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Action Against Hunger Car Treasure Hunt

Posted on 28th February, 2019

Car Rally / Treasure Hunt
14thApril 2019
for
Action Against Hunger

My name is Sarah Hunter and I live in Charlton Lane, West Farleigh.  I am an undergraduate student at the University of Nottingham, studying architecture in my second year.  On top of my studies, this year I decided to join the society ‘Karnival’.  As part of this, I was presented with the opportunity to take on the challenge to climb up to Everest Base Camp, to raise money for Action Against Hunger.  I couldn’t say no!  So that is exactly what I am doing.

This September, I will be trekking 5,380m up Mount Everest.  However, I can only do this providing I raise £3,000 for Action Against Hunger.  They are such an amazing charity that so many people have never even heard of!  They save the lives of malnourished children.  They ensure that everyone can access clean water, food, training and healthcare.  They enable entire communities, in nearly 50 countries worldwide, to be free from hunger.

I am holding another event in West Farleigh to raise money.

 

Car Rally / Treasure Hunt - Sunday 14thApril 2019

Time:                   12noon – 4pm

Starting Point:    To be confirmed (dependent upon no. of vehicles)

Finishing Point:   Football Hut, Charlton Lane

Cost:                    £20 per car (maximum of 4 people per car)

 

There will be places to stop during the rally for refreshments.  At the end of the rally there will also be refreshments made available at the Football Hut.

 

Tickets

Tickets must be purchased in advance. We may have to restrict the number of cars, so you are advised to book early to avoid disappointment.  As I am in Nottingham, please email or telephone/text my mum for tickets (email: janehunter01@gmail.comor 07928 036800). 

 

The car rally is not a race! It is intended to be a fun day for all the occupants of the car to take part and enjoy. 

There will be a raffle at the end of the rally. I know this is cheeky, but if anyone has an item they could donate for the raffle it would be greatly appreciated.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in the quiz on 25thJanuary 2019.  An amazing £452.86 was raised – thank you so much.  In particular, I must thank Pete Hards for helping me with the quiz, and also Sue O’Donnell for her help at the church.

Finally, I do hope you will be able to join me at the car rally.  It should be a fun day for neighbours to meet up and it is for a really good cause.  I will notify the Farleighs website (www.thefarleighs.co.uk) with the starting point as soon as I have an idea of how many cars will be taking part.  I look forward to meeting you there.

 

Sarah

Is 70 the new 50

Posted on 21st February, 2019

Is 70 the new 50?

 

Jacky Taylor has some thoughts…………….

 

 

 

 When I left the office for the last time in March 2014 – I hopped, skipped and jumped from Vauxhall to Victoria for my final commute. I had spent the most rewarding 25 years of my working life helping setting up and working at the National Literacy Trust an amazing charity which still goes from strength to strength, but it was now time to let it go.

 

I had plans to declutter my home, get more engaged with village life, be more proactive in the WI and generally be a nuisance to everyone I could, especially my husband who had retired two years previously and was leading quite a sedentary life at home, apart from tending his precious lawn that is.

 

Unfortunately, decluttering and housework are not at all appealing to me my desire to declutter after 5 years has made very little progress. I’ve filled a few recycling bins with clothe but still there is so much tucked away that I can’t face – a job for my children after my clogs have finally popped.

 

There is only so much housework one can do but I embraced having time to be more experimental with my cooking, something I have always enjoyed and continue to enjoy.

 

I did find that village life moves in circles throughout the year – and although I still really look forward to helping plan events I found I needed something to stretch my brain.  Luckily for me a regular in the Good Intent asked me if I could type! So I started doing bits and pieces of legal secretarial work for a local retired solicitor – a completely new area for me but one which I relished – and I got paid too.  Then my friend needed some help with her the book-keeping side of her business and before I knew it I was doing two small but rewarding pieces of work.

 

The WI side of my life got busier too as I undertook the Chairman’s role of the Hall Committee which I am very proud to say culminated in successfully applying for grants and a new kitchen was installed.

 

During this period, my husband contracted cancer and I felt that extra income may be useful if things didn’t work out well but I am delighted to say Ron has come out the other side. In the meantime, I some of my ‘home work’ seemed to be drying up so I thought if I can do this what else is there for me out there, so I put my CV on a recruitment website, not expecting to hear anything as an over 65.

 

Low and behold I got a phone call, would I be interested in a part-time role at an international security company based in Hermitage Lane. Would I – oh yes!

 

I was interviewed and duly offered the job. That was 3 years ago.  Yes, it did become a bit tiring but I knew that I had a decision to make.  I could still be involved with village life and give up work or I could cut down on my commitments in the village and continue to work, which is what I did. 

 

It has worked out really well, I have re-joined the choir, still help at village events and I am enjoying going to work.

 

I have even been offered the opportunity to help launch a new product at work which will benefit so many elderly people and their families.

 

Oh no its not all work and no play makes Jacky a dull girl. I have regular days out with the girls when anything can happen – normally involving alcohol and hot tubs, outings with my husband and so on.  I can honestly say, as I approach 69 – life is great and I hope to carry on working for another few years yet.

