been her influence on gardening and garden design for the last 30 years or more that her design style and use of plants has been much emulated.

Her books “The Dry Garden” and “The Damp Garden” pass on knowledge gained from her own experiences in her 5 acre garden in Essex. However “Dear Friend and Gardener”, an exchange of letters between her and Christopher Lloyd demonstrate the bonds of friendship gardening brings, a bond not only with Mr Lloyd but also with the reader.

Stacy Tuttle


Gardening

Nursery Children and Parents Take up their Spades as Budding Young Volunteers look for Local Gardens to Tend.

Parents of children at Hungerford Nursery School are working with nursery staff to identify local residents in need of help in their gardens and allotments.

The aim of the nursery’s gardening project is to identify people within the local Hungerford community, who may require assistance in their gardens and match them to teams of parents and children who will happily work in their garden on a voluntary basis.

It is hoped that a number of gardens will be found so that the nursery children can learn more about gardening and growing different types of fruit, vegetables and flowers throughout the year.

Staff at the nursery believe this project will be a very rich and valuable learning experience, but it would also teach the children the importance and value of getting involved in the local community.

The gardening project is only one of several other projects which have been funded by the local council to improve educational performance through parental involvement.

If your vegetable patch is in need of some TLC or you would like to revive a flagging flowerbed, please contact Harriet Coles, a parent involved in the Parent Partnership Project on 01488 683 506 to find out more.


Nature Notes by Hawkeye

Newbury District Ornithological Club (NDOC)

This club has recently been regenerated. It is now worth joining. You can by ringing Karen Eggleton on 01635 269566 or visit their web site www.ndoc.org.uk.

It has recently issued several Annual Reports and is now only a couple of years behind. These Reports are interesting and well worth reading or using as a reference. In essence the Reports tell you where to go to see birds and what birds can be seen in the Newbury area.

I particularly like the ringing reports. There was a report of a Blackbird which was caught in the ringing nets in the Newbury area. It had been ringed in Sweden. Sadly it was later eaten by a cat in the Reading area. This incidence reminded me of one of the times I was twitching in the Scillies. I found a very rare Grey Cheek Thrush which had been blown over from America. It had set off on its autumn migration and was caught in a gale. Several hundred twitchers came to see it and add it to their life list. Sadly it was eaten by the Vicar’s cat before all the birders on the Island could see it.

I have been a member of the NDOC for over 20 years and always enjoyed reading their quarterly report “Field Views” as well as their web page. In the past I rarely went out with the group on their field trips because I was really a loner and a twitcher. I disliked field trips with the RSPB and NDOC because I thought large groups scared off the birds. Also I felt embarrassed reading my bird book in front of other people. For some strange reason it is considered “bad form” to read a field guide when birding. But there is always something I want to revise or learn about the birds I see and I always carry a book with me.

However I am now a senior citizen and have changed my views. Now the group outings are good and many eyes find more birds. In the past I found the NDOC’s quarterly programme most useful. They always visited really good local sites. I would often go to them, the week before or the week after the arranged date. The Programme always quotes a grid reference which makes finding the site easy and there is a short note of the birds expected at the site.

A case in point is Hens Wood which lies between Hungerford and Marlborough on the A4. The grid reference is 174/ SU246678. It is a wood which is renowned for hosting Crossbills, Redpolls and Siskins. It is very easy to get to and parking is excellent – there is a lay-by just before the second turning to Great Bedwyn.

If you look up these woodland birds before you go you will have a lot more pleasure from your stroll. There will of course be several more woodland birds to see

Redpolls are small finches which are very similar to Linnets. Incidentally there is nearly always a pair of Linnets on Freeman’s Marsh, usually by the foot bridge in front of the Morecombe and Wise statues. Redpolls are very active birds with red caps, black bibs and brown/black plumage. They also have two white wing bars. The male has a pink breast and rump. Incidentally I saw one in my garden today.

Crossbills are the only birds I know which have a crossed bill, hence the name. They are thickset finches with big heads and short forked tails. The basic colour of their plumage varies immensely. Males are usually red all over but can be a crimson shade or even orange. The female can be green or greenish/yellow or greenish/grey. Crossbills can often be seen drinking from puddles on farm tracks.

Siskins are the only European finch that combine a greenish overall colour with two bright yellow wing bars. The male has yellow patches on its forked tail and black on its head. In winter the black bib and cap turn grey.

