Boughton Fen over the past year
Quite a lot has happened during the course of the past year.
Most importantly, after all the concerns that there would be no funds, was the good news that Countryside Stewardship had been awarded to Boughton Fen for the next ten years, with just shy of £6000 per year to go towards work to maintain the habitat. Natural England are very prescriptive in what they expect to be done, and there are some significant changes in how we need to have some tasks carried out, so we must be mindful of that both during working parties and when engaging contractors.
Open Gardens Day June 9th 2016
It’s probably impossible to thank everyone who was at all involved, as I’m sure there were many behind the scenes in the various ‘teams’ whose names I never knew. We were so fortunate to have a fine and dry day – as I write this, the rain is pouring down again, but I DON’T CARE!!
The catering team were brilliant. Everything was beautifully arranged and the lunches were excellent. I also had a very tasty piece of cake in the marquee at the end of the day, and another visit to the alpacas as they are so lovely. I think everyone fell for the black one and he knew it!! They’ve been sheared, and the fur looks ribbed, like the raked gravel in a Japanese garden.
There were ten gardens open in the end, with one willing participant forced to drop out because of illness. We send our very best wishes for a full recovery. The gardens range widely in size and style, reflecting the different people who make up our community. Everyone had worked really hard to get them into some sort of shape—my brown bin was literally crammed with goosegrass/cleavers, the bane of my life – and there were still plenty of flowers to come. Spring is best in my garden, but I seem to have been accumulating roses, so there is colour to come.
Boughton Church was full on Jan 30 for a memorial service to a long time village resident Bill Miller. The service was led by Rev Ken Waters, whilst the eulogy was given by Bill’s son David, who spoke of his father’s early career in the Royal Navy, before the family move from Ten Mile Bank to Boughton in 1947, to start a life in farming. We were reminded that over the years his father had seen a huge change in farming methods, from horse drawn to mechanisation. David told the congregation of his parents’ affection for Boughton: he recalled that they had had to curtail one holiday and return home as Mum was so homesick. Finally retiring, his father had undergone major heart surgery at Papworth, before becoming a full time carer for his beloved wife Joan, who had suffered a stroke in 1999. His father, he said, with his military background (he always wore his RN veterans hat with pride) had been moved to fund restoration of the village War Memorial, even employing a forensics expert to decipher the inscriptions which time had rendered virtually illegible. The work was done so well that the Memorial is now listed.
Following Joan’s death, after 61 years of happy marriage, failing health in turn meant that Bill had finally to leave Boughton in 2016, for residential care in Ripon, close to his son.
The service over, everyone was able to mingle and share memories, whilst enjoying a nip of sherry and some delicious refreshments. A retiring collection raised, with Gift Aid, £185 each for the funds of the Church and Boughton Cricket Club, both which Bill had supported, in addition to Papworth Hospital and the Canaries – Norwich City Football Club.
We were pleased to welcome many of the Breakfast church regulars to the Morning Prayer service on 9th September, lured perhaps by the promise of ample refreshments. Thanks to Pippa for the supplies of cake and, even more importantly, for taking the service. There was a very good atmosphere afterwards, as most people stayed for a coffee and the cakes, supplemented by fresh apple juice supplied by Hans.
We had a very interesting talk about Oxburgh Hall on May 16th, given by Roger Farmer, who is a conservation volunteer at the Hall. He told us first about the history of the building and the loss of the Great Hall. They have no pictures of the GH, but some idea of what it would have been like from other houses. The estate is enlarging its landholdings and currently doing much needed renovation. There were interesting photos of parts of the building visitors normally wouldn’t see and a promise of an update in the future. There are plans in place to start the renovation of the roof, which is not in good condition. No one wants a repeat of the potentially disastrous collapse of a dormer window, so planning ahead is needed. There was quite a good attendance for the talk, in spite of the fact that Roger had given his talk in several local venues. I’ve now heard him three times and each was interesting, with new details.
Yesterday’s Open Gardens Day was a success. I’m always worried that no one will turn up, but they do, whatever the weather. Thanks to all the people who open their gardens, but particularly for those who do all the work behind the scenes: Sandy Reid and Deb Fisher for the lunches and teas, Angela and Andrew Faherty for the organisation not only of their Plant Emporium, but also of the mechanics of the day, and Tim and Sue Scrivener, who are always involved in helping at village events.