I have wanted to be a GP since the age of four. In the 1940s, when my two uncles were single-handed dispensing GPs in Halifax and Stainland in Yorkshire, I was fascinated by the smell of Vitamin B in the dispensary, the consulting rooms in the house and the conversations over the meal table which demonstrated the two doctors’ profound devotion to their patients. Their wives were the sole receptionists and only they would answer the telephone which was mounted on the wall at eye level. The box was mahogany and the fittings were all brass. There was a crank handle to contact the operator. The brass mouthpiece was permanently fixed to the box and the brass earpiece was removed from the box to take the call.
If, during lockdown, you’ve reached for a pack of cards to help pass the time this will surely give you something to think about. Perhaps you remember the hit titled ‘Deck of Cards’ recorded, among others, by Wink Martindale and Max Bygraves? It was a narrative, rather than a song, very cleverly written by T Texas Tyler in 1948. It is about a young Second World War soldier who was reprimanded by his sergeant at a church service held during a campaign in North Africa. While the rest of the congregation reached for their prayer books he got out a pack of cards, an act he was arrested for after the service. When asked in court for an explanation he had this to say: “Sir, I have been on a march for about six days, and I had neither Bible nor Prayer Book, but I hope to satisfy you, Sir, with the purity of my intentions.” With that the boy began his story.
“You see, Sir, when I look at the ace it reminds me that there is but one God. The deuce reminds me that the Bible is divided into two parts; the Old and New Testaments. And when I see the trey I think of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. When I see the four I think of the four evangelists who preached the Gospel. There was Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. And when I see the five it reminds me of the five wise virgins who trimmed their lamps. Ten of them; five who were wise and were saved; five were foolish and were shut out. And when I see the six it reminds me that in six days God made this great heaven and earth. And when I see the seven it reminds me that on the seventh day God rested from His great work. When I see the eight I think of the eight righteous persons God saved when he destroyed this earth. There was Noah, his wife, their three sons, and their wives. And when I see the nine I think of the lepers our Savior cleansed, and nine of the ten didn’t even thank Him. When I see the ten I think of the Ten Commandments God handed down to Moses on a tablet of stone. When I see the king it reminds me that there is but one King of Heaven, God Almighty. And when I see the queen I think of the Blessed Virgin Mary who is Queen of Heaven. And the jacks, or knaves, it’s the devil. And when I count the number of spots on a deck of cards I find three hundred sixty-five, the number of days in a year. Fifty-two cards, the number of weeks in a year. Four suits, the number of weeks in a month. Twelve picture cards, the number of months in a year. Thirteen tricks, the number of weeks in a quarter. So you see, Sir, my pack of cards serve me as a Bible, almanac, and prayer book.”
I wondered, in these uncertain times, what ever were they going to fill the May Edition of The Village Pump with to interest everyone? We were not disappointed. Stories from Dr Nisbet (love his jokes), from Ray Thompson (how ever did he survive poor little lad), Jill Mason’s Norfolk Squit, and I really related to June Stubbert ‘s little story and Jim McNeil’s interesting piece and such hard times. There were also pieces from Ron Watts and Cliff Gardner (what a stressful time for them) and the late Cyril Masters” Blackcurrants in your garden”. And of course, the word search and crossword were all good.
Well done everyone.
Our Parish Council year 2019/20 has ended in a way none of us could have imagined, with the Corona virus putting a stop to all meetings. So I thought I’d give you a brief report and update on Parish Council activity.
Several members of the Parish Council have overseen the set up and working of the Stoke Ferry Volunteer Group to provide a delivery service for essential shopping and prescriptions, as well as being on hand for anyone needing a friendly telephone chat. The service will continue to operate as long as needed, so if anyone needs to contact us, just look us up on the Facebook page Stoke Ferry Isolation Volunteers or you can email me directly.
During the past year the Parish Council has liaised with the Borough Council to ensure the views of the village are taken into account when looking at the planning application by 2 Agriculture Mill and our wish to have the ‘Bluebell’ an asset of community value.
This year we have also started to put together the Neighbourhood Plan which will help our community to influence the planning and development of the village. Our aim is to set out your vision for the future of Stoke Ferry, so we encourage everyone to get involved.
Last year’s Summer Fayre was another huge success with money raised going to both the Village Hall and the Playing Field. Sadly, this year the Fayre has had to be cancelled so we will save the 50th anniversary celebrations for next year.
Our village gates are now being installed with more to be situated. Work on the signage will start as soon as possible. As part of the Parish Partnership Funding we have approval to continue the updating of our Public Rights of Way so will be adding numbering signage to the fingerposts so that they tie in with the footpath booklet we produced last year. The footpaths continue to be upgraded.
This year steps were added to FP5 to make it easier to navigate. This year we hope to have more updates for the definitive map as well.
Meanwhile, the grass cutting, and maintenance contracts continue with Mr Sparkle doing an excellent job. As always if anyone sees an area that needs improvement just let us know. Our communal gardens also continue to be upgraded and, in the autumn, we aim to plant more bulbs.
Village charities and organisations continue to be supported and on behalf of all of us, I take this opportunity to thank the many volunteers who keep them running. Their help makes them possible.
I must also thank our Clerk for her diligent work. She has now passed her CiLCA qualification, which is very well deserved. We feel lucky to have Helen working for us.
I hope you are all taking care of yourselves so that you come through this stressful time safely. Let us all look forward to a brighter future.
Chairman of Stoke Ferry Parish Council
Many of you will be familiar with Boughton Fen – a Site of Special Scientific Interest and County Wildlife site, a popular spot for bird watching, and a pleasant place for a family stroll around the Wildlife Walk. Of course it hasn’t always been like this.