All these birds are Residents and so you can see them all year round.


Hawkeye


Hungerford Library

 

LIBRARY NEWS


DO-IT-YOURSELF AT THE LIBRARY

A new self-service system has recently been installed and is proving a success with our borrowers. It has a touch-screen which is easy to use and clear instructions to follow. To return books, simply place in a pile under the screen and press return. To borrow books, you will need your Library Card and you will be asked for your password, which is actually your PIN number which staff at the counter will be pleased to give you. A receipt is issued with a list of items borrowed and date due for return. At present it is not possible to return or borrow chargeable items such as DVDs this way.

We are also planning to install another machine where it will be possible to access your library account for renewals, or requesting books from the Library Catalogue. This again will save queuing time, but the staff will always be available to help as usual at the counter or with these new services. Do come along and try it for yourself!

Sylvia Laker


Making your leftovers go further

In May 2008, the Waste and Resources Action programme conducted a study that found the average household throws away 18% of all food purchased. Families with children waste on average 27%. This is staggering news when with today’s food shortages, environmental effects and financial difficulties it makes sense for us to look for ways to make our food go further.

In the days of our grandparents and great-grandparents this was often a permanent way of life. Leftovers from the Sunday roast could be turned into soups, pies, stews and other nutritious and cost effective meals for another few days. One free range chicken can last for at least three meals for a family of four. Think Sunday roast, then risotto or stir fry and then soup, for example.

Everyone has their favourite ways to use up leftovers but here are a few ideas not everyone might have thought of :-
Pasties: Many the dregs of a stew or roast dinner leftovers have been saved by these. Just buy shortcrust pastry (it’s cheaper from the freezer cabinet) roll out to approx 5mm thick, cut around a saucer and fill one side with your leftovers. Fold, press edges with a fork, brush with beaten egg and bake for about 20 minutes. These work beautifully with curry too. Freeze them, and you can then take them out to defrost before popping in your packed lunch. Cost: approx 50p each.

Bubble and Squeak: great for breakfast, makes the most of your leftover vegetables, especially the greens – and also means you don’t waste that one of your 5-a-day! Just mash up with some left over roast potatoes and fry in a little butter or olive oil. Works best with sprouts or cabbage somewhere in the mix!

Buy Quality, not Quantity: Sounds absurd, but not so. There’s no point in buying a kilo of “cheap” value meat for 40% of it to disappear in water and fat when it is cooked, as Jay Rayner on the Channel 4 Food Fight recently showed. Since we started buying better welfare meat, we find the wastage much less, the meat more dense (it goes further) and it doesn’t end up shrunken, sitting in a puddle of water while it’s cooking. A free range chicken costs around £4/kg. If you can stretch it to 3 or 4 dinners you’re talking £1-2 per night. A quite large 2kg bird would cost around 50 pence per person, per meal, on this basis.

Cook what you can eat: I’m a favourite at going to the local butchers and asking for a “handful” of mince or buying 1 carrot from the greengrocer. This way, we use what we can, firstly afford, and we only cook what we can eat. Buying this way also means the little we do buy is fresh. It’s easy to get into the trap of buying huge value packs only to throw half of it away. Use your freezer if you find you’re not using something straight away.

This all sounds obvious, but the statistics above hint that up to now we have found it all too easy to waste food, in previous times of cheap and plentiful supply. Now most of us may need to tighten our budgets, and, along with a growing respect that we now have for our environment, I hope these hints will help.

J.R

THE HUNGERFORD FILM CLUB
AT THE CROFT HALL

In case you wonder where all your friends go in the evening on the first Friday of the month, wonder no more! Hungerford Film Club at the Croft Hall is the answer.

My wife, Jane, had wondered for a long time why all the villages around Hungerford had thriving film nights, but nothing was available in the Town itself. We got together a splendid crew to run films at The Croft Hall, the first of which was The Kite Runner. Everyone in the packed house said they thoroughly enjoyed it and asked what the next film was going to be.

We chose Mamma Mia and, lo and behold the tickets sold like hot cakes. The Hungerford Bookshop, which is our distribution point, reported that they all went in two days. It was a stunning evening, with many calls for a repeat performance which in fact took place on 6th February to another packed house.