 

 

 

ON THE ROAD WITH BRIAN CUSHING (4)

Posted on 18th February, 2019

This year being the 40th anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, in his latest article, Brian takes you there...

 

TRAVELS IN IRAN

 

“AMERICA CAN’T DO A DAMN THING!” proclaimed a huge slogan on the hotel lobby wall. This, I subsequently learned, was a phrase coined by the then leader, the Ayatollah Khomeini himself, used in a speech of his and subsequently posted on walls and billboards around the country. I was on my first visit to Iran, in 1984, and on first sight I didn’t feel particularly welcome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*****************************************************************************

 

A bit of background...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Forty years ago, on 1st February 1979 to be exact, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew into Tehran, Iran, on his return from late exile in France. The Shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, had fled the country a couple of weeks previously, his power having been completely undermined during months of revolutionary activity throughout Iran. He was a narcissist who occupied the ‘Peacock Throne’ and revelled in the title (amongst others) of “Shahanshah”, meaning King of Kings, which says a lot about his perspective on life. He had ruled Iran since 1941, presiding over an oil-rich country increasingly riven by corruption, his dynasty’s grip enforced by the feared secret police, the Savak.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shah Pahlavi 

 

 

                                                                       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

    Ayotollah Khomeini

 

The Ayotollah, a man you could not imagine enjoying a good party, immediately set about forming a theocratic government, which was overtly hostile to the Western powers, in particular the United States. In November 1979, a group of Tehran students invaded the US embassy and took the occupants hostage. They were finally released in January 1981 following intense diplomatic efforts. Before this, in a bid to end the crisis, during April 1980 US President Jimmy Carter authorised operation Eagle Claw, which was devised to insert into the country American special forces who would raid the embassy and release the hostages.

 

Eagle Claw was a disaster. Eight Sea Stallion helicopters flying off from US aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf were to land in the desert some 850 kms from Tehran. The plan was for them to refuel and to fly on with the special force personnel to secure an airfield about 80 kms outside the capital, from where the troops would travel in vehicles to the embassy, snatch the hostages, return to the airfield and be evacuated by air to friendly territory.

 

However, two of the helicopters suffered mechanical failure in dust storms en route to the first landing point, and a third collided on the ground with the refuelling tanker aircraft, killing eight US servicemen. The mission was aborted before it had properly got under way. (Hence the “America can’t do a damn thing” slogan.) The hostages were dispersed after this attempt, and were only finally released through the diplomatic effort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disaster in the desert – operation Eagle Claw

 

In September 1980, Iraq invaded Iran. The resulting conflict was to last for eight years and claim hundreds of thousands of lives. At the end of it, each side declared victory. This was a mainly ground-based conflict, but escalating attacks were carried out against shipping in the Gulf (the “tanker war”), and also in the waterways leading to Iran’s main southern ports – Bandar Abbas and Bandar Shahpur, which had been renamed Bandar Imam Khomeini, and which was nearest to Tehran. It was at these ports that Iranian and foreign chartered ships endeavoured to land the imports, mainly foodstuffs such as wheat, corn and rice, but also steel and other building materials, and other cargoes vital to the war effort and indeed the country’s survival.

 

*******************************************************************************

 

It was against this background that I first went to Iran, in 1984, and my visits continued over the ensuing five years. I was, frankly, apprehensive on first going there and my feelings were not improved when I checked into what was then the Intercontinental Hotel in downtown Tehran and saw that slogan on the wall.

 

I had to stay several days in the hotel, awaiting the usual pass to get to where I was supposed to be working. (Bandar Imam Khomeini.) Pretty well all the Iranians I met were courteous, friendly and hospitable, as is the case, or so I’ve found, with people in most countries around the world. It seems invariably to be the authorities and the military who foul things up.

 

The hotel staff couldn’t have been friendlier or more helpful and, one sensed, they were not wholly sympathetic to the incumbent religious government. They all seemed to have been working there since before the revolution, and when they got used to me, the restaurant waiters would play little games at mealtimes; hence, a question as to whether I fancied red or white wine that night meant, respectively, Pepsi or Sprite. They told me about the revolution, when the hotel was invaded by a religious mob and all alcoholic drinks were hurled out of the upper windows to smash on the pavement below. Wine, spirits, beer, the lot. What a mess that must have made from fourteen floors up. While they told me these stories, the staff would shake their heads in regret, but their eyes would cut about to check who was listening.

 

******************************************************************************

 

The reason I was in Iran was that ships laden with import cargoes had reportedly been hit by Iraqi missiles in the Khor Musa Channel, which led to Bandar Imam Khomeini (BIK). The ships always proceeded in convoy, protected to some extent by the Iranian navy. Information as to the whereabouts and fate of ships which had been hit, and their crews, was sparse or non-existent, and the London marine underwriters who had appointed me needed to know something of the situation with their insured vessels.

