SWprucing up Stoke Ferry Church

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed a degree of activity in and around the former church in the centre of Stoke Ferry. Long-overdue restoration to this mediaeval building, the oldest in our community, is at last taking place. Adam Stanley has been fashioning flowerbeds between the buttresses and attending to the pruning of the trees in the churchyard. Malcom Pink, a qualified stonemason with long experience in work on listed buildings, is working on the exterior, starting with the 1848 porch. Dean Willis, a joiner-carpenter, is doing gentle restoration to the roof which is leaking in a number of places. The building now being privately-owned, budgets are constrained, and I am most grateful to these gentlemen for their help, which is being offered at reduced rates. Dean will be camping out in the former vestry while the works are taking place, works which we anticipate will take no longer than twelve months. To those living around the churchyard, we apologise for any disturbance while this continues.
In the meantime, I as the owner am in discussion with the King’s Lynn Council and the Church of England as to the future use of the building. I am apparently unable to obtain a licence of worship for the place, at least according to the rites of the Anglican Creed, since I have now learned that when the church was sold by the Diocese of Ely to me in 1999, it was deconsecrated: a fact of which I was at the time unaware. (Having been offloaded by the Church of England, it is apparently exceedingly difficult to re-activate a licence for a private owner). Although I could easily obtain a licence for worship according to the rites of other faiths, to do so would in my view sit uneasily with the church’s 500-year-old history of Anglican worship: unbroken, since we as a village, under the Rev. Nicholas-Letch in particular, have continued our occasional services therein, albeit in ignorance of the fact that we were apparently ‘transgressing’ by doing so. I shall persist in my endeavours to have this situation reversed, but in the meantime shall continue to maintain the building, largely for the community, as I have done for the past seventeen years. Thank you for your co-operation.
Kit Hesketh-Harvey

Remember, Remember the what of November?

I know that winter is just around the corner, despite the mild weather, because I have had my first taste of runny nose, tickly cough and a desperate need of TLC. Last year the Cold Fairy visited me at least half a dozen times, so, its off to the docs for my very first flu jab -just in case the Cold Fairy tells the Flu Fairy how inviting I am!
I am going to India next week(this weather can’t last) with my old school friend Doreen: we met up again after fifty years and carried on as if we had never lost touch. We are NOT taking our respective hubbies. Neither wanted to go to India and when I said I had always wanted to go Doreen volunteered we go it alone. So we are. If we find The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel we may not be coming back.
The holiday will be filled with lots of laughs, Doreen is a hoot, lots of sightseeing & lots of reminiscing . A few years ago we met up in South East London where we were both born to visit old haunts -a trip down memory lane- Crystal Palace Park where large dinosaurs roam the grounds, commissioned in 1852 to accompany the Crystal Palace after its move from the Great Exhibition in Hyde Park and unveiled in 1854, they were the first dinosaur sculptures in the world, pre-dating the publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by six years. Our all girls secondary school in Forest Hill, was unrecognisable with its high steel fencing all around, was denied us as the security guard would not let us in-oh how times have changed! The guard did tell us though that whilst the original historic building was staying, the ugly high rise monstrosity built in the fifties was being demolished and re-built. We both agreed that would be a great improvement and it had nothing to do with the detentions we suffered there! We paid our respects at Hither Green Cemetery, where the children of Sandhurst Road School are buried. The disaster was an air raid on the school in Catford, South East London on Wednesday, 20 January, 1943 a mile or so from where we went to school. A German fighter-bomber dropped a 1,100 lb bomb on the school at 12.30 pm, killing 32 children and six staff and injuring another 60 people. Many were buried for hours under the rubble, and six more children died in hospital. The memorial, with names listed, is very moving and we both shed a tear or two.
My parents old house had gone to make way for modern maisonettes but our primary school was still going strong and so was the large modern church of Saint Michael and All Angels, built to replace the beautiful ancient Saint Michaels that was destroyed by a bomb in the last war. Even though I was born just after the war, I am a War Baby, or Baby Boomer, and I remember my bedroom being boarded up years after the war ended as there was no building material to go round: rationing was also still in existence so sweets were scarce.
Yes, we had a lovely day out in South East London ending up with lunch in Eltham Palace – a wonderful place to visit, but as we strolled down the streets of our past, we were very conscious of the fact that we had very special childhoods: Playing on bomb sites, maybe, but we had freedom. Plain simple food, perhaps, but we had love and laughter. We also had both our fathers returned from the war and not every child was as lucky as we were.
So, what should we remember in November? Guy Fawkes and fireworks you bet. Falling leaves lovely. However, we must never forget the men and women who gave their lives so that we can live our lives in freedom with no fear of speaking our minds, no fear of who or what we worship and no fear of where we come from.