An interesting list of films has been selected for the rest of the year and copies of the full list can be obtained from The Hungerford Bookshop or by request to hungerfordcinema@btinternet.com. Alternatively, come to the next film show on 6th March when we shall be showing “The Duchess” with Keira Knightley in the starring role as The Duchess of Devonshire and Ralph Fiennes as her husband, the Duke.

There is a licensed bar selling wine and soft drinks and film buffs of all ages are very welcome.


Barney Wilson


THE HUNGERFORD HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION
– monthly lecture, January 2009

‘The South West Coastal paths – a legacy’ David Stubbs


A large and appreciative audience gathered at Hungerford Corn Exchange on 21 January to hear David Stubbs, a well known local historian, on what he described as ‘the pleasures of long distance walking’ – in his case a decision to take a sabbatical in 1984 , spending it on a solitary 630-mile hike around the south western peninsula on the coastal path. It took him 46 days, carrying something like half a hundredweight in his backpack – iron rations, small field cooking stove, dry clothing, a pair of trainers for evening wear, a radio, and a camera, spending most of the nights en route in a small bivouac tent. At his start point on the Bristol Channel he was undaunted by a signpost bearing the legend ‘500 miles to Poole’ ;(it turned out to be rather more).

This odyssey involved 16 river crossings , mostly via bridges but on one occasion a rickety ferry over the Helford river. All along the route he came across memorials, some well known, others commemorating long-forgotten disasters; world war 2 tragedies such as the young and inexperienced crew of a Wellington bomber whose navigation failed them, lifeboat crews, and mariners wrecked on the notorious Cornish coast, where at Poldhu he encountered the memorial to Marconi’s first transatlantic wireless link. Land’s End, a significant waypoint was where the walker exchanged the head-on western gale for the welcome tailwind that accompanied him for the rest of his journey.

Along the south Cornish coast he found the route punctuated by the remnants of a great tin-mining industry – chimneys and ruined winding houses still standing on cliff tops, marking mines that frequently ran far out under the sea. On Slapton Sands, beyond Dartmouth, he gazed with some awe at a Sherman tank, recovered from the sea some years ago marking the scene of a disastrous training exercise shortly before D Day in 1944.

The end of this walk came at Poole, after what had been a type of spiritual experience, living close to the earth -meeting strangers who became friends, and a strenuous but highly effective way of losing two stones in weight!

M.H


Hungerford Bridge

The campaign to provide a safe pedestrian footway across the canal has been ongoing for many years, but an increasing number of heavy lorries on the A338, an ageing population, and greater emphasis on health and safety have brought the matter to the fore again in the last two years. The Town Council know of the great difficulties experienced crossing the bridge by those who have poor balance, rely on walking aids, wheelchairs, or mobility scooters, and also mothers with pushchairs and toddlers.( It is not just the narrowness of the pavement which causes problems, but the adverse camber and difficult approach by the “Tuttipole” on the west side and high step approaching from the north on the east side.)

The present position is that our Council generally support the need for a new footbridge, West Berks Council approve, and some funds are available. The views of many others have to be considered, however, including British Waterways, English Heritage, boatowners, and the population of Hungerford who have a love of the Wharf and the historic view of the bridge.

A bridge at low level is one solution, because it could be built in a style which is in keeping with the surroundings, but it would have to lift, or swing, or slide to allow boats to pass. Consequently it would not be available to pedestrians all of the time, and with the possibility of a Marina to the west, for less time as canal traffic increases.

West Berks Council, and British Waterways favour a high level bridge which has the advantage of always being available, and requiring less routine maintenance. It would, however, change the historic view.

Campaigners want the matter resolved before someone is killed or injured on Hungerford Bridge. They put safety before other considerations and urge a solution without further delay.

Alan Staddon Bearwater


From a Local Boater’s point of view. Fixed high or Swing low?

Low bridge, to operate this a boater must land (obvious!), the landings either side of the bridge MUST be on the towpath side (why?). Is it appreciated just how long this bridge could be in the ‘open’ position (probably not).

To operate, Land on towpath side and operate opening of bridge, the towpath side is especially important for a single handed boater ( only 1 person on the boat). If the boater had to cross over to get back to his boat, go through, moor up, go back and cross over to close, just think how long the bridge would be open.