 

To get to BIK, I had first to fly to the nearest domestic airport, and then get overland transport. Prior to boarding the domestic flight in Tehran, my and everyone else’s luggage was thoroughly dismantled and searched by the Revolutionary Guards (“Pasdaran”) manning security. My razor was confiscated, so from then on I went unshaven, thus blending in better with the bearded Pasdars.

 

BIK then was a pretty dreary place, situated at the head of the Persian Gulf. It was originally a railhead connecting with Tehran, and it had grown in importance if not in aesthetics as one of the principal ports. It seemed safe enough, although at night you could see a lot of anti-aircraft fire in the distance. The war front was about sixty kilometres distant to the west.

 

Over the next few days, I and other surveyors and assorted personnel went by launch down the Khor Musa channel to locate and inspect the ships which had been attacked. The three of interest to my particular principals, we found one by one, all anchored, with their accommodation burned out. The gossip was that the missiles used by the Iraqis were French Exocets, radar guided, or Chinese origin types equipped with heat-seeking guidance.

 

The ships had been all struck in their after structure, which included the engine room and some fuel tanks, crew cabins, messrooms and the navigation bridge, presenting the greatest radar target and which also emitted heat from the funnel. Consequently, crew (frequently Filipino) fatalities and burn injuries were numerous. Because the damage was aft, away from the cargo holds, the cargo itself was usually untouched and once the fires had been extinguished and the dead and injured evacuated, the Iranian authorities got busy towing the disabled ships to the port for discharge. I never found out the fate of the poor crews – BIK didn’t seem the sort of place that would host a state of the art hospital.

 

The authorities were extremely touchy about sending news of the ships’ whereabouts and condition, since this could have afforded the Iraqi enemy valuable intelligence. This was of course before the days of the common use of mobile phones, so I and all the others had to use a phone located in the local post office, which meant queuing for hours and then trying to get across at least minimal information down a dodgy line which was almost certainly tapped.

 

Prior to leaving London, I and my office colleagues had developed a simple code for use in just such circumstances: for instance, to say “It’s hot out here” meant the ship was burned out; “Feeling knackered” meant it was sunk, and so on. The ship’s location, expressed in degrees of latitude and longitude was read out as a cricket score, because we figured that cricket is so abstruse that no-one in Iran would understand that. (On one occasion, our London office manager, who was not the brightest star in the firmament, picked up the phone and when I said “I’ve got some cricket scores for you”, he said over the open line: “Oh yes, that’ll be the ship’s position then”, which gave me a minor heart attack.)

 

Some of the defensive measures adopted by the ship’s crews were interesting. One such was planned and constructed by the German officers of a particular bulk carrier. They were convinced that the incoming missiles were all heat-seeking, so had built a huge structure of scaffolding poles (God knows where they got them) around the funnel, connected to a nearby deck fire hydrant. The pipes had been drilled with hundreds of half-inch holes, so when the fire main was turned on, cooling water cascaded in all directions around the funnel, supposedly cancelling out the exhaust heat. Well, it was spectacular and they never got hit.

 

*******************************************************************************

 

I paid several visits to Iran over the next few years, on appointments which took me back to BIK, and the ports of Bushehr and Bandar Abbas. Over the years, the list of contacts built up and so did some degree of familiarity with the system and the politics. The overt hostility of the authorities toward the west waxed and waned, depending to a large extent on what the USA was up to.

 

One of the downsides was that at the end of a long day, you couldn’t get hold of a cold beer. However, folks being what they are, an active black market in smuggled and locally produced alcohol had developed. A peculiar feature of this market was the presence of the Armenian Christians, a powerful minority sect, who had applied to the Islamic Court for permission to manufacture sacramental wine, which, to everyone’s amazement, was granted. Consequently, the Armenians became the biggest producers of bootleg booze, which was available if you knew the right man.

 

During one of the ‘lenient’ periods, I flew into Tehran with a duty free bottle of scotch, in my bag, which I didn’t attempt to conceal. The customs officials turned it up and told me that import of alcohol was not allowed and that I could either turn it in against a receipt and claim it on the way out, or I could witness it being poured away. I couldn’t see, practically speaking, being able to reclaim the bottle, so opted for the latter course. I was taken to a side room, where the officers ceremoniously opened the cap and poured the contents down a metal sink set against the wall. I have been convinced ever since that there was a pipe leading from the plughole through the wall, and into a bucket that someone was holding on the other side.

 

What the customs did not twig was that some chocolates, a gift for a friend, that they found in my bag and waved through, were a liqueur selection. So I suppose it was a minor victory of sorts.

 

*********************************************************************************

 

On one trip I had to meet with a departmental manager of the National Iranian Tanker Company, to deal with a claim on one of their ships which was insured in London. It was a matter of negotiating a reasonable settlement.

 

It was an amicable meeting. We got a bit stuck on the settlement figure, but, he said, the thing could be resolved if I could assist him on something. I anticipated a veiled demand for a bribe of some sort, so was surprised when he told me that he took an evening English class at Tehran University and, since I was British, could I deliver a lecture to his students. This would certainly assist the insurance settlement process.