November Gardening

We’re bracing ourselves for winter, but theirs no time to hibernate! Daylight hours are short and it’s difficult to fit in every gardening task, so use the time carefully to prepare the garden for winter.
So long as it’s not frosty, there’s still time to plant shrubs and hedges as the soil is just warm enough for root growth. It’s also an ideal time to move established shrubs to better positions. From November (and during the dormant season) it’s time to plant bare root hedging. These are plants that have been grown in fields then dug up when dormant and sold without any soil on the roots. This reduces the growers, and transportation, costs. Meaning the cost per plant is much reduced in comparison to container grown plants. Bare root hedging plants are sold in bundles, and young plants are often called whips. Bare root plants should be planted as soon as possible before the roots dry out. If you can’t plant them immediately, then make a temporary trench and bury the roots in 20cm of soil to keep them moist, this process is also known as ‘heeling in’. We recommend a planting distance of 30cm/ 12” per plant for a single row, meaning you will need 3 plants for every meter of hedge. For a thicker hedge, plant a staggered double row using the same distance guides, you will need 5 plants for every meter of hedge. Ensure the planting area is weed-free before planting, and after planting mulch the soil to conserve moisture. Don’t mulch too deeply, 2-3” is plenty as the roots may grow upwards if the mulch is laid too heavily. If rabbits or deer have access to your garden, then spiral tree guards placed on every plant is essential to prevent damage.
Most plants grown in our gardens are fully hardy and able to cope with the variable British climate. However, recent gardening fashions have lead to an increase in the popularity of tender tropical plants and sun-loving Mediterranean plants which will require TLC to get them through the winter months unscathed. Even some hardy plants can be vulnerable in exposed gardens. Cold winds freeze stems and penetrate deep into the soil and excessive winter wet can cause irreversible damage to plants that like well drained soil. If you cannot move susceptible plants into an unheated greenhouse or conservatory, cover with horticultural fleece and place a thick layer of dry mulch, such as straw, around the base of the plant to protect the roots from the cold. Never use bubble wrap on plants, as the plants will sweat. Bubble wrap can be used to insulate pots to prevent container grown plants roots from freezing. Another method to protect plants is to make a wire cage around the plant, fill this with straw completely covering the plant, and then wrap fleece around the cage. This method works particularly well for tree ferns and banana plants.
Top Tips:
• Plant Tulip Bulbs
• Prune established rose bushes by half to prevent damage from wind rock
• Net Brassicas and Gooseberries to prevent damage from birds
• Clean slippery paths and driveways
• Prune apple trees
Rachel Sobiechowski BSc (Hons) P&R Garden Supplies, Fengate Drove, Brandon 01842 814800 www.p-rgardensupplies.co.uk

What does the Doctor think – November


Facebook and my body image
As we all know, our body image is a subjective picture in the mind of our own physical appearance, derived from what we see and the reactions of others. Some people are proud of their body image but the majority seem to be dissatisfied. If people fixate unreasonably upon a feature of their body image with which they are dissatisfied, this is known as Body Dysmorphic Disorder and a typical example is the poor adolescents, stick thin, who think they are fat and develop anorexia.
I have a similar problem in reverse! My body image is tall and thin and, no matter how many mirrors and shop windows tell me otherwise, that image remains. However, mirrors and shop windows, although unsettling, can be ignored and the body image can remain untarnished.
A new phenomenon has arisen which is really putting my own body image in danger. In the old days, we took photographs and destroyed the unfavourable ones before sharing them with others. Along came Facebook! Nowadays, any event shared with our children and their familes results in pictures being posted on Facebook to be viewed by their thousands of friends and contacts. These pictures include unflattering photos of me, the sort I would have destroyed straight away, and, as the camera always makes me query my body image, everyone can view the photo as often as they like. Last Sunday, one son posted a photo of nine of the grandchildren on Facebook. An old friend of mine from years ago posted a “like” and wondered whether or not he had a picture of Management and me. Bang! Within seconds, he had sent her, and the rest of the world, an appalling photo of the two of us, looking less than sylph-like. Now, the photo is “out there” for ever more.

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