How long could the bridge be open? So the (single handed) boater has tied up and is opening the bridge, ( timing starts at this point to stop the pedestrians). Goes back to the boat, goes through, ties up, goes back, and then sees either some boats coming out of the lock or coming from the Sanitation Station (to the East), or worse still, sees them coming from BOTH directions. The rule of boating is NOT to close the bridge (just like a Lock) in the face of approaching boats. I’m not a time & motion study person, but my guess is 15 to 20 minutes that people can’t cross! Just a simple open, go through & close, could be 5 to 8 minutes!

Now I don’t mind whether it’s high or low, because when boaters stop to operate locks or bridges it’s all part of the ‘charm’, but will the pedestrians be happy when the weather is inclement? Time taken to walk across a high level bridge, probably less than one minute. Maintenance costs of a high level bridge, probably 100th of a Swing bridge. Reliability of a high level bridge, probably 1 million times over the Swing bridge (ask British Waterways)!

Name & Address supplied


Health by Liz

Sore Hips? Try Rose Hips

Aches and pains are often more troublesome during the cold, damp winter months. Liz Chandler from Natures Corner, looks into how the humble rose hip can help joint mobility as well as improve heart health and immunity.

Rose Hips, or more commonly Dog Rose, became appreciated in Britain under the blockade of the Second World War, when the population was put to work to collect them as a valuable vitamin source. Schoolchildren were given rosehip syrup providing one of the best natural sources of vitamin C, helping to support their immune systems against infections and the common cold. Today the sugary rosehip syrup has given way to a more potent blend of rosehip in a capsule form.

In the last twelve months the interest in rosehips has focused on their use as a pain reliever – particularly pain associated with osteoarthritis. Interest has been fuelled by a recent Scandinavian study that showed a reduction in pain in 82% of people, when they were given rosehip extract for more than three weeks. Those who had the powdered rosehip developed better active movements of the hip, knee and hands and told of a significant reduction in pain, which reduced their dependence on painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs. After three months they experienced a general decrease in disability and stiffness.

It is a little known component of the rosehip called glycoside that exerts the anti-inflammatory effect. Rosehips also contain vitamins B1, B2, B3, C, E, K as well as malic acid and numerous flavonoids and proteins. Malic acid helps to detoxify the body of aluminium and is often used to support people with fibromyalgia. Rosehips also offer cardiovascular support, by reducing inflammation of the blood vessels and reducing oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol, both highly relevant factors in heart disease. The hips of the dog rose contain between 10 and 50 times the amount of vitamin C of an orange. Used regularly rosehip can help to build our body’s defence against colds and flu, catarrh, sore throats and chest infections. Other potential applications include:-

Vitamin C deficiency : Osteoarthritis : Inflammation
Cardiovascular protection : Immune support
Mild gall bladder problems : Kidney and bladder function support

The humble Rose Hip is a very safe herbal remedy, having no known contraindications, drug interactions or side effects. Even today, rosehips still play an important part in the traditional Scandinavian diet, with foods such as rosehip soup and rosehip marmalade.

Liz Chandler, of Natures Corner, Newbury
info@naturescorner.co.uk

Our Community

HUNGERFORD POLICE UPDATE

The Hungerford Victorian Extravaganza was another very successful evening. Everybody was in good spirits and despite the cold weather there were still a lot of people out to enjoy the evening. There was some very minor Anti-Social Behaviour that occurred outside of the main High Street but it was dealt with very quickly and effectively.

Just before Christmas there was a series of incidents involving criminal damage to a number of vehicles on Fairview Road, Priory Avenue and Hillside Road. It would seem that not all of these incidents were reported to us however we have still had a number of people make us aware of the circumstances. The vehicles targeted had the wing mirrors broken off and others had windscreen wipers broken off. It would appear that this happened some time between midnight and one o clock in the morning. If anybody has any information then please contact the Hungerford Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0845 8 505 505.

I am glad to report that the time over Christmas itself was nice and quiet with no problems with Anti-Social Behaviour. Working until midnight on Christmas Eve and New Years Eve myself, I can say that there was hardly a person to be seen in Hungerford during the bulk of the festive period and there was a great friendly atmosphere.

That is all as it has been such a quiet month. I would just like to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and if anyone is wanting to get in contact with us then please do so on 0845 8 505 505.