 

“Not a problem” said I, panicking slightly. “When would this be?”

“Tonight” he said, and I could have sworn there was a flicker of amusement in his eyes. And the subject?

“What about.....a short history of England?” he said. I was now sure that he was having trouble containing his laughter.

 

Having agreed to do it, I got away as soon as I decently could, and made a beeline for our agent’s office. I knew he had a reference library of sorts, and to my relief found an ancient encyclopedia. I sat down and composed a history of England from 1066 to the present day, all in two hours flat, to be delivered in the space of about twenty minutes.  

 

That evening I was whisked by car to Tehran University and taken to the class, in which I delivered a somewhat incoherent and truncated lecture. The students looked a bit nonplussed, but as it turned out they mainly wanted to practice their English conversation. And a very charming bunch they were.

 

The upshot was that the insurance claim was amicably settled, and I can state with absolute truth, should anyone ask, that I have lectured at Tehran University.

 

********************************************************************************

 

Tehran traffic and the congestion and pollution it caused could vie for the world record. Taxis were hard to flag down and those that stopped invariably had passengers already seated in them. You saw little knots of pedestrians clutched together in the middle of the road, surrounded by swerving cars, desperately shouting and waving at passing cabs. Our agent told me in all seriousness (well, I think it was – Iranians of the more secular persuasion have a wicked sense of humour) that prior to the revolution, an American study had concluded that the traffic congestion was down to too many vehicles carrying messages from one office to the other, because the landline phone system didn’t function properly. Ergo, if the phone problems could be fixed then that would cure the traffic jams.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tehran traffic

 

 Looking at this recent stock photo of Tehran, it looks as though the advent of mobile phones hasn’t done the trick, so that American study must have been flawed. One thing I’m convinced of is that Jimmy Carter’s attempted rescue of the American hostages would never have worked because the special forces’ convoy would have got irretrievably clogged up in traffic.

 

*********************************************************************************

 

My last visit to Iran was in 1989. The preceding year had seen the war with Iraq peter out with neither side having gained much if anything, but with a massive drain on lives and material. Since that conflict, as we all know, the Iranian government has turned its attention to foreign intervention in Syria and latterly in its old enemy Iraq. Iran, principally Shia Muslim, is locked in bitter rivalry for regional dominance with its Sunni Muslim neighbour, Saudi Arabia. The destruction of Israel remains official policy. The everyday lives of the ordinary people have been immeasurably affected for the worse by the haemorrhaging of resources to military adventures, and by international sanctions that bite very deeply indeed. There have been street protests and riots, savagely put down by the Revolutionary Guards whose influence over the years extends to whole swathes of domestic industries and interests through shell company ownership.

 

As far as I can see, life for the citizens has not improved since I was there, and no doubt in very many ways it has got worse. The people I met and engaged with, who became friends in many cases, were well educated, courteous, helpful and good-humoured; but it’s a salutary thought that they have now been supplanted by a generation that, even if born in the very year of the Shah’s abdication and the revolution, is now middle aged and has experienced nothing but the authoritarian government instituted by Ayatollah Khomeini all those decades ago.

 

 

 

Brian Cushing

18 February 2019

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A stonemason's journey

Posted on 22nd November, 2018

The craft of the stonemason is very ancient. If you had been down at All Saints Church in 1100 AD when the church was under construction, or 1523 when the tower was first built, or 1875 when the new bells were added, you might have seen a small group of industrious craftsmen, hewing and chiselling stone, standing precariously on scaffolding, lifting the new blocks into place and cementing them in.  

 

But if you had been down at All Saints over this last summer, you would have seen exactly the same thing!   Almost.  The patient workmen, the sound of steel on stone and the huge blocks being manhandled, would be the same.  Only the van in the carpark and the electric cables would tell you which century you were in.  

 

 

 

 

During this summer, fundamental repairs have been made to the stonework of the tower, the vestry and the roof, by Steve Hill and his company of craftsment, Pinnacle Stonemasons. 

 

 

 

 

We interviewed Steve down at the church when the job was almost finished.  

 

 

 

 

 

Q:  Steve, what was wrong with the stonework?

 

Eroded stonework on the tower 

 

1.  Damaged and eroded ragstone up the side of the tower. 

 

You can just see that the protuding stone ledges (the "string courses" at the top have been completely eroded, allowing rain to wash down the stone below.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  The eroded stonework at the top of the tower - an old brick chimney - and a tree growing out of it!  The crenellations and the little round turret on top of the tower were quite worn away and in bad condition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Missing render3.  Large patches of missing or damaged render which protects the soft stone underneath

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's all quite daunting.  We wondered how long it takes to learn about stone.

 

Q:  Steve, is it hard to become a stonemason?  How did you get into this trade?

 

A:  When I left school, I got a youth opportunity job at York Minster.  There were 15 masons and 15 carpenters permanently employed there, maintaining the building.  I stayed there 7 years.  And then I got a chance to study in Venice, at the San Cervolo Centre for craftsmen.  I studied there for 6 months.