PCSO Debbie Randall 08458505505 or mobile 07970145703
Neighbourhood Policing TeamHungerford
deborah.randall@thamesvalley.pnn.police.uk

In Living Memory by Robin Tubb

THE CORN EXCHANGE ON SATURDAY NIGHTS

It was passing the Town Hall on a recent Saturday evening, that I was struck by the sight of the gates being closed, and not much of a glimmer of light coming from the foyer within. Nothing on here tonight then! It was but moments later I was recalling the days when you did not ask your peers, “Is there anything on in the Corn exchange on Saturday” but, “What is on in the Corn Exchange”.During all of the 1950’s it was mostly Dances, this could be Modern, Olde Tyme( very popular, with several local clubs in existence) the occasional Barn Dance and sometimes a “Social”. A Social packed a lot in to an evening, say, “Prize Whist” 6.30. ‘till 8pm. Then refreshments and a few musical games interspersed with dancing, then, at about 9.30, it was modern dancing until the last waltz at 11.45pm (no dancing on a Sunday!).

Of course, there was only live music at the dances, and the local bands were always heavily booked, and they travelled quite a wide area. I recall many, but will mention just the following; “The Hawaiian Serenaders” lead by Gordon Huntley, “Gerry Etwells’ Dance Band”, “Blue Circle Orchestra” led by Geoff Wigmore, and the very popular “The Dennis Kemp Orchestra”. I can still chat about this, with my friend Tony Gibbs, who played trumpet with some of them. He was also the principal cornet with Hungerford Silver Band (Town Band today) at the time. Oh yes! he also had a day job, as did all of the other musicians.

Gordon “Whiffles” Huntley, was a pedal steel guitarist. He lived in Hungerford, and it was his mother who promoted many different events in the Corn Exchange, Whist Drives, Jumble Sales etc.She was also “Brown Owl” of the local group of Brownies. There were some Saturdays when the H.S.B. gave concerts, with various themes, such as “Marches and Waltzes”, “Overtures from Musicals”, or “Items from Gilbert and Sullivan”. Many of these concerts were interspersed with songs or a piano item.

Then a different type of event, one can recall the Stable Lads boxing, where it seemed to me that the arms of the participants flailed like bees wings. Also, inter Public House Dart Tournaments, which were very well supported. Variety Concerts were still a popular entertainment. Most of the items were musical, individual acts, (who can remember Professor Frisco?) short sketches or monologues.

I am pleased to say that in Ramsbury the idiom still survives.

In half a century life in general has changed, entertainment is more widely available, as are the local venues, so therefore Saturday nights at the Corn Exchange, are not always booked.


Artie


Report of Hungerford W.I. Activities in 2008

Hungerford Women’s Institute was formed in 1931 as part of the Berkshire Federation of Women’s Institutes, which this year is celebrating their 90th anniversary. Women’s Institute was founded in Great Britain in Anglesey in 1915 after starting in Canada in 1897. Our W.I. meets at the Croft Hall on the first Wednesday of the month at 7.30pm and we are always pleased to welcome new members or visitors.

We started 2008 with a very successful lunch at the Three Swans Hotel where members and guests enjoyed excellent food and good fellowship.

February’s meeting was a fascinating talk by our local milliner Jane Corbett and we were able to examine her wonderful hats she had brought with her.

March was the month of our Annual Meeting when the President and Committee for the following year are elected. Mrs. Betty Morrison was elected President to lead the Committee of nine members. We enjoy a varied programme and always welcome local speakers.

In April we listened to Stacy Tuttle who talked to us on ‘’Plants for Problem Places’’.

In May we discussed Resolutions to be presented at the A.G.M. of the National Federation. Resolutions are a very important part of W.I. as they are of National interest, for instance health issues, milk prices, cost of care, have all been past Resolutions.

The June meeting arranged by previous committee members was a cooking demonstration by one of our own members Ann Martin and we were able to enjoy some tasty samples after seeing them made.

On a lovely Summer’s evening in July members enjoyed a mystery coach trip followed by a delicious supper at a pleasant village inn.

I n August, September and October we had interesting talks on Travel, Embroidery and a fascinating talk by local silversmith George Styles.

November saw Caroline Franklin from Ramsbury giving a Poetry Reading which proved to be both amusing and poignant with both poems relevant to Remembrance Day.

A talk in December by a representative from R.S.P.B. concluded a successful year of speakers for the 2008 meetings.

The monthly walks arranged by June Stroud have proved popular as have the two book groups.

We have a Notice Board under the railway bridge where details of who to contact can be seen.

M.W


If you under 25 years old and attending further education do you know about the

The Hungerford and Camburn Educational Trust

One of the oldest of Hungerford charities is the Grammar School Foundation, which included the charity of Dr. Thomas Sheaff founded by indenture in 1635, that of John Hamblin of 1726 and those of Elizabeth Cummins founded by will dated 1735 and codicil 1743 and Capp’s charity also by will sometime before1782.

These when amalgamated, formed the Hungerford Educational Foundation.
In 1942 John Holmes Wooldridge founded a bequest for a Grammar School Exhibition.
Caleb Camburn a former headmaster of the Methodist school, that was situated in Church Street, he was later the first head of the Fairview Road School, caused a trust to be set up, called The Camburn Education Trust for Hungerford in 1946.

In 1980, The Camburn Educational Trust for Hungerford and the Hungerford Educational Foundation (which was administering J.H.Wooldridge bequest) were regulated by a scheme of the Charity Commission, to become, The Hungerford and Camburn Educational Foundation, that we know today.

Over the years many young people have been helped to further their prospects, in further education, approved apprenticeships, or other self improvement, with financial help from the trust.
Candidates must be under 25 years, and have lived in Hungerford for more than three years.

After Easter, please look for the notices advising of the times when, and where applications will be received Applicants can apply in June, interviews are held each July.


Blasts from the Past

From the Parish Magazine of February 1872.

“A Good Example. In these days of active rivalry and close competition in trade, it is pleasing to note individual instances of conscientious self-denial for the general good. There
are, we are happy to say, two Inn-keepers in this neighbourhood who close their houses on Sundays. For a long time past, as we have reason to believe, Mr A Brooks, of the “Five Bells” Wickham, has (to his honour be it spoken) drawn no beer on Sundays, and this excellent example has lately been followed by Mr J Hutchins of the “Wheat Sheaf” Chilton. The value of such a system is very great, and God’s blessing will surely attend it, for the evil effects of Sunday drinking, both to the publican, and his customers, can hardly be exaggerated. Happy indeed would it be for this country, if we could see public-houses thus generally closed, and this temptation to desecrate the Lord’s day, removed from the people. We are sure, too, that the first to realise the blessedness of this, would be the publicans themselves, thus enabled for one day in the week, to enjoy undisturbed, the peace and quietness of their own homes”.

From the Parish Magazine of February 1896.

“The Christmas treats to the Sunday school children were given on Tuesday and Wednesday January 28th and 29th, it being considered unwise to have them earlier on account of the epidemic of scarlet fever in the Town. The girls and infants numbering about 140, were entertained on Tuesday, and the boys to the number of 60 on Wednesday. After tea and “crackers” the children on both evenings went into the boys’ schoolroom, where Magic lantern views were shewn them by the Vicar and Mr Brindley, the humorous and amusing ones being received with shouts of delight by the children. At the conclusion, a bun and orange were given to each child and all went home well content at having spent such a pleasant evening. The Vicar wishes to offer his most grateful thanks to the assistant clergy, Sunday school teachers, and friends who willingly gave their help and worked so hard to make the treats a success, and also to Mr G E Platt who kindly lent the tables etc. The Tea, Cakes, &c were supplied by Messrs Alexander, and Jessett, and Miss Winkworth, who also generously gave 100 oranges to the children”.

“The Old Peoples Tea took place on Tuesday January 7th, in the Corn exchange, when about
160 people over the age of 55, sat down to a most excellent repast, which was thoroughly
appreciated by all present. A large number of ladies presided at the different tables, and a
willing band of helpers vied with one another in attending to the peoples wants. The viands
were cooked as in former years by Mrs Fruen, and a welcome surprise in the shape of hot
Christmas pudding for all, was provided by Mrs Gray. Tea being over, tobacco and snuff
were dispensed all round and a couple of hours were very pleasantly passed in songs and
recitations. Miss Appach very kindly came over from Elcot and sang six old English ballads,
for which she received quite an ovation, and capital songs and recitations were given by
Messrs. Higgs, Jessett, Chisell, Batt, Scott, and others. All united in thinking this years tea
beat the record”.