 

Q: And that was it?  You were an expert then?

 

A: Not exactly.  Then I came back to England and worked as a banker.

 

Q: A banker?!

 

A:  It's the name given to a self employed stonemason.  You have your own tools, hammer and chisel.  And you move around from site to site, wherever there is work.  I did that for years.  I worked a lot in the West Country.

 

Q: I see.  And what about Pinnacle?  When did you start that?

A: That was 3 years ago.

 

Q: Is this one of the biggest jobs you've done?

A: No.  We do a lot of work on churches.  Recently, St Mary at Dover.  And St Mary the Virgin at Stanted, where we rebuild some of the buttresses.  St Margeret at Dover, lots of stonework there.  And next door, we did a lot of work at St Peter and St Paul at Yalding, taking out the ferramenta - that's the iron bars that support windows - and replacing them.

 

Rebuilding the little turret

 

Q: What was the hardest thing about this job?

A:  Well, the tower of All Saints is kent ragstone.  Candidly, it's a horrible stone to work with, much harder than the British limestones  like Portland.  It's hard and dense. And chips.

 

Q: It's amazing to me that the original builders were able to work it at all!

 

A:  In those days a stone yard would have had stonemasons and full time blacksmiths on site, always busy.  The chisels and saws would become blunt in 5 to 10 minutes.  Then it was back to the blacksmiths to be sharpened.

 

 

 

Preparing the new ragstone in the workshopLowering the new block into place

 

Q:  And nowadays?

A:  Nowadays we have diamond tipped angle grinders, the edge last longer.

 

Q:  So the ragstone was the most difficult thing about the job?

A:  No.  The most difficult thing was the render.  The coating of small stones, sand and lime which protects the stonework.  

 

Q:  I thought that was something the Victorians put on?

A:  No, it's been there since day 1.  See, the walls themselves are made of stone, almost rubble in places, with bits of flint stuck in as well.  The joints are wide, not completely filled.  The render is absolutely necessary to protect the materials behind.  Otherwise it would erode the soft tufa stone of the main walls, rapidly.

 

Q:  Is tufa stone with render better than cut stone blocks?

A:  No, it's just a lot cheaper to build!

 

Q:  So what was hard about replacing it?

A:  We don't have the original recipe for it.  And we have no records about how they put it on.  Right from the beginning, I was convinced they filled rectangular panels.  You put the little stones in panel first and then the lime mix. 

 

When you present the panel to the wall, the stones are then on the outside.  In some places you can see lines in the original render, but not everywhere.  I think when they put it on, the most skilful workers left no lines.  So we did a trial with approval from Derek Hudson, the architect.  We covered the north chancel.  But it was the wrong colour.

 

The rendering box, empty

 

Q: But wouldn't you expect that?  The old render is a hundred years old.  Or more.

A.  That's right.  So the new render should probably be a different colour, to start with, even if we've got it right.  We think we've got close.  It's been a journey and a lot of rework.  

 

Well, Steve, the church looks wonderful now.  Thank you and your Pinnacle craftsmen so much for what you've done.

 

 

SPORTS CLUB GETS NEW SHIRTS

Posted on 16th November, 2018

 

Jewelultra, a company with its head office in West Farleigh has donated new football strip to the second XI team.

 

They were presented to the club by Lance Boseley.

 

 

The club are very grateful for all the help they have from Jewlultra. It makes a huge difference to both the football and cricket teams.

 

 

 

WEST FARLEIGH BUSINESS WINS AN AWARD

Posted on 20th September, 2018

WEST FARLEIGH BUSINESS WINS PRESTIGIOUS AWARD

 

 

 

Jewelultra has had its head office in Ewell Lane since 2005. They produce chemical treatments for the motor industry. Their research laboratory and factory are in Loughborough. We recognize the name in the village as they sponsor the Sports Club and the name Diamondbrite can be seen around the village on the Cricket Covers and the football hut.

 

They have won the KEiBA (Kent Excellence in Business Award) in the Exporter of the Year category. 

 

 

Their market is now worldwide. Export Sales are the fastest growing sector of the business.

The success is attention to detail. They find out exactly what the clients require and go the extra mile to develop and market it. In India, rats were eating the electrics on new cars. Jewelultra’s research team found that rats do not like peppermint and eucalyptus flavours, so a chemical spray, containing these flavours, was developed to treat the underside of then new cars!

The judges commented “that they were not afraid of new markets and develops its products to meet their customers’ requirements in the local market. The continued investment and customer focus is evident throughout.”

John Boseley CEO and Neil Simmonds Global Export Sales Manager, are very proud of their success.

POLICE SURVEY- DO YOU FEEL SAFE?

Posted on 26th July, 2018

 

‘How safe do you feel where you live?’

That is the one of the key questions Matthew Scott, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, is asking residents this summer.

Mr Scott said: ‘I set Kent Police’s priorities based on the things people tell me matter to them. My Annual Policing Survey is a key way in which I get to hear what you think about your police force. I want to know what you think Kent Police does well and what it could do better.

‘I’m responsible for ensuring Kent Police provides an effective and efficient service so I’m asking you, plain and simple, to rate how safe you feel in your community and also what to extent you think you get value for money.’

 

Mr Scott added: ‘I’ve had a tremendous response from those I’ve met at big public events like the Kent County Show and the Kent Police Open Day so far this summer but I want as many people as possible to take the opportunity to have their say. Based on the results of last year’s survey, I took the decision to put more money into recruiting up to 200 more police officers, so your views really can make a difference.’

 

The survey, which only takes a couple of minutes to complete, is available at www.kent-pcc.gov.uk/consultations. A hard-copy leaflet, and a large print version, are also available on request.

Questions about people’s gender, where they live, age and ethnicity have been included to enable the PCC to spot trends among different communities.

 

BE WATER SAVVIE

Posted on 9th July, 2018

As the heat increases, so does the amount of water we all use. To cope with this, South East Water is producing an extra 100 million litres a day across its supply area – the equivalent of 40 Olympic swimming pools of water.

 

High demand for water is often caused by garden watering – on a normal day it makes up six per cent of water use in the home, but on hot days this can soar to 70 per cent, mainly due to garden sprinklers which use as much water in an hour as a family of six uses in a day.

 

During this period of high demand some people may experience lower than normal pressures during times of high demand such as breakfast and dinner time so everyone is being asked to reduce garden water use during these times to try to make sure there is enough water for everyone.

 

Being water savvy in the sunshine will help ease pressure on the company’s extensive network of 9,000 miles of pipes, pumping stations and treatment works which are working at full pelt around the clock to keep taps running.

 

Despite the recent dry spell, reservoir and ground water levels are as expected for this time of year.

 

Saving water means saving money too and top tips and free water saving devices can be found at: southeastwater.co.uk/savewater.

 

Many thanks for your help in advance – it is very much appreciated.

 

Kind regards.

 

Yvette

On behalf of South East Water

 

 

Road Verge Rage!

Posted on 16th May, 2018

It always leaves me amazed and in wonder; an early evening stroll from East Farleigh Station along the lovely magical River Medway, a right turn at the top of St. Helen's Lane and I'm heading home towards West Farleigh, picking up the gentle but unmistakably enchanting scent of freshly cut grass, and then catching sight of the neat precise finish left behind by the grass cutters at the junction of Kettle Lane and Lower Road, at this point I'd be hard pushed to think of anything that would top this.

 

But how about this, if the Lower Road Layby 'Island' was cut at the same time along with Hoppers Corner at the foot of Charlton Lane (and the steep banked verges on the left towards Teston) then I would almost be in paradise, but no, even after all these years, all of the above including the Village Green & it's verges at the top of the Village as well as the 'triangle' just below, all appear to be cut at different times in different ways by varying bodies leaving an inconsistancy to the village..

 

Shame, if we were joined up how good would that be and not just from a visual viewpoint but also from a conservation & wildlife viewpoint ! This led me to a spot of interweb surfing and I came up with the following quote from John Burton, Country Life, 1973:

 

“Throughout the spring and summer the wild flowers of our country roads and lanes delight all who walk or drive them – or rather one would think that they delight everyone, but this is clearly not entirely so because each year, at the height of their glory, mile upon mile of them are ruthlessly cut.” 

 

During my daily commute into London, whilst looking for more information on these much loved areas of 'no mans land' I discovered a group called 'Plantlife' who seem to have nailed it; I've taken the liberty of cutting an extract from their latest publication, and will post a link to their website at the end of this article; happy reading, and do leave any ideas, comments you may have;

 

Taking a different approach, Plantlife’s vision for Britain’s road verges is one where all verges are managed for wildlife as a matter of course, restoring and expanding flower-rich habitats along our road network. This will ensure the survival and natural spread of both common and rare species, for their own sake, for the sake of the wildlife they support and environmental benefits they bring, and to enhance the contact with nature experienced by users of Britain’s road network.

 

We know that verges are under considerable pressure. Priorities for safety and access, along with budget constraints and difficulties with the collection of litter and grass clippings all mean that enhancing their wildlife value is often low on the list. But we believe that the adoption of a few basic principles can significantly improve the biodiversity on our verges, bringing benefits for wildlife, for us and for future generations.

 

Basic road verge management  for enclosed, grassy verges: 

The following should be undertaken on all enclosed  grassy road verges (apart from those areas, such as junctions,  where safety is a priority)

 

We have developed two main management prescriptions:

 

The first A. Basic road verge management is aimed at all enclosed grassy verges in the lowlands, regardless of current condition.

 

The second B. Enhanced road verge management is aimed at sections of verge that are still rich in wild flowers, such as Road Verge Nature Reserves. We have also provided advice on the management of other types of road verge habitats.

 

If only one cut is possible: Cut the full width of the verge once a year, between mid-July and the end of September. This allows plants to flower and, importantly, gives time for seed to be set.