More from the Archives next quarter.

Fred Bailey


July 2009 HADCAF comes of age

This year marks the 18th annual Hungerford & District Community Arts Festival since its launch with a week-long programme of events at John O’Gaunt School in 1992. HADCAF, as it has come to be known, quickly expanded to 3 weeks and spread out into other venues around the town and surrounding villages, and over the years has brought a wealth of professional music and theatre to the town in addition to celebrating and promoting local talent, knowledge and expertise.

During that time a great many individuals and organisations have given their time and shared their skills with HADCAF. Members of the WI have arranged craft demonstrations, walks and picnic cruises on the ‘Rose of Hungerford’, and provided delicious refreshments at the annual Art & Craft Exhibition in which local schools have proudly displayed their pupils’ work. The Library has arranged talks and children’s story sessions; the Historical Association has opened its archives and organised informative town walks; the churches have hosted flower festivals and concerts. The Town Band, Phoenix Brass, the various theatre groups, the Camera Club, Round Table, British Legion and Scouts have all been regularly involved – even the police station took part in the early years!

Many of the surrounding villages have staged exhibitions, concerts, film shows and theatre performances under the HADCAF banner. Local branches of national charities have held fund-raising events, and artists and gardeners have welcomed visitors into their studios and gardens. And Newbury Building Society has provided a superb box office service from the very beginning.
A glance through Festival programmes shows the scope of HADCAF activities over the years. There have been workshops for all ages and covering a huge variety of subjects: film acting, guitar playing, disc jockeying, chalk sculpting, painting with watercolours, t’ai chi, cyber art and computer imaging, kumihimo braiding, dance (including salsa, rock ’n’ roll, line, clog, tap, country, Irish, Latin, ballroom, belly, ballet and modern jazz), recycled weaving, dyeing with natural materials, singing and music making, photography, handbell ringing, Adinkra cloth printing, African drumming, bodging, bead stringing, quilting, fishing, and making scarecrows, carnival costumes, baskets, silk flowers, felt, papier mâché, clay tiles, mosaics, kites, cocktail hats and clay ovens.

There have been guided moth-spotting and bird-watching expeditions, and wild flower, organic farm, cross-country, trout farm, marsh and town walks. There have been opportunities to learn about the ecology of our local chalk streams; to compete in quizzes; taste wines; have one’s antiques valued by local experts; display and sell art, craft and photography; exhibit produce at horticultural shows; enjoy tea dances; play sleuth at a murder mystery dinner; hear poetry recitals and listen to ghost stories; to watch films. Youngsters have been offered discos, puppet and magic shows, film, a family concert, a treasure hunt, board games, art, poetry and band competitions, and master-classes with top professional rock musicians, whilst senior citizens have enjoyed lunch-time concert parties and puppet shows at the Day Centre.

Over the years there have been talks on subjects as diverse as plant hunting in Vietnam, wild food, jukeboxes, the history of Hungerford, the life of the patriot John Hampden, antiques, horticulture, humorous writing, art, the history of Punch & Judy, sweet wrappers, the Round the World yacht race, an actor’s life, millinery, word games, the flora of St Helena, Butlin’s holiday camps in the ’50s, a year in Kew gardens, campanology, flower arranging, researching one’s family tree, solo expeditions to the North and South Poles, Australian plants and botanic gardens, the culture of Tibet, working with disabled people in Kenya, touring Britain in an old Humber, walking the Great Wall of China, collecting valuable books, and cycling in Kenya. Speakers have included the author, playwright and broadcaster Simon Brett, novelist Mavis Cheek, children’s author Geraldine McCaughrean, TV chef Mike Robinson, artist Beryl Maile, and the poet Elizabeth Jennings. A wide range of music – from classical, jazz, opera, choral, brass band and madrigals to folk, pop, boogie, blues, rock’n’roll, kletzmer and cutting-edge contemporary – has always been a feature of the HADCAF programme, in which talented young local performers have taken part as well as established professional musicians. The many instrumental concerts have included orchestral, piano, acoustic guitar, church organ, electronic organ, harpsichord, saxophone, oboe, marimba, alphorn, brass quintets, string quartets, and flute trios.

Theatre has also always had a high profile in the Festival, ranging from sell-out Edinburgh Fringe productions to musical revues and local variety shows, from performances by amateur dramatic groups (HADCAF has been host to no fewer than 16!) to West End actors and award-winning plays that have toured the world.