 

If more cuts are required, do one of the following: Cut the full width of the verge between mid-July and the end of September. Then cut once more before Christmas. This is the ideal option to conserve and enhance wild flowers, as it mimics the pattern of traditional meadow management.

 

Or... Cut the full width of the verge as early as possible, during February and March. This is before most verge plants flower and it won’t disturb ground-nesting birds. Cut the full verge again during September and October. This slightly later date for the second cut allows plants that were cut earlier in the year sufficient time to flower and set seed.

 

If it is not practical or desirable to cut the whole width of the verge: On large verges, cut a 1 metre strip at the edge of the verge as early as possible – during February and March. This allows grass at the back of the verge to grow longer, providing a diversity of habitat that is especially important for invertebrates.

 

Or... On small verges of less than 1 metre, leave some sections uncut, for example 100-metre sections every 200 metres. In both these cases, cut the full width of the verge during September and October.

 

There is much much more........ I'll be persuing this with our local authorities to find out their views and see if they are onboard for any change.

 

Plantlife can be found at https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk

 

If you made it this far, many thanks, you deserve a cup of tea (at least)!

 

Ed Boyd

 

 

Let's All Say 'NO' To Plastic Bags

Posted on 26th March, 2018

We have all seen the impact that plastic has on wildlife and the environment on TV documentaries and in the media. We know that plastic bags are not biodegradable. They fly off rubbish heaps, get thrown from the windows of passing vehicles and are dropped on the floor by passers-by. They clog water infrastructures, float down waterways, and spoil the landscape. If all goes well, they end up in proper landfills where they may take 1,000 years or more to break down into ever smaller particles that continue to pollute the soil and water.

 

Take a look at what West Farleighs litter pickers collect on a monthly basis http://www.thefarleighs.co.uk/monthly_litter_pick.html - quite incredible!

 

Plastic bags exposed to sunlight for long enough become brittle, breaking into ever smaller pieces. The small fragments then mix with soil, lake sediments, are picked up by streams, or end up contributing to large oceanic trash deposits. Endangering and often killing our wildlife and marine mammals.

 

Finally, producing plastic bags, transporting them to stores, and bringing the used ones to landfills and recycling facilities require millions of gallons of petroleum, a non-renewable resource which can arguably be better used for more beneficial activities like transportation or heating.

 

Since the charge for a plastic bag was implemented in 2015, the impact can be read  from our Government’s research  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england/single-use-plastic-carrier-bags-charge-data-in-england-for-2016-to-2017

 

But what can we do individually and what difference will it make?

Apart from lobbying shops, supermarkets etc to provide paper bags we can consider a personal ban on plastic bags. 

 

I have made the decision to stop using plastic bagswhere possible and over a course of 12 months I believe I will have avoided using at least 500 plastic bags, following a friend’s example.  Think how many we can avoid using if we all adopt a ban? Ok so it’s a bit fiddly at the check-out ensuring all the fruit and veg are together but I am sure it’s worth it – it’s how we used to shop.  You could go to a farm shop or green-grocers who use paper bags.

 

You can also:

 

Switch to reusable bags made from renewable materials. Make sure you wash them regularly. If you do end up using plastic bags now and then be sure to recycle them.

 

Make your own

You can make pure 100% muslin bags, using 100% cotton you can knit, crochet or buy (or ask someone to do it for you) cotton dishcloths, scrubbers and washcloths. See below for patterns. 

 

Let’s all do our bit and help save this wonderful planet for generations to come.

 

Shopping bagsMuslin shopping bags

Cost: about £1.98 137 cm (50” wide) per metre from Amazon for white muslin 100% cotton or alternatively you can by the bags from around £2.99 each.

First, cut the fabric into rectangles that are 17" by 27", which makes a finished bag 15" tall by 13" wide (with double hemming). You can make them bigger or smaller, though. (If any of the edges are excessively frayed, cut that off first before cutting to size.)

 

Then you need to hem any sides that are not on the selvedge edge (finished edge) to keep the whole thing from unraveling over time.

Next fold in half and pin - the right side is the bottom of the bag and the left is the top. Sew around 3 sides leaving the top to make a channel for the twine.

Once you've sewn the bag, make the channel for the twine by folding down and pinning the top edge.

All you need to do to finish the bag is to tie a knot in some twine, push a safety pin through it and feed it through the channel. Leave about 2 or 3 inches hanging out on each side and tie it in a knot. When you want to close up the bag, just do a slip knot.

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ScrubsScrubs

 

Materials:

100% Cotton Yarn

Size H Hook

Yarn Needle

 

Note: Leave a long tail at both the beginning and the end for weaving.Crochet in the back loop through the entire project

 

Chain 25

 

Row 1:

2 sc in second chain from hook, sc across to the last 2 chains, decrease using the last two chains, chain 1 and turn (25 stitches)

Row 2:

Decrease using the first 2 stitches, sc across to the last stitch, 2 sc in last stitch

chain 1 and turn (25 stitches)

Row 3:

2 single crochet in first stitch, sc across to the last 2 stitches, decrease using the last 2 stitches

chain1 and turn (25 stitches).