The organisers of HADCAF are grateful for and dependent upon the financial support of the Town Council, The Town and Manor of Hungerford, West Berkshire Council and Greenham Common Trust, as well as the sponsorship of a great many local businesses and individuals. Although conscious of the present gloomy economic climate, they hope that the Festival will continue to be a fixture in the town’s calendar, giving pleasure to residents of Hungerford and district well into the future.

Meanwhile planning is well under way for this year’s programme, and as always offers of help are welcome. Please contact Beryl Fowler (Chairman) on 01488 684901, or visit the website (www.hadcaf.co.uk) for information about the Festival.

Elizabeth Davi

Church Bells

Bell ringing at St Lawrence Church – Part 6

With winter very much here again and snow forecast for tomorrow, calling this a winter edition would be most appropriate. Anyway, in part five, I described some of the things we get up to, including socials, outings etc and in part four, I gave a more technical view into change ringing and a bit about its origins. This time, I shall return to the subject from part four and continue to delve deeper into change ringing, what it is all about and how it is put into practice in the tower.

Last time, I mentioned early authors and development of the ideas of how to ring sequences of changes and the use of the “blue line” to describe a bell’s path through the other bells. I gave an example of a line for what is known as “plain hunt” where each bell follows the others through the sequence until arriving at its “home” position. Here is that same line reproduced on the left for reference:

1 2 3 4 5 6
2 1 4 3 6 5
2 4 1 6 3 5
4 2 6 1 5 3
4 6 2 5 1 3
6 4 5 2 3 1
6 5 4 3 2 1
5 6 3 4 1 2
5 3 6 1 4 2
3 5 1 6 2 4
3 1 5 2 6 4
1 3 2 5 4 6
1 2 3 4 5 6

I also explained that a piece of ringing must begin and end with “rounds” that is with the sequence or “row” 123456 etc. In the example on the left, this is the case and the whole piece lasts a brief
12 rows which would take about 20 seconds to ring. This is of course a bit repetitive and all too brief. I would also introduce the term “lead” that is the changes that occur while the treble bell passes all the way through the other bells and returns to the “lead” position. So, to extend the ringing, an alteration is introduced to ensure that the last row of each “lead” differs from the first. In this case, the “3” stays in 2nds place for an extra row, blocking the path of the other bells and making them “dodge” that is to reverse their direction for one row. The whole lead is then repeated with each bell following the path of the others in turn until, after 5 leads, rounds finally appears.

1 2 3 4 5 6
2 1 4 3 6 5
2 4 1 6 3 5
4 2 6 1 5 3
4 6 2 5 1 3
6 4 5 2 3 1
6 5 4 3 2 1
5 6 3 4 1 2
5 3 6 1 4 2
3 5 1 6 2 4
3 1 5 2 6 4
1 3 2 5 4 6
1 3 5 2 6 4

Because of a particular rule such as this one being applied with the paths consequently altered, this has now become a “method” and this one is the simplest of all, known as “Plain Bob”. As can be seen from the last row, the 3 is in 2nds place, the 5 in 3rds place and so on. This now extends the ringing from 12 to 60 rows. Further changes can then be applied to allow the piece to last up to the full “extent”, which for 6 bells is 720 changes (6 x 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1). More on that next time, when I shall explain how this is achieved, how the ringers know what to do without losing their way, and how it is controlled or “conducted”.

But now I’d like to let you know what we have been up to since the last edition. In November, as stated in the last issue, we rang a peal of Stedman Triples on Remembrance Saturday. Half muffled of course and this was a particularly nice piece of ringing. Over the Christmas period, it was “business as usual” with ringing for all the usual services including midnight mass and the nursery school and crib services. We had our usual Christmas outing which saw us ringing at Abingdon and surrounding towers as well as visiting White’s Bellhangers factory at Appleton, where there is a miniature belfry for us to try out. The bells of this “mini-ring” are handled in the same way as tower bells except that the ringer has to adapt the technique to a bell weighing only a few pounds instead of several cwt. Anyway, a good day out and a good ring was had by all. With New Year out of the way, our attention is now focussed on our forthcoming “Quarter Peal Week” in February which is being held across the Newbury Branch and aims to ring quarter peals at all.

Mark Robbin