 

Repeat rows 2 & 3 for a total of 25 rows

 

To complete:

 

scourer1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lay piece out with beginning and ending tail at the bottom

scourer2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fold bottom right corner over to the bottom left corner

scourer3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Foldtop left corner up to the top right

 

scourer4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a yarn needle whip stitch together. Do not knot the end

scourer5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now you have a tube

scourer6

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thread one of the long tails and into the yarn needle and weave it in an out along the edge

 

 

 

 

scourer7

 

 

 

 

 

Once you have gone all the way around, pull the tail to gather the edge together.  Push the needle up through the hole on the gathered end.  Pull tightly, but be sure not to break the cotton by pulling too hard

 

 

 

scourer8

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now weave around the open edge.  When you have gone all the way around, Pull the tail to gather the edge together. The two ends will come together to form the spiral. You have to smooth and straighten the scrubby to form a nice circle.

 

scourer9

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Knot the two tails together tightly.  Weave the tails in and cut.

 

 

 

Materials

Worsted weight, 100% cotton, approx. 2 oz in any colourr of your choice. Have fun! Use scraps in many different colours as an option.

J (6.00 mm) hook

Tapestry needle

Button

 

Special Stitch

FPSC – front post single crochet: insert hook (from the front) around the post of the dc in the row below.  If you are left handed, you will insert your hook from the left to right around the post.  If you are right handed, you will insert your hook from the right to left around the post.  Finish your single crochet as you would normally.

Abbreviations

ch(s)

chain(s)

dc

double crochet

sl st

slip stitch

FPSC

front post single crochet

sp

space

sc

single crochet

hdc

half double crochet

 

___________________________________________

SWEEPER COVER

 

The sweeper cover measures 10” x 4”.  If you have a newer or older model, you can decrease or increase in multiples of three, just make sure to keep track of proper placement of the PFSC pattern in order to keep the wave stitch look.

 

Pattern

 

Row 1: Ch. 35.  Work dc into the 4nd chain from the hook.  Dc in each ch across.

Row 2: Turn, ch 1.  FPSC around the first 3 dc, (1 dc in next 3 dc, 1 FPSC in next 3 dc), repeat to end.

Row 3: Turn, ch 3 (counts as first dc). Skip first FPSC, dc in next 2 FPSC, (1 dc in next 3 dc, 1 dc in next 3 FPSC), repeat to end

Row 4: Turn, ch 3 (counts as first dc).  Skip first dc, dc in next 2 dc, (1 FPSC in next 3 dc, 1 dc in next 3 dc), repeat to end.

Row 5: Turn, ch 3 (counts as first dc).  Skip first dc, dc in next 2 dc, (1 dc in next 3 FPSC, 1 dc in next 3 dc), repeat to end.

Rows 6 – 9: Repeat Rows 2 – 5 once.

Row 10: Turn.  sc around edges, spacing stitches evenly across each side, working 3 sc into each corner.

Row 11: Join to first sc with sl st, ch 2.  hdc across to last sc before corner sc begins.  If you have skipped row 10, your row 11 will read:  Turn.  Ch 2, hdc across in each dc.

Row 12: Turn, ch 2 (counts as first hdc).  hdc across to end, working last hdc into ch 2 of last row.

Rows 13 – 14: Repeat Row 12 twice.

Row 15: Turn, ch 2 (counts as first hdc).  Hdc in next 12 hdc (13 hdc made).

Row 16: Turn, ch 2, hdc across

Rows 17 – 20: Repeat Row 16 four times.

Row 21: Turn, sl st to opposite edge of swiffer to appropriate 13 stitches.  Fasten off.

 

Strap

Row 1: Turn and attach yarn with sl st to opposite side (Row 1). Ch 2 (counts as first hdc), hdc in next 12 hdc (13 hdc total)

Rows 2 – 6: Repeat Row 16 five times.

Row 7: (Buttonhole row): Turn, ch 2 (counts as first hdc), hdc in next 5 hdc, ch 1, skip next hdc, hdc in next 6 hdc.

Row 8: Turn, ch 2 (counts as first hdc), hdc in next 5 hdc, hdc in ch-1, hdc in next 6 hdc. Fasten off.

Sew the button in the 2nd row of the cover base.  Slip on to your cleaner, button, and enjoy!

 

_______________________________

 

DishclothDISHCLOTHS

 

Cast On 14 stitches and knit back

 

 

 

1.Knit 4, yarn over, knit, leaving 2 stitches and knit back

2. Knit 4, yarn over, knit, leaving 4 stitches and knit back

3. Knit 4, yarn over, knit, leaving 6 stitches and knit back

4. Knit 4, yarn over, knit, leaving 8 stitches and knit back

Cast off 4 and knit to end – knit back (should be 14 stitches on the needle)

Repeat for 14 points

Leave enough yarn to sew sides together and go around circle and draw circle together. Tie ends in a double knot